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Garden Checklist: October perfect time to think spring

Fall is the time to plant daffodil bulbs that will pop up in the spring.
Fall is the time to plant daffodil bulbs that will pop up in the spring. Bigstock

You may be in the mood for fall, but it’s time to think spring. Plant daffodils and other spring bulbs that provide a lot of spring flower power without much water or care. Plant some each week for the next three weeks to spread out your spring bloom.

▪ Pre-chill bulbs that need a little cold to produce spring blooms. In Sacramento, tulips and hyacinths require six weeks in the refrigerator crisper before planting to mimic winter under a blanket of snow. While the bulbs are chilling, don’t store apples or pears in the refrigerator. They release a gas that will cause the bulbs to rot. Plan to get these bulbs in the ground or pots by early December.

▪  Don’t forget summer bulbs; they need to come out of the ground. Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

▪  Apply mulch to summer-blooming bulbs and tubers left in the ground.

▪  Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellow between the veins.

▪  Remove water basins from shrubs and pots before (what we hope will be) rainy days ahead. That way, your potted plants won’t get cold, soggy feet.

▪  In the vegetable garden, plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas. Plant garlic and onions. Transplant lettuce seedlings.

▪  Watch out for snails and hand-pick them off plants.

▪  Fertilize indoor plants. This will help boost winter bloomers. With colder days ahead, you’ll spend more time inside enjoying your indoor garden – while waiting for those spring bulbs to bloom.