A round-up of home and gardening events happening in Santa Cruz County this year…
UCSC Arboretum Spring Plant Sale
The Arboretum’s spring plant sale offers hundreds of varieties of water-wise plants, succulents and small trees from California, Australia and South Africa that are ideal for the Central Coast climate. Get there early for the best selection.
INFO: Noon-4 p.m. UCSC Arboretum. 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. 502-2998. arboretum.ucsc.edu. Free.
Sunday 4/15, Wednesday 4/25, Saturday 5/19
Summer Vegetable Gardening Class
If you’ve been wanting to start a vegetable garden, but don’t have the knowledge or tools, this workshop is for you. The day-long intensive class covers bed preparation, fertilizing, proper sow and transplant dates for specific crops, discussion of more than 20 different warm-weather veggies to grow, warmth, light, and climate needs, companion planting, pest and disease control, and much more. Plus you’ll take home your own flat of summer veggies.
INFO: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Love Apple Farms. 2317 Vine Hill Road, Santa Cruz, 588-3801. growbetterveggies.com. Advance online registration required. $79 plus $20 materials fee.
String Gardens Workshop
When you run out of shelf space for your plants, it’s time to learn how to make a hanging garden. If you aren’t a fan of hanging pots, there is a way to hang plants without them. String gardening is an ancient form of bonsai, called “kokedama,” and is gaining popularity from garden enthusiasts all over the world. Each participant will be able to choose their favorite 4-inch houseplant from the nursery and will then use string and moss to create a display.
INFO: 2 p.m. Dig Gardens, 420 Water St., Santa Cruz. 466-3444. diggardens.com. $50.
Saturday 4/28 and Saturday 5/19
There is something so endearing about miniatures: poodles, golf, quiche, and of course, trees. Bonsai trees aren’t easy to care for, but the results are so worth it. Learn about how to successfully grow your very own bonsai tree at home. If you already have a bonsai in progress, you’re encouraged to bring it for consultation.
INFO: 1 p.m. Alladin Nursery and Gift Shop. 2905 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. 724-7517. alladinnursery.com. Free.
Saturday 4/28-Sunday 4/29
UCSC Farm and Garden Spring Plant Sale
This year’s annual spring plant sale will feature a 50th anniversary twist with some of Alan Chadwick’s favorites and selections of plants that thrive in the Monterey Bay region. If you can’t make this one, they are also hosted the first Sunday of each month through November.
Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. UCSC Barn Theater Parking Lot. 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. casfs.ucsc.edu. Free.
Rhododendron Plant Sale
Rhododendrons are beautiful, low maintenance plants that do well in the Central Coast climate. Aside from being choice plants from Bay Laurel Nursery in Scotts Valley, there will also be deciduous azalea series rhododendrons, hybridized by Ben Lomond resident Jerry Harris, who often wins trophies with his deciduous azalea hybrids. You too could be the proud owner of some award-winning rhododendrons, but make sure to get there early since they will likely sell out.
INFO: 7:30 a.m.-Noon. Cabrillo College Farmers Market. 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos. mbmg.ucanr.edu. Free.
Free Farm Tour
Take a relaxing stroll around the gorgeous 30-acre UCSC farm and see the organic agriculture and horticulture on its hand-worked garden, medium-sized, and tractor-worked farm scale. You will also learn more about the education, research and outreach work taking place through the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems.
10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Meet at UCSC’s Cowell Ranch Hay Barn. 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. casfs.ucsc.edu. Free, registration recommended.
‘It’s Not Too Late to Plant a Great Garden from Seed’
Summer is approaching, so it’s time to start planting. Learn all about the easier vegetables, herbs and flowers that you can plant from now and enjoy all summer long.
INFO: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Quail Hollow Ranch. 800 Quail Hollow Road, Felton. mbmg.org. Free.
Monterey Bay Rose Society 38th Annual Rose Show
There are literally hundreds of beautiful cut roses ready to take home at the annual MBRS rose show. There will also be the opportunity to meet Joe Truskot, author of the Central Coast Rose Manual, and receive rose advice by ARS Consulting Rosarians. Plus there’s live music, wine and Corralitos Market sausages.
INFO: 12:30-5 p.m. Alladin Nursery and Gift Shop. 2905 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. alladinnursery.com. Free.
Friday 5/11- Sunday 5/13
Cabrillo College 40th Annual Spring Plant Sale
More than 1,000 different organic vegetable starts, perennial edibles, annuals, bedding plants, culinary and medicinal herbs, cut flowers, natives, succulents, and more.
INFO: 3-7 p.m. on Friday, May 12, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday, May 13. Cabrillo Community College. 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos. 479-6241. Free.
An Introduction to Garden Herbalism
Aside from delicious strawberries, kale and beautiful flowers, the fields and gardens at the UCSC farm are abound with medicinal plants. Learn how to use commonly found plants for more restful sleep, to combat stress, soothe or strengthen digestion, heal wounds, and much more.
INFO: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. UCSC Farm and Garden. Corner of Merrill College Road and McLaughlin Drive. Santa Cruz. 459-3240. Online tickets at brownpapertickets.com. $30 general admission.
Planting and Caring for Succulents
They say succulents are easy to care for, but they are also fairly easy to kill, too. Just because they don’t need as much water doesn’t mean they don’t need love and attection. Join UC Master Gardeners Sue Procter and Tina Heitzman for a hands-on class on planting and growing succulents, and everyone will get a chance to make their own mini succulent garden to take home. Feel free to bring a container or pot with a drain hole to take your succulents home in.
INFO: 10 a.m-Noon. Costanoa Commons. 335 Golf Club Drive, Santa Cruz. mbmg.ucanr.edu. Free.
Compost, Vermiculture & Soil Fertility
Using homemade compost is the single best thing you can do to increase your garden’s fertility, ward off pests, and keep diseases at a minimum, according to Cynthia Sandberg co-founder of the World Tomato Society. Worm castings have also been shown to be a similarly powerful tool. Sandberg will teach students about the benefits of compost and vermiculture, how to properly build a compost pile and proper worm bin. Students will also take home their own worm bin.
INFO: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Love Apple Farms. 2317 Vine Hill Road, Santa Cruz, 588-3801. growbetterveggies.com. Advance online registration required. $59 plus $20 materials fee.
‘Who’s Eating My Plant and How to Control It’
Learn about how to manage garden pests and minimize damage with a less toxic strategy for long-term prevention and methods that keep health and environmental risks as low as possible. The class focuses on a range of pests, from insects and weeds to plant disease.
INFO:10 a.m.-Noon. UCANR Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden. 1430 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. mbmg.ucanr.edu. Free, registration recommended.
The Fine Art of Dahlia Growing
Dahlias are some of summer’s most beautiful blooms. But these tender annuals aren’t always easy to care for, since they can be a bit water- and temperature-sensitive. Students will take home potted cuttings following the workshop that gives tips and tricks to the best blooms.
INFO: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Love Apple Farms. 2317 Vine Hill Road, Santa Cruz, 588-3801. growbetterveggies.com. Advance online registration required. $69 plus $20 materials fee.
‘The Buzz About Bees’
If you’ve been thinking about starting a backyard beehive, or your are just curious about what’s involved in beekeeping, then this is the class for you. The class is designed for absolute beginners, so no prerequisite knowledge is required—you can walk in knowing nothing at all about bees and walk out ready to start with your own backyard beehive. UC Master Gardener Randy Fox will go over a brief history about honey bees and their life cycles and what tools you need to manage a successful hive. Make sure you get there 15 minutes early for registration.
INFO: 10 a.m. UCCE Cooperative Extension. 1430 Freedom Blvd, Suite E. Watsonville. mbmg.ucanr.edu. Free.
‘Grow Your Own! Selecting, Growing, and Arranging Backyard Bouquets’
So long, expensive store-bought bouquets! Learn how to select, grow and arrange annual flowers and perennials from your garden and yard to create beautiful bouquets. UCSC Alan Chadwick Garden Manager Orin Martin and his daughter, flower grower and bouquet maker Caroline Martin, will discuss how to select a range of blooms and grow them organically.
INFO: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. UCSC Alan Chadwick Garden. 245 McLaughlin Drive, Santa Cruz. 459-3240. Tickets online at brownpapertickets.com. $30.
Summer Fruit Tree Pruning
Summer pruning is one of the best ways to ensure your fruit trees are healthy and productive. Matthew Sutton, owner of Orchard Keepers, and Orin Martin, manager of UCSC’s Alan Chadwick Garden, will show you pruning techniques and answer any and all pruning questions.
INFO: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. UCSC Farm and Garden, Corner of Coolidge Drive and Carriage House Road, Santa Cruz. 459-3240. Tickets online at brownpapertickets.com. $25 general admission.
‘Chix in the City, Hens in the Hood’
Some think chickens are cute and cuddly, others think they are the spawn of Satan—learn about the joys of keeping and raising chickens without annoying your neighbors. Find out what the best breed is for you, how to raise chicks and keep eggs and how to design and place a chicken coop. Get there around 15 minutes early for registration.
INFO: 10 a.m.-noon. UCCE Extension Auditorium. 1430 Freedom Blvd., Suite E. Watsonville. mbmg.ucanr.edu. Free.
Dine outdoors on the organic farm at the Homeless Garden Project for a four-course dinner prepared by top local chefs using local, organic ingredients.