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Learn fruit tree pruning at urban mini-orchards

Alchemist CDC offers two free workshops in Sacramento

The skills and tools of fruit tree pruning are just part of two workshops offered this month by Alchemist Community Development Corporation.

The skills and tools of fruit tree pruning are just part of two workshops offered this month by Alchemist Community Development Corporation. Photo courtesy Alchemist CDC

Learn a gardening skill – pruning fruit trees – while helping your community.

The Alchemist CDC is offering two free workshops, focusing on winter care for deciduous fruit trees. Participation is free for these hands-on events, but advance registration is necessary.

On Feb. 12, the workshop will be held aOak Park Art Garden, 3834 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Sacramento. (Register here: On Feb. 19, the pruners in training will tackle Mirasol Village Community Garden, 701 Pipevine St., Sacramento (just south of Richards Boulevard). (Sign up here:

Both pruning workshops will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More details are available (search for "fruit tree pruning") via

“Learn the essential skills of winter fruit tree pruning at one of Sacramento’s community orchards,” say the organizers. “We’ll explore the craft of pruning, the tools that make it possible, and demonstrate the practice on fruit trees in the community orchard. We’ll also explore how urban agroforestry can play a significant role in enhancing the resilience of our urban ecosystems and communities to a changing climate.”

What is urban agroforestry? Growing (and managing) fruit trees in the city for residents to enjoy.

Dominic Allamano, an urban agroforester and experiential educator, will be the instructor for both workshops. According to his website bio, Allamano is working “at the intersection of urban food system repair, climate change adaptation and the long term re-connection of communities and the land they inhabit together.”

He worked for five years as the Edible City Coordinator at Soil Born Farms, developing an urban food forestry initiative that included the regional Harvest Sacramento fruit gleaning program, as well as garden building and fruit tree planting programs serving residents of South Sacramento, says his bio.

Focusing on food and nature, Alchemist Community Development Corporation is a fast-rising force for good in Sacramento-area neighborhoods – “connecting communities with land, food and opportunity.”

"Alchemist CDC is a mission-driven organization that connects Sacramento area communities to land, food, and opportunity toward a vision in which all neighborhoods are vibrant, equitable, healthy, and diverse,” according to the organization. “We are best known for enhancing the quality of life in under-resourced communities by improving access to nutritious foods, implementing community-supported public green spaces, and fostering economic self-sufficiency through business entrepreneurship.”



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Garden Checklist for week of June 2

It's going to be hot this week, so take care of chores in the morning. That includes irrigation.

* 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.

* 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 wee 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.

* 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, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes. There’s still time to plant melons, pumpkins and squash from seed.

* 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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