Category Archives: Uncategorized

“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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Evaluating garden successes and failures.

As summer passes it is a good time to count some of the successes and failures of gardening activities. One of my triumphs was getting rid of overwintering squash bugs early in the season, so that I did not have to deal with their offspring for the entire summer. Hence, we, and our neighbors, have [...]

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The Summer Blahs: Beating the Heat in the Garden (By Katie Walter, San Joaquin Master Gardener)

Even the most passionate gardener gets tired at this time of year. This summer has been a doozy and the heat can feel relentless. Blue skies are lovely, but wouldn’t a few days of gray, drizzly London weather be a pleasant change? August in the Central Valley seldom offers a break from the heat, however. [...]

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It’s Almost Time to Get Planting by Katie Walter (UC Master Gardener San Joaquin County)

How is your garden growing? Tomatoes, peppers, melons, and of course zucchini are probably going strong, and zinnias and dahlias are flowering like mad, given enough water.  Other parts of your garden, no matter how large or small, may be looking a little peaked in the heat. Lettuce, spinach, and other spring greens have gone [...]

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Essential winter vegetables; garlic and onions.

Garlic maturing in the garden shed. Always a good annual happening. Photo courtesy Lee Miller

In maintaining a household there are some things that you should never run out of—like flour, salt, sugar, toilet paper, onions and garlic. Onions and garlic are pretty essential ingredients of most culinary efforts and both are easy to grow winter vegetables. I start my onion seeds in a flat of compost in August and [...]

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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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Gardening for a Lifetime


Gardening is one of those hobbies that you can do throughout your lifetime- but that doesn’t mean our bodies can go like they used to. Your muscles may get weaker and ache more readily. Falls can do more damage. Your energy and endurance may wane, and your skin may get thinner. Gardening keeps you healthy [...]

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Troubleshooting Tomato Problems

Catfacing on tomatoes

One of the most versatile and rewarding plants in a summer edible garden is the tomato. According to a 2014 study by the National Gardening Association, 86 percent of homes with vegetable gardens grow tomatoes. It is understandable that the tomato plant is a popular home vegetable garden staple. Tomatoes offer thousands of different varieties [...]

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Summer garden problems explored

Heat and tomato fruit set: The hot streak we had recently was not good for a lot of plants, but in particular not good for fruit set in tomatoes. Tomato blossoms drop off when daytime temperatures exceed 95 and night-time temperatures are above 70. Tomatoes in the sun may experience temperatures as much as 10 [...]

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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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