Ann Wright: Smokin’ hot August days with Master Gardeners! |

Ann Wright: Smokin’ hot August days with Master Gardeners!

Ann Wright
Rows of marigolds on display to delight visitors at the Nevada County Fair.
Photo by Ann Wright

August is a very busy time for many — children will soon be going back to school, the temperatures are up and the Nevada County Fair is a happening place.

As usual, Nevada County Master Gardeners are on hand at their charmingly decorated tent in the AgSperience area of the fairgrounds.

Stop by to get answers to those nagging home gardening questions, or to attend one of the workshops being offered. Guess the temperature of the compost pile which has been building up since the start of the Fair on Wednesday.

The popular “Little Sprouts” flower painting will be available for children from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day of the Fair, at the Master Gardener’s tent. The wooden flowers are cut and assembled by our own Master Gardeners, and are ready to paint.

The workshop lineup today is:

10:30 a.m.: Turning you Lawn into Landscape

12:30 p.m.: Gardening Under the Oaks

1:30 p.m. Worm Composting

Sunday’s workshops are:

10:30 a.m.: Composting is the Gardener’s Best Friend

12:30 p.m.: Container Gardening

Speaking of compost (and we do love our compost) the process of composting is quite fascinating, and offers a pretty big pay-off: great amendment for your possibly starving soil.

If you missed the workshops and demonstrations at the Fair, plan to attend the regular workshop, “Composting is the Gardener’s Best Friend” from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 18 at the Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden on the Nevada Irrigation District Grounds at 1036 W. Main Street in Grass Valley.

This is a wonderful way to learn more about the compost process and find out what temperature the “hot” pile of compost reaches. Participants can guess how hot is hot!

So while it’s hot and smoky outside, perhaps it’s a good time to sit inside and ponder the next steps in the garden.

Summer will soon be waning, with fall on the horizon. With that, growing vegetables from fall and into the winter is a great way to enjoy plants that thrive in the cool season.

Cool-season vegetables grow best and produce the best-quality crops when average temperatures are 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and they usually tolerate slight frost when mature.

Success depends on bringing plants to maturity in cool weather because in hot conditions many become bitter tasting and may bolt to seed rather than produce edible parts.

Cool-season vegetables can be planted from transplants approximately six weeks prior to the first frost date. In general, and in consideration of the weather at any given moment, the first fall frost date may fall anytime between the end of October for higher elevations to as late as the end of November in lower parts of the county.

Seeds for cool-weather crops can be started indoors beginning in August. To find out more about the wonders of winter gardening, plan to attend the Master Gardener’s free workshop, “Eat Your Greens! How to Grow Delicious Vegetables All Winter” from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 25 also presented at the Demonstration Garden, 1036 W. Main St., in Grass Valley.

For other upcoming Master Gardener events, or for questions call the Hotline at 530-273-0919 or go to the website at

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener.

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