Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so be sure to empty buckets and flower pot saucers after rainstorms.

Garden checklist: Watch out for hungry mosquitoes

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 - 12:00 am

After Sacramento’s record dry spell, we gardeners may have forgotten how to react to long-awaited rain.

After storms, remember to dump accumulated rainwater out of saucers under pots or other places it may have pooled. That stagnant water can become breeding ponds for mosquitoes. Other spots to watch: buckets, flowerpots, birdbaths and old tires. Use that water to irrigate plants that storms may have missed such as under eaves or large evergreen trees.

A little warm weather after rain often brings mosquitoes out this time of year, according to the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District. These are hungry mosquitoes that had been hibernating. They’re looking for that first bite to begin their life cycle.

In addition, warm January weather prompted many mosquitoes to come out and start biting – even during midday. Wear long sleeves and long pants while working in the garden.

For more tips, click on

•  Get started on an early spring vegetable garden. Plant seed for beets, Swiss chard, collards, endive, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, peas, radicchio, radish and turnips.

•  Transplant seedlings for broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce and leeks.

• Indoors, start tomatoes, eggplant and peppers from seed. They’ll be ready to transplant outdoors when the weather – and soil – warms in late April or early May.

• In the flower garden, plant seed for baby's breath, calendula, California poppy, cornflower, forget-me-not, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana and snapdragon.

– Debbie Arrington

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