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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 June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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