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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 Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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