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Learn about seed saving and swapping

Placer County master gardeners host free in-person workshop

Hmm, there's bound to be seeds to swap in this collection. Learn about seed saving and sharing during a Placer County master gardener-led workshop Jan. 13.

Hmm, there's bound to be seeds to swap in this collection. Learn about seed saving and sharing during a Placer County master gardener-led workshop Jan. 13. Kathy Morrison

What does a gardener do on a cold, damp January day? It’s a good time to sort seeds (before ordering new packets).

You also may want to swap some extra seeds with gardening friends – or get ready to save seeds for future growing seasons.

Learn all about saving and sharing seeds during an upcoming free workshop. Hosted by the UCCE master gardeners of Placer County, “Seed Saving Flowers and Vegetables” will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Loomis Library. No advance registration is necessary.

“Did you know that National Seed Swap Day is January 27, 2024?” say the organizers. “Honor the great U.S. tradition of swapping seeds with neighbors and sharing warmth with your community. You will learn the basics rules for seed saving, germination requirements by species, how to grow plants identical to the parent plant and how to preserve heirlooms.”

Not only will you be saving seeds, but saving money, too: Growing vegetables and flowers from seed costs a fraction of buying transplants. The one-hour class will cover all the basics to get you started.

Loomis Library is located at 6050 Library Drive in Loomis.

Details and directions:

Note: A Sacramento seed swap is scheduled 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Fair Oaks Library. See details here.


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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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