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Sacramento County's Harvest Day returns Aug. 5

Plant talks, vendors, food and fun during annual gardening celebration

Last year's Harvest Day was busy in the Herb Garden and beyond. This year's event is Saturday, Aug. 5.

Last year's Harvest Day was busy in the Herb Garden and beyond. This year's event is Saturday, Aug. 5. Kathy Morrison

Wow, time for Harvest Day already? Yes, the summer celebration dubbed "a gardener's dream day" returns Saturday, Aug. 5, to the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.

The Sacramento County master gardeners have been working for months to prepare the Horticulture Center and the planned programs for their showcase event, which will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visitors can expect to find a wealth of expert gardening advice, plus dozens of educational displays, a collection of garden specialty vendors and several food vendors.

Three 45-minute keynote gardening presentations are scheduled in the speakers' tent:

-- 8:30 a.m. Debbie Flower & "Farmer Fred" Hoffman, "Tips for Saving Time, Money & Water in the Garden"

-- 9:45 a.m. Angela Laws, "Habitat Gardening for Pollinators in a Changing World"

-- 11 a.m. Pam Bone, "Home Reforestation: Correct Planting and Establishment of Landscape Trees"

"Mini talks" also are scheduled throughout the FOHC, covering such gardening topics as drip irrigation, worm composting, grape growing, and gardening with native plants. 

The 2024 edition of the popular Gardening Guide & Calendar will make its sales debut during Harvest Day. The price this year will be $12.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is located at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., just south of the Fair Oaks Library at Madison Avenue. Admission and parking are free.

The Horticulture Center will have plenty of natural shade and pop-ups, but master gardeners recommend that each visitor bring a hat.

For more information on the Sacramento County master gardeners and Harvest Day, go to


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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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