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Know your alliums? Check out this free combo class Saturday

Learn about planting garlic -- and preserving it, too

Garlic planting time is coming up quickly. Garlic is an important member of the allium family, which also includes onions, shallots, leeks and chives.

Garlic planting time is coming up quickly. Garlic is an important member of the allium family, which also includes onions, shallots, leeks and chives. Kathy Morrison

Growing your own food and then cooking it can be thrill for a beginning gardener. But even folks experienced in edible gardening are likely to learn something fun in an upcoming combo class on alliums -- garlic, onions, shallots and other plant relatives.

"Garlic, Shallots and More" will be offered 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, Sept. 16, by the UCCE El Dorado County master gardeners and master food preservers. 

Here's how they explain it: "The master gardeners will discuss how to successfully select, grow, and harvest onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, scallions and chives. Information covered will include soil preparation, fertilizer requirements, pest management and water needs.

"The master food preservers will discuss safe preserving methods for your harvest. Additionally, you will go home with fantastic recipes, tips and tricks for your alliums."

The class will be held at the Sherwood Demonstration Garden, 6699 Campus Drive in Placerville. It is free, but the organizers ask that interested folks register ahead here.

The El Dorado master gardeners have two other classes on Saturdays this month: Greenhouse Gardening on Sept. 23 and Shade Gardening on Sept. 30. Each is 3 hours long, 9 a.m. to noon. For more information on these and other events, go to the calendar on their website,


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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