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Find out which critter is eating your garden

Free workshop -- available via Zoom or in person -- offered by Placer County master gardeners

Raccoon
A vertebrate pest, such as this young raccoon,
can be a gardener's nemesis. (Photo by L. Fitzhugh,
courtesy UC Integrated Pest Management)

Ever wonder what’s eating your plants? How can you tell rat damage from raccoon foraging? And who’s digging all those holes?

Find out during a free workshop hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Placer County.

Set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – An Integrated Strategy for the Management of Vertebrate Pests” will tackle the pesky problem of identifying hungry and destructive critters.

The one-hour program will be offered via Zoom as well as in person at Loomis Library, 6050 Library Drive, Loomis.

“You will learn various methods to protect your garden from vertebrate pest damage,” say the organizers. “We will review the effectiveness of different methods and teach you how to minimize harm to the environment, other critters and your family. Some of the pests we will cover include squirrels, gophers, moles, voles, rabbits, raccoons and skunks.”

Learn effective ways to outsmart voracious varmints and save your garden – without the use of poisons or harmful chemicals.

No advance registration is necessary, although pre-registration for the Zoom presentation is encouraged. Find full details and Zoom links at: https://pcmg.ucanr.org/?calitem=527828&g=123640 .

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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