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Smoke won't cancel Soil Born's fall sale, clinic

American River Ranch hosts free events Saturday morning

Farm site with blue sky
Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova will be busy Saturday morning before temperatures climb. (Photo courtesy of Soil Born Farms)

Smoke or no smoke, Soil Born Farms’ popular fall gardening clinic and plant sale will go on.

Set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, this free event at American River Ranch features workshops, farm tours and garden walks. Several hands-on opportunities will be available for kids.

In addition, the event includes a huge organic plant sale stocked with cool-season vegetables, fruit trees and herbs. Customers may order plants online in advance at the farm's online marketplace and pick up Saturday by appointment via the farm's Drive-Through. Fresh produce and local products also are available for pre-order and pick-up at the farm.

Sacramento County’s oldest continuing working farm, American River Ranch is located at 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova. Details, directions and plant ordering information online at .

Poor air quality due to wildfires and heat may restrict some planned outdoor activities. According to the National Weather Service, Saturday’s Sacramento forecast calls for widespread haze and an afternoon high of 102.

But overnight lows Friday night will keep Saturday morning comfortable. Plan on getting out to the farm early!

With Covid-19 still surging, face masks are encouraged for any event, including outdoors. (An N95 or similar face mask helps protect against smoky air as well as virus.)

Attendance for workshops and tours are limited. Get your free tickets at the Purple Class Check-in Tent on Saturday morning. Here’s the schedule:


8:15 a.m. -- Preparing a Fall Garden with Shawn Harrison, Soil Born Farms

9:30 a.m. – Gardening with Native Plants with Mark Shaffer, California Native Plant Society

10:45 a.m. – Raising Backyard Chickens with Greg Howes & Brian Fikes, Two Flew the Coop

Noon – Fall Fruit Tree Planting & Care with Shawn Harrison, Soil Born Farms

Walks & Talks

8 a.m. -- Pollinator Garden Walk & Talk with Cliff Hawley, Naturalist

8 a.m. – Explore Cordova Creek Walk & Talk with Shannon Hardwicke, Educator

9 a.m. – Farm Tour with Tyler Stowers, Farmer

10 a.m. – Herb Walk & Talk with Kellan MacKay, Herbalist

Art, Music & Snacks

9 a.m.-noon – Music by Millington Strings

9 a.m.-noon – Garden Art for Sale from Snoring Orange Studio and The Garden Chica

8 a.m.-noon -- Phoebe’s Tea & Snack Bar


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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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