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The sun will be back Saturday, so bundle up and get outside

Calendar is packed with gardening and related events

The outdoors is calling. It may not be this nice to hike at Deer Creek Hills Preserve, but it should be clear.

The outdoors is calling. It may not be this nice to hike at Deer Creek Hills Preserve, but it should be clear. PHOTO COURTESY SACRAMENTO VALLEY CONSERVANCY

Yes, we will see the sun again.

The clouds that have taken up seemingly permanent residence in the region are expected to move along, leaving clear skies by Saturday, just in time for a plethora of outdoor events. (The gray ceiling is due back Sunday, but a certain football game dominates that day, so not much else is scheduled.)

If you haven't yet decided how to spend this clear but cold day, here are a few suggestions:

-- 13th Annual Biodiversity Museum Day at UC Davis, generally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, but times vary depending on the site. Ten of the collections on campus will be open (follow this link for the schedule and a map) for viewing and special programs, with many appealing to children and young adults. The attraction for gardeners will be the events in the Habitat Gardens near the Teaching Nursery from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Here's what planners say: "We’re featuring Climate-Ready Gardening tips and activities for all ages! We’re excited to share how you can make a big impact in your garden and in our local landscapes!" 

-- Bird Walk, Soil Born Farms, 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova. 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Cost is $15, which benefits  the American River Ranch Restoration & Development Fund. Naturalist Cliff Hawley leads the walk around Soil Born's American River Ranch. Suitable for beginning and intermediate birders. Register here.

-- Effie Yeaw Nature Center,  inside Ancil Hoffman Park,  2850 San Lorenzo Way (off Tarshes Drive), Carmichael. The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day but Monday. Admission is free but there is a county fee for parking. The trails, which are open from dawn to dusk, should have dried out enough to enjoy a walk through the area, which is a local treasure. More details here.

-- Deer Creek Hills Preserve, Saturday trail hikes. One of the largest nature preserves in the Sacramento region, this site near Sloughhouse in eastern Sacramento County is open only on select days. From February through May, Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Taking a self-guided hike on one of three trail options requires pre-registration by 6 p.m. Friday. $10 fee. (Shortest loop must be started by 11:30 a.m., others must be started earlier.) Details can be found here.

-- And of course, Open Garden Day, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Sacramento master gardeners' Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks. Read more in our earlier blog post.

If you're not ready to venture outdoors this weekend, there are still plenty of activities for gardeners. Check out all the listings for Saturday on our Calendar, including classes on growing blueberries or growing flowers, workshops on seed starting, and the textile show and sale at the Shepard Center.

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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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