Fun, free things to do on warm weekends

Woulda, shoulda, coulda. As much is I hate to live in the land of regrets, if I had known the weather was going to be 70 degrees for the past two weeks, I would have done a few things differently.
For example, I would have squeezed in one more kayak trip. I should not have packed my spring-weather clothes in a cedar trunk. I really should water my lawn and I could have planted a boat-load of spinach seeds.
But who knew?
Several weeks ago the Handsome Woodsman and I attended a free workshop at Hodge’s Nursery, 9681 the Midway toward Durham.
Owner Ken Hodge holds workshops throughout the year, including almost every weekend from January through March. Future topics will include how to spray during the dormant season and pruning shade trees.
When we were at the nursery in late October, Ken had a table reserved for winter vegetables that could be planted then, and now.
When I talked to Ken Thursday, he suggested putting seeds of radishes in the ground anytime the weather isn’t miserable.
During the workshop, he also shared his time-tested recipe for raised-bed soil amendment.
We expect a lot from our small garden plots, he explained, and having superior soil will provide a better return.
For a raised bed of 6×6′ he adds a bag of Soil Booster, by GreenAll, amendment before each growing season — two bags if the area has been neglected for a while.
The mixture is 15 percent chicken manure and includes fir bark, composted mushroom soil, earthworm castings and volcanic pumice, among other choice ingredients.
He also likes to add Dr. Earth or Biosol as a top dressing.
Out in Durham, and many areas of Chico, the water tends to be “hard.” You’ll know if this is the case because “hard water” produces stains under your bathroom faucets.
Hard water can add to soil with high pH, which makes plants turn yellow. Ken said he adds Dr. Iron to fix this soil problem.
Other fun, free adventures
You probably missed it, because the Farm City Celebration bus tour tickets sell out fast and the event can only handle 250 participants.
You can read about what you missed here:
Yet, here’s the deal: You can visit a variety of farms in the county any month of the year. The Sierra Oro Farm Trail,, has a listing of agri-businesses you can visit all by yourself or when urban friends come to town. Most sell food products, and according to most big-box stores, the official holiday shopping season has begun.
During the recent bus tour, for example, Glennda Morse of Morse Farms said you can call ahead and ask if someone will be around the day you want to visit,
I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to enjoy buying Christmas gifts when I’m traipsing around a farm, soaking in some of this 70-degree weather. The only thing that would make it better is to bring a friend who will take a picture of me holding my rubber chicken.
In the past, I’ve tried personalizing locally purchased gifts by finding a recipe on the local farm’s website, and tucking the food tips into the gift box.

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