- Author: Pamela M. Geisel
- Contributor: Janet Hartin
As a long-term UCCE environmental horticulture advisor, I would like to express my appreciation to Master Gardener Program Director Pam Geisel and Program Representative James Sigala for providing outstanding statewide leadership.
In a mere six short years under Pam’s direction, the UC ANR Master Gardener program has received $ 300,000 in grants that provided support to the CA Garden Web; updates to the Backyard Orchard; the FAQ system; outreach materials such as posters and tips; sustainable landscape ‘train the trainer’ workshops and PowerPoint presentations; ‘Your Sustainable Backyard Training’ (in collaboration with CCUH); a SARE grant to support further sustainable landscape training; and, a recent ANR competitive grant to develop and extend training in edible landscapes across the state.
A great example of what the statewide Master Gardener office has accomplished is the formation and regular updating of timely information found on the CA Garden Web website (http://ucanr.org/sites/gardenweb). If you haven’t taken a look at it for awhile, it’s well worth a visit. The website serves as a portal for organizing and extending the University of California's vast collection of research-based information pertaining to home horticulture. Information focuses on sustainable gardening practices and includes how to select and maintain edibles as well as ornamentals. Be sure to take time to scroll down to the ‘Advice to Grow By – Ask Us!’ feature which includes questions and answers that you are very likely to encounter in your county.
While the tremendous service the statewide Master Gardener program provides is evident up and down the state, it’s important to note that although UC ANR provides some hard funding to support the statewide Master Gardener office, support for the statewide MG office at the local level is crucial, as well. At our recent statewide Master Gardener steering committee meeting, we discussed priority needs at the statewide level such as the development of online training modules; several additional continuing education WebEx’s; updating the Volunteer Management System, and many other dynamic enhancements. We also discussed potential mutually beneficial strategies to provide funding support for both local programs and the statewide office. Stay tuned for updates on this important topic and ways in which your voice can be heard.
Environmental Horticulture Advisor
San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties
The Statewide Master Gardener Program and our beloved programmers at UCANR Communication Services are beginning to work on a rebuild of our Volunteer Management System (VMS). Our hopes are to make it more like "Facebook" in terms of it sharing more news, photos and information with your fellow Master Gardeners and make it easier to integrate projects, calendars etc. as well as making the recertification system more intuitive and less clunky.
Recently, we sent out a survey to your MG Program Representative for key volunteers who manage and work on various aspects of the VMS. If you would like to provide additional input, please talk with your Program Representative and they will share the survey link with you or you can email the Statewide Master Gardener Program Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your input. Afterall...it is about you!...our valued volunteers.
In a recent newsletter of the Western Plant Diagnostic Network, (WPDN) for First Detectors, a new pest of California was highlighted. This pest is the Bagrada Bug, Bagrada hilaris, Burmester 1835, Order Hemiptera, family Pentatomidae. Following is the text and a few pictures from the newsletter. The article was written by Richard, Hoenisch, Editor of WPDN First Detector Network.
The Bagrada Bug is a species of shield bug known by the common names bagrada bug, painted bug, and harlequin bug. It is native to much of eastern and southern Africa and parts of southern Europe and Asia. It is now known in CA and AZ, where it was first reported in 2008. It is a major pest insect of Brassica oleracea crops, including cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, and related crucifers such as turnips, rape, and mustard. The adult and nymph of the species suck sap from the leaves of the plants, causing wilting, yellowing, and stunting of growth. Please see The Bagrada bug, a New Invasive Pest of Cole Crops in Arizona for a view of the damage. Besides crucifers, the bugs are known on papaya, sorghum, maize, potato, cotton, caper, pearl millet, and some legumes. Large numbers of the bug congregate on the plants and cause extensive damage. The adult bug is 5 to 7 millimeters in length, shield-shaped, and black with white and orange markings. The female, which is larger than the male, lays up to 100 oval or barrel-shaped eggs on leaves or in soil beneath plants. The eggs are white when freshly deposited and turn orange over time. Within 8 days the first-instar nymph emerges. It is bright orange-red and turns darker as it develops, becoming mostly or predominantly black by the last instar. The bug made a sudden appearance in Los Angeles in June, 2008, its first sighting in the Western Hemisphere. It then moved into the cropland of the heavily agricultural Coachella and Imperial Valleys of California, doing damage to cole crops there, especially those grown organically. Dr. Gevork Arakelian, entomologist for Los Angeles County, says this insect has the potential to become a very serious pest.
Happy Holidays and Happy Winter Solstice!
I love when the winter solstice comes because it means that we will be through the shortest day of the year. It means that now the days will begin to get longer and there will more time in the day for gardening! But seriously, as the end of the year rolls around, I want to take a moment to thank you all for your terrific volunteer efforts for the UC Master Gardener Program.
You have accomplished so much in your counties in reaching the public about sustainable landscape and gardening practices, raised money to support your programs and worked diligently to record all those hours in VMS J. We so appreciate the over 7 million dollars in value that your donated time is worth to UC.
Without you, we would not have contacted over 3 million people this year, written countless articles, taught more than 400 classes and hands-on workshops or helped thousands of individuals solve their home garden problems at the helpdesk.
Thank you for the gift of your time. It makes a difference in the lives of many Californians.
I personally want to wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and a productive, fruitful new year. Warmest regards,
Pam Geisel, Director
Statewide Master Gardener Program
Oh, I love this time of year. The harvest is on for prunes, almonds, walnuts and soon, olives for processing into both table olives and olive oil. While making olive oil at home is possible, it isn't easy. But it is easy to cure your own olives at home using one of several great methods. You may cure them using the traditional lye cured method. They can be salt cured using black ripe olives, which creates a dry olive that is wonderful when rinsed and coated with good olive oil and chopped rosemary. You can water cure them or finally you can ferment them like one would ferment cucumbers for dill pickles. What is really great about olives though is that once they are cured, the real art comes down to the seasonings you apply to them. The cured olive is only a carrier for the seasonings and stuffing that add the final embellishment. For example, you could lye cure a green olive. Once cured, then you can stuff them with pimento, blanched almonds, feta cheese, anchovies or garlic and then store in packing salt brine solution. You can add different seasonings such as chopped oregano, crushed garlic, chopped dry red chilies and preserved lemon slices or fennel seeds. The options are endless but you do want to be sure that you process your olives in a way that is safe both in terms of handling lye and from a food safety perspective. You can learn these techniques at one of several olive workshops coming up. The first is being held at the Mondavi Center for Food and Wine at UC Davis Campus on September 24th. Cost is $45.00 and you can register by clicking on: http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/events/your-sustainable-backyard-olives
The second workshop is being held near Chico at the historic Mills Orchard Ranch on October 1st. Cost is $20 and you can register at: http://ucanr.org/Olive2011
Both are being taught by UC Cooperative Extension Advisor Bill Krueger, Statewide Master Gardener Coordinator Pam Geisel and UC Master Food Preservers and a few others. The UC Davis class will also include an olive oil tasting.
For recipes on how to process olives safely go to our free publication at: http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/Olives/8267.aspx