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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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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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