One good, or obnoxious, thing about Southern California gardens, depending on your plant material, is that they really don't go dormant, they may just take a little "siesta" . Yes, the air and soil temperatures are cooler, and that warm season turf you planted in the early summer may have that yellow/brown cast to it, do not be fooled - there is still work to do in order to get you off to a good start for the New Year!
For those with cool season turf such as tall fescue, be sure to lower the mowing height on your lawn mower to approximately 2" and fertilize according to the recommendations for your particular variety at the UC Guide to Healthy Lawns website. If you have warm season turf, just sit back and relax after you take the mower in for a tune up.
The winter months are also a good time to clean and sharpen your tools - don't forget about that lawn mower. A sharp blade and finely tuned pruners or mowers will make a much cleaner cut helping to prevent an unhealthy wound when mowing turf or pruning your roses, evergreens, and late summer/fall blooming trees and shrubs.
Be sure to take a walk through the garden and check on plants that may generate from basal growth, they will need to be cut back as well. Remove old, dead or "leggy" material just above the new growth that is emerging from the base of the plant. (See the pictures below of a Mexican Hat Flower, Ratibida columnifera, growing in one of the demonstration landscapes at the UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center.)This will allow the new growth to take over creating a refreshed plant ready to produce beautiful Spring blooms.
Now is also a good time to sow seeds indoors for your spring garden - get a head start with onions, herbs, some tomato and peppers varieties, and various drought tolerant annual or perennial flowers. You may even be lucky while taking that stroll like we were, and find new plants coming up just waiting to be transplanted. Additionally, January is a good time to divide perennials and ornamental grasses.
Last but not least, if you do nothing else, and if you have not done so already, please turn off or adjust your irrigation schedule when there is rain in the upcoming weather forecast. There is nothing worse when it is raining than to see sprinklers watering someone's landscape with irrigation water running wildly down the street during a rain event. What a waste of such a precious resource and your hard earned money which you may as well just pour down the drain!
Happy Gardening in 2015!
- Editor: Tammy Majcherek
- Author: Linda Genis
- Contributor: Tammy Majcherek
The stats are in for the 2014 UC ANR Urban Landscape and Garden Education Expo! We had 627 visitors sign in, and more than 100 who eagerly went straight to the demonstration landscapes bypassing registration. Visitors came from everywhere between San Diego and the San Fernando Valley. We distributed 1,480 pieces of UC outreach literature. We had 31 vendors, including the UC tables. Five vendors were new to the events. Ninety seven volunteers and 10 staff members energetically putt together the days events.
As a volunteer, whether you bagged hypertufa mix, potted succulents in containers, painted, weeded, dug, cleaned, raked, directed traffic, interacted with the public, or got things organized, you were an important part of this undertaking. We can all be proud of how things turned out and work together to make next year even more spectacular.
Mark your calendar for next year's event: September 26, 2015
Regrettably, I am writing to inform you that we will be cancelling the persimmon tasting this year. Due to the drought and unseasonably warm weather through-out the year, our harvest is much lower than anticipated.
If I may , I would like to suggest an alternative persimmon event that may be of interest should anyone ask. Pitcher Park, 204 S. Cambridge Street in Orange, holds an annual "Persimmon Party", typically on the third Sunday in November. According to their face book page, the date is November 16th, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm. It looks like a fun event for the whole family.
Our apologies for any inconvenience and hope you will join us for future activities.
- Editor: Tammy Majcherek
- Author: Sheila Peterson
- Contributor: Norma Yarbrough
UC Cooperative Extension Celebrates 100 Years
Submitted by Sheila Peterson
The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources celebrated 100 years of its cooperative extension programs at the UCCE South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine on Saturday evening, September 27, 2014. Over 300 guests enjoyed “An Elegant Evening on the Farm, Local Roots, Global Reach” including a farm fresh strolling dinner, custom UC brewed beers, dragon fruit ice cream made especially for the event, fine California wines and live music. Honorary chairs of the event included Barbara Allen-Diaz, Vice President, UC ANR, A.G. Kawamura, Former Secretary, CDFA, Ed McFadden, Representative, California Avocado Commission, Kirti Mutatkar, CEO, UnitedAG, Tom Nassif, CEO and President, Western Growers, Sheila and Jim Peterson, Local Community Leaders, and Paul Wenger, President, California Farm Bureau Federation.
Locally the UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Program provides a wide array or services and programs to Orange County residents including; The Water Quality program, the Master Gardener Program, Environmental Horticulture Program, 4-H Youth Development Program and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education program. For more information on UCCE or any of these programs go to http://ucanr.edu/.
The site of the event, the South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC), is a 200-acre regional field laboratory for UC scientists to conduct agricultural and natural resource management research focused on fruits and vegetables including avocados, citrus, stone fruits, strawberries, cherimoyas, persimmons, carrots, celery, sugar beets, and tomatoes. Additional work focuses on invasive pests, turf grass and landscape shrub and tree management, and ornamental plant nursery production in the greenhouse and in the field.
The future holds exciting plans for the Orange County UCCE! Plans are already underway to build a new 2,400 square foot office and program facility at the SCREC site. Due to the fundraising efforts of the 100th anniversary event, we have the funds to begin breaking ground on this worthwhile project. With its completion expected in early 2015 the additional facility expansion will support the commitment to community outreach and the dissemination of the research and education programs that make the UC Cooperative Extension such a vital force in Orange County. More information regarding the expansion plans can be found at: http://screc.ucanr.edu/files/197987.pdf.
Fundraising efforts will continue to support this facility, a tremendous asset to our community. If you wish to donate, please click on the ‘Make a Gift' button the home page of the UC ANR South Coast REC website.
Don't miss out on all of the fun at the 6th Annual UC ANR Education Expo on Saturday, September 27, 2014. Click on the link below to check out the schedule of events for the day.