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Yes, you can grow veggies in small spaces

Two free workshops present ways to maximize production from limited garden area

Small squash plant in soil
Tiny vegetable plants can take up space quickly. Learn how to use
a small space effectively in two El Dorado County online
workshops. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

It’s not yet officially spring, but it’s time to get serious about planning your summer garden.

Do you have big ideas, but little room? Or maybe you’re thinking of planting your first vegetable garden? Then these workshops are for you!

Learn how to “Develop a Vegetable Garden in a Small Backyard Space,” a new online class presented by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of El Dorado County.

Set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 10, this free 90-minute workshop is open to anyone with an internet connection, but advance registration is required. The link to the online class will be sent once registration is complete.

“Master Gardener Mike Pavlick will cover site location, design, raised bed options, container gardening and other methods that will allow anyone to have a vegetable garden in a small backyard setting,” according to the master gardeners.

Pavlick will provide useful tips for newbie as well as experienced vegetable gardeners. Find out how to pack more into a patio garden or cramped backyard (or community garden plot) and what food plants work best in tight quarters. Also, discover ways to make the most of that limited soil by growing vines up via trellises and staking instead of allowing melons, squash, cucumbers and other summer favorites to sprawl.

The El Dorado County master gardeners follow up that workshop with another devoted to maximizing production: “Making the Most of Your Gardening Space.” Set for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 13, this free 90-minute workshop expands on the limited-space theme by focusing on one square foot at a time.

“Do you have limited gardening space? Are you frustrated trying to grow in clayey soil? Then this is the class for you!” say the master gardeners. “We’ll cover building and gardening in raised beds, discovering the fun of growing in containers and how to make a small space go a long way with square-foot gardening.”

Designed to increase production as well as diversity in your veggie-growing space, square-foot gardening divides growing space into 12-inch squares and encourages planting seeds and transplants in blocks instead of long, straight rows.

Advance registration is also needed for this workshop with the link sent after signing up.

For full details and to sign up for either workshop:


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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