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Learn how to start vegetables, flowers from seed

El Dorado County master gardeners offer free workshop

Tiny seeds quickly become tiny plants -- which become vegetables (in this case tomatoes) before you know it! Learn the best practices for seed-starting in Saturday's class.

Tiny seeds quickly become tiny plants -- which become vegetables (in this case tomatoes) before you know it! Learn the best practices for seed-starting in Saturday's class. Kathy Morrison

Growing vegetables and flowers from seed is the most economical way to produce food and blooms as well as add new plant varieties to your garden. But how do you get started?

Learn tips from experts during “Starting Plants from Seed,” a free workshop offered by the UCCE master gardeners of El Dorado County.

Set for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 30, this three-hour class was originally scheduled for earlier in March but had to be postponed.

The class will cover the basics of seed starting while focusing on spring and summer favorites. Participants also get to keep their “homework” – some newly planted seeds.

Master gardeners Debi Valerga, Donna Hauser and Monte Kruger will lead the workshop, to be held at Cameron Park Community Center, Classroom B. The class is free, but space is limited; participants are urged to register in advance. Find the link here: https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=41927.

This class will include “a presentation on the selection and germination of seeds, starting media, containers, growing out, hardening off and transplanting seedlings,” say the master gardeners. “Following the presentation, participants will have an opportunity to plant seeds to take home. Seeds and containers are provided; bring clean gloves to participate.”

Cameron Park Community Center is located at 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park.

Details and directions: https://mgeldorado.ucanr.edu/.

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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* 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 is really hungry. Feed 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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