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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 14

Soggy week offers some gardening breaks

Camellia leaves collect raindrops during Saturday's storm. Those fat little buds should bloom just in time for Sacramento's 100th anniversary Camellia Show in early March.

Camellia leaves collect raindrops during Saturday's storm. Those fat little buds should bloom just in time for Sacramento's 100th anniversary Camellia Show in early March. Kathy Morrison

Saturday’s storm has given our gardens a good, deep soaking – and more rain is on the way.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect more rain on Tuesday evening into Wednesday. Then another round of showers is forecast to arrive Friday night and continue into next weekend.

These next two storm systems will be much lighter than Saturday’s steady rain. The weather service expects the Sacramento area to get a half inch to an inch of rain before the clouds clear out Sunday morning.

Between storms this week, temperatures will stay relatively warm with days in the high 50s or low 60s and overnight lows in the mid 40s. Normal for mid-January in Sacramento: high of 54 degrees and low of 39.

So, keep the umbrella and mud boots handy, but the frost cloths can be put aside – at least for this week.

Turn off your irrigation system, if you haven’t already. Be careful of soggy soil; it can compact easily, squeezing out the air needed by microbes and roots.

* After the rain, our soil should be soft and easy to dig – making it a great time to transplant. Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* If your ground seems saturated, consider planting your garden additions in large black plastic pots. The black plastic will warm up faster than the ground soil and give roots a healthy start. Then, transplant the new addition (rootball and all) into the ground in April as the weather warms.

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Browse through seed catalogs and start making plans for spring and summer.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* Plant calla, anemone, ranunculus and gladiolus tubers or bulbs for bloom from late spring into summer.

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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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