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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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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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