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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: https://ncmg.ucanr.org .

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: https://ncmg.ucanr.org .


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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