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Start saving dates for 2024 garden events

The gardening year gets off to a fast start

The first Open Garden of 2024 at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will be Jan. 20. Visitors in January 2022, above, check out the vegetable garden.

The first Open Garden of 2024 at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will be Jan. 20. Visitors in January 2022, above, check out the vegetable garden. Kathy Morrison

Welcome to winter, officially! Today, Dec. 21, is the winter solstice, the day with the least amount of daylight. Which means -- hurray! -- that we'll have gradually longer days from here until June 21.

And that, my friends, is prime gardening time.

So get out your  2024 Gardening Guide & Calendar -- Sacramento or Placer editions, still available if you need one -- and start marking down these key dates. The Sacramento Digs Gardening Calendar, visible on our home page and in our newsletter, will try to keep up with additional event dates as we learn them, plus times and other pertinent details. Follow the links below for more details.

Sacrameto County master gardeners:

-- Open Garden Days, Fair Oaks Horticulture Center: Jan. 20, Feb. 10, March 16, April 17, May 11, June 6, June 15, Sept. 14, Oct. 16.

-- Harvest Day at FOHC, Aug. 3.

-- Worm Composting class, March 23

Placer County master gardeners:

-- A full slate of free classes and workshops, starting with "Seed Saving Flowers and Vegetables," Jan. 13, and "Designing Water-wise Gardens" on Jan. 20. Blueberries (Feb. 10), compost and mulch (Feb. 17),  straw bale gardening (March 9) and "Tomato Mastery" (March 16) will be the remaining winter topics. The spring presentations will start with "Planning Your Summer Vegetable Garden" on April 13.

El Dorado County master gardeners:

-- First Saturday Garden Tours, Sherwood Demonstration Garden, Placerville. Jan. 6, Feb. 3, March 2, April 6, May 4, June 1, July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Dec. 7

-- Presentations and classes (all free) begin with "Gardening for the Future" on Jan. 10, followed by "Vegetable Gardening" on Jan. 13. "Grow Your Own Flower Cutting Garden" is scheduled Feb. 10, as is "Rose Pruning and Care" (different locations). Celebrate Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, by learning about "Gardening in Small Spaces." "Starting Plants from Seed" is set March 2, along with  "Kids! Grow and Show Your Plant at the Fair." Several presentations also are set for the remainder of March and through June.

Other events (with more due to be scheduled soon):

-- McKinley Park Rose Garden pruning days: Jan. 6, 13, 17, 20 and 27 plus Feb. 10 and 17. See Debbie's post on that here.

-- Sacramento Seed Swap and Share, afternoon of Jan. 27 at the Fair Oaks Library.

-- City of Roseville workshops (which are free but often fill up) include "Pruning With Purpose" on Jan. 13, Feb. 7 and March 9 (three separate sessions), "Growing Fruit Trees" on Jan. 27 and "Compost and Mulch" Feb. 17. "Pruning Fruit Trees" will be held Feb. 22.

-- Northern California Home & Landscape Expo runs Feb. 2-4 at Cal Expo. This event is primarily aimed at home improvement and outdoor landscaping, but the Sacramento County master gardeners will staff a booth at the event all three days. That makes it a great opportunity to get gardening advice early in the year or ask questions about ongoing garden issues or problems.


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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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