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Pick up a 'Garden Sampler' for best Sierra foothill advice

Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening

Gardening is different in the Sierra foothills. With higher elevations come subtle changes in weather compared to the Valley; in particular, more rain and colder winter nights. Surrounded by nature and open space, there’s a greater threat of wildfire. Deer and other wildlife are more likely to visit backyards.

All those factors and more shape the foothill approach to gardening.

If you’re a foothill gardener in need of great, totally local advice, pick up a copy of “Garden Sampler,” the 2019 Calendar and Garden Guide created by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Placer County. This excellent gardening tool is now available for $10 at several locations in Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties as well as at special events this fall.

Or get one directly from the master gardeners at the Placer County office, Building 306 in the DeWitt Center, 11477 E Ave., Auburn (530-889-7385), or at the El Dorado County master gardeners office, 311 Fair Lane, Placerville (530-621-5512).

This 13-month calendar is packed with garden inspiration, focusing on different styles of foothill gardening, according to the master gardeners. “Additionally, there are seasonal tips on how to care for your garden sustainability, as well as timely planting suggestions. Not into growing your own fruits or vegetables? The ‘In Season at the Market’ section is just for you.”

Look for “Garden Sampler” in local nurseries and garden shops as well as the Fall Auburn Home Show, Sept. 28-30, at Auburn’s Gold Country Fairgrounds. More details:


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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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