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Garden checklist: Welcome spring with busy weekend

Now, you can say it (and officially mean it): It feels like spring! The first full weekend of the new season means it’s time to get to work. Prepare garden beds by digging in compost, aged manure and soil amendments. Let it mellow for at least two weeks before planting those beds.

• Got space ready to grow? In the vegetable garden, plant seeds for beets, carrots, celery, Swiss chard, endive, fennel, jicama, leaf lettuce, mustard, radishes and turnips.

•  In the flower garden, plant aster, celosia, cosmos, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana, portulaca, salvia, snapdragon, verbena and zinnia.

• Sunday also represents the average last day of frost in much of the greater Sacramento area. That doesn’t mean it’s not chilly at night. Protect early, warm-weather transplants with plastic 2-liter soda bottles or gallon jugs. Cut off the bottom and leave the top open for air circulation.

• Weed, weed, weed. Get them out before they go to seed. Not only do they compete for space with your new veggies and flowers, they also take away water needed for the plants you want to grow. According to master gardeners, the most common weeds in Sacramento County right now: filaree, wild geranium, bedstraw and such annual grasses as foxtail, barley, wild oats and bluegrass.

• Instead of pulling weeds, use a sharp hoe. Cut the weeds off just under the root crown; aim for about a half-inch below soil level. That method disturbs soil less than pulling weeds, and keeps new seeds from migrating to the surface where they can sprout.

– Debbie Arrington