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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 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

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

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

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

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

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

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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