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Learn how to make a bee house, prune grapes

Mason bees love these kind of "houses." (Photo courtesy
Sacramento County master gardeners)
Sacramento County master gardeners host free demonstrations at Open Garden

Do you want to help bees feel at home? Grow backyard grapes? Make gifts with home-grown herbs?

Learn all those skills and more during a full morning of demonstrations and hands-on opportunities as the Sacramento County master gardeners host an Open Garden, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 9, at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., in Fair Oaks Park.

Open free to the public, these informal gatherings allow visitors to ask these UC Cooperative Extension experts gardening questions while watching them tackle garden tasks. Rain or shine, the event will be held outdoors, so dress appropriately.

At 10 a.m., master gardeners will conduct demonstrations on:

* How to help pollinators, including construction of “houses” for mason bees;

* Cane and spur pruning of grapes for arbors;

* Herbal gift ideas from the garden; and

* Tips for selection and planting of drought-tolerant woody perennials for the water-efficient landscape.

Throughout the morning, master gardeners will be stationed in various areas of the Hort Center. They’ll demonstrate how to winter prune fruit trees in the orchard. In the vegetable garden, they’ll discuss preparation for spring planting. In the vineyard, they’ll show how to fight disease and grow healthier (and more productive) grapevines.

The Horticulture Center has an extensive display on compost
bins. Check them out Saturday. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Interested in berries? They’ll share how monitoring soil pH and amendments can lead to greater yields. Also get tips for composting success, including which bins are best and fast-cooking compost "recipes."

In the Water-Efficient Landscape, learn how to use WUCOLS (Water Use Classification of Landscape Species) ratings to choose the right plants for the right place in a drought-tolerant makeover.

Got a puzzling pest or mystery plant? Bring a sample in a sealed plastic bag to the Ask a Master Gardener information table. And if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of the 2019 master gardener calendar and gardening guide ($10), packed with need-to-know information for garden success including how to preserve your harvest.



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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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