Welcome to UC Master Gardeners of Nevada County
Nevada County gardens vary widely. Elevations range from 1,000 to 4,000 feet. Soil types are red clay, serpentine, sandy loam, forest loam or something in-between. Generally acidic, soils may lack necessary nutrients and organic matter. Some gardens are below the snowline, while others are often covered with snow and may have frozen soil for an extended time. We know that “One size does not fit all.” Gardening in Nevada County is unlike gardening elsewhere and it is not the same throughout the county. Master Gardeners are here to provide home gardeners in Nevada County with science-based information, whatever their gardening conditions. And, Master Gardeners offer a number of workshops and events to achieve this goal.
Western Nevada County Gardening Guide
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News from Our Demonstration Garden
Come visit the Demonstration Garden at 1036 W. Main Street, Grass Valley, on the NID grounds. If you would like to schedule a group tour led by a Master Gardener, please call our Hotline office (530) 273-0919.
The garden was buzzing during National Pollinator Week in June. We spotted honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees and native bees at work in the garden. A lovely yellow swallowtail butterfly floated by to sample nectar on the Butterfly Bush (Buddleja), but our photographer was too slow for a picture. The pollinators didn’t seem to mind the heat of day, but our Master Gardeners wisely chose to work in the garden in the cool of the morning.
A new eye-catching feature has been installed in the Cottage Garden to suggest alternatives to water-consuming lawns in our Sierra foothills. These tough grasses and groundcover can be mowed occasionally or not at all. Native Bentgrass™ (Agrostis pallens) is the industry’s first choice and its dark green mat provides great wear recovery. Kurapia is a new groundcover that was selectively bred in Japan and has been studied at UC Davis. It uses 60% less water than traditional lawns, has very small flowers, is shade tolerant and will withstand light to moderate traffic. Native Mow Free™ (a blend of two native fescues and one that has naturalized) provides 50% water savings. It will stabilize soil and trap sediments, helping to recharge groundwater and sequester carbon. It is both shade and cold tolerant. Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides), native to the North American plains, is a tough, drought resistant warm season grass. It should be watered every one to two weeks if it is mowed, and it will use less water if left natural. All four of these lawn alternatives will be survivors in our summer heat and winter cold.
In the Edible Garden, winter vegetables are setting seed and flowers are still blooming. The sprawling plants have covered the purple lattice that was so decorative in winter. We learned that harvested cilantro seeds are called coriander. There is always something new to be learned, even for our seasoned gardeners.
Upcoming Workshops and Events
Foothill Vegetable Gardening Series: How to Grow Cool Season Vegetables in Fall, Winter and Early Spring
A Home Gardener's Guide to Seed Saving
Nevada County Fair!