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Virtual plant sale aids American River College horticulture program

It's the next best thing to being there: a virtual plant sale is on for ARC. (Photo:
Kathy Morrison)
Buy some real seedlings or give a donation to the program

Like so many highly anticipated spring garden events, the American River College plant sale was canceled in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The spring sale, as well as one in the fall, supports the active Horticulture Department program.

But plant starts don't wait for anything, and the students have vegetables,  herbs and flowers available that would have been snapped up at the sale this month.

So the next best thing: A virtual, no-contact plant sale, with real plants. The catch is buyers have to go pick them up curbside in West Sacramento. Local curbside delivery is available, but only for qualifying orders. The
sale link is here .

Supplies are limited, so don't tarry. Most of the succulents already are gone, but there looked to be a decent selection of tomatoes, peppers, greens and eggplant, along with some tomatillos and onions. Flowers include strawflower, cosmos and bachelor buttons. A full range of herbs also is for sale. Prices start at $2 -- best deal in town. (No perennials are included in the sale.)

If you're not in the market for veggies or flower starts, consider a donation to the ARC Horticulture program; that is also offered on the Virtual Plant Sale site. A $1 donation earns the title of Blue Eyed Grass Donor, while a $100 donation dubs you a Blue Oak Donor; there are other levels in between.

This is a great program, well worth supporting. After all, we all want the next generation to include professional plant propagators.

-- Kathy Morrison


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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