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We're looking at a busy weekend

"Designing Dragonflies," a class to make this vase,
will be taught 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday by Brenda
during the Gourd and Fine Art Festival.
Foothills locations offer gourd festival, fair, garden tour

Made plans yet for the weekend? (Beyond tending your garden, of course.) You could head for the hills: Several sites in the foothills hold events with interest for gardeners:

-- The 2019 Gourd and Fine Art Festival will be held at the Amador Flower Farm & Nursery. The event features classes, vendors, demonstrations, food trucks and the California Gourd Society competition.  The classes are on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and as of this morning four of the six still had seats left; go to to check on availability. The Saturday and Sunday events run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. The Amador Flower Farm & Nursery is at 22001 Shenandoah School Road in Plymouth.

-- The Sherwood Demonstration Garden, an amazing site tended by the UCCE El Dorado County master gardeners, offers its free monthly tour Saturday at 9 a.m. sharp. The garden has 16 different areas, from rose garden to rock garden, with flowers, shrubs and trees that do well in the Placerville-area climate. Stick around after the tour and visit the Community Observatory next to the garden. From 10 a.m. to noon, the Hydrogen-Alpha telescopes will be set up to allow visitors to safely view sunspots, solar flares, filaments, and solar prominences. $2 parking (exact change required) seven days a week. Folsom Lake College El Dorado Center, 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville.

-- For a traditional agriculture experience, visit the Gold Country Fair, starting today at the fairgrounds in Auburn and running through Sunday. Lovers of hot peppers may want to note the Pepper Eating Contest at noon Saturday. The fairgrounds are at 1273 High St., Auburn. Parking is $6. For more fair info and tickets, go to

There are other weekend activities we've posted about earlier, but here are reminders. (Click on the link to read the post):

-- The Rose Propagation Workshop is 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento.

-- Rebecca Plumb talks houseplants and design at Green Acres in Rocklin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

-- The American Begonia Society Convention will be in full swing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Sacramento Northeast.

-- 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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