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Zoom in on 'Totally Tomatoes'

Placer County master gardeners offer free workshop on favorite crop

Tomatoes of many colors on a green plate
Dreaming of summer and a crop like this? Learn about growing tomatoes during a Zoom session
Saturday with the Placer County master gardeners. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

It may be only February, but Sacramento gardeners have one summer crop on their collective mind: Tomatoes!

What would you expect in the Big Tomato?

To get ready for the tomato season ahead, the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Placer County will host a special Zoom workshop: “Totally Tomatoes.”

Set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, this free online seminar will include something for every tomato grower, from newbie to seasoned veteran.

Now is the time to start tomato seeds indoors, so the young plants will be ready for outdoor transplanting in spring. Get valuable pointers about starting seed, variety selection and how to grow your best harvest ever.

No advance registration is necessary. Find everything you need including Zoom link and pass code at:
http://pcmg.ucanr.org/?calitem=495618&g=123640

On that webpage, you’ll also find links to these handy publications: UC Department of Agriculture and Natural Resource’s “Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden”; specific home-garden tomato tips for Placer and Nevada counties; and master gardener seed-saving tips (which go way beyond tomatoes).

Placer County master gardeners have a full schedule of winter-early spring workshops via Zoom. Upcoming subjects: “Planning Your Summer Vegetable Garden” (Feb. 27); “From Bambi to Thumper” (managing deer, rabbits and other vertebrate pests, March 13); and “Growing Citrus in the Foothills” (March 27).

For details and links: http://pcmg.ucanr.org/

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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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