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Get expert answers to garden dilemmas at Open Garden

Sacramento County master gardeners invite public to watch and learn at free event

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will present its final spring Open Garden Day this Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to noon. The next event will  be Harvest Day on Aug. 3.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will present its final spring Open Garden Day this Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to noon. The next event will be Harvest Day on Aug. 3. Kathy Morrison

June may rank as gardeners’ busiest month. It’s also when we have the most questions (such as, Why aren’t my tomatoes growing?)

Here’s an opportunity to get the answers you need while being inspired to garden more: Open Garden at Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.

On Saturday morning, June 15, the Sacramento County master gardeners open their beautiful demonstration garden to share what they know while fielding the public’s questions. From 9 a.m. to noon, watch the master gardeners in action while also getting up-to-date information and priceless advice.

Admission and parking are free. No pets please.

“Early June in Sacramento is perfect gardening weather,” say the master gardeners. “So much is in bloom that the specific mix changes daily. Come see what the local UC Master Gardeners are up to in the demonstration garden.

“All garden sections from vegetables to berries to fruit trees grapple with the same pest problems, watering issues and new variety opportunities that you do,” they add. “Master Gardeners in each section (of the hort center) can discuss current activities, challenges and discoveries.”

In different sections of the hort center, the master gardeners will offer timely demonstrations:

* In the vegetable area, see a solarization demonstration to combat nematodes. Also, check out the display of numerous All-American selections.

* In the Water Efficient Landscape, learn about “Deadheading: Refreshing Plants for Endless Bloom.”

* In the vineyard, get advice on timely treatment for powdery mildew, thinning canopies for dappled shade and thinning clusters for bigger grapes.

* The herb garden has shifted from spring to summer herbs, complete with new rosemary and basil plants and a storied heirloom apothecary rose.

* Orchard volunteers will be thinning fruit and pruning trees for better harvest and ease of care.

“Have a specific garden question that is vexing you?” add the master gardeners. “Feel free to bring bagged samples of plants or pests to the Ask a Master Gardener table.”

Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is located at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, in Fair Oaks Park.

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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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