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Got Sacramento garden questions? Find answers here

Check out the Water-Efficient Landscape at the Horticulture Center. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Master Gardeners offer expert advice during Open Garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

This has been a puzzling and perplexing summer for many Sacramento gardeners, who undoubtedly have bushels of questions about what went wrong (or right) and why.

But where to find answers? Open Garden, of course. Saturday morning, Sept. 8, from 9 a.m. to noon, join the UC Cooperative Extension Sacramento County Master Gardeners at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Fair Oaks Park, 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks.

This popular free event offers a wealth of good gardening advice in an atmosphere filled with examples of what works in Sacramento gardens.

During the Open Garden, visitors can explore the site's many demonstration gardens including its Water-Efficient Landscape (great ideas for drought-tolerant plants) and easy-reach orchard (which makes harvesting simple).

Master Gardeners, who are constantly trying out new methods and varieties at the Hort Center, will staff the demonstration areas and answer questions.

Got a mystery plant or pest? Bag it up (preferably in a sealed plastic bag) and these experts will identify it and offer appropriate advice.


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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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