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Find great veggie starts, unusual plants at two under-the-radar plant sales

Elk Grove Garden Club, Burbank High events Saturday

Pilea 'Chocolate Soldier' plants will be among the houseplants (and many others) available Saturday at the Elk Grove Garden Club's sale. These pileas sport pink and chartreuse flowers when they start blooming.

Pilea 'Chocolate Soldier' plants will be among the houseplants (and many others) available Saturday at the Elk Grove Garden Club's sale. These pileas sport pink and chartreuse flowers when they start blooming. Kathy Morrison

The Sacramento region's plant sale season hits its peak in April. Two fundraising sales coming this Saturday, April 6, fall under the category of "If you know, you know." And plant bargains are guaranteed.

Starting at 8 a.m., the Elk Grove Garden Club's spring plant sale will have an inventory that benefits from the propagation expertise of many of its members. Think succulents, houseplants, vegetables, perennials, annuals and, they promise, "unusual plants." Garden crafts also will be sold.

Looking for your summer tomatoes? Varieties at this sale will include Berkeley Tie Dye, Carbon, Medium Rare, Ace 55 VF, San Marzano, Rutgers, and two popular cherry tomatoes, Super Sweet 100 and Sun Gold.

The sale takes place at a member's home, 8609 Brodie Ct., Elk Grove, east of Highway 99, a few blocks north of Elk Grove Boulevard. The sale runs until 1 p.m. Cash or check only accepted.

Meanwhile, up the road in Sacramento, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Burbank Urban Garden (BUG) will hold its spring plant sale. The plants all are raised by students in the Luther Burbank High School Urban Agriculture Academy.

The inventory will include veggie starts such as tomatoes, onions, peas, peppers, cucumber, melons, pumpkins and squash, plus herbs, and flowers including zinnias, cosmos and marigolds. The full inventory is available on the garden's Facebook page,  https://www.facebook.com/BurbankUrbanGarden

Burbank High is located at 3500 Florin Road, west of Highway 99 in Sacramento. The BUG is in the back of the school property, off Luther Drive.

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Garden Checklist for week of June 23

Get to work in the mornings while it’s still cool.

* Irrigate early in the day; your plants will appreciate it.

* Generally, tomatoes need deep watering two to three times a week, but don't let them dry out completely. That can encourage blossom-end rot.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the early hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Avoid pot “hot feet.” Place a 1-inch-thick board under container plants sitting on pavement. This little cushion helps insulate them from radiated heat.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Mulch to conserve moisture and reduce heat stress.

* Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to encourage a second bloom in the fall.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes. 

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

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