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Winter garden prep session offers perks

A winter garden prep class will be taught by Taylor Lewis, nursery manager at the UC Davis Arboretum. (Photo courtesy UC Davis Arboretum)

Learn and shop at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery

Taylor Lewis knows how to make things grow. As nursery manager of the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery, he grows tens of thousands of healthy plants for use both in the arboretum's gardens as well as for sale to the public.

Besides the nursery, Lewis is an avid organic gardener, adept at growing all sorts of vegetables.
What's the secret to garden success? Like anything, it's preparation.

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, Lewis will lead a special class, "Garden Prep for Winter." Held at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery, the 10 a.m. session starts with 90 minutes of tips and expert advice from Lewis on how to put some parts of the garden to sleep for winter cold while adding winter flair to other areas.

Late October and November are excellent for transplanting many things in our area. There's also still time to put in a winter vegetable garden.

After discussion and Lewis' suggestions, class attendees enjoy a private sale at the nursery, which specializes in low-water flowering plants that grow terrifically in the Sacramento area. With no crowd, it's a great opportunity to shop for perennials, shrubs, trees, ground covers and California natives including many Arboretum All-Stars.

There's still a lot to choose from; Lewis grew about 670 varieties this season.

The class is $18 ($12 for Friends of the Arboretum); $28 ($22 for Friends) including reserved parking in front of the nursery, located on Garrod Drive on the UC Davis campus. Reserved parking must be purchased at least three days in advance.


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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