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Soil Born hosts Halloween on the Farm

All sorts of fall family fun at this unique seasonal celebration

The Soil Born Farmstand will be open Saturday during the Halloween at the Farm celebration.

The Soil Born Farmstand will be open Saturday during the Halloween at the Farm celebration.

Kathy Morrison

It’s Halloween Saturday down on the Farm! And this local celebration comes with all sorts of nods to nature – including real bats and snakes.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, Soil Born Farms’ American River Ranch – Sacramento’s oldest continuously working farm – will host Halloween and fall nature fun for all ages. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, payable at the ranch’s turquoise “Info Tent.”

Designed for youth ages 4 to 14, “Halloween on the Farm” packs a lot of fun into one morning.

“Show off your Halloween costumes and explore the Spooktacular Youth Garden for all kinds of fun including animal explorations and tracking, scavenger hunts and games,” say the organizers. “Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento Splash and Save the Snakes will have creatures of all sizes and shapes for your family to see. Create natural Halloween decor for your home. Make acorn owls, autumn leaf butterflies and corn husk dolls. Decorate pumpkins for an additional fee. It is sure to be a treat!”

Other highlights include the Bat Hollow Maze (a Soil Born tradition for all ages), solar telescopes and live music with the Millington Strings.

At 10 a.m., naturalist Cliff Hawley will present a free talk on “Bats, Owls, Crows and Hawks” at the Sacred Circle.

Shawn Harrison, Soil Born’s co-director will lead a “Regenerative Agriculture Farm Tour” at 9 and 11 a.m., discussing how the America River Ranch grows crops while revitalizing the land. It’s also a great opportunity to see this unique Sacramento gem.

For early birds, take a guided bird-watching walk along the American River and around the ranch with Hawley. Fee is $15 with proceeds supporting the American River Ranch Restoration and Development Fund. Register here:

As always on Saturdays, Soil Born’s farmstand will be open with fresh locally grown produce. Orders may be placed in advance online (though 9 a.m. Thursday) with scheduled pick-up on Saturday morning.

During the Halloween celebration, Phoebe’s Tea and Snack Bar will offer drinks and treats. A “Farmhouse Kitchen Pop-Up Brunch” will start serving frittatas, pancakes and black bean chili at 9 a.m.

This Saturday also is the last day to buy plants from Soil Born’s Greenhouse Garden Shop and Fruit Tree Nursery (open 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Soil Born is known for its great selection of fruit trees that have proved to do well in Sacramento.

Don’t forget to visit the native plant demonstration gardens, created by the Sacramento Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Soil Born’s American River Ranch is located at 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova.

For details and directions:

-- Debbie Arrington


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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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