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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 Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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