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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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