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'Farm to Fork' on wheels at Sacramento County Fair


The wheelbarrow gardens created by schools and other student groups will be on display during the Sacramento County Fair at Cal Expo. (Photo courtesy Sacramento County Fair)

Wheelbarrow gardens teach about food

You can haul a lot of learning in a wheelbarrow.

See plenty of examples during a memorable exhibit at the Sacramento County Fair, which opens Thursday for its annual five-day run at Cal Expo.

On display will be several wheelbarrows turned into mobile gardens and planted by local students. Called "Farm Garden in a Wheelbarrow," the program provides free wheelbarrows to public, private or charter schools, preschools, home school groups, after-school programs and 4-H clubs. Teachers also get free soil, seeds and teaching materials to create a portable salad garden.

Designed to help teach how food grows, the wheelbarrow gardens can be rolled in and out of classrooms, allowing planting and seed sprouting indoors before being transferred outside. Salad greens, radishes, onions and other spring veggies grow fast, keeping even young kids engaged. Most of the wheelbarrows on display were planted in February.

As for the fair itself, Sacramento celebrates Memorial Day weekend with a wide range of entertainment, from monster trucks to bull riding to live concerts. This year's theme: "Let's Eat, Have Fun and Celebrate the Red, White and Blue."

Admission is $8; children under 12 years admitted free. Parking is $10. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, May 23-26, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Memorial Day, Monday, May 27.
Cal Expo is located at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento. Details: www.sacfair.com .

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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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