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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 Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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