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Zoom into seed saving with free class

Online workshop offers tips to save money, preserve heirloom varieties

Tomato slice with seeds on a green cutting board
Found a new favorite heirloom tomato? Learn how to save seeds
from it and other summer vegetables in a free class  Saturday.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)
An easy way to save money while vegetable gardening: Save seeds from what you grow.

But how do you know a seed will be viable? How long does it have to stay on the plant to mature? And how do you know if that seed will grow “true”?

Find out in an informative and free virtual workshop, presented by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Nevada County

Set for 9 am. Saturday, Aug. 7, “Seed Saving” will cover the basics of harvesting seed from summer vegetables to regrow next season.

“There are a number of reasons to save seeds from summer harvests,” say the master gardeners. “Saving money and promoting genetic diversity are two reasons, and it's also fun to continue to grow what looks beautiful and tastes good!”

We can enjoy heirloom varieties that have been grown for generations thanks to seed savers. These techniques can be used for many ornamental plants and flowers as well as vegetables.

“This workshop will help participants discover the benefits of seed saving and how to preserve heirloom varieties,” say the master gardeners.


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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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