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Get inspired to create your own permaculture

Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening
This is a view of Jan Spencer's own backyard with a corner of the sun room
to the left. The g reen house and outdoor work area in the distance.
(Photo courtesy

Learn how your home and garden can be 'greener'

Can you turn your suburban house and backyard into an efficient green mini-farm, feeding your family while helping the environment?

Learn how from expert Jan Spencer. He'll speak on "Suburban Permaculture," a special presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Ooley Theatre, 2007 28th St., Sacramento.

Presented by Green Restaurants Alliance Sacramento, this inspirational evening will tackle how communities can create green and resilient homes and neighborhoods to help save the environment one house at a time.

Jan Spencer will speak Thursday at
the Ooley Theater in Sacramento.
Spencer, who lives in Eugene, Ore., is a suburban permaculture expert. In the past 16 years, he's transformed his house on a 1/4-acre lot into a passive workforce, growing food, producing solar energy, gathering rainwater and reducing waste. Learn how Spencer did this and get ideas that can be used in your home and garden.

GRA Sacramento is dedicated to growing a sustainable food community in the Farm-to-Fork Capital. Its programs include turning restaurant waste into compost for local organic gardens and recycling wine corks.

Tickets for "Suburban Permaculture" are $10 suggested donation.

Details and tickets: .


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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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