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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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