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Is becoming a master gardener in your future?


UCCE master gardeners answer gardening questions at many events through the year, including Harvest Day, above.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Apply now through Oct. 18 for Sacramento County's next class

If you have ever wanted to join the ranks of the UCCE master gardeners, now's your chance. Applications are being accepted starting today for the Sacramento County master gardeners class of 2020. The deadline for applying is Oct. 18.

According to the UCCE press release announcing the new year of classes, master gardener trainees study a wide range of home horticulture topics, with online and in-class coursework and training on how to properly research and respond to questions from the public. " The mission of master gardeners is to share research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management and sustainable landscaping practices with the Sacramento community."

Applicants for this class must be residents of Sacramento County. Placer, El Dorado, Yolo, El Dorado, Amador and other counties conduct their own training, and residents of those counties should contact their local groups for information.

The Sacramento training classes will be held each Wednesday from Jan. 15 through May 13, 2020. New master gardeners also must complete 50 hours of volunteer work during their first 12 months. Twenty-five hours a year are required after that.

All classes are taught by UC specialists, horticulture advisers and community experts. Topics include:
basics of soil, irrigation and fertilization; water conservation; identification and control methods for insects, diseases and weeds; proper care of vegetables, fruit and landscape trees; and turfgrass.

Volunteering can take many forms, from conducting workshops, to answering the public's questions on the phone or at the State Fair, to making community presentations. The Sacramento master gardeners also plan, garden and conduct growing experiments at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Fair Oaks.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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