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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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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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