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Got mulch? It's free Saturday, but move quickly

'Mulch Mayhem' open to Sacramento County residents


Wod chip mulch
Mulch prevents evaporation of soil moisture and helps keep weeds under control.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Grab a shovel and a container or tarp, and prepare to haul away free mulch Saturday morning during "Mulch Mayhem,"  hosted by water providers in Sacramento County.

Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, and until noon or until the mulch is gone, customers of three area water providers can collect up to 1 yard of mulch, about equivalent to the amount that would fit in the back of a pickup truck. (Trailers, back of your SUV, buckets in the truck -- whatever you have, be ready to haul it away.)

The providers and locations for mulch pickup are:

-- Carmichael: Carmichael Water District, 7837 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael. Info: (916) 483-2452 or carmichaelwd.org

-- Sacramento: Sacramento Suburban Water District Facility, 917 Enterprise Drive, Sacramento. Info: (916) 972-7171 or sswd.org

-- Sacramento: City of Sacramento, South Area Corporation Yard Parking Lot, 5730 24th St., Sacramento

Info: (916) 808-5605 or SacWaterWise.com

The mulch is for personal use only and cannot be sold or used for commercial sites.

Why are water districts giving away mulch? Easy answer: Mulching the garden prevents moisture loss, allowing the gardener to use less water to keep everything alive.

For more water-saving tips, visit BeWaterSmart.info

-- Kathy Morrison

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Bonus post: What did you see in your garden today that you've never seen before?

Gardeners love to spend time in the garden, especially because it can be full of surprises. We want to share what you're seeing!

Example: The insect at left was my morning garden surprise, a cicada that had recently emerged from its old exoskeleton (which is underneath it, attached to a grow bag in my backyard). The cicada seemed to be adjusting to its new form, holding still while I snapped photos. It was gone a few hours later.

Got a garden surprise to share? It can be a plant, leaf, flower, insect or something else that made you say, "Wow, look at that!" Send your name, city, a brief (2 or 3 sentences) description and a clear digital photograph to sacdigsgardening@gmail.com with Garden Surprise in the subject line. We'll publish them as time allows; anonymous submissions will not be published.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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