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Too dark to garden late: Time to sit down with YouTube and the master gardeners

Sacramento video program an award winner

Tips on worm composting -- including the right type of worms -- are in one of the Sacramento County master gardeners' YouTube videos.

Tips on worm composting -- including the right type of worms -- are in one of the Sacramento County master gardeners' YouTube videos.

Screen grab from "Making a Worm Bin"

Darkness has descended on the garden. Even on a clear day now, 4:30 p.m. is dark enough to remind gardeners to put away their tools soon and head indoors.

But the short gardening days of November and December still can be put to use: A wealth of gardening videos awaits. And preferably local ones, filmed for the Sacramento-area climate and gardening culture.

The UCCE master gardeners of Sacramento County have an active YouTube channel, with short, to-the-point videos. And the video program now is an award winner, receiving third place in this year's statewide Search for Excellence competition at the UCCE Master Gardeners Conference last month. The video submitted for the competition will debut at noon Nov. 16 on YouTube. Watch a presentation that day here on Facebook live.

In the meantime, here are suggestions for viewing this time of year:

-- Making a Worm Bin with master gardener Patty Peterson. Start a bin now and you could have rich worm castings to use in the garden next spring. A companion video shows how to harvest the castings.

-- Sharpening Hand Pruners, with master gardener Bill Black. Gardeners use their pruners all year, and it's easy for them to grow dull. This is a clear, concise instructional video that you'll come back to annually.

-- Gardening Year 'Round with Farmer Fred Hoffman. This 18-minute video was Fred's keynote talk for the 2021 all-online Harvest Day celebration. Though filmed for August viewing,  it includes pertinent information for November and December on planting radishes, carrots and kale. He also discusses raised beds and cold frames for protecting cool-season vegetables, and advocates cover crops for gardens that are not being planted in winter. "At least feed your soil," indeed.

The statewide Master Gardener Program also has plenty of videos, available here. Happy viewing!


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For week of Nov. 26:

Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!

* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.

* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.

* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.

* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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