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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 Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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