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CNPS chapter kicks off spring plant sale season

Online sale of California natives begins Saturday

Common yarrow is a reliably hardy green perennial in winter,  but will show off with white flowering stalks as the weather warms up

Common yarrow is a reliably hardy green perennial in winter, but will show off with white flowering stalks as the weather warms up Kathy Morrison

March brings a rush of spring plant sales. Kicking off the season is the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society with a four-day online sale this Saturday through midday Wednesday, March 4-8. 

SacValley CNPS has a propagation nursery and demonstration gardens on property at Soil Born Farms, 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova, though it is a separate entity from Soil Born. Formerly called Elderberry Farms, the nursery’s name now is SacValley CNPS Nursery and Gardens, in order to focus better on the chapter’s activities.

If you want a garden filled with natives – and why wouldn’t you? – this is one of the best sales in the Sacramento area at which to find them. The 61 plants on the inventory list range from Achillea millefolium (yarrow) to Vitus californica (California wild grape), and many other great plants in between. Check out the inventory here. Shopping tip: Create a wishlist ahead of time, then when the sale starts, just indicate the size of plant desired. Attributes of each plant are in this detailed list. Most will be in 1-gallon pots ($13), with some in 4-inch pots ($6). 

The sale also will feature about 20 books and pocket manuals on native plants and/or wildlife, including a few children’s books. Prices are half what you’d expect. (Example: “Gardening for Butterflies” from The Xerces Society, just $10.)

Shoppers also can make a donation to CNPS on the site.

The sale goes live at 8 a.m. Saturday and closes at noon Wednesday. Pickup is at Soil Born Farms, When purchasing plants, choose a pickup date within the windows of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 12 or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 15. Anyone who can’t make either date will be advised to message nursery and plant sale chair Chris Lewis (email on the website).

Sac Valley also is planning a small in-person plant sale 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 15 during a Soil Born Farms marketplace day. Some guest vendors, including Find Out Farms, will be at the sale as well. More details are coming, the chapter notes. But the online sale is likely the best bet to get their popular plants.

For general information on the Sacramento Valley CNPS chapter,  including how to volunteer, visit  https://www.sacvalleycnps.org/

– Kathy Morrison

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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