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Stuck indoors? Learn about houseplants

Master gardener Lori Ann Asmus offers tips in video

Woman in blue top holding up her hands
Lori Ann Asmus holds up her favorite tool for checking plant moisture: her finger.
(Screenshot from YouTube)

Even though the temperatures have improved, the air is smoky and the conditions rather depressing now for gardening. But thanks to the Sacramento County master gardeners, you can spend your gardening time learning how to brighten your indoor world with houseplants.

Lori Ann Asmus, who is a master gardener and interior landscaper, presented a terrific webinar on houseplants during Virtual Harvest Day earlier this month. It was taped for later viewing on YouTube, and I highly recommend it. (Full disclosure: I'm a rookie when it comes to houseplants, so most of her session was new to me.)

There's one caveat on the YouTube videos:  Instead of being broken up by topic, all of Harvest Day 2021 is on one big video -- 4.5 hours' worth. It's hard to search for an individual topic or webinar. But I know how to get you to the houseplant sequence:

Go to YouTube here:

Then click on "Show More" under the brief description and the Farmer Fred link. (Fred's good, too, but we want houseplants today.)

Lori Ann Asmus is the second-to-last webinar listed. Click on her time and you'll pop into moderator Julie Oliver's introduction of Asmus.

Asmus conducted the entire webinar from the UCCE office, but she covers a lot of ground and has examples. The session runs about half an hour. Have a pen and paper handy to take notes!

And let's all hope they get the fires under control soon and we have better outdoor gardening conditions.

-- Kathy Morrison


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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