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Winter is coming! Wait, what?

Hoping to grow fall and winter crops like these? There are several opportunities coming up to learn about cool-weather planting. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Get advice on planting cool-weather and cover crops

As much as we don't like to think of dark, wet winter in the middle of summer, it is the best time to plant crops for the colder months.

A free workshop this Saturday by the Placer County master gardeners will have all the information on planting a winter garden before winter. Learn which crops grow best (think greens, peas and the like) and also how to protect your soil from winter damage with cover crops.

The workshop begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Loomis Library, 6050 Library Drive,  Loomis.  It will last about 1 hour.

The master gardeners also will offer a "Growing Winter Vegetables" workshop from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center, 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville. This workshop requires a small fee and pre-registration: (916) 746-1550.

The El Dorado master gardeners will offer their own workshop on fall and winter vegetables on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Government Center hearing Room, Building C, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville.

But El Dorado gardeners really on the ball can visit the master gardeners' Sherwood Demonstration Garden this Saturday, Aug., 3, for a free guided tour starting at 9 a.m. Or visit on Aug. 10 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., during Second Saturday Open Garden, to hear all about planting cole crops, those winter favorites including kale, broccoli, bok choy and cabbage.

The Sherwood Demonstration Garden is at Folsom Lake College's El Dorado Center, 6699 Campus Drive. $2 parking fee; exact change required. For information, go to .

-- Kathy Morrison


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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