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How does Sacramento rain total measure up?

February has been very wet; warmer (and dry) weather is on its way

Expect to see more daffodils and other spring flowers during the warmer, drier days ahead.

Expect to see more daffodils and other spring flowers during the warmer, drier days ahead. Kathy Morrison

Looking at my rain gauge, I keep thinking: Are we there yet? How much is enough?

It’s been another soggy few days in California with some places getting way wetter than usual, leading to mudslides and sinkholes.

Here in Sacramento, it’s just been really rainy. The latest pair of atmospheric rivers dropped 2.25 inches over the long Presidents’ Day Weekend including a record 1.14 inches in downtown Sacramento on Sunday, Feb. 18.

Through Feb. 20, Sacramento received 4.49 inches, according to the National Weather Service. That’s about 2 inches more than normal for that same time period.

But overall, our water year – Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 – is tracking just ahead of average. Since Oct. 1, Sacramento has totaled 13.67 inches of rain; normal for that period is 12.12.

Although our rain totals are above normal, we’re not there yet – “there” being a final rain total. Sacramento gets 19.2 inches in an average water year. We’re still more than 5 inches from that benchmark – but we have more than seven months to get there.

Despite another rainy February, this winter has been mild compared to 2022-23. That wet and wild water year totaled 26.22 inches in Sacramento, 36.5% above average.

Warmer, drier days are on their way. According to the weather service, Sacramento will get a sunny break from rain through at least Sunday night. Sacramento might even hit 70 degrees on Saturday.

Expect to see an abundance of daffodils as well as other spring blooms.

That spring-like weather will make it tempting to plant warm-season crops or move tomato seedlings outdoors – but don’t. Soil temperatures, hovering around 54 degrees, are still too chilly for summer vegetables. Soil needs warm nights as well as days before it warms significantly.

And more cold nights are in the forecast, says the weather service. Sacramento’s overnight lows will dip down to as low as 41 degrees by Tuesday (Feb. 27) with several nights this week in the low 40s.

Keep baby tomato, eggplant and pepper plants inside where they’ll appreciate the extra (and consistent) warmth.

For more on Sacramento weather: https://www.weather.gov/sto/#.

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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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