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Ann Wright: Time for harvest, time to plant

Monarch caterpillar munching on a milkweed plant.
Photo by Ann Wright |

Fall is in the air with crisp, cooler nights and shorter days. Garden production is slowing, leaves and acorns are falling. This is a lovely time of year to continue work in the garden. At the Master Gardeners Demonstration garden on the NID grounds, the delicate fragrance of Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) is a sure herald of autumn. The dry meadow grasses waving gently in the wind, and raised bed planters are loaded with several varieties of basil, oregano and other herbs. A monarch caterpillar has been visible munching on a milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) in the garden bed. The Tomato Tasting event last Saturday was a rousing success with over 80 varieties of tomatoes on display and available to taste. Look for the winning tomato seedling at next year’s spring plant sale. With cool, lovely days ahead, now is the best time to plan ornamental and cool season crop planting. Perennials are plants that live for more than two years; leaves and blossoms may or may not die off at winter, leaving a root system behind in the soil which promotes regrowth the following spring. Annuals, by comparison, complete their life cycle in one growing season where seedlings emerge, bloom and re-seed in late summer or fall. Fall is an opportune time to plant perennials in advance of winter rain.

The Master Gardeners fall plant sale will be Saturday, Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to noon at the demonstration garden. From Arugula to Swiss chard, several types of cool season vegetables will be for sale, in addition to multiple varieties of kale and lettuce. Several types of herbs and ornamentals will also be offered, including narrow leaf and showy milkweed plants (Asclepias fascicularis and A. speciosa). Other ornamentals to be offered at the sale include a variety of California natives such as forsythia, nine-bark and canyon snow iris. Ground cover oregano, the popular Matillija poppy and various grasses and sedges will also be available. A more comprehensive list of plants for sale may be found on the Master Gardeners website, http://www.ncmg.ucanr.org. Plan to arrive early for the best selection; cash or checks accepted, no credit cards.

Coming up in October, the Master Gardeners free public workshops continue with “Fear the Rust: Garden Tool Maintenance” on Saturday, Oct. 1 and “50 Ways to Lose Your Lawn” on Oct. 8 at the demonstration garden on the NID business grounds, 1036 W. Main St. in Grass Valley. Two workshops related to fruit trees will also be offered this fall with “The ABCs of Planting an Orchard” on Oct.15, and “The Art and Science of Pruning Fruit Trees” on Nov. 5. The final two workshops will be held at the Grass Valley Elks Lodge, 109 S. School St. in Grass Valley. All workshops are free and are from 10 a.m. to noon.



For more information on any of these events or for home gardening questions, contact our Hotline at 530-273-0919. Information is also available on our website and Facebook pages.

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener.


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