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Learn to grow blueberries in your backyard

Placer County master gardeners offer free workshop

Certain varieties of blueberries do very well in our region, with the right location and right soil. (Also protection from wildlife, hence the netting barely seen here.) Learn the specifics in a free class this weekend in Loomis.

Certain varieties of blueberries do very well in our region, with the right location and right soil. (Also protection from wildlife, hence the netting barely seen here.) Learn the specifics in a free class this weekend in Loomis. Kathy Morrison

This free class is a real treat, devoted to one of the most popular edible ornamental plants – blueberries.

Hosted by the UCCE master gardeners of Placer County, “Sweet, Nutritious and Wildly Popular – Grow Your Own Blueberries” will offer a primer on how to start your own backyard blueberry patch.

Set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, this one-hour workshop will be held in person at Loomis Library, 6050 Library Drive, Loomis. No advance registration is necessary.

“Imagine waking up during spring and summer and walking out to your garden to pick fresh blueberries,” say the master gardeners. “Learn the basics for planting and caring for delicious blueberries in your home garden.”

Native to the eastern United States, blueberries can be a little tricky for California home gardeners. Most blueberry varieties need a different variety for pollination, but which pairings are most effective?

Blueberries also need “chill hours” – extended time under 45 degrees – to flower and set fruit. Southern highbush varieties such as Misty and Sunshine Blue need less chill than northern highbush varieties – an important factor to consider for Sacramento-area gardeners.

To do their best, blueberries need acidic soil, making them a good companion to azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

Popular blueberry varieties for home gardens are semi-dwarf (under 3 to 4 feet) and often evergreen, making for handsome plants year-round. Their early spring blooms look like little white to pale pink bells. But it’s those delicious blueberries that make this home crop so desirable.

Find out how to get blueberries off to a great start and to keep them producing for years to come.

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

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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