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Hear master gardeners at Nevada County Fair

Workshops offered each day of fair — with COVID precautions

Brown iris in field of flowers
Growing irises (like the bearded variety above) in the foothills is one of the topics of Nevada County master gardeners' workshops this week at the Nevada County fair. (Photo courtesy Sacramento Iris

Are you ready for some fair fun – and in-person master gardener advice?

Today (Aug. 11), the Nevada County Fair started its five-day run, and will close Sunday, Aug. 15. Held in Grass Valley, this country fair features the popular Family Farm with an answer booth staffed by knowledgeable master gardeners.

Traditionally, summer is fair season, but several of these annual events were canceled or scaled back due to COVID concerns. (That includes Sacramento’s own California State Fair.)

With spikes in COVID cases raising renewed concern, Nevada County fair officials ask all patrons to wear face masks indoors and outdoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Each day, members of the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Nevada County will make special presentations and offer mini-workshops.

“Please stop by, say hello, bring your home gardening questions and plan to stay for one of our workshops – offered every day of the fair,” say the master gardeners.

Here is a brief schedule of upcoming workshops and times:

Thursday, Aug. 12

10:30 a.m.: From a Driveway to a Prairie

11:30 a.m.: Edible Landscaping

1:30 p.m.: Composting - Help Your Garden and The Planet

Friday, Aug. 13

10:30 a.m.: Container Gardening - Hands-On Demonstration

11:30 a.m.: Worm Composting - How to Be a Worm Wrangler

1:30 p.m.: Straw Bale Gardening

Saturday, Aug. 14

10:30 a.m.: Secrets of Growing Native Plants

11:30 a.m.: Growing Beautiful Dahlias in Nevada County

1:30 p.m.: How to End Your Tomato Season

Sunday, Aug. 15

10:30 a.m.: Creating Fairy Gardens

11:30 a.m.: Growing Iris in the Foothills (free iris corms for attendees)

The Nevada County Fairgrounds are located at 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley.

The fair is open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m to 9 p.m. Sunday. General admission is $10, seniors (age 65 and up) $7, children (ages 6 to 12) $5. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. On “Three Dollar Thursday,” all admissions are $3. Parking: $5.

For more details and directions:

For more on Nevada County Master Gardeners programs:


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 2

Plan to make the most of the mild weather in your garden.

* October is the best month to plant trees and shrubs.

* October also is the best time to plant perennials in our area. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to planting holes or beds, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioluses, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

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