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Celebrate (last-minute) Halloween at pumpkin patches, corn mazes

Procrastinators can still get in the spirit at these favorite haunts

The corn maze at Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon covers 60 acres. Halloween is the last day to try it out this year.

The corn maze at Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon covers 60 acres. Halloween is the last day to try it out this year.

Courtesy Cool Patch Pumpkins

Happy (almost) Halloween! If you haven’t already, there’s still time to get in the Halloween spirit – and enjoy some time outdoors, too.

While pumpkin pickings may be slim at neighborhood supermarkets, there are still plenty of distinctive and good-looking gourds at local pumpkin patches. All seven Green Acres Nursery & Supply locations will keep their pumpkin patches open through (at least) Tuesday with more than a dozen varieties. (Uncarved pumpkins make good decorations for Thanksgiving, too.) Green Acres nurseries are located in Sacramento, Auburn, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rocklin and Roseville. For directions and details:

The biggest pumpkin patch in the Sacramento area is Dave’s Pumpkin Patch at Vierra Farms in West Sacramento. Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Halloween Tuesday, Dave’s does a lot more than sell pumpkins. Located at 3010 Burrows Ave., the farm hosts its annual “Cornival” with hay ride, “jumping pillow,” corn maze, hay pyramid, hay maze and farm animals. Don’t miss Dave’s famous hot apple cider cinnamon donuts.

Admission is $12 per person, age 3 or older. Tots age 2 and younger admitted free. Because of its rural location, Dave’s accepts only cash or check on site. Tickets maybe purchased by debit or credit card in advance online:

Feel like taking a drive? Amador Flower Farm, known for its millions of daylilies, has its pumpkin patch and kid-friendly corn maze open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. Admission and parking are free. In the heart of Amador wine country, the flower farm is located near Plymouth less than an hour from downtown Sacramento. Details and directions:

Our area’s biggest and most famous Halloween attraction: Cool Patch Pumpkins’ world’s largest corn maze. Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, this Dixon attraction draws crowds from throughout Northern California. During the final countdown to Halloween, it’s a little less packed and only 20 miles from Sacramento.

With the help of GPS, the maze – which covers more than 60 acres – is cut differently every September. Allow at least an hour to get through the maze. Five bridges allow visitors to get above the corn and see the pattern – which is actually a tribute to farmers.

“Every year, the maze is completely unique,” says the owners. “This year, we honor the hard work and dedication it takes to be a modern day farmer! In the 1800s, 90 percent of the U.S. population lived on farms; today it is around 1 percent. So no matter who you are or where you're from, chances are you have farming in your heritage.”

More than 20 years ago, Cool Patch started as a pumpkin patch, and the Cooley family farm still boasts an amazing selection in its U-Pick fields (as well as pre-harvested pumpkins). Cool Patch grows more than 50 varieties of decorative pumpkins and gourds. Choose the one you want and pick it right off the vine.

Located at 6150 Dixon Ave. West, Cool Patch is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Halloween Tuesday. Admission is $22 for ages 6 and up; children age 5 and younger admitted free. Details and directions:


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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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