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Master gardeners host Open Garden Days in two locations

Get advice from experts in Sacramento and El Dorado counties

The blueberries are ripening at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center -- and the bushes are protected from birds by this extensive netting system. Discover this and lots more during the Open Garden on Saturday.

The blueberries are ripening at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center -- and the bushes are protected from birds by this extensive netting system. Discover this and lots more during the Open Garden on Saturday. Kathy Morrison

Need some gardening inspiration – or advice? Saturday, May 20, is your opportunity to get expert help at UCCE master gardener events in two counties.

Both Sacramento County and El Dorado County master gardeners are hosting Open Garden Days on Saturday morning at their respective demonstration gardens. These special events are open to the public and offer a chance to watch these experts in action and ask gardening questions.

“Open Gardens are informal free events where you roam the gardens, watch what we are doing, see what we are growing and ask questions,” say the Sacramento County master gardeners.

“Bring samples of your problem plants, mystery pests and questions to the ‘Ask the Master Gardeners’ information table. Get one-on-one advice based on the most recent research-based sustainable practices.”

From 9 a.m. to noon, the El Dorado County master gardeners will be stationed at Sherwood Demonstration Garden, 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville.

It’s a chance for the public to get “a hands-on, interactive experience about research-based, sustainable gardening practices specific to the west slope of El Dorado County, appropriate for all ages and cultures, and reflective of a variety of environments and gardening experiences.”

The Sherwood Garden features 16 individual demonstrations gardens range from the Shade Garden to the Rock Garden. Especially popular right now is the newly planted vegetable garden. (Remember: No dogs allowed.)


Also 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, the Sacramento County master gardeners will open the gates of Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, in Fair Oaks Park.

“Bring your family and friends to see the new spring growth in our spaces for ideas to use in yours,” say the organizers. “From vegetables in raised beds, grapes grown in barrels, fragrant herbs, or espaliered fruit trees. You will be delighted you came, and inspired for spring planting.”

Among the specific highlights Saturday:

Herbs: Culinary herbs are in full display for bedding ideas. Smell the scented geraniums, and ask about the newest herb plantings, which are so new they don't have labels yet.

Orchard: Ask how the Orchard Team is transitioning the old part of the orchard to some new  trees. Find out what happened to the espaliered O'Henry peach tree up on the hill (above the berries) and learn how the winter weather was involved.

Berry Garden: See the many varieties of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries for our region, and learn how they're netted to protect the crop

Vegetable Garden: The All-America Selections display garden is planted for summer. Check out which varieties of tomatoes were chosen. See the new potato-growing area, which replaced the straw-bale garden.

Vineyard: See the prodigious growth on some of the grapevines, and learn about the newest varieties planted.

Compost Area: Watch a demonstration on how to collect worm castings.

Water-Efficient Landscape: See native and well-adapted shrubs and grasses on display; see what's blooming now that the weather has warmed.



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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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