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Spring’s last Open Garden is Saturday at Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

Bring questions for master gardeners during morning event

Find inspiration (and shade) at the Water Efficient Landscape of the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. This area is open during regular park hours; the rest of the FOHC will be open as well especially for Open Garden on Saturday.

Find inspiration (and shade) at the Water Efficient Landscape of the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. This area is open during regular park hours; the rest of the FOHC will be open as well especially for Open Garden on Saturday. Kathy Morrison

Sure, you've got gardening questions -- what gardener doesn't this time of year?

Why are the tomatoes dropping flowers? How to protect the grapes or the blueberries from critters? When's the best time to harvest lavender? How to know when compost is done? What kind of plant thrives in full, hot sun? Why didn't the peach tree produce any fruit this year?

Find answers to these and other questions when the Sacramento County master gardeners present their final Open Garden Day of spring this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The informal event at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is free and open to the public. All areas of the FOHC will be open and staffed by master gardeners, who enjoy helping gardeners with tips and solutions to gardening dilemmas. The Horticulture Center is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., south of the Fair Oaks Library.

The next event at the Horticulture Center will be Harvest Day, the master gardeners' big celebration of summer, with speakers, vendors and special presentations. Mark the calendar -- it'll be on Saturday, Aug. 5. Open Garden events will resume in September and October.

The master gardeners also will be back at the State Fair in July, daily staffing their booth in The Farm and fielding all sorts of summer gardening questions.

And a personal shoutout here to the new master gardener Class of 2023, which will celebrate its graduation this Saturday as well. The 24 newly minted MGs are a welcome addition to the busy Sacramento County group. Congrats all!

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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