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Prepare for spring during Open Garden Day

Master gardeners will be available to answer questions

Fair Oaks Horticulture Center with gate and people
The gates will be open and master gardeners on hand this Saturday during Open
Garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

How can I keep bugs from eating my vegetables? Can I plant an orange tree now? What are these weeds popping up? Which plants will bring hummingbirds to my garden? Do herbs grow well in pots? Which fertilizer is best for blueberries? How do I start a compost pile?

Spring is the busiest time for garden questions. If you have any of the ones above, or any others, the March Open Garden this Saturday at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is the place to get them answered.

From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 12, the Sacramento County master gardeners will be on site in all areas of the Horticulture Center, with tips and advice for spring planting.

Bring plant samples or unidentified insects (in plastic bags) to the Ask a Master Gardener table. The last copies of the 2022 Gardening Guide and Calendar will be on sale for the bargain price of $10.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks. south of Madison Boulevard, in Fair Oaks Park next to the library.

If you are unable to attend this Open Garden, these are scheduled for the rest of spring:

-- A mid-week Open Garden, 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, April 13;

-- Saturday morning Open Garden, 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 14;

-- An afternoon/evening Open Garden, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.,  Wednesday, May 18;

-- Saturday morning Open Garden, 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 18.

And save the date, Saturday, Aug. 6, for Harvest Day. The master gardeners' big annual event at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will be held in person this year for the first time since 2019.

-- Kathy Morrison

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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