Ann Wright: Master Gardeners plan go-live in July |

Ann Wright: Master Gardeners plan go-live in July

Since 1983, the UC Master Gardeners of Nevada County mission has been to extend research-based gardening and composting information to the public through various educational outreach methods. Fulfilling our mission this past year has been difficult, at best. We have missed doing our workshops at the Grass Valley Elks lodge as well as the Demonstration Garden. We also missed being with our community of gardeners at our annual spring plant sale, the Home and Garden Show and other spring and fall activities. It has been a long year for us all. Recently the University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources indicated that starting July 1, 2021 activities and operations will gradually resume. Preparations are in motion to officially re-open July 1, 2021 including Master Gardener in-person events and programs.

Starting the first Saturday of July, Master Gardeners will be available at The Market off McKnight Street in Grass Valley from 8 a.m. to noon. If all goes as planned, we will be at The Market each Saturday until fall. Workshops at the Demonstration Garden (1036 West Main St. in Grass Valley) will resume on July 10 with “Weeds: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.” Times for our workshops have changed – presentations will begin at 9 a.m. and last until around11:30 a.m. We are also planning on being at the Nevada County Fair August 11-15, so watch for more details coming soon!

We are looking forward to other events and workshops throughout the summer and into fall. Check our website ( for an updated calendar and other details. This past year we have conducted our workshops, although remotely via Zoom. Workshops have been recorded and are available on our website – look for Workshop Recordings on the left side menu.

In the meantime, gardening goes on and there are many things to do in the garden in June. Here are some June gardening tips:

  • Now is a good time to plant summer color like scabiosa or to sow seeds of cosmos, marigold (Tagetes spp.), sunflower (Helianthus spp.), and nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.). Zinnia provide a variety of vibrant colors to the garden and can be planted in succession through the early summer. For shady or semi-shady areas, try astilbe, coral bells (Heuchara spp.), bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.), hosta and columbine (Aquilegia spp.).
  • In cooler areas, summer succession planting can be done for crops like basil and cilantro for use during the late summer or fall – shade cloth might be necessary for sizzling summer days.
  • Drought is a huge concern this summer. Check to ensure irrigation systems are functioning efficiently. Spread organic material (mulch) around shrubs, vines, and trees. Mulching helps protect roots from high temperatures, helps reduce loss of soil moisture and suppresses weed growth – weeds compete with garden plants and trees for water. Mulches can also help reduce soil compaction and erosion. One essential rule to using mulch is to pull mulch material away from the base of the tree or stem of the plant. Piling mulch against the base of plants causes moisture to build up which may contribute to root and crown rot. Additionally, some rodents and insects may hide in the cover of mulch while they chew on trees and shrubs. Keep mulch at least 3 inches from the base of the plant.
  • The watering schedule for established trees will depend on the age of the tree. In general, a mature tree will benefit from a low-flow system (such as drip irrigation system with emitters) for 12 to 24 hours every 21 to 30 days, depending on the weather and species of tree. Water just inside the drip line of the tree (the area of the leafy canopy) to about 5 feet beyond the widest limbs where most of the feeder roots grow. Never let water settle near the trunk of a tree. Give Japanese maples and newly planted trees and shrubs adequate water as temperatures rise.
  • For more water conservation, raised beds or simple container gardens are creative ways to ensure water gets just to the plants with less chance of water over-run. Container gardens can be a mix of edibles and ornamentals. Success depends on several prime factors: choice of plants and containers, location of container, and attention to the soil, light, water and nutrient needs of plants. Containers must have adequate drainage for plants to grow well.

For more information on container gardening, and on reducing lawn, join us for the “Container Gardening” workshop, July 17 and “Garden Makeover: From Lawn to Landscape” on July 24. Both are at 9 a.m. at the Demonstration Garden. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener

Creative use of sticks and twigs to create a raised bed for a community garden.
Photo by Ann Wright



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