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Last-minute gift idea: A year of expert advice

Get master gardener calendars to sharpen your skills

As one garden year ends, another begins. That means it’s time to pick up one of the most useful tools for garden success: A local master gardener calendar.

We’re lucky to have such a knowledgeable resource available, with local experience and research-backed recommendations. And they put that information right at our fingertips – or on our walls.

Considering this is also Christmas week, these 2019 calendars make great holiday gifts for both veteran and beginning gardeners.

Local master gardener calendars are available for Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties; the latter three are part of Placer’s foothills edition.

The 2019 Sacramento County version has tips that are good anywhere in California.

“Saving the Harvest” is a collaboration of UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and Master Food Preservers. It’s a 2019 calendar, gardening guide and preserving guide, bargain priced at $10. Learn how to dry persimmons, make jam, put up tomatoes and other skills, backed by University of California research.

“New this year, we teamed up with the UCCE Master Food Preservers of Sacramento County to bring you science-based tips and recipes for preserving your harvest,” said the master gardeners in their online introduction.

Plus there are plenty of gardening tips for small spaces, attracting pollinators, dealing with hot summer weather and more. Reminders cue garden chores as well as offer planting information.

It’s available online: . Several nurseries also offer the Sacramento County master gardener calendar/guide including: Emigh Ace Hardware, The Plant Foundry, Talini’s Nursery, Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery (all Sacramento), POW Nursery in Wilton, The Secret Garden in Elk Grove and Green Acres Nursery and Garden Supply locations in Sacramento, Elk Grove and Folsom. (Prices may vary.)

Created by the Placer County master gardeners, “A Garden Sampler: 13 months of Inspiration” features advise tailored to Sierra foothill gardeners who face different growing conditions than their valley counterparts, such as more frost and wildlife. It’s another bargain at $10.

“It fits for both the experienced gardener and the wanna-be gardener,” said Placer County master gardener Kelly Warman. “It is a gardening guide that is put on a calendar, so you know what to do when for all your gardening/landscaping activities. It also has informative monthly articles on different types of gardens, monthly what to plan, monthly what is available at the farmers market.”

And who to call: Master Gardener Hotline numbers for Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties.

The Placer County edition is available at several foothill nurseries, hardware stores and gift shops in Placer, Nevada and El Dorado counties. That includes Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply in Grass Valley, Eisley Nursery in Auburn, High Hand Nursery in Loomis and Green Acres in Rocklin and Roseville. It’s also available online at . (You’ll find the full vendor list via that link, too; prices may vary.)

Or drop by the Placer County master gardener office at the DeWitt Center, 11477 E Ave., Building 306, Auburn. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; phone 530-889-7385.

The foothills-friendly calendar also is
available at the El Dorado County master gardener office, 311 Fair Lane, Placerville; phone 530-621-5512


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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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