From the UC Blogosphere...
Advice from the Help Desk of the Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County
I found this "bug" in my kitchen sink. Could you tell me what it is and what I should do about it?
Help Desk Response:
Thank you for contacting the Contra Costa Master Gardener Help Desk. I have inspected your insect sample, and suspect that it is a young (nymph stage) of an Oriental cockroach. This variety of roach prefer damp areas and cooler temperatures. They are most commonly found in single family homes surrounded by vegetation, and will come into homes in search of food. They are more slow moving than other roaches, and do not fly. Because of this, they will often be found trapped in sinks or bathtubs. Because Oriental cockroaches will take one to two years to grow to their adult size, you may be seeing only the nymph stage from a recent hatching.
I have included a link below from the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management website that will provide you with more information about roaches, including the most effective methods of control. A combination of baits, traps, sanitation, and exclusion methods are discussed.
In the event that you decide to consult a professional exterminator company, I have also included this link providing information on how to choose a pest control company:
I hope you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to call us again if we can be of assistance.
Help Desk of the UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County
Note: The UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your 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. We can also be reached via telephone: (925) 646-6586, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/
Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs
By Leonard Cicerello Master Gardener
Having never planted flowering bulbs, I am not sure what time is right – Angela in Morro Bay.
A little work mid to late fall will reward you dramatically come springtime. Flowering bulbs come in every color of the rainbow, and more. Who does not admire tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and the many other varieties of spring bulbs?
Begin by choosing healthy bulbs that are not dry, withered, spongy, or moldy. Then choose the right location. Most bulbs require a sunny location and soil that is rich in organic matter, well-drained, and slightly acidic (ph 6-7). To improve existing soil, whether it is too sandy or too heavy, add organic material. Bulbs can also be planted in containers.
Planting depth is not uniform for all bulbs. In general, plant the bulbs to a depth of three times their height. For example, plant allium eight inches deep, crocus three inches deep, daffodils six inches deep, hyacinth seven inches deep, and tulips six inches deep. Place bone meal or superphosphate in the bottom of the planting hole and plant the bulb with its point up, which will become the stem. If rodents are a problem, plant your bulbs in a cage made of ¼”- ½” metal mesh. Water thoroughly after planting. During fall and winter, irrigation is only needed in the absence of rainfall. The premise is to prevent rotting in wet weather.
Bulbs look best in clumps or drifts. To get a natural looking effect, either dig a large area and plant several bulbs at once, or simply toss the bulbs into the air and plant them where they fall. You will be surprised. To make sure that you do not disturb or forget about the bulbs, mark and label each bulb you plant.
When bulbs finish flowering, let the foliage die back naturally before you cut it off at ground level. It is unsightly for a little while, but that time is important to the bulb because it will continue to photosynthesize and store up energy it will need to produce flowers next year.
If you think some of your bulbs are overcrowded, dig them up and divide them after the foliage completely dies back.
Visit www.ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo to see our monthly garden chores for San Luis Obispo County.
On Saturday visitors will have the opportunity to tour all 16 themed garden, including: All Stars, Bog, Butterfly, Children's, Cottage, Japanese, Mediterranean, Orchard, Ornamental Grasses, Native, Perennial, Rock, Rose, Shade, Succulent and Vegetable.
UCCE Master Gardener volunteers will be onsite and available in each garden to answer questions and explain how and why a particular garden was planted, what kind of irrigation is used in each, facts about specific plants chosen, pest management practices, and more. A very limited quantity of plants will be available for sale (no credit cards; cash or checks only) and there will be treasure hunt prizes. Free refreshments will also be available.
Do you have a garden or event you would like featured on the statewide UC Master Gardener Program blog? E-mail: email@example.com
Approximately 280 species of snails and slugs are found in California; 242 are thought to be native. The vast majority of the native species are not considered to be pests of nurseries or other production systems.
The most damaging snails and slugs are those that have been accidentally or purposely introduced from areas outside of the US. Most of California's pest gastropods are European species.
The Chico News & Review published a profile of local UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advsior Dani Lightle. Lightle works with Glenn County growers of walnuts, almonds, prunes, olives, pistachios, pecans and fruit. “Basically, if it grows on a tree, it comes my way,” said Lightle, referring to the calls she receives at her Orland office. The article provided background information about UC Cooperative Extension and ANR. "The system's purpose was to be a bridge between public universities and the general public," the article says.
The news website Ensia.com reported on research underway in Northern California on the role of bats in orchard pest control. An intern, under the guidance of UC ANR farm advisor Rachael Long, is comparing orchards with nearby bat boxes with orchards that do not have the convenient dwellings for the flying rodents. "If you increase diversity by relying on insects, bats, raptors, etc., you help strengthen your farming system," Long said.
Help and Advice from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County
Client's Question: Hello! Are you able to help with plant ID? My husband and I visited Ukiah (Mendocino County) over the weekend, and I spotted this interesting bush that was in one of the small creek beds in town:
MGCC Help Desk Response: Thank you for contacting the Master Gardener Help Desk for assistance with your plant identification.
n addition to the fact that the plant parts can be toxic, you need to be aware that this plant is considered an invasive weed in California and could present problems in your (and your neighbors') garden in the future because of the invasive characteristics.
Here is a link for more information on Pokeweed on the California Invasive Plant Council website:
And here is a link to an excerpt about Pokeweed and its control from the book “Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States, 2013” by UC Davis Weed Research and Information Center:
Please feel free to to contact us if you have any additional questions.
Note: The UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your 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. We can also be reached via telephone: (925) 646-6586, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us//span>