- Author: Anne Schellman
Mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 28, 2023! Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for you to make a donation to a program that has made a difference in your life.
We invite you to support us in our quest to promote healthier gardens, people, and more sustainable landscapes.
Here are some photos of our UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners in action helping make Stanislaus County a better place.
- Author: Denise Godbout-Avant
Pollinators that hang around our gardens include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, and flies. While all these pollinators are important, bees make up about 50% of pollinators.
Native Bees Prominent Role
When you see bees in your garden, you likely see many European honeybees (Apis mellifera), who are crucially important to the Central Valley's agriculture since Honeybees pollinate 90% of the almond crop. But Honeybees are not the only bees in search of nectar in farmers' fields and our gardens. There over 4,000 species of native bees in the United States, with about 1,600 in California.
Native bees play an important role in pollinating our plants since they are 200 times more efficient at pollination than Honeybees. Studies in the Central Valley have shown three dozen or so native bee species provide sufficient pollination services for a single farm. For example, pollinating an acre of apples requires 60,000-120,000 Honeybees; the same area can be pollinated by 250-750 Mason bees (Megachile).
Social Characteristics and Nesting Habits
Most bees are solitary in nature, generally producing honey only for their own consumption and/or for their young. Nesting habits vary from social hives/colonies to solitary nesting in the ground or woody material.
- Social vs. Solitary bees:
o Solitary bees make up 99% of all bees in North America, with social bees making up less than 1%. Only Honeybees and Bumblebees are social, living in colonies, with all other bees being solitary. Most Honeybees are domesticated, living in hives. Bumblebees live in the wild, in colonies which are generally underground. Honeybee hives will have a population of 10,000-50,000 bees, while Bumblebees will have only 50-400 in their colonies.
- Ground nesting bees make up 70% of bees:
o Mining bees and Digger bees (Adrena): As their names indicate, these bees have a ground-nesting lifestyle. From the outside, the tunnels look like holes with a ring of loose soil around them and can be mistaken for small ant hills or earthworm mounds. Mining bees are active only in the spring for 4-8 weeks during which the females dig tunnels to lay their eggs and raise their young. Both bees are extremely docile, rarely stinging.
- Stem and wood nesting bees make up 30% of bees:
o Leafcutter bees (Megachilidae) use a “wrapper” of leaves, resin, and sand to build their nests in natural or artificial cavities. If you see some leaves in your garden with their distinctive circular “cut out,” you will know you have some in your area. They are about the same size as honeybees, but their bodies are black and furry while Honeybees are dark brown to black and yellow striped.
o Mason beesconstruct their nests from mud, preferring hollow stems or holes made by wood-boring insects. Some people hang bee “houses” with hollow tubes to attract these bees to nest in their yard.
Generalist vs. Specialist Bees
Some bees are generalists, getting their nectar from a wide variety of flowers. These include the Bumblebee and the Mason bee.
Other bees are specialists, feeding only from very specific flowers, such as the Squash bee (two genera: Peponapis and Xenoglossa) or the Sunflower bee (Megachile) with their common names indicating which type of flowers they favor.
Other Native Bees
Other bees you may see in your garden:
- Carpenter bees (Apidae): Females are shiny black and can sting, but only if provoked. Males are golden and can't sting. Their name derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo. Occasionally they may nest in unpainted wood siding of buildings.
- Sweat bees (Halictidae): Sweat bees' common name is due to their tendency to land on and lick the sweat from people's skin! One of the coolest looking bees in this group is the green sweat bee, which has a shiny, iridescent exoskeleton. Most of these bees nest in the ground, though some nest in wood. Some species are cleptoparasites, meaning they will lay their eggs on food in another species' nest and after hatching, the larva kills the host's larva!
- Long-horned bees (Melissodes): With medium to large bodies, this non-aggressive group gets their names from the long antennae of the males, which females lack. Females have a solitary nest in the ground whereas males sleep outside, often spending the night in groups on the surface of a flower.
Bees are in Trouble
Some ways you can help:
- Plant a garden full of flowering plants to attract bees and other pollinators. Make sure you have something blooming during each of the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Whenever possible, plant native plants since native bees and plants evolved together.
- If you use a pesticide, choose one that is less toxic such as a horticultural soap or oil and spray in early morning or evening when pollinators are unlikely to be present. (https://ipm.ucanr.edu/GENERAL/pesticides_urban.html)
- Provide spaces for nesting bees, with bee houses and bare patches of soil, along with a source of water.
By providing a bee-friendly garden, you can help the vital native bee pollinators thrive.
Denise Godbout-Avant has been a UCCE Master Gardener with Stanislaus County since 2020/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
Hope to see you at one of these events happening this weekend, Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Modesto Farmers Market
Turlock Community Gardens Workshop-Plant Swap-Potluck Palooza
Turlock Community Gardens invites you to stop in for a visit or for the day, activities for all ages are happening.
UCCE Master Gardener Composting Basics Workshop 9:00am-10:30am
Learn about how to compost at home! Reduce your carbon footprint & recycle kitchen/garden scraps. This workshop is a great opportunity to hear from an expert and ask questions, plus one lucky person is going home with their own compost bin!
Let's share cuttings, rooted plants, extra gardening supplies, seeds and any tips and tricks to help out our fellow plant enthusiasts! We will be doing a round robin with wristbands. If you don't have anything to bring, you are still welcome to take items home. There is always more than enough to share, especially extra perlite!
Rock Painting Station
Decorate a rock to take home or gift to the garden. Paint, brushes, and rocks will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own.
Turlock Community Potluck
Bring your favorite dish or just bring yourself! Enjoy a slice of pizza while exchanging tips/tricks. It's a great way to meet neighbors, network and have some fun.
As a reminder, TCG asks children to be always supervised and for everyone to be mindful not to disturb the garden beds. They are lovingly maintained by different families and groups.
Be sure to check out the Free Garden Items & Seed Exchange Cabinet and Free Little Library. (Take what you need, give what you can.)
Turlock Community Gardens and parking are located behind the Cornerstone Covenant Church (4501 Crowell Road) and the nonprofit, Jessica's House. If you have any questions about the Turlock Community Gardens event, email email@example.com
[From the UC Master Gardener Program Statewide Blog]
Proper irrigation and drainage are critically important for the health of plants and trees. But what happens when Mother Nature throws an atmospheric river curveball, and your yard or garden is now under water from heavy rains or floods?
Good garden soil contains a network of pore spaces filled with water and air. Both are necessary for healthy roots and beneficial soil-dwelling organisms. When the pore spaces fill with water, air is no longer available to the root system, and the roots become susceptible to root-rot organisms. Understanding the effects of flooding on plant health and caring for them after a flood event is important to saving your plants and garden.
Once the floodwaters have receded, assess the damage to your garden and begin the recovery process. There are a few things you can do to minimize the damage to your plants from flooding:
- Remove any debris, such as mud and silt, that may have shifted and accumulated on your plants.
- If the soil is waterlogged, improve drainage by digging ditches or furrows to redirect water away from plants.
- Check the soil for compaction and loosen it up with a garden fork. This will help to improve drainage and make it easier for water and nutrients to reach the roots of your plants.
- Wait until the soil dries out before working with it in order to reduce additional compaction. Avoid walking on waterlogged soil to prevent compaction and further root damage. Stay off a boggy lawn!
- Inspect your plants for damage to the roots, leaves, and stems. Remove any damaged parts, and prune your plants back to healthy growth if necessary.
- Remove contaminated material. Consider that any garden produce touched by floodwater may be contaminated and discard it. While the risk of contamination is low in residential areas, runoff from septic systems, pastures, or industrial areas can carry potentially harmful microbes and chemicals.
- Monitor your plants closely for signs of stress, such as wilting or discoloration, and address any issues that arise as soon as possible.
- Once dry, start to water your plants gently and gradually to help them acclimate to the new soil conditions.
Connect with us!
Recovering from a flood can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but with proper care and attention, your garden can recover and thrive. The UC Master Gardener Program is available to help! For gardening questions and local county resources, click here to Find a Program. You will be redirected to your local county website and contact information.
Source: Flood: Plant Stress in Extreme Wet Conditions, https://marinmg.ucanr.edu/PROBLEMS/EXTREME_CONDITIONS/Flood/
- Author: Anne Schellman
Giving Tuesday is November 29, 2022! Please join us in this opportunity to give to your local UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardener Program. Your dollars are used locally to make our county a better place.
Thanks to generous donations from individuals like you, as well as in-kind donations and funding from sponsors, our Sensory Garden has been installed! In fact, the last landscaping step, adding mulch, will be done by volunteers on Giving Tuesday!
These photos show our Master Gardeners installing drip irrigation donated by Hunter Industries, and plants donated by Frantz Nursery.
Where can I see the Sensory Garden?
This garden is located on the east side of the Stanislaus Building, at the main entryway. The garden will be used
The Pollinator Garden
Thanks to a generous donation from the West Stanislaus Resource Conservation District, we are starting our Pollinator Garden. The Great Valley Seed Company donated milkweed seeds which will be planted in the garden, too. Next week, volunteers will be installing irrigation and planting.
How You Can Help
Any amount you can donate helps us grow our gardens and our program! The purpose of the gardens is to showcase low-water use plants the public can see anytime. In addition, the areas will be used as outdoor classrooms to teach topics such as drip irrigation, pollinator gardening, plant identification, low water use gardening, and more!
We are looking to raise $5,000 to help with irrigation installation, tools, seeds, and other needed materials. We are a 501 c (3), so your donation is tax-deductible. https://ucanr.edu/sites/givingtuesday/ This site allows you to give by credit card. (A fee is taken for the use of a credit card.) If you would prefer to give by check, make your check out to “UC Regents” and mail it to:
UCCE Master Gardener Program
3800 Cornucopia Way, Ste A
Modesto, CA 95358
Thanks for your support!