UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance
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UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance

From the UC Blogosphere...

Bohart Museum Picnic Day: Bugging Out

Entomologist and Bohart associate Jeff Smith introduces a crowd to Snuggles, a rose-haired tarantula. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

They came. They saw. They bugged out. Who wouldn't, when you get an opportunity to pet a rose-haired tarantula named...

Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 4:54 PM

Matt Forister: Melissa Blue Butterfly and Colonization of Alfalfa

UC Davis alumnus Matt Forister, McMinn Professor of Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno,  will present a seminar at UC Davis on Wednesday, April 25 on his work with understanding the colonization of alfalfa by the Melissa blue butterfly.

Want to learn more about the Melissa blue butterfly and its colonization of alfalfa? UC Davis alumnus Matt Forister, McMinn...

Posted on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 5:02 PM

Condiments And Chutneys


Condiments and Chutneys

By Stephanie Hill   UCCE Master Food Preserver


Do you love taking an ordinary dish and adding a zing of flavor or dash of spice to really bring those mundane dishes to life?  Adding a smidge of a savory, sweet, or spicy condiment can really boost a meal to that next level.  Condiments and chutneys can be made from an endless list of ingredients to satisfy any palate, but they may also be expensive and laden with salt, sugar, and fat.  Now you can make your own flavor harmony in a jar and enjoy the gratification of knowing exactly what's in it.   UC Master Food Preservers of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties are offering a new class:  Flavors from Around the World! Condiments and Chutneys. 


The Flavors from Around the World! class takes place on Saturday, April 28th, 2018 from 10a.m. to 12p.m. at the UCCE Auditorium, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Course instructors are certified UC Master Food Preservers who have received extensive training in food safety and food preservation, have passed a qualifying exam, and now serve as UCCE volunteers who teach food safety and food preservation topics to the community. The UC Master Food Preserver Mission Statement is, “To teach research-based practices of safe home food preservation to the residents of California.” If you'd like to learn more about this statewide program, check out the San Luis Obispo UC Cooperative Extension site here: http://cesanluisobispo.ucanr.edu/YouthFamilyCommunities/Master_Food_Preserver_Program/


Pre-registration is suggested.  Pay at the door $5 cash or check only.

Register at: http://ucanr.edu/condiments


The UCCE Master Food Preserver program in San Luis Obispo County also offers a “Helpline” service to answer food safety and preservation inquiries from community members throughout the year. The Helpline is staffed by UCCE certified Master Food Preservers. The number to the Helpline is 805-781-1429 and is staffed every Wednesday from 1:00 -3:00 PM. The Helpline additionally receives calls regarding the UCCE food preservation class schedule, food preservation recipes and resources, and how to become a Certified Master Food Preserver. The Master Food Preserver Helpline is a wonderful free service to the community!


Posted on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 1:07 PM

Caging Your Tomatoes?

Advice for the Home Gardener from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County

Client's Request: Do you have recommendations on tomato cages? I bought the heavier gauge tapered cylinder ones at the “big box store”. Even though they are sturdy the bigger heavier tomato plants tipped them to the side. I then built wood ones out of 2 x 2 and 1 x 2 and they were sturdy but rotted after two summers in well-watered soil. Ideas?

tomato cage materials and tools
tomato cage materials and tools
MGCC Help Desk Response: Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener program with your question about tomato cages.

Those big indeterminate varieties can get quite unwieldy! If the wire cages you have are big enough, you could try tying them to a (e.g. re-bar) stake firmly anchored in the ground to stop them falling over.

But, but if you want something more hefty, my favorite (and what we use at the Master Gardener demonstration garden) are made of concrete reinforcing mesh. This generally comes in a 5 ft. width, tall enough to roll up into a cage. You can buy a roll at most home improvement stores - sometimes you can find flat pieces, but I have not found any that are big enough to make the cage. As for how to make them, a Google search will come up with a number of sites giving clear instructions. I use heavy duty zip ties with a one square overlap to connect mine - that way I can cut the ties and store them flat at the end of the season.

using zip ties for cages
using zip ties for cages
Buying a 50 or 100 ft roll of this stuff seems like a lot, but if you grow a number of tomato plants it is quite inexpensive, and I have found the wire also very useful for trellises, etc. It is not the easiest material to work with, you need a heavy duty wire (or bolt) cutter and some space to roll it out and wrestle into shape! Maybe a joint purchase and construction project with neighbors and/or relatives might make this a more feasible project. If you only grow a few plants, an online search for 'heavy duty tomato cages' will bring up some other options.

One other tip - I have found that tying the cage to a re-bar stake prevents any toppling over, and these stakes last for many years.

I hope this helps, and good luck with your garden, and tomato growing!

Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (SMW)

Note: The  UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer our 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: ccmg@ucanr.edu, 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/)

Posted on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 12:14 AM

Who Invited Bugs to the UC Davis Picnic Day?

Bohart Museum associate Wade Spencer with his desert hair scorpion, Celeste, poses with the mascot,

Who invited bugs to the UC Davis Picnic Day? Well, UC Davis officials and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and...

Posted on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 6:31 PM

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