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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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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