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Learn how to make your own garden gold

Zoom in for workshop on compost and mulch

compost bins
These are successful types of compost bins used at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. Learn the ins and outs of composting during the Placer County master gardeners' Zoom class Saturday. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Garden like nature does and your plants will be healthier and happier. You’ll save money, too.

What’s nature’s secret? Compost and mulch.

Both involve turning what may be considered waste material – such as fallen leaves – into something your plants can really use: Organic fertilizer with added benefits.

Learn how via a free virtual seminar, hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Placer County.

“Composting and Mulch Zoom Workshop” will be held online at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 17.

“Learn the basics of backyard composting and how it can improve your soil,” say the master gardeners. “You will learn how to get started and keep your compost pile healthy. We will also discuss the benefits of using mulch to help keep your soil healthy and happy. “

Mulch in particular may be very important this summer. It helps maintain moisture in the soil (so you lose less water to evaporation) and keeps roots cooler. Mulch also feeds microorganisms in the soil, in turn benefiting plants.

No advance registration is required. The full Zoom link and password is available here:

Placer County master gardeners have a busy spring schedule of virtual workshops with upcoming seminars on propagation, pollinators, succulents and native plants.

For more details:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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