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Wanted: Little things for kids in need

The Secret Garden hosts Holiday Joy Drive

Christmas stockings in red and white
Stockings and small gifts to put in them for children will be collected during The Secret Garden's Holiday Joy Drive now through Dec. 17. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

It’s the little things that make the holidays special. The Secret Garden is gathering lots of those little things as part of its annual “Holiday Joy Drive.”

Now through Dec. 17, the Elk Grove garden store will collect donations for the Wellspring Women’s Center. Located in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, the center serves nearly 200 women and children every week.

Owned by the Kahl family, The Secret Garden has made its Holiday Joy Drive an annual tradition.

“This year, we are collecting donations to benefit Wellspring Women’s Center in Sacramento,” the Kahl family posted on The Secret Garden’s website. “They provide meals and essential services for vulnerable women and children in our community.”

In particular, the Joy Drive seeks little things.

“They are in need of stocking stuffers for children staying at the shelter as well as essential items for their Safety Net Program,” says the post. “Let's spread some holiday joy to those in need!”

Patrons can view the center’s wish list for suggested donation items at .

Open 10 a.m. to 5 pm. daily, The Secret Garden is located at 8450 W. Stockton Blvd., Sacramento. Phone: 916-682-6839.

Details and directions: .


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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