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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 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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