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Garden ‘To do’ list

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6 chores to tackle now to keep your garden growing

By Debbie Arrington
The Sacramento Bee

Are pests bugging your garden? Be pesticide-smart before you spray. Check out www.applyresponsibly.org. On that site, you’ll find tips about pesticide use, storage and disposal.

Rule No 1: Always read the entire label first, then follow directions. And don’t spray on a windy day.

Here are some other things to do right now in the garden:

• Mulch, mulch, mulch. As the weather heats up, mulching helps conserve water while keeping your plants’ roots cool and moist. When applying mulch, leave a circle around trunks or main stems to avoid crown rot.

• Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

• In the vegetable garden, transplant seedlings for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and squash. Look for varieties that mature in 75 days or less.

• From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers.

• Add some summer color. Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena. Plant seeds for sunflowers, asters, cosmos, salvia and zinnias.

• Water early in the day – preferably before 8 a.m. – when there’s less evaporation. If tomatoes wilt in the afternoon, give them a drink.

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