Category Archives: Uncategorized

Managing Weeds Without Herbicides

Weeds. What would spring be without them? For some, weed-pulling is calming and meditative. For others, it is a loathsome task leading to feelings of anger, frustration, and orneriness. How can we maintain a weed-free garden and our mental health? Like illness in the human body, weeds are often a sign that something has gone [...]

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Citrus thoughts for spring

It is time to consider caring for your citrus or planting some if you have none and want to enjoy picking your own ripe tangerines, oranges, lemons, limes, pummelos, and grapefruit. There are lots of citrus suitable for planting in San Joaquin County. One of the best to plant is a dwarf, Improved Meyer lemon. [...]

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Some of the good fungus among our plants

On January 13 National Public Radio presented a segment on forests investigations by Suzanne Simard, a forestry ecologist, who worked out how trees in the forest can communicate and share resources by use of underground connections via fungi mycelium. It was very fascinating and the presentation is on TED  http://www.npr.org/2017/01/13/509350471/how-do-trees-collaborate.  One has to wonder if [...]

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What’s Old is New Again

A very basic concept has sparked an exciting revolution with this generation, but it is far from new. Upcycling is the act of taking something no longer in use and giving it a second life and new function. Some of the best examples of modern-day upcycling come from the 1930s-40s when families had very little [...]

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Inspecting Trees for Hazards

Storm damaged trees are something many homeowners will have to deal with at some point. This last storm brought with it some pretty powerful winds and with that many downed fences and trees. For some, it may be too late to inspect trees for potential hazards but hopefully for many of you, this last storm [...]

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Fundamental facts about fertilizers

Spring is almost upon us, and with the season comes a rush of new plant growth and the urge to spend time in our gardens. Although fertilizer might seem a dry topic, give it some thought before you visit your favorite nursery. Fertilizing plants is often equated with “feeding” them, but plants produce their own [...]

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Getting the dirt on earthworms

Earthworms. They’re so small and seemingly insignificant that we hardly give them a second thought. These squirmy denizens of the dirt usually go about their lives unseen—they’re revealed to us only when upturned in a shovelful of soil or when stranded on pavement after a drenching rain. (Worms crawl out of the ground during heavy [...]

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Worms Turn Food Waste Into Garden Gold

One of the best ways to improve your soil and plant health is to apply compost, which is decomposed organic matter full of beneficial microbes. However, managing a pile takes time, space, a strong back, and the right kinds of organic materials to achieve the characterstics of quality compost. For those of you living on [...]

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Why Soil is Better Than Dirt

  We’ve all heard the words “soil” and “dirt,” but what’s the difference? Both have the same basic components: particles of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter. The difference lies in how they function: dirt is where we stick our plants and dump water, fertilizers, and pesticides in the hopes of keeping plants alive; it [...]

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Time for seed searching.

A newspaper mulch for onions keeps winter weeds at bay. Lee Miller photo

These past few days the plant and seed catalogues are starting to arrive to remind us that spring is just around the corner. With all the rain lately it is not timely to be in the garden. Walking on wet soil can cause soil compaction, so it is a good time to stay inside. That [...]

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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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