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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:
https://bit.ly/3gHKDtf

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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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