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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.

Details: https://sacmg.ucanr.edu/.

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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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