From the UC Blogosphere...
June 18 - 24, 2018 is National Pollinator Week! National Pollinator Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the importance of pollinators. Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Support pollinators in your home or a community garden with these 13 ways to make your landscape more pollinator friendly. Visit pollinator.org for more information.
- A variety of plants will be ideal for providing diverse sources of nectar and pollen. Choose at least 20 different plant types, or fewer if the types of plants are highly attractive to pollinators. Don't forget that night-blooming flowers will support moths and bats.
- Help pollinators find and use your garden by planting in clumps, rather than just single plants. Think about "landing zones."
- Include plants native to your region. Natives are adapted to your local climate, soil and native pollinators. If you want to see some locals, plant some natives!
- Overlap flowering times between seasons and use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall.Pollinators are in a constant search for new resources. Choosing plants with overlapping flowering times from February to October will allow bees and pollinators to continually forage in your garden.
- Consider plant climate zones. Plant for success! A plant's native climate range is important in determining if it will be attractive to bees visiting your garden (and if your plant will grow well in your garden or not!)
- Design a garden that has structure. The arrangement of plants in your garden will influence your ability to observe and enjoy pollinators. Plant the tallest plants in the back with the smaller ones in the front.
- Plant in the sun. Bees prefer to visit flowers in the sun, so avoid planting your pollinator-attracting plants in the shadier parts of your garden.
- Reduce or eliminate pesticide use in your landscape, or incorporate plants that attract beneficial insects for pest control. If you use pesticides, use them sparingly and responsibly. Pesticides can kill bad insects as well as beneficial insects like bees, ladybugs and other predators of garden pests.
- Don't' forget about nesting bees! Not all bees have a hive. Make sure to leave some areas for bees to build their nests (either in bare ground or in prefabricated cavities in wood). It's ok to leave part of your garden un-mulched for ground-nesting insects to discover.
- Leave dead tree trunks and branches in your landscape for wood-nesting bees and beetles. By leaving dead trees, or at least an occasional dead limb, you provide essential nesting sites for native bees, but make sure these are not a safety hazard for people walking below. You can also build a bee condo by drilling holes of varying diameter about 3 to 5 inches deep in a piece of scrap lumber mounted to a post or under eaves.
- Provide clean water for pollinators with a shallow dish, bowl, or birdbath with half-submerged stones for perches.
- Create a damp salt lick for butterflies and bees. Use a dripping hose, drip irrigation line, or place your birdbath on bare soil to create a damp area. Mix a small bit of salt or wood ashes into the mud.
- Provide a hummingbird feeder and add to nectar resources. To make artificial nectar, use four parts water to one part table sugar. Never use artificial sweeteners, honey, or fruit juices. Place something red on the feeder. Clean your feeder with hot soapy water at least twice a week to keep it free of mold.
Tips for how to make a pollinator garden originally published on the UC ANR Pollen Nation website.
Preserve Your Summer Harvest
By Rosemary Orr UCCE Master Food Preserver
June in San Luis Obispo County is a wonderful time of the year to start preserving our summer's bounty of fruit. You are invited to join UC Master Food Preservers for their “Introduction to Canning” class. Discover how to preserve a simple fruit puree while learning the basic principles of food preservation and canning. In San Luis Obispo, UC Master Food Preservers have received extensive training in food safety and food preservation and now serve as UC Cooperative Extension volunteers who teach these topics to the community. The information in this class will prepare you for upcoming classes on Fermentation, August 25 and Advanced Canning, September 22.
The class will be held on Saturday, June 23 from 10am to 12pm at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. In this class, the boiling water bath canning method will be the primary topic. A variety of basic canning principles will be discussed including: the difference between low acid and high acid foods, boiling water vs. pressure canning, steam canning, canning supplies, recommended canning books, tested recipes, and the effects of altitude on canning. Safe food handling and canning don'ts (using your grandmother's canning recipe, paraffin wax, upside down jars, etc.) will also be topics for conversation. During the class, the UC Master Food Preservers will show you how to preserve a seasonal fruit puree using a boiling water canner. This class is designed for the beginning canner or for someone who has not canned for several years. There will be a $10.00 class fee to cover supplies.
If you can't make it to the class and have a food safety/preservation question, UCCE Master Food Preservers have a helpline at (805) 781-1429 every Wednesday from 1:00-3:00pm. By calling the helpline, you can also find out about upcoming food preservation classes, safe canning recipes, how to become a Certified Master Food Preserver, make an appointment to get your pressure canner gauge tested, and discover how you too can teach research-based practices of safe home food preservation to the residents of our community.
Class registration: http://ucanr.edu/introtocanning2018
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Advice for Home Gardener from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County
The photo shows a fungal-looking substance that developed in my wood chip bed. Can you tell me what this might be? And what I should do about it? It started appearing after I changed watering with non-drinkable water obtained at the local water office. Thank you for your advice.
Master Gardener Help Desk Response: Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County about the strange fungus looking things growing on your mulch. Your photos were very helpful.
What you have is called a slime mold--not really a fungus, but similar to one. The most common one in our area is aptly called the 'dog vomit fungus' or 'scrambled egg slime' since it sort of looks like that when it's fresh. It is common to see this on recently-applied wood chips in landscaped areas, especially in spring. I have seen quite a few of these in my yard recently on chips that were spread last fall. The common ones start out a shocking yellow color, but as they dry, they turn brown and gray, and become quite dusty when disturbed.
Slime molds are not harmful to landscapes or people or animals, although if it appears on a lawn, it could cause a little damage underneath from shading and suffocation. Undisturbed, slime molds usually disappear within a week, but you can easily remove them by raking, or spraying them with a stream of water from a hose although that could spread the mold.
Slime molds are pretty interesting. They start out as individual cells and then coalesce into a single entity. They then start to move, although not very far (maybe a few inches) before they die. You can sometimes see their tracks in the morning.
You mentioned that you have begun using non-potable water in your garden. I don't believe that the non-potable water is cause of the slime molds your seeing. However, if you see any changes in the health of your plants which are being watered with non-potable water, feel free to contact us.
Please let us know if you have more questions.
Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (MPL)
Note: The UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your gardening questions. Except for a few holidays, we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2d Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, although we will be moving this spring. We will notify you if/when that occurs. We can also be reached via telephone: (925)646-6586, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/ MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog (http://ucanr.edu/blogs/CCMGBlog/)/span>
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