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Learn to make your own compost at free class

El Dorado County master gardeners offer hands-on workshop

Here's the end result of composting:
"garden gold" to enrich the soil. (Photo
courtesy UCCE)

Time to make some garden gold!

Learn how to compost during a free class Saturday, Aug. 20, offered by the UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County.

From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Sherwood Demonstration Garden in Placerville, this hands-on workshop will tackle all the basics: What to put into the compost, which methods to use and how to speed up the process.

Why compost?

“Compost provides valuable nutrients for your garden soil,” say the master gardeners. “Compost helps retain moisture which saves water, suppresses weeds, prevents soil erosion, and loosens compacted soils for better drainage and water retention.”

Under new California law, consumers are encouraged to separate food waste from other trash. Food waste rotting in landfills is a major cause of methane, a major greenhouse gas. Communities will be required to turn collected food waste into compost or burn it as biofuel.

Why not cut out the middleman and make your own compost at home?

“It is rewarding to know you are turning waste into a nutrient-rich organic material for your garden,” add the master gardeners.

Sherwood Demonstration Garden is located at 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville, on the El Dorado Center campus of Folsom Lake College.

This workshop comes with a bonus: Sherwood Garden is also open for tours Saturday morning.

“Our demonstration garden will be open for viewing and tours as well as volunteer Master Gardeners on site to answer your home gardening questions,” say the hosts.

For details and directions: https://mgeldorado.ucanr.edu/ .

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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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