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Be a better bug sleuth with free workshop

Sacramento's Bug Man, Baldo Villegas, kicks off Orangevale Grange series

Baldo Villegas holding pink roses
Baldo Villegas is a retired state entomologist and a rose expert, too.
(Photo courtesy Baldo Villegas)
Get more out of gardening (and get answers, too) during a summer series of educational workshops, hosted by the new Orangevale Farm and Garden Club.

Part of the Orangevale Grange, Orangevale’s newest garden club started recently as a Facebook group, which already has more than 300 members. At 9 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month, the club will host a one-hour workshop at the Grange,  5807 Walnut Ave. in Orangevale. Everyone is welcome to these in-person events. Admission is free.

Kicking off the summer series will be Sacramento’s Bug Man, Baldo Villegas. A retired state entomologist, Villegas also is a rose expert with more than 3,000 bushes in the ground at his Orangevale home.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, June 5, Villegas will discuss one of his favorite topics: “Identifying and Diagnosing Insect Problems in the Garden.” This workshop is designed for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Any gardener can be a better bug sleuth. Villegas will show how to determine what’s eating your plants and suggest ways to cut down on that destruction without pesticides.

Coming up are workshops on drip irrigation and soil building.

On July 3, Justin Eubank of ACE Hardware will present “ACEing Your Way through Drip Irrigation.” This workshop will come in handy for anyone considering converting their landscape to drip irrigation, an important water-saving tool – especially during drought. Drip irrigation puts water where plants need it most – at the roots.

On Aug. 7, environmental educator Julie Barbour will explain, “When Plants Harmonize with the Soil.” An expert in integrated pest management, Barbour will discuss how plants and soil work together. When that important relationship is healthy, so are the plants – and the soil – with fewer pest problems and more drought tolerance.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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