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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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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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