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Harvest Day 2020 will be online, live and on video

Grapes on a vine
You can pay a virtual visit to the grapevines at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center this year. Master gardeners will have video demonstrations on many topics, including "Pests of the Vineyard." (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Coronavirus risk prompts master gardeners to adapt popular event

Did you attend Harvest Day last year? The celebration of all things growing typically packs in gardeners and wanna-be gardeners to the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, where the UCCE Sacramento County master gardeners maintain a gorgeous demonstration garden and orchard. Speakers, demonstrations and booths are part of the usual schedule.

The event's alway held on the first Saturday of August. It'll happen this year, too, on Aug. 1 -- but with a significant COVID-19 pivot: Everything will be online, either live or videotaped.

The two main speakers will be on video, and their presentations will be available for viewing starting in mid-July. The topics and speakers are:

-- "Building Resilient Gardens," Karrie Reid, environmental horticulture adviser for UCCE San Joaquin County. She also is a trainer of landscape professionals in sustainable practices including the Green Gardener Qualification Training series.

-- "Growing Fruit in Limited Space Using Size Control," Ed Laivo,  fruit tree and edible landscaping specialist. Formerly with Dave Wilson Nursery, he is now sales and marketing director at Burchell Nursery, Oakdale.

Then on Aug. 1 there will be a live Q&A with each of them: Reid from 9 to 9:50 a.m. and Laivo from 10 to 10:50 a.m. Those will be followed by a live Q&A panel with some Sacramento County master gardeners.

And what of the demos that usually happen at Harvest Day? Typically there are so many you can't get to them all. But this year, that will be possible because they all will be taped. Check out this list of planned videos:

-- Tour of Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

-- Netting

-- Getting Started with Composting
-- Composting ABCs
-- Composting Hot and Cold
-- Worm Composting
-- Worm Harvesting

-- Lavender: Pruning and Harvesting
-- Growing Herbs in Containers

-- Fruit Thinning
-- Fruit Tree Pruning
-- Fruit Tree Scale

-- Straw Bale Gardening
-- Sharpening Pruners
-- Soil Solarization
-- Abiotic Tomato Issues
-- Veggies in Containers

-- Pests of the Vineyard

Water-Efficient Landscape
-- Pruning Perennials
-- Pruning Ornamental Grasses
-- Gardening for Wildlife
-- Walking Tour

The coolest thing about this is that all the videos will be available after Harvest Day, too. Permanent resources for Sacramento-region gardeners!

Harvest Day 2020 also will mark the start of online sales of the next Gardening Guide and Calendar, a great resource for Sacramento-area gardeners. (Excellent gift, too.) The theme of the 2021 guide is Trees.

A limited number of botanically dyed scarves also will go on sale as part of the Harvest Day activities.

To download the Harvest Day 2020 brochure, go here . To read more about the UCCE Sacramento County master gardener program and the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, 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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