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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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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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