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Online workshop covers basics of seed saving

Learn how a seed library works during 'Lettuce Unite!'

Two lettuce seedlings
Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to save
seeds from. Learn how at a Zoom free workshop
on Feb. 5. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Have you ever “checked out” an heirloom watermelon? Or “deposited” some favorite beans? You can do both at a seed library.

Learn how seed libraries work – as well as the basics of starting one of your own – during a free Zoom workshop.

Offered by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Placer County, “Lettuce Unite!” is open to gardeners of all ages and locations. Set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, the one-hour session will focus on seed saving, an age-old method of preserving heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.

“What is a seed library? How do I ‘borrow’ seeds? How do I ‘return’ seeds? What do I do with those seeds?” say the master gardeners. “Learn all about what a seed library is, how to grow a summer garden, and a little about how to save seeds successfully.”

Seed libraries are becoming increasingly popular among vegetable and flower gardeners, especially those interested in growing heirloom varieties. The concept is simple: During planting time, gardeners “borrow” the seed of their choice. Instead of harvesting all of a crop, gardeners allow some of the plants to form seed. The gardeners then save that mature seed and return some to the library.

Gardeners also may make contributions of seed they saved from other plants not originally grown from the library’s stock. Lettuce – as the workshop’s name implies – ranks among the easiest seed to save. Another theme of this gardening pastime: Seed saving brings gardeners together.

This workshop is great for school or community garden groups. Gardeners also can learn tips on how to save seed for their own use.

To participate, click on and follow the Zoom link. Passcode: seed.

“Lettuce Unite!” is part of a late winter-early spring series of Zoom sessions hosted by the Placer County master gardeners. Upcoming online workshops include:

Feb. 12: “Citrus Tree Care in the Foothills.”

Feb. 26: “Totally Tomatoes.”

March 12: “Dealing with Deer.”

March 26: “Planning Your Vegetable Garden.”

Miss a workshop? Catch it later on the Placer County master gardeners home page.

Learn more:


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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