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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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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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