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Get a look at early fall gardening Saturday in Fair Oaks

Sacramento master gardeners staff Horticulture Center for Open Garden Day

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is pleasant and shady in the late-summer morning light.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is pleasant and shady in the late-summer morning light. Kathy Morrison

The light has started to shift into that golden fall glow, have you noticed? To gardeners, that signals a great season for planting. This Saturday's Open Garden Day at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is the perfect time to check out what's growing and can be grown in fall.

Open Garden Day is a free, informal event, running from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 9. All areas of the Horticulture Center will be staffed with UCCE master gardeners, who are happy to discuss what's planted in the various areas: Berry Garden,  Herb Garden, Orchard, Vegetable Garden, Vineyard and Water-Efficient Landscape. And the master gardeners in the Compost Area are ready to answer questions about organic waste recycling and can show off their hard-working red wigglers in the worm composting bin.

Have a perplexing gardening question or an unidentified pest? Bring along plant or bug samples (preferably in plastic bags) and visit the Ask the Master Gardener table -- or talk to any of the master gardeners onsite.

Two special presentations are planned during the morning:

-- 10 a.m. "Warm Season Weeds, Cool Season Weeds."

-- 11 a.m.  "Making Your Yard Wildlife Friendly."

The new Gardening Guide and Calendar also will be on sale during the event. The 2024 theme is "Habitat Gardening." The publication's price is $12; cash or check only at this event. (It also can be ordered using a credit card on the Sacramento master gardeners' website,

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is located at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., just south of the Fair Oaks Library.

Plan ahead: The final Open Garden Day of 2023 will be Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon.


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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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