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'Grow Orangevale' features Farmer Fred, Baldo Villegas

At day-long free event, experts offer advice to inspire spring gardening

Farmer Fred Hoffman will speak on spring gardening at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Farmer Fred Hoffman will speak on spring gardening at 1 p.m. Saturday. Kathy Morrison

Does spring have your green thumb itching? Or do you need a little inspiration to go along with some expert advice?

Find it Saturday during “Grow Orangevale,” a special event aimed at introducing people of all ages to gardening. Set for Saturday, March 25, the free gardening event will be held at the Orangevale branch of the Sacramento Public Library. As an extra special treat, Farmer Fred Hoffman – host of the popular podcast, “Beyond the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred” – and rose and insect expert Baldo Villegas – Sacramento’s “Bug Man” – will be among the featured speakers.

“There’s no substitute for vegetables harvested from your own yard!” say the organizers. “This will be the topic of the presentations from UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County. … Whether you have a sunny balcony or a spacious lot, you can enjoy produce grown mere steps from your own back door. Join us for this presentation and other gardening-related programs throughout the day.”

Events will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with something for every gardener from beginner to veteran.

At 10 a.m., start with a community seed and plant swap. Patrons are urged to bring something from their garden – cuttings, seedlings, root divisions, seeds, etc. – and take something home to plant.

At 11:30 a.m., join Jesse Blacksher from the Orangevale Foodbank Farm and Nelson Kirk from the Orangevale Recreation and Park District as they answer your questions about organic gardening and caring for your trees.

That’s followed at noon by a native plant workshop. Colene Rauh from the California Native Plant Society will discuss the ecological importance of native plants in your landscape.

At 1 p.m., Sacramento County master gardener Andi McDonald will discuss the basics of starting and maintaining a home vegetable garden – what, when, and where to plant.

Then at 2 p.m., Farmer Fred – a lifetime master gardener – will present tips on spring gardening. The former radio host also will answer questions.

Rounding out the workshops at 3 p.m. will be Orangevale’s own Baldo Villegas, an award-winning Master Consulting Rosarian. Baldo, who grows thousands of roses at his Orangevale home, will discuss how to grow and care for roses in your landscape. A retired state entomologist, he also will discuss how pests and diseases affect roses and how we can control them.

The Orangevale branch library is located at 8820 Greenback Lane, Suite L, Orangevale.Details:


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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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