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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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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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