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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: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

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

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* 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 help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* 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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