UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

FOHC Projects

Home » Fair Oaks Horticulture Center » Project Updates 2023

If you have visited us at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center before, you know our garden is divided into project areas. For Harvest Day 2023, we have been busy getting ready. Below are updates you won't want to miss!

(click pictures for a bigger view)

Water-Efficient Landscape:

This garden greets visitors upon arrival with several different sections.  As living things must, the WEL garden is undergoing transitions and re-creations.

  • In the shade section, a brand new succulent garden is underway with a new design, irrigation scheme and many new plants that complement each other. If not complete, it will be well underway by Harvest Day.
  • In the upper section of the WEL is the wildlife habitat garden – also undergoing a redesign. Some plants are being added, others moved or removed. Master Gardeners will be on hand to explain the overall plan to visitors.
  • The circular area hosting the Popular Plant Garden (filled with plants relatively easy to find in local nurseries) is undergoing a complete redesign. Both the plants and irrigation system were becoming dated and an exciting and reinvigorated landscape design and irrigation configuration are underway. Signs will give more information on the process.  Check it out now and keep an eye on it over the next year as it evolves. Good things take time.


Look for the large green sign pointing to the Backyard Composting area and ask us your questions about organics waste vs kitchen and backyard trimmings.

Test your skills to win a prize and take a photo as a worm. Got kids? They love our worms, and you will too. Learn ways to keep red wigglers happy and successful indoors or outside.

Compost bins are on display so you can see what works best for your backyard. Visit us for ways to make compost, not landfills.


Last winter’s rains were a boon for berries at the FOHC. Though most will be past bearing in August, it is notable that there were loads of blueberries this year that ripened in June including an uncharacteristic bounty in the dwarf container varieties—'Jelly Belly,' 'Glaze' and 'Wells Delight.' Visitors will also see the netting that keeps the birds from devouring the berries.

Visitors can see the raspberries on the bababerry and a brand new heritage raspberry. Both are everbearing varieties that produce berries twice each year, once on the first-year canes and later on the second-year canes.


The Herb Garden began a new era this year with the planning and planting of globally themed herb beds. The area had been reconfigured after the construction of the Chuck Ingels Memorial Gate, a change which gave the Herb Team an opportunity to rethink how herbs were grouped. Mediterranean herbs, Mesoamerican herbs, Asian herbs and others now have designated places in the raised beds, allowing the master gardeners of the Herb Team to better educate visitors on the herbs' properties, growth habits and uses.


The vegetable section has many new offerings that can be viewed at Harvest Day 2023. Here is a sampling:

  • Solarization of one bed as part of a 3-year regime to rid the area of spiral and root knot nematodes
  • Microgreens grown in a higher raised bed (raised raised bed?) to allow for easier harvest with less bending over
  • Painted lady runner beans adding edible beauty to the garden
  • Two types of potatoes (including one in barrels)—'Clancy' seed potatoes and 'Bodega' red heirlooms
  • Removed 'Albion' strawberries to rid the garden of the Shafer Masked Beetle—an emerging pest in the Sacramento area.

Of course, the vegetable section retains their All-America Selection winner varieties, tried and true trellising methods and the most popular veggie of all: Tomatoes.


The Orchard project area maintains an extensive collection of fruit trees, including plum, peach, fig, cherry, pluot, apple, Asian pear, orange, kumquat, mandarin, lemon, and much more.

The last several years—with the help of a recently-completed sub-tropical hut" shelter, the orchard has also begun growing a few exotic species such as avocado, guava, banana and more.

Trees are maintained with assertive summer pruning for optimum backyard" management. The orchard continues to experiment with espalier, dwarf varieties, unique planting arrangements and grafting to display a broad range of backyard options for area gardeners.


The FOHC Vineyard is gradually transitioning to grape varieties with increased disease resistance. This will help Sacramento backyard gardeners become familiar with varieties that stay healthy with less pesticide use. 'Hope,' 'Reliance,' 'Mars,' 'Crystal' and 'Mission' varietals are purported to be relatively resistant to powdery mildew.

We are experimenting with some new, fun varietals as well: 'Roger's Red,' a California native, will make its debut at Harvest Day 2023. This ornamental grapevine is a cross between the California wild grape, Vitis californica, and Vitis vinifera ‘Alicante Bouschet'. It has resistance to Pierce’s disease and phylloxera. In fact, Vitus californica saved the European wine industry in the late 1800s, when phylloxera aphids decimated the European wine grapes. Now, many grape cultivars are grown on Vitus californica rootstock. 'Roger's Red' is a vigorous grower and spreads rapidly over a fence, arbor or trellis, and its brilliantly crimson leaves in the fall make it a great addition to many landscapes! 

'Zestful Lollipop' is a new, nearly-seedless, large red grape that is fast-growing and excellent for fresh eating and raisins. We shall see!

If you’re interested in propagating your own vines (maybe a neighbor has a tasty one you would like to grow as well?), Master Gardeners in the vineyard will be hosting a demonstration of the proper technique during Harvest Day, look for the “mini-talk” schedule. There will also be a talk on grape growing tips for success!

4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827       Master Gardener Phone:  916.876.5338       Fax:  916.875.6233

Webmaster Email: mgsacramento@ucanr.edu