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Learn about 'Gardening for the Future'

El Dorado master gardeners offer free workshop on biodiversity and sustainable gardening

Flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum) is a very-low-water California native shrub that attracts bees and butterflies.

Flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum) is a very-low-water California native shrub that attracts bees and butterflies. Kathy Morrison

The start of a new year tends to focus gardeners’ attention on the future. It may be short term (what vegetables to plant this spring) or much longer (anything to do with trees).

The choices we make in our gardens have greater impact than we may realize, say the UCCE master gardeners of El Dorado County. Find out how during a free in-person workshop, “Gardening for the Future.”

Set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, the three-hour class led by master gardener Deborah Nicolls will be held at Cameron Park Community Center. No advance registration is required.

“Learn about sustainable gardening, permaculture, food forests, rewilding, and contributing to the Homegrown National Park,” say the master gardeners.

Made up of gardeners and backyards nationwide, the Homegrown National Park is a grass-roots effort to regenerate biodiversity by planting more native plants.

According to the organizers, this workshop will tackle some big problems with small acts. “Do you read the headlines about climate and the environment and worry about the future? Yours, your children’s, or grandchildren’s?” ask the master gardeners. “There are things you can do to help in your own corner of the world, even if all you have is a balcony, because every little bit does help.”

For example, growing plants that feed pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds can help sustain wildlife amid an urban landscape.

Cameron Park Community Center is located at 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park.

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

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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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