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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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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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