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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 19

Clear and cool conditions expected after Saturday's soaking

The ripening mandarins and the rest of the garden were getting a good soaking Saturday, but the weather is expected to be drier during Thanksgiving week.

The ripening mandarins and the rest of the garden were getting a good soaking Saturday, but the weather is expected to be drier during Thanksgiving week. Kathy Morrison

Don’t worry; our Thanksgiving Day shouldn’t be soggy.

Saturday’s stormy start to our weekend will blow over quickly, says the National Weather Service. Strong, gusty winds will push out those thunder clouds by late Saturday night. But Monday, we’ll settle into a cool and calm pattern typical of mid to late November.

This looks like a good week to spray your peach trees. (Ideally, do it at least twice during the fall/winter: around Thanksgiving -- assuming the tree has dropped its leaves -- and again at bud swell just before the buds begin to open. That is usually around Valentine's Day, although can be early in warmer. drier winters.)

According to the weather service, Sacramento can expect about a half inch of rain from Saturday’s storm. That’s enough to turn off your irrigation system until at least the end of the week. Check your soil moisture, particularly in sheltered locations such as under eaves or large evergreen trees where rain didn’t reach.

Temperature-wise, Sacramento will be just about normal for November. Highs this week will hover in the mid 60s. Overnight lows will dip into the low 40s. Average for this month in Sacramento: High of 64 and low of 43.

No rain is in Thursday’s forecast – good news for Thanksgiving travel plans. The weather service says expect sun, a slight breeze and a high of 65.

Make the most of this week’s calm fall weather and damp soil. Get out and garden! (It’s a great way to burn calories after a big meal.)

* The weather conditions later this week look ideal for spraying dormant fruit trees. For sprays to be effective, they need at least 24 hours to dry.

* To help prevent leaf curl, apply a copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees after they lose their leaves. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective when applied in late fall.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material (such as peach leaves infected with leaf curl).

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* After they bloom, chrysanthemums should be trimmed to 6 to 8 inches above the ground. If in pots, keep the mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Save dry stalks and seedpods from poppies and coneflowers for fall bouquets and holiday decorating.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant more bulbs to spread out your spring bloom. Some possible suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, anemones and scillas.

* Seed California poppies and other wildflowers.

* Plant sweet peas, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring-blooming annuals.

* Now is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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