Author Archives: Kathy Ikeda

Master Gardeners – we’re here to help you

Have you ever wondered where to go for advice about landscaping or vegetable gardening? Does a pest problem have you stumped? Do you need guidance on how and when to prune your favorite specimen plant or fruit tree? Master Gardeners are here to help! The Master Gardener Program is administered by the University of California [...]

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Winter blooming plants to brighten the garden

Winter is a thankfully slow and sleepy season in the garden. Fallen leaves have been cleared away, lawns need less mowing, and busy gardeners can take a breather from the never-ending maintenance chores of the warm growing season. Once the weather turns cool and cloudy, what better way to chase away the winter doldrums than [...]

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Seed swapping: a rewarding way to grow your garden

                Fall is an excellent time to harvest and preserve seeds for planting next year. Warm season vegetable crops are winding down their production, and those overripe or dried out squash, melons, tomatoes, eggplants, and more are a fantastic source of seeds for a “repeat performance” next year. [...]

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“Go native” at specialized plant sales

The fall planting season is here! September, October, and November are ideal months to add new water-thrifty plants to home landscapes. Plants native to central California and to parts of the world with a Mediterranean climate are ideally suited to the hot, arid summers and cool, wet winters we experience in San Joaquin County. Some [...]

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Planting for success: tips and techniques

In only a few short weeks, the prime fall planting season will be upon us, and now is the perfect time to plan. Whether you hope to begin a major re-landscaping project or merely want to add a plant or two to your garden, consider the words of the late Kenyan social and environmental activist [...]

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In defense of the (mostly) harmless spider

With apologies to those who suffer from arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), this week’s article covers a member of the animal kingdom that isn’t usually thought of as beneficial. Spiders often get a bad rap. They’re portrayed as evil or deadly creatures in movies. Large, black bodies with eight spindly legs are commonly seen as [...]

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The pros and cons of landscape mulches

Mulches have long been considered an important component of aesthetically pleasing and environmental friendly gardens. However, not all mulches are created equal. The best mulches (when properly applied) can conserve water, suppress weeds, regulate soil temperature, control erosion, and contribute to the health of both plants and soil. Conversely, inferior materials can be harmful and [...]

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Controlling snails and slugs

How many times have you wandered into your garden on a cool weekend morning, only to discover telltale slime trails, holes chewed in the leaves of just-planted ornamentals, or vegetable seedlings chewed to the ground? Or worse yet, walked unsuspectingly down a pathway only to smash a slimy slug or crunch a juicy snail beneath [...]

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For the love of lavender

Lavender is one of the most beloved and oft-used plants in the history of human civilization, and its name has become synonymous with a light shade of purple. Nowadays, its delicate foliage and beautiful, distinctively scented flowers make it a garden favorite. The genus name of lavenders, Lavandula, means “to wash” in Greek. Known for [...]

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Plan ahead for upcoming garden events

This spring season promises to be a glorious time to enjoy the outdoors. Drought-stressed plants have been rejuvenated, and their blooms should be spectacular. Yet despite last winter’s unusual deluge of rain, water conservation should continue to be a priority for all Californians, both in the home and in the garden. We’re fortunate to have [...]

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  • Blog Authors

    Lee Miller

    Lee Miller is a University of Delaware graduate and retired fisheries biologist, he gardens on 10 acres and makes wine each year with the help of a cadre of friends. However, his first love is gardening and he grows various fruit trees, heirloom ... Read Full

    Marcy Sousa

    Marcy Sousa is the San Joaquin County UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator. She is a Stockton native and enjoys teaching others about gardening. She has her bachelors from Stanislaus State in Permaculture. She has been with the program since 2007. Read Full

    Nadia Zane

    Nadia Zane is a UC Master Gardener, a landscape designer and Stockton native. She has a fondness for California native plants and sustainable landscaping, which she utilizes in her work for Native Beauty Garden Design. She is a member of the CA ... Read Full
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