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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 28

January ends with a touch of spring, but more rain on the way

Fairy primroses bring a nice burst of color for the winter garden. Plant some now while the weather is milder.

Fairy primroses bring a nice burst of color for the winter garden. Plant some now while the weather is milder. Kathy Morrison

If you don’t like the weather, just wait; change is in the air.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will enjoy near-record warm days Sunday and Monday with high temperatures at or near 70 degrees.

But an atmospheric river is lurking in the Pacific. Expected to arrive late Tuesday, that storm system could keep us rainy through Friday, making for a very wet start to February.

As of Saturday morning, the weather service estimates that downtown Sacramento could receive 1.5 to 2 inches of rain by next weekend. Keep those umbrellas handy!

The next two days may be your window of opportunity for spraying and other seasonal jobs. Take care of garden tasks before the rain arrives.

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast the next day.

* Prune, prune, prune! Your roses are already coming out of dormancy (or may have never stopped blooming). Strip off old foliage and clean up debris under bushes.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* During rainy weather, turn off the sprinklers. After a good soaking from winter storms, lawns and other landscaping can go at least a week without sprinklers.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, primula, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

* Spring annuals are showing up in nurseries, but wait until the weather warms up a bit before planting. Instead, set out flowering perennials such as columbine and delphinium.

* Plant summer-flowering bulbs including cannas, calla lilies and gladiolus.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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