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Learn secrets of eco-friendly pest control

Nevada County master gardeners offer two-part IPM virtual workshop

Aphids on a leaf
Aphids are one of the more common pests in gardens.
Learn how to manage them and many others without
using pesticides. (Photo courtesy UCCE Master Gardeners)

What’s bugging your garden? And what can you do about it?

Don’t reach for the pesticide. Take a more thoughtful approach instead. Birds, bees and butterflies will thank you. (And your garden will be healthier, too.)

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is the key to harmonious gardening with nature and wildlife in mind. Learn IPM basics during a free two-part virtual workshop, presented by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Nevada County.

Held via Zoom, the online sessions will be held at 9 a.m. on consecutive Saturdays, May 29 and June 5. The links, passcodes and more are available here: . No advance registration is required.

“IPM is a process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment,” say the master gardeners. “IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere – in urban, rural, agricultural and wild land or natural areas.”

This two-part workshop will cover IPM techniques and why they work.

“You’ll learn how to manage pest damage long-term through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant plant varieties,” say the master gardeners.

IPM uses nature to manage nature. But making this form of pest management to work needs observation and proper identification of which pests are at work.

“IPM focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage by managing the ecosystem,” explain the master gardeners. “Monitoring and correct pest identification help you decide whether management is needed, and how to remove only the target organism. IPM programs combine management approaches for greater effectiveness.”

For more on Integrated Pest Management:

In addition to the IPM workshop, the Nevada County master gardeners also will host Saturday virtual workshops on “Softwood Propagation” (June 12), “Container Gardening” (June 19) and “Garden Makeover: Lawn to Landscape” (June 26). All are free and open to the public.

For details and links: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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