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Must-views on YouTube: Harvest Day speakers

Karrie Reid in garden
In the Water Efficient Landscape at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, Karrie Reid talks about "Building Resilient Gardens." (Screenshots from UCCE YouTube channel)

I love Harvest Day. Each year I scramble to get to the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, find a parking place and then a seat before the roster of speakers starts. So much great information to soak up!

Well, Virtual Harvest Day 2020 is two days away, and I've already heard both key speakers! And gardeners, it's worth your time to go to YouTube and watch their videos. You'll be all set if you do it now, and then you can watch each speaker live on Saturday as they handle gardeners' questions -- including yours (hint, hint).

"Building Resilient Gardens" is the topic of Karrie Reid, the UCCE environmental horticulture adviser for San Joaquin County. I like her use of the word "resilient" because it covers all the things we worry about for the garden: weather, water shortages and changing climate. Reid talks about the importance of building soils and choosing the right plants for our planting zones.

"Grow Fruit Trees in Limited Space Using Size Control" is the focus of Ed Laivo's presentation. Laivo is a fruit tree and edible-landscaping specialist who helped establish the FOHC orchard. He now works for Burchell Nursery. His effective presentation shows how orchards can be kept to compact size with one hand tool: pruning shears. He hoists poles to show just how tall fruit trees can grow -- and to show the optimum size for a home orchard. (See the screenshot below.)

About 20 other short videos recorded by the Sacramento County master gardeners, covering topics from compost to vineyards, are available on YouTube. Do check all of them out, but aim to start with Teri VanAirsdale's charming welcome video .

Reid will be live Saturday at 9 a.m., Laivo at 10 a.m. They will be followed by a panel of master gardeners at 11 a.m. Find the link for the live event on Saturday on t he Harvest Day page . To send in questions for any of the live shows, email

And just think, you won't have to rush to find parking!

Ed Laivo with pole to show how tall trees get
Ed Laivo demonstrates the potential height of fruit trees with a pole in his YouTube video.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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