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Two Zoom workshops worth checking out this month

Sessions focus on straw-bale gardening, vegetable growing

Straw bale garden with plants
Here's one example of a straw-bale garden, at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center
in May 2018. Sweet potatoes were planted in the bales that year. (Photo: Kathy

Any gardener who'd just as soon not risk a crowd, even outdoors, right now should be happy to know that the region's master gardeners have your back.

Two free Zoom online workshops are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 22:

-- 9 a.m. to noon. "Spring and Summer Vegetables" is the topic covered by the El Dorado master gardeners. Master gardener Zack Dowell will discuss garden plant selection, planting times, site selection, soil preparation, proper seed planting techniques, and pest management.

Registration is free but required here:

Visit the El Dorado master gardeners' website to see what else they have planned for workshops through March.

-- 10:30-11:30 a.m. "Straw-Bale Gardening" is offered by the Placer County master gardeners. Straw-bale gardening in easily conditioned straw bales, they note, offers "no soil, no digging, no bending,  only a trowel needed."  The workshop will show how to set up and condition the bales, which can be used for all types of vegetables, from tomatoes to sweet potatoes, as well as herbs or flowers.

The Zoom Link:

Passcode: garden

The Placer master gardeners' main website is where the calendar of all their late-winter Zoom workshops is available.

-- Kathy Morrison


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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