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Sacramento master gardeners host Wednesday Open Garden

Final event of the year focuses on fall planting, composting and more

Hachiya persimmons ripen on a tree in the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center's orchard. The center will be fully open to the public one last time this year, on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Hachiya persimmons ripen on a tree in the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center's orchard. The center will be fully open to the public one last time this year, on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Kathy Morrison

Fall is for planting – but what? And how? (And what can you do with all those autumn leaves?)

Find out during a special midweek Open Garden hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Sacramento County.

From 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Oct. 11, the Sacramento County master gardeners will open the gates of Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. Admission and parking are free.

This event is your last chance to get their expert hands-on advice in person this year.

“Join Sacramento’s UC Master Gardeners for the final open garden event of 2023,” say the master gardeners. “You will get locally-relevant insights on caring for your garden at the end of the season’s bounty – preparation for 2024. See colorful foliage and late-season blooms like cherry-red pineapple sage against lime green leaves. Feel free to bring your curiosity and questions. Pictures of problem pests or plants, or samples in an enclosed bag or jar, can be helpful.”

Two special presentations will start at 10 a.m.: “Composting at Home” (under the Kiwi Arbor) and “Fall Planting” (in the Water-Efficient Landscape garden).

Among the highlights Wednesday:

Water-Efficient Landscape: Fall clean-up to manage pests and adding bulbs for spring blooms.

Compost: Turning and sifting finished compost. Kids love finding and caring for red wigglers.

Berries: Pruning and amending the soil for the proper pH.

Herbs: See cool-season bloomers such as hyssop, chrysanthemums, dianthus and sages.

Vegetables: Planting cover crops and cool-season veggies to sustain Sacramento year-round.

Orchard: Late-season harvesting, mulching and preparations for frost protection.

Vineyard: Noting color changes that could mean more than normal fall changes.

Also, get a copy of the master gardeners’ 2024 Garden Guide and Calendar ($12 cash or check). These make great gifts, too.

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



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For week of Nov. 26:

Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!

* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.

* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.

* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.

* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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