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Sacramento master gardeners host early-evening Open Garden

Thursday event coincides with Fair Oaks' Summer Preview

Check out the various types of berries developing in the Berry Patch at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, during Open Garden on Thursday evening from 4 to 7 p.m.

Check out the various types of berries developing in the Berry Patch at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, during Open Garden on Thursday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. Kathy Morrison

Got garden questions? Who doesn’t, considering our weird spring weather? Here’s your chance to get expert advice from Sacramento County master gardeners – at a time convenient to folks who can’t make weekend mornings.

On Thursday evening, May 4, the master gardeners will host an Open Garden event at Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Fair Oaks Park – rain or shine. Admission and parking are free.

From 4 to 7 p.m., watch master gardeners as they tend to spring tasks and prepare for summer planting and rapid growth.

“Join us for an evening in the garden,” say the master gardeners. “Bring your family and friends to see the new spring growth in our garden for ideas to use in yours. From vegetables in raised beds, grapes grown in barrels, fragrant herbs or espalier fruit. You will be motivated to start gardening this season.”

The master gardeners suggest these activities during Open Garden:

* Berries: Notice the varieties of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries for our region.

* Compost: See various ways to turn your backyard and kitchen waste into high-grade organic fertilizer.

*Herbs: Note culinary herbs in full display -- pleasing to the eyes and nose alike.

* Orchard: See all the varieties of fruit starting develop.

* Vegetables: The All-American colorful demonstration garden is ready for spring.

* Vineyard: Walk through the delicious varieties of grapes and see how they can be grown.

* Water Efficient Landscape: Look for pollinators among the native grasses and shrubs.

Got a garden mystery, problem pest or puzzling plant? Bring photos and/or sample (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.

And there’s more! On that same evening, from 5 to 7 p.m., Fair Oaks Park is hosting the park district’s “Summer Preview” with community booths, registration for summer programs, classic cars and food trucks. This event also is free.

Visit the master gardeners, then check out the community programs and get dinner.

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

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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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