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Become a brighter bulb with this class

Grape hyacinths are layered under tulips in
Debbie Arrington's garden. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)
Master gardeners' seminar will help you 'Fall into Spring'

What's your bulb IQ? Do you know your daffodils from hyacinths? Dutch iris from Siberian squill?

More important, do you know how to make the most of bulbs in your spring garden? Or how to force them indoors?

Learn all that and more at "Fall into Spring: Fall Planting for Spring Color," a special seminar hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Sacramento County.

Sign up early for this bulb class; pre-registration is required and space is limited.

Bulbs are enjoying a new wave of popularity in California gardens. Most spring-blooming bulbs are drought tolerant and easy care. They're also deer- and rodent-resistant. A small investment can pay off with colorful dividends for years to come.

Guest speaker for this information-packed session will be Bill the Bulb Baron, aka Northern California bulb grower and hybridizer William Welch. He'll share his tips for success in Sacramento's climate and soils.

Other presentations include how to layer bulbs for dramatic impact (and more weeks of flowers) as well as how to force bulbs in containers for winter blooms.

In addition, bulbs and forcing kits will be offered for sale at the seminar.

Questions? For more information: UC Cooperative Extension, (916) 875-6913 or .


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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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