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What a bargain: Master gardeners' 2021 Gardening Guide and Calendar

Still just $10, the publication this year focuses on trees

Tree branches and leaves on calendar cover
Is there anything that says Sacramento more
than a big, leafy, shady tree? (Calendar images
courtesy Jan Geier Fetler and Laura
Cerles-Rogers, UCCE master gardeners)

The final freeze of winter. The date I last fertilized the orange tree. The week it was so windy. The celebration of the first ripe tomato.

I always think I'll remember the dates, but of course I don't. What I do remember, now, is to write those gardening and weather events on the pages of my invaluable Gardening Guide and Calendar.

The UCCE Sacramento County master gardeners print this gem of a publication every year as a fundraiser, just in time for sales to start at Harvest Day. That event was online this year , of course, and so are the sales of the Gardening Guide. It can be ordered here, using a credit card, or shoppers can print out and mail in the order form with a check.  All calendars will be mailed; a free package of poppy seeds is included with each order, while they last.

The 2021 theme is Trees, and the large vertical-format calendar features a beautiful photo of an appropriate tree each month. For example, January's is the 'Yosemite Gold' semi-dwarf mandarin, laden with ripe fruit, and March's tree (see image below) is the Western redbud, a California native with very low water requirements.

Each month also is filled with gardening tips and reminders for that time of year. Planting charts and other useful information pack the back of the calendar. It's like have a master gardener right there at your desk. There's also plenty of room for scribbling notes, thank goodness.

Buy a couple of Gardening Guides now and give them as gifts; I can't think of any Sacramento-area gardener who wouldn't love to have one.
This is the March tree and tips page from the Gardening Guide


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

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

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

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

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

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

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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