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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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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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