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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 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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