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Annual gardening calendar like an expert at your elbow

Consider this calendar an essential garden tool.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)
UCCE Master Gardeners, Master Food Preservers team up for 2019 publication

The 2019 growing season isn’t that far away. Before it arrives, you’ll want to have in hand the best calendar for Sacramento-area gardeners.

The UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County annually produce a calendar stuffed with growing tips for each month. At $10, it’s a bargain, and even more so this year because the Master Gardeners have teamed with the Master Food Preservers to include methods and ideas for preserving your harvest.

The pages for January, for example, talk about choosing and growing citrus, plus harvest tips, and then ideas for saving those gorgeous oranges, Meyer lemons, grapefruit and more as juice, marmalade or candied peel. Recipes are in the back of the calendar for when you feel inspired.

The calendar also features a complete Seasonal Guide to Vegetable Planting for our region. (One tidbit gleaned from that: Hold off on planting the cilantro seedlings until October.) Plus there is information on container and straw-bale gardening, as well as the art of espaliering fruit trees.

Other items cover pollinators and plants that attract them, how to recognize pesky harlequin bugs, and an explanation of mosaic virus.

Every item is referenced to a UCANR publication that can provide more information. It’s like having a Master Gardener or Master Food Preserver always at the ready.

The calendars can be purchased now online at , as well as at any Master Gardener or Master Food Preserver event. Later in the fall, some retail outlets also will carry it, usually the better nurseries and hardware stores. Proceeds benefit all the MG and MFP events, workshops and classes, which are invaluable local resources.

-- Kathy Morrison


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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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