- Author: Heidi Aufdermaur
We wondered about that too! With this in mind, a group of UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners toured the City of Modesto's Compost Facility on 7001 Jennings Road.
Recently in California, there has been an emphasis on green waste collection. This was sparked from recent legislation, AB1383-short-lived climate pollutant reduction strategy--, which in simple terms is to “adopt regulations that achieve the specified targets for reducing organic waste in landfills.” Of course, there is much more to the legislation, but how does this relate to the ‘green cans?' Earlier legislation started the ball rolling, AB 939, AB341 and AB 1826 which focused more on commercial waste.
The main goal of this bill is to reduce the materials taken to our local landfills, which have ever-diminishing space. When organic materials are sent to the landfill, they create methane gas, toxic soup leachate, and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas). Not only that, but homeowners are missing out on a great resource. This compostable material could be kept at home, providing environmental and gardening benefits!
Environmental benefits: Waste reduction, keeping soil fertile, improving air quality, water conservation. Gardening benefits: saves money, enriches soil, contributes to health lifestyle.
How can you benefit from using the green waste from your garden? Come learn more at our workshop. Even if you are already composting or want to learn how to best put that waste to use in your garden, come join us and see how much fun composting can be. We will also talk about vermicomposting and show you how to start your own container of green-waste-eating worms.
Date: Saturday, September 9, 2023
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Where: Harvest Hall Rooms AB&C
The workshop is free! However, if you'd like an 11 gallon compost bin to take home, you can make a $35 donation to our program (while supplies last). Children interested in learning about compost and worms are also welcome at this workshop!/h3>
Learn about planting leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach, and root vegetables like carrots, beets and radishes. Not to mention broccoli and cauliflower. All of these vegetable plants can be grown in the ground or in containers. Great class for beginning gardeners.
We are excited to say that our classes are at nine Stanislaus County Library Branches! We hope to see you there.
August 2023 Library Branch Schedule
- Tuesday, 8/1 at 6:00 p.m. - Salida
- Saturday, 8/5 at 2:00 p.m. - Empire
- Tuesday, 8/8 at 6:00 p.m. - Oakdale
- Thursday, 8/10 at 1:00 p.m. - Patterson
- Saturday, 8/12 at 2:00 p.m. – Riverbank
- Monday, 8/14 at 6:00 p.m. – Ceres
- Tuesday, 8/22 at 2:00 p.m. - Waterford
- Wednesday, 8/23 at 6:00 p.m. - Turlock
- Monday, 8/28 at 5:30 p.m. - Modesto
- Author: Anne Schellman
Our Succulent Gardening Workshop is happening just in time to make the perfect gift for Mother's Day for your mother, grandmother, favorite aunt, or someone in your life you'd like to honor. Giving an experience is a unique way to show someone you care.
Attendees will learn how to identify succulents, care for them, and create a succulent design an adorable, hand-made, wooden box. There will be plenty of succulent cuttings, so bring a bag with you to take as many home as you'd like!
When: Saturday, May 6, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. -12:00 pm
Space is limited, register now at https://ucanr.edu/succulent/workshop/2023
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
- Author: Skylar Peters
February is a great time to start preparing for your spring and summer vegetable garden, especially if you want to get a head start on the growing season. According to the California Master Gardener Handbook, growing your own transplants from seed indoors can extend your garden season by several weeks, reduce your gardening cost and allow you to grow a more diverse variety of crops.
Growing from seed is not only fun, but it can also save you money. When stored properly a typical seed packet can last several years. Seeds should be started indoors or in an outdoor hot box or cold frame. Start growing the seeds 6-8 weeks before the date you would like to transplant them and when the threat of frost has passed.
Another benefit of growing vegetables from seed is the wide selection of varieties available from seed catalogs. Growing different varieties is important for an extended harvest and to find plants that grow well in your area. Vegetable plants sold in seedling form are generally available in only one or a few varieties. Plants typically started by seeds indoors include broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, parsley, tomatoes and peppers. Seeds typically started in the ground include beans, beets, carrots, peas and turnips.
What do you need to get started?
- Soil mix - The soil media you choose should be fine textured, uniform and airy. Do not use garden soil. It is usually too heavy and often may have disease-causing organisms. A commercial potting mix suited to starting seeds will work well. Fill your growing containers about 2/3 full.
- Containers - You can start seeds in almost any container that has drainage holes. Sterilize recycled containers in a 1:9 bleach to water solution, rinse them well and let them air dry prior to use.
- A location with proper light and temperature - A sunny window is usually the perfect spot as it has strong but indirect sunlight. Seed packages should instruct you on sunlight needs. Additionally, keep your seedlings in an area that stays between 65 and 70 degrees during the day and 55-60 degrees at night.
- Quality Seeds – Only plant seeds from a reputable source. Check your seed packets to ensure your seeds have not expired, and that you are planting them at the right time of year. You can also check for seed viability.
- Water – It is crucial to provide seeds with consistent watering. Seeds and seedlings must be kept evenly moist to thrive.
Steps to starting your vegetable garden indoors
- It is important to follow the instructions on your seed packet. Refer to the seed packet for the proper planting depth, plant spacing, and days to maturity.
- Once you have planted your seeds, water them and continue to do so consistently. The goal is to keep the soil evenly moist but not overly wet.
- Two weeks before transplanting, or when your plants are two to four inches tall, expose them to outdoor temperatures to acclimate them. Do this by leaving them outside in a shady spot during the day for a week, and bringing them inside at night. The following week, leave them outside in their containers during the day and at night, gradually exposing them to more sunlight. This process is referred to as hardening off.
- Transplant your vegetables into the garden, planting them at their original depth. Tomatoes can be an exception to this rule however, so consider this tutorial before planting tomato seedlings. Be sure to handle seedlings with care.
Ask your local UC Master Gardener Program
Have a seed starting or home vegetable gardening question? UC Master Gardener volunteers are available to help. Click here to Find a Program and connect with your local UC Master Gardener Program. You will be redirected to your local county website and contact information. UC Master Gardener volunteers are available to help answer questions for FREE. Happy gardening!
- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
There are three groups of plants that attract birds and each group draws different types of birds: Nectar plants, plants that provide seeds or nuts, and plants that produce berries or fruit. Many plants will provide more than one source of food, i.e., nectar in the spring and berries in autumn.
Here is a list of a few favorite native plants in each group and some of the birds they may attract.
Hummingbirds and Nectar
Hummingbirds prefer tubular shaped flowers that fit the length of their beak, and are bright in color, particularly red. Native salvias (sages), penstemon, columbine, and honeysuckle all serve up nectar for hummingbirds.
- Sages (Salvias): There are about 18 sages native to California, with Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) being one of them. The common name says it all! Fruity scented dark rose-lilac blossoms appear in March – May. It also produces autumn seeds that attract birds such as sparrows and finches.
- Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis). A small deciduous tree or shrub found in the foothills and mountains of California with distinctive shiny heart-shaped leaves. The showy bright pink or magenta flowers develop in the later winter and spring, growing in clusters all over the shrub, making the plant very colorful and noticeable in the landscape. Goldfinches and sparrows will feed on seeds produced in the fall.
- California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum). There's probably no better California native plant for attracting hummingbirds. A perennial plant, it blooms a bright profusion of scarlet flowers in spring and summer, and is often the only native California flowering plant blooming at the height of summer.
Birds That Eat Seeds
- Bush sunflower (Encelia californica), commonly referred to as "California bush sunflower.” With abundant bright yellow daises, it is beautiful in late winter through summer. Attracts goldfinches, sparrows, orioles, crows, Scrub jays, grosbeaks.
- California aster (Symphyotrichum chilense). A member of the Asteraceae family it is native to western North America. The summer blooming flowers come in blues, purples and yellow colors. It is also a host plant for the Northern Checkerspot, Field Crescent and Pearl Crescent butterflies.
- Deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens), also known as Meadow Muhly and Deer Muhly, is a summer-growing, perennial bunchgrass whose seeds attracts woodpeckers, finches, grosbeaks, crows and jays.
Berry Plants are Important to Birds
Many shrubs and small trees provide berries that ripen at different times, so providing a seasonal variety, such as cherries for birds during the breeding seasons of spring and summer, and holly in winter, helps sustain birds throughout the year.
- Golden Currant (Ribes aureum). A deciduous plant that blooms in late winter and spring with golden yellow flowers that attract hummingbirds. The ripe berries in autumn are amber yellow to black in color, are edible, and attract a wide range of birds. There are two main varieties: Ribes aureum var. aureum and Ribes var. gracillimum.
- Blue Elderberry (Sambucus Mexicana). Also known as Mexican elderberry, the berries from elderberries are one of the most important sources of food for birds in California. Native from Oregon to Baja all the way to western Texas, it has cream or yellow flowers in the spring and purple berries in the fall.
- Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Toyon is a beautiful perennial chapparal shrub native throughout the western part of California and the Sierra foothills. It is also known by the common names Christmas berry and California holly from the bright red berries it produces during the winter months, which are produced in large quantities, maturing in the fall and persisting well into the winter. Note: the berries are toxic to humans in large amounts.
- California False Buckthorn (Frangula californica). This perennial, evergreen shrub is also known as Coffeeberry due to its berries containing seeds that resemble coffee beans. The shrub produces small, greenish white flowers in the summer, followed by dark berries that are sought after by birds.
By providing a variety of native plants that produce nectar, seeds and berries to attract different types of birds, you'll be providing a healthy haven for birds all year round, along with many other species of pollinators such as bees and butterflies!
Denise Godbout-Avant has been a UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardener since 2020.
A list of plants that naturally attract California Birds to your Garden https://www.laspilitas.com/bird.htm
Audubon native plants database https://www.audubon.org/native-plants