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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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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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