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Gardening guide is invaluable, and bargain-priced

Sacramento master gardeners' publication now available

2022 and 2021 gardening guides
Fruit is the theme for the newest Gardening Guide and Calendar. At right is the
seasonal vegetable planting chart in the 2021 edition; it's also in the 2022 publication. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Long before I became a master gardener, I was a fan of the Gardening Guide and Calendar published by the Sacramento County MGs.

It is packed with useful information on gardening cycles, as well as being a swell place to keep track of garden activities throughout the year.  Because, you know, it's easy to forget when certain chores were done. (Let's see, the potted citrus were last fertilized when?) I also track heat waves and other weather events on mine.

The theme of the 2022 Gardening Guide is "Fruit: Something Old, Something New," with lots of tips for growing favorites such as apricots, strawberries and cherries. The calendar pages feature photos of some of the yummiest fruit crops this side of the farmers market. My favorite is the one of grapes that graces the cover. (I was able to help with the guide this year, including voting on that cover photo.)

The "Something New" part of the gardening guide covers unusual fruit crops to grow, such as goji berries and lychees. It also has information on native California fruit such as toyon ( Heteromeles arbutifolia ) and golden currants ( Ribes aureum ).

Standard (and invaluable) parts of the Gardening Guide are the seasonal chart for vegetable planting, the huge list of UC resources such as pest notes,  and monthly reminders for garden care.

The Gardening Guide and Calendar still is priced at $10, including tax. It can be ordered online (mailing adds a few dollars to the price) or purchased in person at Sacramento County master gardener events such as the upcoming Sept. 11 Open Garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.

Retailers including The Plant Foundry, Emigh Hardware, Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery and Talini's Nursery also carry it; prices may vary.


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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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