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How to outsmart deer in your garden

Hungry deer are a constant issue for foothill
gardeners. (Photo courtesy UC IPM)

Nevada County master gardeners offer free virtual workshop

It’s a constant question from foothill gardeners: What will deer NOT eat?

Find out during a free virtual workshop, “Living with Deer as a Foothill Gardener.”

Hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Nevada County, this Zoom session is open to the public regardless of where they live. Set for 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, the workshop has no pre-registration; just click on the link and join in.

Deer rank among the most frustrating issues for foothill gardeners – and some Valley gardeners, too. These large mammals seem to always be hungry, and our gardens look so appetizing.

“Although there are no guarantees when gardening in deer country, there are ways to live with these browsers and have a lovely landscape and garden veggies as well,” say the master gardeners. “To learn more about managing deer in foothill gardens, join us to learn facts about the deer in our area and ways you can defend your gardens and landscape.”

Deer not only have big appetites; they can be just plain big. Mule deer, the most common species in the Sierra foothills and California’s only native deer species, can reach 6 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds. And they can jump!

Right now, deer are fattening up for the winter on acorns and other nutrient-rich foods. But they don’t care for lavender, rosemary or other pungent herbs. Think like a deer and, yes, you can redirect them away from your garden to native oaks and other more appropriate food sources.

More details and Zoom links (including passcode): .


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.

* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.

* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.

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