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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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For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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