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Turn autumn leaves into garden gold

Gorgeous gold leaves can have a second life as garden gold, also known as compost. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Master gardeners offer free composting classes

Got leaves? Make garden gold.

Think of all that fallen foliage as an autumn harvest of compost ingredients.

Brown leaves alone aren't enough to cook up nutrient-rich compost, but part of the overall mix. When started in November, compost will be ready for spring planting.

Want to learn how to turn your yard and kitchen waste into natural fertilizer? Take a composting class from local master gardeners.

* For gardeners in Yolo County, the UCCE Yolo County master gardeners will present a free composting workshop at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Esparto Regional Library, 17065 Yolo Ave., Esparto. Details: http:

* Interested in worm composting? At 10 a.m. Saturdyam Nov. 17, the UCCE Yolo County master gardeners and EnviroWoodland present a free two-hour composting workshop that tackles both backyard and worm composting. It will be at the Woodland Community College garden, Building 400, 2300 E. Gibson Road, Woodland. Free worms will be available. Woodland residents who sign up in advance can take home a free worm bin, too. Details:

For more garden events and workshops checkout Sac Digs Gardening's expanded Garden Calendar . Got an event? Send it to us at .


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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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