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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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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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