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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 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

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

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

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

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

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

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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