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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 Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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