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Give UC Davis' Good Life Garden a helping hand

Volunteers needed for spring renovation; learn about vegetable planting

Smiling volunteers
Join in Community Volunteer Day on Saturday at the UC Davis Good Life Garden. (Photo courtesy UC Davis Arboretum & Public Gardens)

What better way to celebrate spring than getting your hands dirty?

This Saturday, March 26, the UC Davis Arboretum is looking for helping hands to participate in its Community Volunteer Day. The project: Replanting the beds at the Good Life Garden in the courtyard of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science,

“Join us for another volunteer day!” say the organizers. “Get outside, get your hands dirty and help beautify the Good Life Garden while getting tips on the best prep and planting methods for growing veggies.”

As a sampler of California’s bounty, the Good Life Garden features dozens of varieties of vegetables, fruit and herbs. In addition, bee-friendly flowers bring in beneficial insects. With its ever-changing edible landscape, the garden has become a popular venue for weddings and major campus events.

Volunteers will tackle the project from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Participation is free, but volunteers should register in advance. Space is limited.

To register:

For more on the arboretum: . The Mondavi Institute can be reached from the Old Davis Road exit off Interstate 80. Link to the campus map is here .


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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