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Sacramento master gardeners host Open Garden Day

The vegetable garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will a showcase of cool-season vegetables at Open Garden Day, as in this photo from an earlier February.

The vegetable garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will a showcase of cool-season vegetables at Open Garden Day, as in this photo from an earlier February. Kathy Morrison

Get ready for spring with expert advice from Sacramento County master gardeners.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the master gardeners will host Open Garden Day at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Fair Oaks Park – rain or shine. Admission and parking are free.

From 9 a.m. to noon, watch master gardeners as they tend to mid-winter tasks and prepare for spring planting and rapid growth. They’ll also host several hands-on demonstrations including:

* Berries: Learn how blueberries and cane berries are pruned for the upcoming harvest season.

* Compost: Building, turning and harvesting compost. Visit the Worm Bin, too.

* Herbs: See Herbs flourishing in the cooler weather.

* Orchard: Bare branches in the orchard show proper pruning cuts.

* Vineyard: See canes getting ready to bud. Learn pruning basics.

* Vegetables: Cool-season vegetables are on display in raised beds.

* WEL: The water-efficient landscape will be full of overwintering beneficial insects ready for pests.

Got a garden mystery, problem pest or puzzling plant? Bring photos and/or samples (in a sealed plastic zipper bag) to the Ask a Master Gardener table.

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

Details and directions: https://sacmg.ucanr.edu.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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