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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 Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

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

* 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 eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* 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.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* 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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