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Learn to make herb-infused syrups, honeys

Soil Born Farms hosts special workshop Saturday focusing on preserving flavors of homegrown herbs

Lavender can be used to flavor a wide range of food and drink via infused syrup or honey.

Lavender can be used to flavor a wide range of food and drink via infused syrup or honey. Debbie Arrington

Got herbs? Then, this class is for you.

On Saturday morning, May 6, Soil Born Farms will host a special workshop, “Making Herbal Simple Syrups and Infused Honeys from the Garden.”

Kellan MacKay, owner of Khela Herbs, will show how to use your homegrown herbs to flavor food and drink year round. The in-person workshop will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Soil Born’s American River Ranch in Rancho Cordova.

“If you have perennial herbs in your garden, chances are they are coming into their first bloom in May or June; thyme, oregano, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lavender, and rose geranium are just a few possibilities,” say the organizers. “But what do you do with it all when you cut it back?

“One option is to make a simple syrup flavored with them or to infuse honey and stockpile it for winter wellness and gift-giving. Understanding the basic techniques around making shelf-stable syrups and infused honey creates a myriad of possibilities for instant tea, kicked-up mocktails, and more.”

Spaces are still available for this workshop ($30). Advance registration is required: https://soilborn.org/events/herbal-syrups-honey-050623/.

Soil Born’s American River Ranch is located at 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova. Before or after class, check out this working farm and its demonstration gardens.

More details and directions: https://soilborn.org/.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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