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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 June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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