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Harvest Day workshop spotlight: Grapes, butterflies, compost

Master gardener Carole Ludlum talks about trouble-shooting grapevine problems during 2018's Harvest Day. Grapes again will be a hot topic at this year's event. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Mini sessions offer lots of learning opportunities

So many chances to learn; where to start?

Harvest Day, Sacramento’s annual celebration of gardening and garden know-how, is packed with informative demonstrations and mini-workshops. Set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Fair Oaks Park, Harvest Day is free and open to the public. No advance registration necessary.

The hardest part: Figuring out which demonstrations to see. Three sections of the Hort Center will host multiple mini-workshops. Here’s a rundown of Saturday’s short sessions:

In the Water-Efficient Landscape:

* 10 a.m.: Creating a Wildlife Habitat. Learn how to bring more beneficial insects, birds and more into your garden.

* 11:15 a.m.: Butterfly Basics. How do you get more butterflies to visit your landscape? Start with the right plants.

In the demonstration vineyard:

* 9:20 a.m.: Pests and Problems in the Vineyard. Get answers to the most-asked questions and solve problems before they start.

Check out the grapevines at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.
Grapevines also will be available for sale by the master gardeners.
Bring cash or
* 10:15 a.m.: Six Steps to Vineyard Success. Know the basics and plan for a good harvest.

* 11:15 a.m.: Vineyard Q&A. Bring questions, get answers to common (and not-so-common) issues with grape growing.

In the compost demonstration area:

* 9:20 a.m.: Making a Worm Bin. Learn how to put together a home for happy worms, who will reward you with garden gold.

10:15 a.m.: Backyard Composting Basics. Find out how to balance the greens with the browns, and create your own fertilizer from kitchen and garden waste.

11 a.m.: Worm Wrangling. These critters are amazingly efficient at creating high-quality compost. Learn how to put worms to work for your garden.

11:45 a.m.: Critters in the Compost Pile. Learn how to tell good critters from unwanted invaders as well as composting basics.

For more on Harvest Day:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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