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Heat speeding up harvest; what to do?

Free Zoom workshop tackles stone fruit preservation

Ripe apricots
Avalanche of apricots, plethora of peaches: The heat has accelerated harvest times for stone fruit.
Learn how to save your harvest in free Zoom classes this Saturday or July 21. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
This intense heat is making summer fruit literally fall from the trees.

Apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches and other stone fruit are ripening two or more weeks ahead of schedule. (Cherries, always the first to ripen, are pretty much done.) In addition, heat-stressed trees of all sorts are shedding immature fruit.

Knowing that the harvest may arrive early, what are you going to do with all that fruit?

Learn how to preserve stone fruit of all kinds during a free Zoom workshop, presented by the UC Master Food Preservers of San Joaquin County.

Set for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 19, this two-hour workshop will cover the basics of stone fruit preservation, including freezing, canning and drying. Master food preservers will discuss what makes a fruit a “stone fruit,” with tips specific to keeping peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, cherries and their relatives looking and tasting their best for future use.

The class is free, but advance registration is required; participants can sign up right until the workshop begins. Once registered, participants will receive an email with the necessary Zoom link.

To sign up, go to or the Master Food Preservers website, .

For more on food preservation and links to more virtual workshops: .

Can’t make Saturday’s class? The UC Master Food Preservers of Sacramento County will present their own virtual stone fruit workshop at 6:30 p.m. July 21. Registration for that free Zoom class is coming soon. Details: .


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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