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Open Garden Saturday at Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

This time last year, the cool-weather vegetable garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center was well established. Expect there to be plenty to look at (and ask about) at the Open Garden this weekend. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)
Master gardeners will be on hand with information and advice

Ready to dive into spring gardening preparations? Pack up your questions and head to the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Sacramento County master gardeners will be out in force for Open Garden from 9 a.m. to noon, rain or shine (or cold). The event and all that expert advice is free.

Open Garden is an informal event, and visitors are encouraged to roam around and view the activities. Each area of the Horticulture Center will be staffed, and master gardeners will answer questions while also offering demonstrations.

At 10 a.m., mini presentations will be offered in these areas:

Herb garden: Preparation for planting
Orchard: Late fruit-tree pruning
Vegetable garden: Growing and caring for strawberries
Vineyard: Cane and spur dormant pruning
Water-Efficient Landscape (WEL): The right tools for the jobs

Master gardeners are happy to show off their compost bins at the Hort Center.
The FOHC also includes areas devoted to cane and bush berries, citrus, composting, native plants and perennials. Ongoing discussions will include creating and harvesting compost, growing cool-season vegetables, scion grafting, citrus fertilizing, and methods to combat peach leaf curl and brown rot disease.

The master gardeners also will be prepared to tackle plant problems and insect identification. Bring a good sample from the problem plant, or the insect in question, in a sealed plastic bag to the Ask the Master Gardener table at Open Garden.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, south of the Fair Oaks Library. For information on the UCCE Sacramento County master gardener program, and to view UCCE resources, go to .

-- Kathy Morrison


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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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