UC Master Gardener Program
The University of California (UC) Master Gardener Program extends UC research-based information to the public about home horticulture. In exchange for the training and materials received from the University of California, master gardeners perform volunteer services in a variety of venues.
Check out the useful links on the left to answer your gardening questions.
North State Garden News
In our office, this Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) is one cheerful plant! It gets cool temperatures at night (55°F) thanks to our programmable thermostat and received 12-14 hours of darkness per night during the last month. Both conditions encourage blossoms. It has rich, well-drained soil and gets frequent misting. After it finishes blooming, the Master Gardeners pinch off the leaf segments to easily root and propagate new plants for gift-giving during the next holiday season.
My compost pile and I have been lulled into lethargy with this warm fall weather. But the first hard frost reminds me that I need another plan for kitchen scraps and organic waste over the winter. I can keep putting material in the compost pile, but it will decompose VERY slowly, not reach temperatures that will kill pathogens or weed seeds and may leach nitrogen into groundwater. Now's the time to cover my compost pile to prevent leaching in winter rains and let it rest til spring. I've raked up leaves and used them as mulch in my gardens to insulate roots from freezing. Some of the drier oak leaves were run through a chipper, bagged, stored and will become mulch or compost in the spring. My dead squash vines, bean and tomato plants went into the burn pile since composting won't kill the plant mosaic viruses associated with those vegetables. If you can't burn, then bag and dispose of those plants. And lastly, my kitchen scraps now...
Did your peach tree have distorted, reddened leaves this spring that maybe fell off and grew back this summer? If so, your tree may suffer from a fungal disease called Peach Leaf Curl. You can get more information about the disease symptoms and management from the UC Pest Note If your tree does have peach leaf curl, the best time to apply a preventative fungicide is in November after the leaves have fallen. You can apply a copper ammonium spray such as Liqui-Cop or Kop R Spray. Make sure you follow the label and wear appropriate personal protection. If you wait til the symptoms appear again next spring, it's too late to control the disease.
I'll be speaking at the Shasta County Master Gardener meeting on Thursday evening, September 11th, about "Storing Your Harvest". You'll learn about storing fruits and vegetables from your own garden, bulk produce from the Farmer's Market or that bucket of apples that your generous neighbor just gave you. You'll learn the best conditions for long-term storage of fruits and vegetables and which are compatible or not. Did you know pumpkins hate hanging out with apples? Or the best temperature and humidity to ripen green tomatoes? Making damp sand storage bins for sunchokes and cabbage? I'll provide information on physical storage options, including house microclimates, insulated boxes, in-ground storage, and root cellars. And I'll share some of our storage "adventures", AKA "mistakes", like trying to find in-ground carrots under 3' of snow. Join us upstairs at the Downtown Shasta College Campus (1400 Market Street) in Redding...
For vegetable gardeners, this is the time of year that we seem to find that HUMUNGOUS zucchini that I swear wasn't there yesterday. Vertical trellises are one way to make your squash easier to see. Maybe. Our gazebo is covered in vines of "Trombetta" squash, an Italian heirloom summer squash. This mild, nutty-flavored squash loves heat and loves to climb. The seeds are in the bulbous end, leaving lots of creamy flesh for eating. It's best harvested at 10-12", but this 3" long specimen was hiding in plain sight. We have better luck keeping an eye on the spaghetti squash. We have a bounteous crop hanging on the trellis instead of sprawling throughout the garden. They'll be ready to pick in late September as they turn dark yellow and the skin hardens. It's important to let this variety of winter squash mature on the vine to prevent it from rotting once harvested.
Our first 2 training classes have been completed. There are now 30 graduates performing volunteer service throughout Trinity County by providing technical assistance and educational outreach in a variety of venues. Look for our upcoming workshops, booths at the Weaverville Farmers Market and Trinity County Fair.
Click on "About the Master Gardener Program" on the left-hand column for information on enrolling in the next Master Gardener training program in 2015.
We've received many requests for information on reducing water use in anticipation of drought conditions. The UCCE Master Gardeners of Trinity County have prepared a handout with Water Conservation Suggestions for your Home Vegetable Garden.
IPM Youtube Channel
Do you like to watch and learn? Here's a fun way to learn more about pests with the Integrated Pest Management channel on Youtube.
Bug Squad Blog
It's obvious that Bruce Hammock doesn't spend much time in a hammock. Research lab, yes. With colleagues, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduate students, yes. Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis who...