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Find growing advice at Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork Festival

Getting up close and personal with local food, literally or fancifully,  is the whole idea of the Farm to Fork Festival,  which began in 2013. It's now a two-day event. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Master gardeners will be part of huge community event devoted to locally grown food

Growing food -- as well as eating it -- is a big part of the sixth annual Farm-to-Fork Festival, Sacramento's second largest public event behind only the State Fair.

Now in a two-day format, the festival opens from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, on Capitol Mall between Third and Fifth streets in downtown Sacramento. On Saturday, the free event expands to Eighth Street and will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Capitol Mall will be filled with demonstrations, booths and activities.
Sacramento County master gardeners will staff an information booth to answer questions about edible gardening as well as other topics. The master gardeners will also offer for sale their 2019 calendar and gardening guide dedicated to food gardening, "Saving the Harvest."

Besides lots of information on how to grow food including in containers and small spaces, the new calendar and guide ($10) includes detailed instructions and tips from the Sacramento County master food preservers on home canning, freezing and other ways to make the most out of a backyard harvest -- or farmers market finds, too.

Expect to see plenty of vendors at the festival.
Speaking of which, several vendors will offer produce and other Central Valley products for sale at the Farm-to-Fork Festival as well as always-popular free samples.

Food, beer, wine and cider will be sold, too; about 100 regional wines will be served. Four stages will be devoted to cooking demonstrations.

About 145 vendors will be on hand Saturday; 75 are scheduled for Friday's opening. Last year's festival attracted about 60,000 patrons, according to Visit Sacramento, its organizer.


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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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