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Here's a gift that works all year long

Calendar with green bow
Gardening Guide and Calendar for Sacramento or Placer

Those gift-of-the-month deals are thoughtful, but how about a gift that gives every day of the year? Gardeners of all levels of experience will appreciate a Gardening Guide and Calendar created by local master gardeners. The Sacramento and Placer County groups each produce their own calendar, tailored for the local climate.

The Sacramento County Gardening Guide focuses on "Fruit: Something Old, Something New" for 2022, including descriptions of exotic fruit -- dragon fruit! jujubes! -- plus planting and pruning tips. The calendar has plenty of room to make notes on your garden's progress. I like to include weather details, too, so I can track rain, frost warnings and heat spikes.

But there is a wealth of other information packed into and along with the calendar portion. Monthly maintenance reminders, a vegetable planting chart, tips for frost protection and disease prevention -- it's like having your own garden consultant on hand at all times. Great photos, too.

All this for $10, including tax, when purchased in person at Sacramento MG events such as Open Gardens (next one is Jan. 22).  Alternatively, the Gardening Guide can be ordered online; see details here. Some area nurseries also sell the calendar, potentially for a slightly higher price. The list of those retailers can be found here .

Sacramento County's master gardener website is . Check it out for garden info of all kinds, as well as details on "Bright Lights, Garden Delights" to be held Monday evenings this month at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.

The Placer County Gardening Guide theme for its 30th anniversary edition is "Let's Grow! Tips for a Great Garden." It includes what to plant each month, pest management tips and gorgeous photos.

The Placer version is sold out online, but is still available at retailers in Placer, Nevada and El Dorado counties; the list of those is here . (It's best to call ahead and check whether a particular store still has the Gardening Guides in stock.)

The Placer County master gardeners' website is

-- Kathy Morrison


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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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