Friday, August 1, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Grow For It! Give your garden a tune-up for spring planting

By
From page B3 | April 03, 2013 |

MASTER GARDNER, Charlie Basham. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

Charlie Basham Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

The days are getting longer and warmer — it’s a sure sign that the planting season is finally here.

Important Subscriber Update

We will be switching to a new online subscription service on Tuesday, August 5th. If you are already a subscriber with login access to MtDemocrat.com you will need to re-register under the new service. This will not affect your bill. Please take the time today to click "Subscriber Verification" to verify your subscription with us and continue your access to MtDemocrat.com before the new service takes over.

We apologize for the temporary inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience and continued support while we make this transition.

- Mountain Democrat

Subscriber Verification
Help?

You may already be fantasizing about your summer bounty of tasty vegetables and bundles of fresh cut flowers. But, before you put any seeds or plants in the ground, try giving your garden a quick tune-up to help ensure success.

First, take a look at the sunlight. If your plants will require direct sunlight make sure the garden plot gets at least 6 to 8 hours every day. Keep in mind that the angle of the sun will be changing as the summer season progresses. Think ahead and anticipate for creeping shadows or perhaps some areas getting too much afternoon sun.

In gardening terms, size matters. Too large of a garden plot could become a burden if it requires more time and resources than you can provide. Perhaps start a small garden this year and expand next spring.

What kind of shape is the soil? It needs to have good water flow, drainage and aeration.

To improve these qualities simply add an organic amendment such as compost, manure, sawdust or leaves. Remember, a soil amendment goes in the soil to change its composition. A mulch, such as bark chips, pine needles or hay goes on the soil to keep it cool, provide weed control and conserve moisture.

Before adding an amendment, turn the dirt with a spade or rototiller to a depth of at least 6 inches. Break up the clods until the soil is pulverized into pea-sized granules.

Very few home gardeners ever check their garden soil’s pH — its relative acidity or alkalinity. The pH is important because it influences numerous chemical reactions that occur in the soil, including the availability of the nutrients essential for healthy plant growth and development.

Most crops do best when the pH is neutral or slightly acidic. Measuring soil pH can be done easily with a soil test kit which can be purchased at most garden centers. They are relatively cheap and reliable.

Garden soils are seldom fertile enough to supply all of the nutrients a good vegetable garden needs.

El Dorado County soils contain most of the essential nutrients, but vegetable gardens typically need a good dose of added nitrogen.

Many gardens can also benefit from a more complete fertilizer application containing phosphorus and potassium. Talk to your local nurseryman for guidance.

The general belief that organic materials are better sources of plant nutrients than inorganic forms is incorrect. Plants respond equally well to organic or inorganic (chemical) forms of fertilizer.

Few gardeners truly enjoy weeding. It’s a necessary part of the gardening experience.

Weeds are nothing more than plants out of place. They compete with the plants for sun, space, moisture and nutrients. Weeds can also harbor insects.

Even the best soils will require some weeding. The best approach to weed management is to remove them manually. However gardeners sometimes choose to use an herbicide (a chemical weed killer) to control weeds.

If you decide to use an herbicide, it must be tested and receive label regis­tration from the EPA. Each label will list those plants, crops or conditions in which the material may be used. Check the label carefully before any chemical is used. Especially if it’ll be used around edible plants.

The final phase of your garden tune-up is to give your watering system a close look. The cold winter and hard freezes may have done some damage. Make sure leaks haven’t developed in the hose connections or the distribution system.

With this year’s water levels being less than ideal, water conservation is extremely important.

Learn more about soil, composting and organic fertilizer from Master Gardener Virginia Feagans Saturday, April 6 at the free public class “Organic Gardening I.”

Class will be held 9 a.m. to noon at the Veterans Memorial Building, 130 Placerville Drive in Placerville.

Master Gardeners are available to answer home gardening questions Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, by calling 530-621-5512. Walk-ins are welcome at the office, 311 Fair Lane in Placerville.

For more information about the public education classes and activities, go to the Master Gardener Website at ucanr.edu/sites/EDC_Master_Gardeners/.

Sign up to receive the online notices and e-newsletter at ucanr.edu/mgenews/. Master Gardeners is also on Facebook.

Comments

comments

Charlie Basham

.

News

Sand Fire 95% contained

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Cameron Park house burns

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Supes delay petition

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

 
Fire generated small city, inspired volunteers

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Two fires in town

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

Missing the point

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
The weekly Daley: The wrong side of history

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

Billingsley’s bullets: Advice from my psychiatrist

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Olives need less water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
EID rate discrimination

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

Second Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Pollock Pines’ Fourth of July Parade

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

Water conservation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Koby

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Debt reduction at EID with Coco?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Time for change in CP

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

.

Sports

Camp draws good numbers

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
New law tackles gridiron concussion problem

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Rafting denied

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A9

 
Racing returns with big 5-division card

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A9

Roundup: July 31, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

 
.

Prospecting

Sing while you paint

By Placerville Arts Association | From Page: B1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
The making of a champion

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B2

Plenty of golden fun during SlugFest

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Things to do: Aug. 1, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2

Art on the Divide is showing new exhibitor

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B3

 
‘The Flu Season’ stirs emotions

By Ovation Stage | From Page: B4

Guitar group performs in Sutter Creek

By Sutter Creek | From Page: B5

 
Time to register for classes at Center Stage

By Center Stage Dance Academy | From Page: B5

Get a groove on in Sutter Creek

By Sutter Creek | From Page: B8

 
Chris Young in concert at Carson Valley Inn

By Carson Valley Inn | From Page: B8

The music continues at Bear Valley Music Festival

By News Release | From Page: B8

 
Sacramento Museums are celebrating

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B9

 
.

Essentials

Weather stats

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 17-19

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Larry A. Randall

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Mark A. Smith

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Jeffie “Jeff” Lee Callahan

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Patsy Ruth Wing

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

Avoiding the deal killers

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

 
Decorating your home by the numbers

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

Press Release | From Page: HS7

 
Luxury home sales jump

Press Release | From Page: HS11

 
Pending home sales decrease in June

Press Release | From Page: HS13

 
Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

Press Release | From Page: HS17

Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

Press Release | From Page: HS23

 
.

Comics

.

Home Source

Decorating your home by the numbers

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

Avoiding the deal killers

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Luxury home sales jump

Press Release | From Page: HS11

Pending home sales decrease in June

Press Release | From Page: HS13

Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

Press Release | From Page: HS17

Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

Press Release | From Page: HS23