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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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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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