Nursery and Floriculture Alliance
University of California
Nursery and Floriculture Alliance

From the UC Blogosphere...

Pardon Me, There's Something on Your Shoulder!

A Madagascar hissing cockroach rides the shoulder of Wade Spencer, entomology major at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pardon me, there's something on your shoulder! And yes, there was. A Madagasar hissing cockroach was one of the critters that UC Davis entomology major Wade Spencer showed to guests at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house last Saturday during the...

A Madagascar hissing cockroach rides the shoulder of Wade Spencer, entomology major at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Madagascar hissing cockroach rides the shoulder of Wade Spencer, entomology major at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Madagascar hissing cockroach rides the shoulder of Wade Spencer, entomology major at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Vedder Wright Jr. of Davis photographs a Madagascar hissing cockroach at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. His father was a friend of the museum founder,  noted entomologist Richard Bohart. The Celeste Turner Wright Hall is named for his mother, the first female English professor at UC Davis. It  houses the Department of Theatre and Dance. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Vedder Wright Jr. of Davis photographs a Madagascar hissing cockroach at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. His father was a friend of the museum founder, noted entomologist Richard Bohart. The Celeste Turner Wright Hall is named for his mother, the first female English professor at UC Davis. It houses the Department of Theatre and Dance. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Vedder Wright Jr. of Davis photographs a Madagascar hissing cockroach at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. His father was a friend of the museum founder, noted entomologist Richard Bohart. The Celeste Turner Wright Hall is named for his mother, the first female English professor at UC Davis. It houses the Department of Theatre and Dance. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a Madagascar hissing cockroach. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a Madagascar hissing cockroach. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of a Madagascar hissing cockroach. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 6:16 PM

Don't know much about hydrology

The California drought is complicated.
Nathanael Johnson of TheGrist.org set about clarifying some myths related to California's drought situation, leading him to declare - according to the article's headline - "Everything I thought I knew about water in California is wrong."

The first myth he debunked has been circulating since Gov. Brown announced steep water cutbacks for the state's municipalities. "He didn't mention agriculture, and that made people suspicious," Johnson wrote.

For clarification, Johnson spoke to Doug Parker, the director of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' California Institute for Water Resources. Brown didn't talk about ag in his big announcement because growers are already operating under an 80 percent cut from their normal water share from the State Water Project, and a zero percent allocation from the federal Central Valley Project.

"California farmers took about 5 percent for their land out of production last year, and that number will surely go up this year," the article says.

Other myths tackled in the story include:

  • Agriculture uses 80 percent of California's water
  • Dumb laws prevent the buying and selling of water
  • Farmers are wasting a lot of water
  • Farm conservation measures can free up plenty of water
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Almonds get roasted over water use

Hensley Lake in Madera County, a reservoir on the Fresno River, is at 8 percent of capacity.
People around the world are eating 1,000 percent more California almonds than they did just a decade ago, and last year almonds became the top export crop in the nation's top agriculture state, reported Ellen Knickmeyer of the Associated Press. China's booming middle class is driving much of the demand.

The issue of increasing almond production is raised because of its water use. According to the story, almond orchards consume more water than the indoor use of all 39 million California residents combined.

The AP article was picked up by the Fresno Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, and may other media outlets.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources advisor David Doll is featured in many of the images distributed with the story. In one he holds an almond he says is smaller than normal in size due to the drought. Doll displayed micro sprinklers, used by almond growers to conserve water, and in another photo he is seen talking with an orchard manager who uses a floating pump to bring water from the Merced River to his almond orchard.

UC Cooperative Extension hosts water supply meeting
Rich Greene, Daily News
UCCE hosts a regional meeting in Corning April 30 where local efforts to sustain water supplies will be discussed. The meeting will cover the numerous events that have occurred on the water front since September 2014. That included the passing of the Groundwater Sustainability Act and the disappointing rainfall and snowpack numbers from 2015.

Drought issues, trial studies at center of UC desert field day
Michael Dukes, Imperial Valley Press
An update on the statewide drought topped the agenda for the Agronomic Crops and Water Conservation Field Day held at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center here early Thursday morning. The event, sponsored by Imperial County's UC Cooperative Extension and the California Department of Water Resources, played out in a six-stop tour, with specialists from across the agribusiness world providing attendees with an inside look at a variety of initiatives taking place within the Valley and all over California.

Posted on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 1:28 PM

Recognizing Volunteers for All They Contribute This Earth Day

UC Master Gardeners in the perennial garden at the “Garden of the Sun” in Fresno, Calif. Photo credit: Janet Cangemi, UCCE Master Gardener Program Fresno County

2015 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, which is celebrated by more than 1 billion people worldwide. The national theme for this year's Earth Day is It's Our Turn to Lead, a phrase that directly describes the more than 6,000 UC Master Gardener volunteers actively leading in their local communities.

UC Master Gardener volunteer and coordinator answering questions at a local Farmer’s Market. Photo Credit: UCCE Master Gardener Program of San Joaquin County
UC Master Gardeners are passionate about conserving water, protecting the environment, managing pest, and most importantly love plants! Last year, UC Master Gardeners donated 385,260 volunteer hours to the program's mission of extending research-based home horticulture information to the public.

UC Master Gardeners are critical in supporting UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources' (UC ANR) strategic initiatives for healthy communities, healthy environments and healthy plants across the state of California.

“UC Master Gardener volunteers represent the most passionate and dedicated group of people I have encountered,”  said Missy Gable, statewide director of the UC Master Gardener Program, “they are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of research-based gardening information with the public and their commitment of time to this practice is both generous and inspiring.  UC Master Gardeners are an unbelievable resource for all residents in California and I want to recognize their efforts this Earth Day.  Volunteers are taking the lead to provide sound advice to CA gardeners as we all work to use water appropriately, connect to our food systems and protect our environment.”

Join us on Earth Day 2015!

Perhaps you've seen your local UC Master Gardeners answering questions at the Farmer's Market or you've read an article by a volunteer in your local paper.  If the 45th anniversary of Earth Day has inspired you to become more active with your environment, consider connecting with your local UC Master Gardener Program. 

Sample of UC Master Gardener Events Happening Across the State the Week of Earth Day:

UC Master Gardener volunteers receive University training in horticulture from experts in the field, mostly UC Cooperative Extension Advisors and Specialists.  In exchange for training, UC Master Gardener volunteers extend research-based information on sustainable home horticulture practices to the public. Whether you are looking to reduce your landscape water use, grow tomatoes or even become a UC Master Gardener yourself, volunteers are ready to help you.  Find a program or event near you!

Posted on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 8:58 AM

Are E-Books in Your Future?

UCANR MG Handbook Ed2
As most of you know, one of the go-to sources for California Master Gardeners is UCANR's California Master Gardener Handbook. First written and published in 2002, it has recently been updated with informative changes and additions (200 pages) and is now available in the on-line UCANR Catalog. As would be expected, this book is the size of a (very) large telephone directory (remember them?).

Moving into the digital age, the Handbook's 2d Edition is now also available in e-book form. I bought the e-book a month ago. I find it quite complete and useful. Although I somewhat miss the heft of reading the “paper book”, with the digital version I can find something I'm interested with just a click…and everywhere it occurs in the Handbook. I've now loaded the Handbook on every digital device I have except for my phone…and I'm thinking about that too. It's easily readable on my inexpensive 7” tablet (Android OS), laptop (Windows 7 OS), and desktop (Windows Vista OS). For Apple owners, the description of the e-book says that it is formatted for Apple's iPad. I ordered it online from UCANR, and within a few seconds of paying for it with my credit card, I downloaded it and loaded it to my computer. With some available, free software I also loaded it onto my tablet and laptop. If this is your first e-book, you like me, will probably also need e-book reader software on your computer. Many good ones are readily available and free for whatever computer and/or operating system you are using.

Once you are into e-books, especially for gardening and horticulture, there are numerous e-books available for a wide variety of interests and cost, including free. For example, two free e-books that I've found of interest that you might also be interested in are described below:

Knott's Handbook for Vegetable Growers
Knott's Handbook Veggies
by Donald N. Maynard  (Author), George J. Hochmuth (Author)
… from Amazon… “The leading one-stop reference for commercial vegetable growers for more than 50 years Rooted in tradition, branching out to the future. For more than half a century, Knott's Handbook for Vegetable Growers has provided generations of commercial growers with the most timely, accessible, and useful information available on the subject…”

This handbook is definitely for the serious vegetable grower and should be a useful addition to UC publications. If you are interested and probably already an avid home vegetable gardener or maybe a “newbie” wanting even more detailed vegetable growing information, you should find this handbook of interest …and the price is right. While it is commercially available for purchase (new it is > $65), it can also be downloaded from a University of Missouri Extension web site for free without any obvious restrictions. http://extension.missouri.edu/sare/documents/KnottsHandbook2012.pdf

Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding
Hybrid book... by Noel Kingsbury
by Noel Kingsbury (Author)
…from Amazon.. “With Hybrid, Noel Kingsbury reveals that even those imaginary perfect foods (..of our memories…) are themselves far from anything that could properly be called natural; rather, they represent the end of a millennia-long history of selective breeding and hybridization. Starting his story at the birth of agriculture, Kingsbury traces the history of human attempts to make plants more reliable, productive, and nutritious—a story that owes as much to accident and error as to innovation and experiment.

This e-book interested me as I've recently been following the GMO food discussions on the web. Kingsbury is a well-known landscape architect, designer, and author. This book provides a readable introduction of the history of how our foods evolved over the last thousand years… leading up to the current (and probably forever) discussions of GMO foods. The book can be obtained free from the University of Chicago Press this month (April 2015) at the following link:
http://www.bibliovault.org/cgi-bin/DeliverADE.epl?transid=Bt9BJ8ODLtGHjImd

This free download comes with DRM (digital rights management controls) that might cause you to have to jump through some hoops to download and read it, i.e. read the publisher's instructions closely. I believe the book is worth it. You will also have learned some interesting facets of manipulating e-book formats as well.... good training for the future...

Here's to some great e-book reading… and learning… and for free.

Steve Morse
Contra Costa County Master Gardener

Posted on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 1:00 AM

Next 5 stories | Last story

UCD College of Ag
Plant Sciences Department
Webmaster Email: lldodge@ucdavis.edu