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Look for signs of spring at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

Master gardeners host February Open Garden on Saturday

Peach blossoms
If the Eva's Pride peach tree is blooming, can spring be far off? The Fair Oaks Horticulture
Center orchard trees are just beginning to show off their blossoms. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

We all want rain, but might as well enjoy the sunny days we have, right? No better opportunity arrives than on Saturday, Feb. 12, when the Sacramento County master gardeners present their February Open Garden.

Open Garden Day gives visitors access to the entire Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, which is just south of Fair Oaks Park at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd. The FOHC is the master gardeners' demonstration garden, but usually just the front portion -- the Water Efficient Landscape, or WEL -- is open daily to the public.

But all the gates will be open Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, and visitors will be able to see how the warm late-winter weather is affecting the various growing areas. Master gardeners will staff each area and answer gardening questions.

In the orchard,  the Eva's Pride peach tree leads the way in blooming. Expect to see those beautiful pink blossoms abuzz with bees.

Red wigglers
Visit the worms at the compost area of the Fair Oaks Horticulture

In the compost area, the master gardeners can tell all about worm composting while they're harvesting castings from the big bin full of red wigglers.

Other areas to visit include the berry garden -- where the blueberries have just been pruned -- the vegetable area, the herb garden and the vineyard.

For questions that don't quite fit into those areas, stop at the Ask a Master Gardener table, where they have all sorts of resources for backyard gardeners.

The 2022 Garden Guide will be for sale, $10 for invaluable growing information and a great calendar.

For general information on the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, go to

Can't make this event? The next Open Garden will be March 12.

-- Kathy Morrison


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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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