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Harvest Day offers great shopping for gardeners

Select local vendors, clubs and organizations bring wide range of specialties

Plant lovers browse the offerings of Morningsun Herb Farm during a previous Harvest Day. The Vacaville nursery will be back with herbs, perennials and native plants at Saturday's event, along with nine other vendors of plants and garden-related products.

Plant lovers browse the offerings of Morningsun Herb Farm during a previous Harvest Day. The Vacaville nursery will be back with herbs, perennials and native plants at Saturday's event, along with nine other vendors of plants and garden-related products. Kathy Morrison

Why go to Harvest Day? There are so many attractions for our gardening community: Informative speakers, hands-on demonstrations, a chance to get personalized advice from local experts plus tours of the Sacramento County master gardeners’ slice of educational paradise – the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Fair Oaks Park.

Of course, there’s shopping – one of the best assortments of garden vendors at any Sacramento-area event. The vendors are accompanied by dozens of garden education tables staffed by garden club members and nursery representatives, often offering free gifts. (Patrons also get a wonderful goodie bag at the gate.)

No wonder Harvest Day is our region’s biggest free annual gardening gathering.

Back in person and bigger than ever, Harvest Day is set for Saturday, Aug. 5, with the gates open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; come early to beat the heat.

At least 10 vendors are expected to offer their garden wares in the shade of the trees outside the Hort Center’s main entrance. Among the featured sellers are some local favorites:

* Exotic Plants, Sacramento’s go-to indoor plant store, brings its spectacular selection of orchids, aroids, succulents and tropical favorites.

* Morningsun Herb Farm, Vacaville’s destination nursery for herbs from around the globe, offers a huge assortment of herbs and perennials that thrive in the Central Valley and foothills.

* Miridae Mobile Nursery will wheel in its large, curated assortment of domesticated wildflowers and native plants. Sales support its West Sacramento-based nonprofit education lab.

* Tranquill Gardens, which specializes in turning local backyards into personal sanctuaries, is known for its water-wise gardening expertise as well as drought-tolerant and native plants.

* Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society has hundreds of plants propagated from its members’ vast collections.

* Hummingbird Feeders R Us (aka Yankee Glass Art) turns antique glassware into one-of-a-kind bird feeders and garden art.

* Wild Birds and Gardens offers supplies to keep our feathered friends happy and visiting regularly.

* Full Moon Metal Design of West Sacramento makes evocative garden art out of recycled tools, nails, bolts, sheeting and other castoffs.

* MushyLove sells mushroom-growing kits so gardeners can produce their own oyster mushrooms and other fungal delicacies.

* UC Davis Olive Center, which just won Best of California at the 2023 State Fair’s virgin olive oil competition, sells its award-winning olive oil made with olives harvested on campus.

Besides these vendors, the adjacent education area will have nurseries and garden supplies well represented including Green Acres Nursery & Supply, Kellogg Garden Products, E.B. Stone soil amendments and irrigation experts Hunter Industries.

Looking for advice or a new hobby? Among the clubs on hand will be the Sierra Foothills Rose Society (featuring master rosarian and bug answer man Baldo Villegas), Sacramento Perennial Plant Club, the Renaissance Society, Sacramento County 4-H, Audubon Society and the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society.

Representatives from the Sacramento Tree Foundation, SMUD and local water districts will offer advice on current programs for local residents such as free shade trees and rebates for irrigation upgrades.

All this shopping, browsing and talking can get people hungry (or thirsty). There will be food trucks, too, including Chando’s Tacos, Hefty Gyros, Java Johnny’s and Sweet Tooth Ice Cream Cart.

Admission and parking are free. Kids are welcome. Service dogs are allowed, but no other pets.

Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is located in Fair Oaks Park at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks.

Details, map and full schedule: https://sacmg.ucanr.edu/Harvest_Day/.

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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* 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 needs nutrients. Fertilize 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.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* 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.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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