Butte County Master Gardeners
University of California
Butte County Master Gardeners

The Real Dirt Blog

Master Gardener Spring 2017 Workshop Series

Building compost bins, by F. Moran

By Laura Lukes, Butte County Master Gardener, January 20, 2017. Twice a year, the Butte County Master Gardener Program offers a series of practical, hands-on gardening workshops. The Spring 2017 Workshop Series is “geared around sustainability practices and this year we have added ten new workshops,” said Kay Perkins, co-chair of the Butte County Master Gardeners Public Education Committee. These workshops are designed for the home gardener interested in creating sustainable landscapes, starting plants from seed, harvesting rainwater, learning propagation and composting techniques, and much more. A total of nineteen workshops are scheduled between February 9th and June 14th....

Posted on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Recognizing and Caring for Frost Damaged Plants

Frost damage, young citrus leaves, Jack Kelly Clark

By Brent McGhie, Butte County Master Gardener, January 6, 2017. Plummeting winter temperatures often lead to frost damage in plants.  The damage occurs when ice crystals form within plant tissue, damaging their cells.  Leaves and tender new growth are usually affected first.  Initially, they will appear wilted.  Then the wilted growth will turn brown or black and eventually become crispy.  This means these affected parts of the plant have died. It is tempting to remove frost-damaged plant growth immediately, but dead material should be left on the plant until the full extent of the damage is apparent in the spring.  There are several reasons to...

Posted on Friday, January 6, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Planting Bare-Root Fruit Trees

Planting a bare-root fruit tree, UC ANR

By Brent McGhie, Butte County Master Gardener, December 23, 2016. There are several advantages to planting bare-root trees:  they are usually less expensive, easier for gardeners to transport, and they will grow their roots entirely into native soil (rather than having to transition from potting mix into dissimilar native soil).  Also, the ideal time to plant bare-root trees is in the winter, when you have a break from the demands of other garden chores. Bare root trees are usually available from December through February or March, but before purchasing a tree it's a good idea to select an appropriate planting site and properly prepare it.  Choose a site with...

Posted on Friday, December 23, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Residential Hedgerows

Hedgerow, Xerces Society

By Brent McGhie, Butte County Master Gardener, December 9, 2016.  In urban and suburban areas, fences or hedges are typically used to define property lines, block unsightly views, provide privacy screening, and create windbreaks.  However, hedgerows are becoming a popular alternative for these landscape duties.  While a hedge is made up of a single plant species placed in a tightly spaced row, a hedgerow is a broad bed planted with a variety of trees, shrubs and forbs (herbaceous flowering plants). While farmers have historically planted hedgerows around fields to delineate boundaries, provide windbreaks and keep livestock from wandering, University of California research...

Posted on Friday, December 9, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Understanding Bulbs

Bulb Types

By Carolyn Faulkner, Butte County Master Gardener, November 25, 2016. For many gardeners, fall brings with it the excitement of selecting and planting spring-flowering bulbs. The term “bulb” is commonly used to describe a wide range of plants that have underground structures in which they store their nutrient reserves.  These reserves allow bulbs to survive and bloom from year to year, if conditions are right.  Knowing the differences among the five bulb types can help you determine when and where to plant them. Of the five bulb types, the most common are the true bulbs.  The best example of a true bulb is the onion.  The rings you see when you slice an...

Posted on Friday, November 25, 2016 at 5:00 AM

No-Chill Bulbs for Spring Blooms

Allium, Wikipedia Commons

By Carolyn Melf, Butte County Master Gardener, November 11, 2016. At this time of year bulbs are appearing at nurseries and big retail stores as well as in the garden catalogs that arrive in your mail box.  Many bulbs (like tulips) need to be chilled for 8-10 weeks in your refrigerator before replanting for blooms the following spring. Consider growing bulbs that are better suited to our warm climate.  They are easier to grow, most are perennial, and they look their best in warm temperatures. Since most failure with bulbs can be traced back to problems during planting, give yourself time for proper planning and planting.  Plant in November to early December in our mild...

Posted on Friday, November 11, 2016 at 5:00 AM

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