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Sacramento community gardens still open

Gardens see continued demand for space, but COVID restrictions, too

Artichoke plant
This artichoke plant is a star at the Fremont Community Garden on Q Street in midtown. It is one of 17 community gardens operated by the City of Sacramento. (Photo by Debbie Arrington)

With renewed interest in food gardening, plots in Sacramento-area community gardens continue to be in high demand.

But if you’re looking for a plot, you’ll need to wait until next year.

Due to pandemic-related restrictions in Sacramento County, the City of Sacramento put a hold on assigning new plots to gardeners until “stay-at-home” orders are lifted. The greater Sacramento region will be under new shelter-in-place rules, effective at 11:59 p.m. Thursday night.

Fortunately, Sacramento’s 17 city-run community gardens will still be open to member gardeners. They must wear masks while tending their plots and should bring disinfectant wipes to clean any shared tools.

“We’re seeing continued demand (for plots),” said Bill Maynard, Sacramento’s community garden coordinator. “Lots of retired folks in particular want plots.”

Sacramento continues to expand its community garden network. “We just opened one in Northwest Natomas at Blackbird Park,” Maynard said. “We sold out of all 54 plots in two weeks. We have 36 people on the waiting list.

“Another garden is coming near the (Interstate) 5 and (Highway) 99 split,” Maynard added. “We’re shooting for 24 (gardens) by 2024.”

With such high demand, Sacramento has gotten creative with garden placement. For example, the Sojourner Truth Garden – located adjacent to the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library and Sacramento’s School of Engineering and Sciences – was planted entirely on top of the parking lot.

“We built the garden beds on asphalt,” Maynard explained. “The beds have two feet of soil. We have room for 36 gardeners.”

Due to its location, the Sojourner Truth garden is also popular with the high school’s teachers. Four plots are dedicated to school and class use.

For a full list of Sacramento’s city-run community gardens:


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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