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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 Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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