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Find gardening inspiration, answers at Open Garden Day this weekend in Fair Oaks

Sacramento master gardeners will be on hand to offer advice and tips

The forecast for Saturday is clear and cold, with an excellent chance of fruit tree blossoms at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.

The forecast for Saturday is clear and cold, with an excellent chance of fruit tree blossoms at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. Kathy Morrison

After the recent stormy weather, gardeners and gardening hopefuls are likely to be anxious to get outside. This Saturday, Feb. 10, should offer the perfect opportunity, as the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center welcomes visitors to Open Garden Day.

The free, informal event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon, features Sacramento County master gardeners working in the various areas of the Horticulture Center. As visitors stroll through the site, they are encouraged to chat with the master gardeners, ask gardening questions and gather ideas for their own gardens.

The FOHC includes a vineyard, an orchard (including a separate citrus area), an herb garden, vegetable area, a berry garden, composting area and an extensive Water-Efficient Landscape, which features California natives and other plants appropriate for the Sacramento region. The WEL is open every day during daylight hours, but the other areas are open to the public only during Open Garden Days and Harvest Day. 

The "Ask a Master Gardener" table will be staffed to evaluate gardening mysteries and view examples of garden problems (leaves, insects and the like -- preferably transported in sealed clear bags).

The master gardeners also will be selling their 2024 Gardening Guide and Calendar, an invaluable resource with a price tag of just $12. It includes planting charts and lists of monthly garden tasks, as well as a wealth of information on creating a wildlife habitat in a home garden.

Mini talks are planned in the different areas of the Horticulture Center during the morning; check the schedule at the entrance for times and topics.

The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is at 11549  Fair Oaks Blvd., just south of Fair Oaks Park at Madison Avenue and Fair Oaks. Parking is free.

 Open Gardens are typically on Saturday mornings, but a few each year are on different days to accommodate other schedules. The remaining winter and spring ones this year are set for March 16, April 17 (a Wednesday), May 11, June 6 (Thursday evening) and June 15. Harvest Day, which is a larger event, is planned for Aug. 3. The year's final Open Gardens will be Sept. 14 and Oct. 16.

For more information on Sacramento County maser gardener activities and events, visit


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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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