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Looking good (and edible) in the neighborhood

Pretty pumpkins can add interest to the home landscape.
(Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Event: See how the Fabulous Forties neighborhood grows food during the East Sacramento Edible Gardens Tour

Growing food can fit into any landscape -- and look beautiful doing it. That’s the message behind the annual East Sacramento Edible Gardens Tour, hosted by Soroptimist of Sacramento.

Set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, the tour features six gardens packed with vegetables, fruit and herbs (and plenty of flowers, too). Among the featured stops are homes in the Fabulous Forties, known more for manicured lawns and big trees than backyard harvests. Working around shade in often compact spaces, these Sacramento gardeners found inventive ways to grow at least some of their own food, yet still maintain the look of more traditional ornamental landscapes.

See how they did it, plus get expert advice from UC Cooperative Extension master gardeners, too. They’ll be on hand to answer questions, identify plants and offer advice on how to incorporate more edibles into typical Sacramento area landscapes.

Adding to the ambience will be members of the Sacramento Symphonic Winds, providing music to go with the gardens.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on tour day at the first garden, 1308 43rd St., Sacramento. (Here’s the direct link for advance purchase: ) Children age 12 and under will be admitted free. Proceeds benefit Soroptimist programs in Sacramento to improve the lives of women and girls. For more information: .


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For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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