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Sign up for worm composting workshop (complete with worms)

Master gardeners present special workshop

These wigglers are hard at work, making rich castings from kitchen and garden waste.

These wigglers are hard at work, making rich castings from kitchen and garden waste. Kathy Morrison

It's time to get wiggly! Become a worm wrangler and make garden gold.

Learn about worm composting during a special workshop Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. Advance registration is required and space is limited. The deadline to register is Oct. 14.

Presented by thr UCCE Sacramento County master gardeners, this fun workshop will show how to harness worm power to make rich, high-qaulity compost. According to the master gardeners, this neat, easy and odorless method of composting is ideal for indoor and outdoor locations."

Ideal for beginners, this class covers bin construction, bedding and food needs for worms, and how to "harvest" their castings.

Registration is $30, which includes all instructional materials, a worm bin and worms -- everything you need to get started.

The two-hour course starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and will be held outdoors, rain or shine, at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. No drop-ins are allowed and no refunds will be offered.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, just south of the Fair Oaks Library. For more information on UCCE master gardener activities, go to

P.S. SDG's Kathy Morrison offers this tip: Get a preview of what worm composting (and other composting) is all about by visiting the Composting Area during Open Garden Day on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m. to noon at the Horticulture Center.

-- Debbie Arrington


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Garden Checklist for week of June 16

Summer officially starts Thursday. The good news: No triple-digits – at least until next weekend.

* Warm weather brings rapid growth in the vegetable garden, with tomatoes and squash enjoying the heat. Deep-water, then feed with a balanced fertilizer. Bone meal or rock phosphate can spur the bloom cycle and help set fruit.

* 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.

* 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.

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

* 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, melons, radishes, 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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