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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:
http://pcmg.ucanr.org/?calitem=495624&g=123640

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: http://pcmg.ucanr.org/

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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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