Sonoma County Fair ~ August 1 - 11, 2019
Come join us daily from 11am to 5pm at our new location on the east side of the Courtyard to answer your gardening questions!
For the first time, we will have information tables on topics ranging from succulents, food gardening, firewise landscaping, worms, bug hotels and more on August 3 & 4th and August 10th & 11th.
Stop by our demo garden or information tables and say hi!
Schedule of Talks/Demonstrations
11am – 1pm – Saving Water in the Garden Master Gardener GardenSense specialists will be in the Courtyard to talk about how to reduce your water use in the garden. You can sign up to have a team of consultants come to your home to discuss landscape options.
1pm – 3pm – All You Need to Know About Soil Come talk with Master Gardeners and learn what makes good soil for plants and how to improve bad soil. Learn the difference between compost and mulch and how to use them.
3pm – 5pm – Caterpillars Make Butterflies Master Gardener experts will talk about the magic of caterpillars and butterflies. Butterflies are losing habitat at an alarming rate. Learn what plants you should have in your garden to create better habitat for butterflies.
1pm – 3 pm – Landscaping for Fire Master Gardeners will Be in the Courtyard to provide information and answer questions on how best to prepare your landscape for potential wildfires. Learn the most important things you need to do to give yourself and your home a better chance.
3pm – 5pm - TBD
11am – 1pm – Good Bug Hotels Master Gardeners will be in the Courtyard to explain how to attract bees and other beneficial insects (the ones that get rid of the bad bugs!) to your garden and provide them habitat and winter quarters so they stay to help in your garden.
1pm – 3pm – Easy-to-grow Succulents Master Gardeners will be in the Courtyard to demonstrate how easy it is to grow succulents. There will be a grow-your-own demo for kids, too.
3pm – 5pm – Worms, Worms, Worms Master Gardeners will be in the Courtyard to talk about the wonders of worm composting and regular composting. Come see how easy composting can be and how good it can be for your garden. Kids of all ages are welcome! Worms will be on hand.
11am – 1pm – Food Gardening Specialists Master Gardeners will be in the Courtyard to discuss edible landscaping and answer all your questions about growing your own food.
1pm – 3pm - TBD
3pm – 5pm - TBD
- Author: Lucia G. Varela
Want to know what bug is making holes in the leaves of you shrub or eating your fruit? Or what is the pesky weed you cannot get rid off? The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources publications have four sets of Pest Identification cards for you. These pocket-size, sturdy, laminated cards can be easily carried with you as a quick reference wherever you need them. The sets are also available as electronic publications formatted for iOS and Kindle compatible devices.
Vineyard Pest Identification and Monitoring
These cards are also available as a separate card set, publication #3538, in Spanish. You can purchase each card set alone or in bundles for a price break. The bundles are perfect for vineyard managers and their crews.
Tree Fruit Pest Identification
The Tree Fruit Pest Identification Card Set is available only as an electronic publication. The set covers major insect and mite pests and several important diseases in California deciduous tree fruits and nuts. Each pest is identified by a description and close-up photographs of important life stages to help you know how and when to look for these pests -- in both growing and dormant seasons. The cards also include descriptions of natural enemies.
Landscape Pest Identification
The Landscape Pest Identification Card Set will help landscape maintenance professionals and home gardeners identify and manage most major common pest problems in the landscape. The 43 cards cover 80 common insect pests and mites and 40 diseases of flowers, shrubs and trees.
Weed Identification and Monitoring
The Weed Identification and Monitoring Card Set is based on the bestselling Weeds of California and Other Western States; this is the perfect pocket-sized companion for anyone working in the field.
Each weed is identified by a description and excellent close-up color photographs of various growth stages with 187 photos in all. On the reverse of each card is a description of growth stages, habitat, distribution and management tips. It also includes handy inch and metric measurement scales. A sturdy rivet keeps the set together so individual cards don't go astray.
Pests of the Garden and Small Farm
A new set Pests of the Garden and Small Farm Card Set is coming out soon. Stay tuned for its release. Currently, there is a beautiful book, publication 3332.
To purchase the card sets or electronic versions, visit the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources publication catalog. Refer to the table below for the publication and click on the version you want:
- Card set - a deck of cards on a spindle
- E-pub - electronic version for iOS
- Kindle - electronic version for Kindle
Landscape Pest ID Cards
Vineyard Pest ID and Monitoring Cards
Tarjetas de identification de plagas de la vid (Spanish)
Weed Pest ID and Monitoring Cards
Tree Fruit ID Cards
Backyard gardeners, if you still cannot identify that weed, bug or problem with your plant, you can always bring a sample to our Master Gardeners desk. There is a drop box available to leave samples after hours./table>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
To promote the exchange and sharing of agricultural extension information, several U.S. Land Grant institutions have formed an alliance with 10 Chinese agricultural universities. From June 17 to 22, UC Agriculture & Natural Resources took a group of scientists from Chinese agricultural universities on a tour of agriculture in Northern California.
Extension in China
As Anne Megaro, director of governmental and community relations for UC Agriculture & Natural Resources explained “They have extension in China, but it is not like ours. They are looking to strengthen their advisor positions and develop a mechanism for career advancement, similar to what we have in the U.S.”
Visit to Sonoma County
On June 19 and 20, the delegation visited Sonoma County to learn about our Ombudsman, Master Gardener, 4-H and Rangeland programs in Sonoma County. Photos at end of the story.
The evening of June 19, Agriculture Ombudsman, Karen Giovannini, shared how she helps farmers and ranchers navigate permitting and regulations. She explained how, at their most refined, regulations are in place to protect resources, that is, people and the environment. China also has many ‘rules' as the delegates called them. Karen shared locally made sheep, goat and cow cheeses with the delegates as an example of how a dairy operation could expand their product offerings to help them stay viable. Although cheese is not a ‘traditional' product in China, Karen explained that it could be a way to help keep some of the younger generation in rural areas.
China is continuing to experience the largest migration in world history. The rural population is migrating into the urban areas for better pay and opportunities raising concerns about the negative impacts on their agriculture sector and food security. Fun fact, in 2013: “Roughly one out of every 25 people in the world was a resident of a Chinese city who arrived, or was born, since the current round of [Chinese] economic reforms began in 1978.” Like United States, labor shortages in agriculture in China are creating a need for more agriculture technology. By the way, of the delegates that tried the cheeses, their favorite was the goat cheese.
Master Gardener and Bayer Farm Programs
On morning of June 20, Master Gardener Food Gardening Specialists and Jonathan Bravo from Bayer Farm kindly hosted the Chinese delegation. Jonathan, the garden manager, showed the delegation the community garden at Bayer Farm and talked about the programs there and then the FGS team led the delegation through the demonstration garden and discussed the sustainable food gardening principles being shown in the garden, such as integrated pest management and square foot gardening, and discussed their educational outreach programs in the garden. Because so much of China's population lives in the cities, this example of urban farming is of interest to the delegates.
The delegates were also very interested in the bilingual interactions. In China, there are many dialects and it will be important for youth extension programs to reach out to the rural population in their native dialects. The delegation was also quite interested in 4-Hers selling market livestock at the fairs as they observed when visiting Shasta County fair earlier that week.
Final stop in Sonoma County was a visit to Taylor Mountain Regional Park. Dr Stephanie Larson shared the experiences she had with setting up grazing on public lands and the many benefits it provides, including exposing the non-farming community to livestock on working lands. They hiked to one of the educational signs along the trail that UCCE advisors developed, along with videos and fact sheets, to educate the public about the importance of maintaining proper livestock grazing and rancher stewardship on California's rangelands with public access.
Although China has the third largest population of cattle, they import most of their beef to meet the increasing demand due to increasing standard of living of the Chinese people. As recent as 2016, “small farms with 9 or fewer cattle slaughtered per year are responsible for a major portion of Chinese beef production.” Plus, their native cattle breeds far underperform when compared to fast growing beef cattle breeds in the United States and other countries. Developing grazing programs on public park lands in China will keep their heritage alive while producing the many benefits grazers provide. The delegates were fascinated to see the cattle enjoying the grasses.
The delegates loved their visit to Sonoma County. Next stop was UC Davis and the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility, UCD's living laboratory.
Glenda Humiston, VP of UC ANR summed up the visit best, “The Chinese face many of the same issues that we do here in the U.S. The Chinese universities want to improve rural economic development to lift up the quality of life for people in rural communities. They are also responding to global climate change, drought and pests while trying to improve food security and water use efficiency. They see UC Cooperative Extension as an effective research model; we hope that scientific collaborations will accelerate solutions and help maintain relations for California agriculture with China.”/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
- Author: Mimi M Enright
Air quality in Sonoma County has been significantly impacted by the fires that spread through the region. The full scope of the air contamination is still unknown, but likely includes high concentrations of likely carcinogens including heavy metals, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
There is limited research on the impact of smoke from a wildfire in a wildland urban interface on produce safety. UCCE Sonoma is partnering with Vanessa Raditz, who was working with community organizations on emergency food relief during the crisis, to develop a Citizen Science project to assess the impact of the air pollution from the wildfire on produce. During the crisis Vanessa, who has a Master's degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, began quickly developing a partnership with members of the community and UCCE Sonoma to gather samples and seek funding for testing and education on this topic.
Master Gardeners and other concerned community members were trained to collect samples from local farms and gardens of washed and unwashed produce, each in triplicate, to determine if contaminants can be easily washed off produce, or whether it has been taken up in plant tissue. Volunteers focused on kale, collards, chard, and lettuce, as these leaves are directly exposed to air pollution. Vanessa scheduled volunteer training at Bayer Farm, Harvest for the Hungry and Petaluma Bounty, and samples were taken from 10/19-22. Time was of the essence to gather samples which are all being frozen. Now we turn to find partners to find funding for the testing and develop an educational outreach program when results are received.
Visit Disaster Recovery to learn more.
- Author: Karen Giovannini
Visit 4-Hers & Master Gardeners at the Fair
July 22-August 7, closed Mondays
"Lights, Camera, Fair!"
Fair time is also a great time to see 4-Hers in action! Visit the Livestock area and watch the kids show chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, swine, dairy cattle and beef cattle. Showing livestock at the fair requires months of preparation for the market animals (sold at the auction) and years of work for the breeding projects (ongoing dairy and livestock projects).
Check the Livestock schedule and stop by to see the kids show while you are at the fair (look for Junior, Jr or Market on the schedule). The Large Animal Round Robin class on Thursday, August 4 starting at 5pm is where you can see the best junior livestock show persons take their turn at showing all of the different large species: goats, sheep, swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle and horses. The winner is crowned top junior livestock show person of the fair. Small Animal Round Robin is Wednesday, August 3 at 3pm, where best junior show persons in rabbits, cavies, poultry, pygmy goats and dogs compete.
One way to support 4-Hers is to contribute to the purchase price of or to purchase a market animal. 4-Hers use the auction proceeds to pay back loans taken out to fund the project (bank of mom and dad or actual loan from Community First or Sonoma County Grange Credit Union). Any remaining funds are used to purchase next year's market animals, to support their breeding project and/or saved for college.
Support future agriculture leaders at the Junior Livestock Auction:
- July 24, 9am – Lambs, Rabbits & Goats - also Farmers Day!
- July 29, 9am – Hogs & Poultry
- July 30, 6pm – Beef
While at the fair, visit the Garrett and E.C. Kraft buildings to view the junior exhibits and the Hall of Flowers Annex to enjoy the junior gardens.
Check out the Sonoma County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden at Sonoma County Fair outdoor patio at Hall of Flowers. To go along with the fair theme, the Master Gardener's named their garden “Good, Bad and Beautiful” based on the Spaghetti westerns. It will showcase good practices, bad practices and how a garden can be beautiful and sustainable. Stop by to check it out and chat with the Master Gardeners docents who are available to answer your questions 11am-6pm./table>