From the UC Blogosphere...
The Bohart Museum of Entomology came out in force on Monday, June 26 to honor Tabatha Yang, the recipient of the top...
There is still plenty of time to sign up for one of the five fantastic garden tours that showcase some of the finest gardens in Southern California. UC Master Gardener Conference tours were designed by fellow volunteers to give participants a behind-the-scenes look at how the gardens operate. Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet and network with UC Master Gardeners and garden curators. Join us and learn about the history of these beautiful locations in both Los Angeles County and Orange County.
|Explore the Huntington Botanical Gardens
Spend the day at this 120-acre estate, home to more than a dozen world-class gardens. While the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is closed to the public on Tuesdays, they will open the gardens especially for UC Master Gardeners. Participants will meet with garden curators, visit the Huntington Ranch where UC Master Gardeners share information on edible gardening, and explore the Huntington's fabulous Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Australian Garden, Herb Garden, Desert Garden, and more.
|Go California Native!
Visit Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens (RSABG), the largest botanic garden dedicated to California native plants. Spread across 86 acres in Claremont, the Garden displays about 2000 taxa of California plants and includes those native to the California Floristic Province as a whole. Enjoy a docent-led tour of the gardens and time to explore on your own, plus lunch at the outdoor classroom with a presentation by Peter Evans, director of horticulture at RSABG.
|Community Engagement with Gardens and Nature
Spend the morning visiting school and community gardens that showcase Los Angeles County UC Master Gardener activities. In the afternoon, visit the gardens at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, meet UC Master Gardeners and museum staff who bring the garden education programs to life. The 3.5 acre garden was designed with an eye towards attracting wildlife and studying nature in the city, including plants that offer food and shelter for wild animals.
|Dramatic Gardens from the Desert to the Sea
Tour the the South Coast Research and Extension Center and experience a variety of activities from demo landscapes to youth gardens, fruit tree field research projects to chickens and beekeeping topped off by a special luncheon. Travel next to the coast for a personalized tour of Sherman Library and Gardens. This 2.2 acre horticultural retreat offers a museum of living plants, displayed in a setting of gardens, patios and conservatories blooming with seasonal flowers and bubbling tile fountains. Finish the day at nearby Roger's Gardens, a destination home, garden and landscape design center. Shop to your heart's content!
|Los Angeles Farm and Garden History
Did you know that the roots of California's abundant agriculture can be found in Los Angeles County? Explore our surprising farm and garden heritage with a morning visit to the Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach. Tour the gardens, which include specimen trees that date back to the mid-19th century, as well as lush 1930s-era landscaping designed by well-known landscape architect Ralph Cornell. Learn about California's farm and garden history from UC Cooperative Extension Advisor Rachel Surls and Los Angeles County UC Master Gardener Judith Gerber, co-authors of the recently published book “From Cows to Concrete: the Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles.”
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Bees are known to prefer yellow and blue flowers, but pink suits them just fine, too. Here's proof: Two honey bees...
By Lee Oliphant UCCE Master Gardener
I carefully selected disease resistant tomato plants this year and they look healthy. But something is chewing on leaves and fruit. What is it, and what can I do about it? Katie, Cambria.
It is difficult to know what is doing damage to your tomato plants unless you catch the pesky critter in the act. Some damaging invertebrates include sucking insects such as aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and tomato russet mites. When there is evidence of chewing as you describe, it is most likely caused by flea beetles, loopers, or the westerns spotted cucumber beetle. Hornworm and the tomato fruitworm can damage both leaves and fruits. Snails and slugs also dine on tomato plants and fruits. Be observant during the daytime and use a flashlight in the evening to try to identify the culprit.
The University of California lists over 20 invertebrates that feed on tomato leaves and fruits on the UC Integrated Pest Management (IPM) website: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/tomato.html. The site describes each insect, its eating pattern, and how you can safely manage it in your garden.
Most authorities do not recommend spraying insecticides in home vegetable gardens. Insects can be hand-picked from the leaves and put in a bucket of soapy water. Hornworms, a common pest of tomato plants, are large green caterpillars with a rear prong that looks like a horn. They are the larvae of the sphinx moth, a nighttime pollinator. Tomato fruitworms are small green or brown-striped caterpillars that eat the leaves and the fruit of tomatoes. You may also have seen them inside the husks of corn, dining on tender kernels.
Practice good IPM methods of control and you'll have few problems with pests on tomatoes. Let predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors control pests. Reduce pest establishment, reproduction, and dispersal through good gardening practices like keeping your garden clean. When possible, use traps (like yellow sticky strips), instead of sprays. Pesticides are recommended only when needed and in combination with other approaches for more effective, long-term control. Pesticides should be selected and applied carefully and in a way that minimizes their possible harm to people, non-target organisms, and the environment. Regardless of unwelcome visitors, home-grown tomatoes are worth the effort!