At high noon on Thursday, June 12 the annual El Dorado County Fair opens its gates for a four-day run of family fun and entertainment. This year there are plenty of things to see and do: watch the 70th annual John M. Studebaker International Wheelbarrow Races; eat massive amounts of hot dogs and tacos; enjoy the carnival rides and contests; check out an eclectic mix of animals; and explore the fair’s Agriculture/Horticulture Department’s exhibition and education programs coordinated by the UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County.
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This year’s ag and horticulture displays showcase the winners in the “Show What You Grow” competition in the “Flowers and Plants” and “Fruits and Veggies” categories. There are divisions for adults, teens, youth and 4H/FFA in each category.
The Master Gardener information desk, exhibits and educational programs will be located in the El Dorado Savings Floriculture Building, near the county history museum.
The “Flowers and Plants” category include cut flowers, fresh or miniature flower arrangements, potted plants, dry arrangements, fresh flower table settings, lavender and cut flowers. The “Fruits and Veggies” category include fruits, vegetables, herbs, berries, nuts and other garden produce.
Every day of the fair the Master Gardeners will be giving brief “how-to” gardening talks and demonstrations. These talks will be presented free by local experts and the topics range from fire safety to beekeeping.
One particularly important topic this year explores fire wise landscaping. The experienced presenters will tell how to balance outdoor gardening aesthetics and safety to increase chances a property and home can withstand a wildfire.
Other programs include tips for safe gardening; a “how to” on raising bees in El Dorado County; the correct way to prune fruit trees for the best fruit production; worm composting; edible landscaping; and container gardening. A complete schedule of the daily programs can be found on the fair’s Website at eldoradocountyfair.org/schedule.html#top.
Throughout the fair, several Master Gardeners will be in the Floriculture Building and available to answer garden questions. Their job is to solve your problem by researching the issue and providing practical advice and scientific-based gardening information.
Master Gardeners of El Dorado County are volunteers and extensively trained, tested and certified under the direction of the University of California Cooperative Extension. They receive year-round training on topics such as horticulture, soils, water, entomology, plant pathology, integrated pest management, plant problem diagnosis, sustainable landscape management practices and plant propagation.
There is no public education Master Gardener class Saturday, June 14 due to the fair. If you can’t make it to the fair, Master Gardeners are available to answer questions every Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m.-noon by calling 530-621-5512. Walk-ins are welcome at the office, 311 Fair Lane in Placerville.
For more information about the public education classes and activities go to the Master Gardener Website at ucanr.edu/sites/EDC_Master_Gardeners/. Sign up to receive the online notices and e-newsletter at ucanr.edu/mgenews/.
To help with the state’s on-going water conservation efforts the Master Gardener organization, through the UC system, has compiled several helpful tips regarding home gardening and irrigation at cagardenweb.ucanr.edu/Drought_/Drought_Gardening_Tips_/.