A Colorful Story for Your Backyard Garden

Backyard gardenHello Almaden families! Hope you are all safe and sheltering in place right now. We are all facing a tough situation, but it need not be completely frustrating. We can use this opportunity to get a lot accomplished around the house and in the backyard garden, along with some great family bonding time.

It’s spring, and the beautiful weather calls one out to the garden. It’s time to go out for some planting. Spring is the best time to plant seasonal flower bulbs, saplings and beds to yield the summer.

In late March or early April, spring planted bulbs will transform your garden into a glory of colors in the summer. Some of the most popular varieties are calla lilies, dahlia, gladiolus, begonia, anemone, canna, and a variety of lilies like rain lily, nerine lily, and the Asiatic lily.

Late April is the time to plant the saplings directly into the ground. You can create beautiful borders or fill up those empty spaces in your backyard garden. While planting, take care to position sun-loving and shade-loving varieties in the right zones. Some of the plants you can place directly into the ground at this time are roses, which will bloom right through September or early October. While gardening stores stock a variety of annuals, you can get better yield from your hard work by planting perennials which keep blooming year after year. Popular perennials are lavender, geranium, daisy, iris, aster, black-eyed susan, bugleweed, and clematis, among others.

Stay safe and enjoy some family time in the garden.

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Cleaning Up to Welcome Spring

welcome springIt’s the end of January, and while there’s still a chill in the air, it’s also the time to begin working in the yard and garden so you can welcome spring in all its splendor. Here are some essential ‘welcome to spring’ tasks that you can tackle right now and enjoy your garden for months to come.

Clean Ditches and Drains

Clear out fall leaves, seedlings and other debris from ditches and drains around the garden to ensure good drainage from the soil. The cleared garden refuse can be put in a compost bin for ready fertilizer to use during spring and summer. If you don’t have a compost bin, this is also a good time to build one.

Start a Compost Pile

A good carbon-nitrogen balanced compost can be created by using common garden and kitchen waste. Carbon-rich matter are branches, dried leaves, wood chips, bark dust or sawdust pellets, shredded brown paper bags, corn husk, coffee grounds, conifer needles, egg shells and wood ash. Nitrogen can be found in fruit and vegetable scraps, tea leaves and grass clippings. A good balanced compost has more carbon than nitrogen, about one-third green and two-thirds brown material. In three months, the compost will be ready to use.

Refresh the Lawn

If there are bare patches in the lawn, re-seed them. Mix grass seed into soil in a wheelbarrow and spread over the bare areas. The rains will ensure that the seeds germinate and new grass grows well in spring. A good grass fertilizer may also be sprinkled now.

Trim and Fertilize

Trim trees and flowering bushes, and remove dead foliage to make way for new spring growth. Weed pulling is also best done now when roots are shallow. Late winter is also the best time to fertilize fruit trees and flowering bushes and shrubs.

Add Mulch

Add mulch to a depth of about three to four inches around the base of young fruit trees to protect new growth from the late winter frost. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the crowns and stems of plants.

Clean Bird Baths and Feeders

Water accumulated in bird baths can be a health hazard for both birds and humans, so it is important to scrub them clean at least every two to three weeks. Scrub with baking soda, or a 1:10 chlorine bleach and water solution for more stubborn dirt. Pressure wash if needed. Keep baths filled with fresh water every week to attract birds throughout spring and summer.

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Almaden Valley Produce Share – September 2011

StartOrganic is holding its second Almaden Valley Produce Share.

Participants will be sharing fruits, vegetables, herbs, fresh flowers, plants, seedlings, seeds, bulbs, gardening tips, and recipes.

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Master Gardener Course: Renovating Your Landscape

Master Gardners of Santa Clara CountyLearn from Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County how to evaluate and rework your landscape to keep it looking its best.

Improve your garden through the use of ornamental plants that bring beauty to your home. And learn sustainable gardening practices that make your home more in tune with our climate and ecology.

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Sustainable Home Vegetable Gardening in Almaden Valley

logo: Master Gardeners of Santa Clara CountyGardening year round is easy and rewarding in our mild climate here in Almaden Valley. Learn from Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County how to have a successful, environmentally responsible food garden that provides delicious vegetables and herbs every month of the year.

This course stresses sustainable gardening practices such as mulching, efficient watering methods, on-site composting, integrated pest management, and use of organic fertilizers and soil amendments.

This six-week course is taught by Bette Lloyd, Master Gardener. The class meets at the Almaden Community Center on Saturdays, January 22 – February 26, 2011, from 10am-12pm. Register online or by calling 408-268-1133. The price is $70 per person.

Gardening Course in Almaden Valley: Growing Fruit Trees & Berries

Master Gardeners Santa Clara County LogoAttend Growing Fruit Trees & Berries presented by the Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County. This four-week course stresses how good garden practices such as efficient watering, managing garden pests, and use of organic fertilizers and soil amendments apply to growing healthy fruits and berries.

Topics that will be covered include gardening basic requirements for specific fruits and berries, recommended varieties, and pruning techniques. Apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, citrus, and a variety of berries will be covered.

The course is being held at the Almaden Community Center every Saturday beginning April 17, 2010 and ending May 8, 2010, from 10am-12pm. The price is $45 for residents and $49 for non-residents.

Register online at San Jose Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services.

Seminar: Using Native Plant Gardens to Encourage Pollinators

California NativescapesLearn how native plants play an increasingly critical environmental role in an era of declining pollinator populations. Rebecca Schoenenberger, owner of California Nativescapes, will teach you how to create a sustainable habitat garden to encourage pollinators.

This seminar is co-sponsored by the Almaden Library and the California Native Plant Society. The seminar takes place at the Almaden Library, Program Room on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 from 6:30-7:45pm.