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Get help planning your summer garden

El Dorado County master gardeners offer free online class

Various seed packets
Time to break out the summer seeds and plan the
2021 summer garden. The UCCE master gardeners
have a class for that. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

It’s only January, but it’s already time to start planning for summer planting. It’s not too late to plant for spring, too.

Not sure where to start? Take a free online class from the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of El Dorado County. Thanks to the internet, you can take the course wherever you are (as long as you have wifi).

Set for 9 a.m. Jan. 30, “Spring and Summer Vegetables” will cover the basics of warm-season gardening with special attention to the needs of Foothill gardeners.

“Master Gardener Zack Dowell will discuss garden plant selection, planting times, site selection, soil preparation, proper seed planting techniques, and pest management,” according to the course description.

Registration is now open for the 90-minute class. Sign up now to make sure you get your slot.

While in-person workshops are still restricted due to COVID concerns, El Dorado County master gardeners will host a full schedule of online gardening classes. Other upcoming courses include: rose pruning (Feb. 10), fruit tree grafting (Feb. 13), fire-wise landscaping (Feb. 27) and vegetable gardening for small backyards (March 10).

These free courses are open to everyone, regardless of which county they reside.

Details and registration: Links are sent out with the registration confirmation email.

- Debbie Arrington


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For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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