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 sacmg.ucanr.edu . 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 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 https://pcmg.ucanr.org/
-- Kathy Morrison
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For week of Dec. 10:
Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!
* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.
* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.
* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.
* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.
* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.
* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.
* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.
* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.
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