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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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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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