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Sacramento County master gardeners' tips debut on YouTube

Andi MacDonald
Master gardener Andi MacDonald shows how to grow veggies in containers in one of the new videos filmed by the UCCE master gardeners for Virtual Harvest Day.
(Screenshot from YouTube)

Videos filmed for Harvest Day now available for viewing

Gardeners don't have to wait for (Virtual) Harvest Day to view all the helpful new videos filmed by the UCCE Sacramento County master gardeners.

The topics range all over the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, from the compost area to the Water Efficient Landscape, from the vegetable garden to the orchard.

For my money, the most immediately useful video features master gardener Bill Black showing how to clean and sharpen pruning shears . I have several pairs that need this help. Also, Dan Vierria explains how soil solarization can eliminate soilborne pests from a planting bed, a method that works beautifully with our summer heat.

"What's Wrong With My Tomatoes?" with Joeana Carpenter should be required viewing for any and all new vegetable gardeners; she focuses on environmental (aka abiotic) factors.  And Andi MacDonald offers a concise guide to growing veggies year round in containers .

Several videos focus on specific pruning chores: woody sages, rosemary, ornamental grasses, and summer pruning of fruit trees. There are also tips on setting up a compost bin, putting netting over blueberries, growing herbs in containers and identifying pests on grapevines. And plenty more.

Videos are coming from the two Harvest Day speakers, Karrie Reid and Ed Laivo. On Harvest Day itself, Saturday, Aug. 1, live Q&As will be shown with the two speakers and with a panel of UCCE master gardeners. Send questions in to

For more on plans for the 2020 Virtual Harvest Day, go to


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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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