Vegetable Demonstration Garden
Established in 2000, the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center demonstration vegetable garden is the site of research and demonstrations and where Master Gardeners grow a variety of cool and warm-season crops to help identify varieties that grow successfully in the Sacramento area.Nine raised beds, including one to demonstrate what can be built for those with accessibility needs, were constructed by Master Gardeners and Boy Scout Troop 107 during the winter of 2012. For information about the construction and costs for the raised beds click here.
The vegetable garden is a living classroom. Formal vegetable trials have been conducted on fresh market (hybrid) tomatoes, sweet corn, and heirloom tomatoes. Multiple demonstrations and tastings have featured cherry tomatoes and melons. Several recent demonstrations have revolved around specific themes:
- Ethnic gardens - Mexican, Italian, French, Asian, and European (vegetables and herbs that represent the cuisines of those cultures)
- Rainbow garden - individual rows the color of a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, and purple (vegetables, herbs, and flowers that correspond to those rows)
- Victory garden - heirlooms, hybrids, and All-American Selection (AAS) winners (vegetables, herbs, and flowers)
- Favorites garden – Master Gardener favorite heirloom and hybrid vegetables as well as flowers and herbs to attract beneficial insects
Half wine barrels showcase vegetables, herbs, and beneficial insect-attracting flowering plants that can be successfully grown in containers.
The vegetables are grown using water conserving and organic methods whenever possible. Those methods include the use of the following:
- Organic fertilizers (such as pelleted chicken manure, fish emulsion, seaweed/kelp)
- Organic soil amendments (such as compost)
- Cover crops that are grown to provide nutrients and “green manure” to the soil
- Crop rotation to help prevent the build up of soil-borne diseases and pests
- Soil solarization to kill many soil-borne diseases and some weeds
- Straw mulch to reduce weeds and keep the soil moist and cool
- Drip irrigation system to reduce water usage
- Environmentally sound pest management (such as blasting aphids and spider mites with water, hand-picking squash bugs, hand-picking weeds, covering plants with row covers to exclude pests, planting nectar-producing flowering plants that attract beneficial insects, and judicious use of insecticidal soaps and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) when necessary)
More information about cover crops....
More information about soil solarization....
All about the Raised Vegetable Beds
Read about the materials, construction methods, and costs of the FOHC raised beds here.
Click here to see month by month vegetable gardening tips.