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Get more buzz in your garden

Free workshop shows how to attract more beneficial insects

Betty Boop rose
A honeybee is attracted to these Betty Boop roses. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Want more buzz in your garden? Learn how to attract bees and other beneficial insects during a free virtual workshop, hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Nevada County.

Set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, “Encouraging Beneficial Insects” is open to gardeners everywhere with no advance registration required. Just click the link and Zoom on in. Find it here: .

Beneficial insects include a lot more bugs than honeybees.

“Pollinators are necessary for food and flower production,” say the master gardeners. “Parasitic insects are healthy alternatives to chemical pesticides. We’ll explain why these insects are desirable and what they need to flourish in your garden.

“We’ll list specific beneficial insects, and specific plants they love in Nevada County,” they add, “and teach you how to use online resources to find more insects and plants on your own.”

That plant list is applicable to most of the greater Sacramento region, too. Plant them and they will come!

Attracting beneficial insects to your great outdoors will make your landscape a much livelier place. Bees, butterflies, lady beetles, praying mantises, parasitoid wasps and more can help you be a better and more thoughtful gardener.

The Nevada County master gardeners hope to start holding in-person public workshops soon. In the meantime, Zoom workshops will continue as an alternative. Upcoming topics include: “Native Plants Bring Beauty and Benefits” (in two parts, Feb. 19 and 26); fire-wise landscaping (March 5); and “Functional Irrigation” (March 12). All workshops start at 10 a.m.

Details: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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