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Need garden advice? Check out these farmers markets

Placer County master gardeners offer expertise at several locations during the month

This image of showy milkweed and a bee is the cover photo for the Placer County master gardeners' 2024 Gardening Guide and Calendar, now on sale.

This image of showy milkweed and a bee is the cover photo for the Placer County master gardeners' 2024 Gardening Guide and Calendar, now on sale. Screenshot from video by UCCE master gardeners of Placer County

This time of year, gardeners have plenty of questions: What happened to my tomatoes? How can I keep my peppers producing? Is this bug a good guy or a bad guy?

The best people to field those questions? Master gardeners. They’re prepared with the latest university research as well as countless hours of experience. When it comes to local backyard mysteries, they (usually) have the answers.

This late summer and fall, Placer County master gardeners are bringing their services to the public via local farmers markets. They’ll staff information tables at 10 farmers markets in September plus one more in August: Tuesday, Aug. 29, at The Fountains of Roseville, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Best of all, the service is free. Bring examples (in a sealed plastic bag or container) or photos to help with plant diagnosis or insect identification.

You also can catch the master gardeners at these locations:

-- Auburn Farmers Market, 150 Auburn Folsom Road, Auburn; 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 2 and 16.

-- Fowler Ranch Farmers Market, Fowler Nursery, 3111 Lincoln Newcastle Highway, Lincoln; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 3 and 17.

-- The Fountains Farmers Market, 1198 Roseville Parkway, Roseville; 8:30 to 1 p.m. Sept. 5, 12, 19 and 26.

-- Sun City Lincoln Farmers Market, 965 Orchard Creek Lane, Lincoln; 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 13 and 27.

In addition, they will have a booth at the Auburn Fall Home Show, Sept. 22-24, at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.

More dates are scheduled for October. Check the master gardeners’ website for details: https://pcmg.ucanr.edu/.

Besides getting expert advice, these outreach events are a wonderful opportunity to pick up a copy of the master gardeners’ award-winning 2024 Gardening Guide and Calendar. The theme: “Try Something New … Ever-Changing Gardens.” The master gardeners will sell this invaluable guide at many of their upcoming appearances. Watch the short video they filmed about the Gardening Guide and Calendar here.

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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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