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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:
https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=69721 ) 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: www.soroptimistsacramento.com .

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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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