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Learn how to put clippings and leaves to work in the garden

Composting seminar participants will have the change to purchase a GeoBin
at a discounted price. (Photo courtesy GeoBin)

Composting classes Saturday for Sacramento city residents

City of Sacramento residents, don't feed The Claw so much of your yard waste: Put the leaves and twigs and spent plants to work in your garden by turning it into rich homemade compost. It's called "garden gold" for a good reason. Even better: Kitchen waste, such as coffee grounds and onion skins, can go in there, too.

The city is offering its free "Backyard Composting Seminar" this Saturday, March 7. Two sessions are planned: 8-9 a.m. and 9-10 a.m., at Sojourner Truth Community Garden, 7365 Gloria Drive, Sacramento.

The composting workshops are presented by the City of Sacramento Recycling & Solid Waste, along with the Community Garden Program,
Worm Fancy and ReSoil Sacramento .

Pre-registration is not required but RSVPs help organizers plan for size of the group. Click "Going" at the "Backyard Composting Seminar" listing at . Participants will have the opportunity to purchase a GeoBin for the discounted price of $15 (one per household) after attending the seminar; must be city residents. These easy-to-use bins are favorites of UCCE master gardeners.

Free coffee will be available from Starbucks.

Additional city composting seminars will be offered this spring on April 4, May 6, 9 and 20. See the full list of places and times here .

-- Kathy Morrison


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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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