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Plant your best cool-season vegetable garden

Master gardeners offer two free workshops on fall and winter vegetables

It's August, which means it's time to start seeds for many cool-season vegetables. Master gardener workshops on Aug. 12 and 19 will offer tips for success.

It's August, which means it's time to start seeds for many cool-season vegetables. Master gardener workshops on Aug. 12 and 19 will offer tips for success. Kathy Morrison

When our weather is at its hottest, it’s time to focus on cool – as in fall and winter vegetables.

Make the most of our year-round growing season with the help of the UC Cooperative Extension master gardeners with two free workshops – one in person and one via Zoom. (You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your air-conditioned home.)

At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, the master gardeners of Placer County will host “Fall is the New Spring,” a one-hour in-person workshop at Loomis Library, 6050 Library Drive, Loomis.

“Plant cool-season veggies in July or August? REALLY???” posted the master gardeners in their course description. “Come and learn the importance of planting cool-season crops earlier than you ever thought – and why. Meet Persephone and hear her tale of woe.”

No pre-registration is required. Just show up with questions and a notepad.

Details and directions: https://pcmg.ucanr.edu/.

For a more in-depth look (and no driving), the master gardeners of El Dorado County present a three-hour online workshop on the following Saturday via Zoom. At 9 a.m. Aug. 19, the master gardeners will host “Fall and Winter Vegetables,” with plenty of tips for success.

“Would you like to continue to harvest luscious, home-grown vegetables even after the heat of summer subsides?” say the master gardeners. “If so, now is the time to plant for a fall and winter harvest. Learn how to grow a successful winter vegetable garden from UC Master Gardener Zack Dowell.”

Pre-registration is required for this workshop. Sign up in advance to receive the Zoom link. Look for the workshop under “Master Gardener Calendar.”

Details: https://mgeldorado.ucanr.edu/.

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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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