On March 19, 2011, Mark Gaskell, UCCE Farm Advisor, led a blueberry workshop at the UCCE Auditorium, our back up location on a rainy day for the Garden of the Seven Sisters.
Photo by Brenda Dawson, UC Davis
Here are some helpful links to more information about growing blueberries:
Mark Gaskell has all of his information for small farm blueberry production here.
If that link didn't work, his page can always be found at: http://cesantabarbara.ucdavis.edu
Check out the UC ANR general information for backyard gardening of berries here.
Thank you Mark!
Article by George Frisch
UC Master Gardener
San Luis Obispo County
A hardy, rapidly growing, maintenance-free, reasonably drought tolerant, evergreen ground cover with attractive leaves and lovely flowers -- is there such a plant?
Yes, there are a few, but one is no longer recommended!
Myoporum pacificum is a member of a family (Myoplraceae) widely planted in residential and commercial landscapes and along many miles of California highway hillsides for erosion control. Native to Australia and New Zealand, this attractive and popular family of plants has been virtually pest free. Since 2005, however, a new and exotic genus of thrips (Klambothrips) and its single species (Klambothrips myopori Mound and Morris) has been moving its way north along the coast from San Diego County and has recently appeared here in SLO County.
Less than 120th of an inch in length, the adult black-bodied Myoporum thrips and its orangish hued larvae cause severe damage, particularly to new growth which they prefer. The female thrips inserts eggs into the leaf where the larvae feed, eventually causing terminal gall and severe swelling, curling and leaf distortion.
Managing Myoporum Thrips is difficult. They have no known predator in California. Their tiny size, hidden feeding behavior, mobility and protected egg and pupal stages make most insecticides available to the home gardener ineffective. Pesticides available through licensed pesticide applicators have shown limited control of the thrips. Pruning out the diseased foliage and destroying (not composting) is effective but impractical for landscape plantings. Severely infested plants may have to be removed and destroyed.
Fortunately, there is a native alternative to be found in the Ceanothus (California Lilac) family. Among the many Ceanothus species, try one that is native to the Central Coast called Carmel Creeper (Ceanothus griseus horizontalis) for a dense, dark green groundcover with long, abundant sky blue flowers and no Myoporum thrips./span>
- Author: Chris Cocchiaro
By Dale Norrington
Q We so often hear the word sustainable these days, from various sources and seemingly with various meanings. We do care about the environment but are not in a position to completely renovate our landscape and garden. Can the Master Gardeners offer an approach to sustainable gardening, or some specific practices which we can begin to use right away?
Paul and Mary Kubacki - San Luis Obispo
A An approach to sustainable landscaping recommended by the University of California Cooperative Extension includes practices developed by the Sacramento Stormwater Quality Partnership with permission and assistance from StopWaste.org in Alameda County.
Most gardeners should be able to implement these practices immediately and relatively easily, and save energy, water, time and money.
Benefits of sustainable practices can be felt in our own households; the environment benefits from such practices adopted throughout watersheds, and the cumulative effects may be significant.
Landscape in harmony with natural conditions of the site, watershed and climate.
Maintain fire safe landscaping, protect local flora and fauna, and utilize site-adapted plants, ideas for which can be seen at Cal Poly's Leaning Pine arboretum and at
* Landscape for less to the landfill
Use plants of sizes which match their intended space to reduce pruning; grasscycle; compost; and incorporate salvaged hardscape materials where possible.
* Nurture the soil
Save topsoil, mulch, avoid use of quick-release inorganic fertilizers and use pesticides as a last resort.
* Conserve water
Minimize turf, group plants according to water needs, and maintain efficient .
* Conserve energy
Plant trees to minimize energy use. Shade paved areas. Shade south and west sides with . Design carefully.
* Protect water and air quality
Utilize ; minimize impervious surfaces; prevent runoff; use appropriate equipment.
* Create and protect wildlife habitat
Maintain diverse plantings and utilize natives. Provide water and shelter. Conserve or restore natural areas and .
Please contact Master Gardeners for much more related information and detail.
Got a Question?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at groups.ucanr.org/slomg/ or e-mail .
UC Master Gardeners for their monthly
"Advice to Grow By" Workshops!
2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo
Learn how to Build Raised Beds!
Click HERE to find a great step-by-step instructions by Sunset on building your own raised bed!
The Benefits of Raised Beds
- They warm up and dry out faster in spring, so plants get a jump-start on the season.
- You can grow more vegetables in less space and have less area devoted to paths.
- They create attractive, well-organized planting areas.
- They save on the amount of fertilizer and compost used because it's concentrated just on the planting beds.
- It's less work, especially if you make permanent raised beds bordered with wood, bricks, or stone. You won't have to remake the beds each spring.
- The plants will have healthy root systems because you won't be stepping on the planting bed, compacting the soil, and making it hard for roots to grow.
- You can be more creative with design, making round raised beds for example, and planting vegetables, herbs, and flowers in various designs on the raised beds.
- It's easy to plant climbers such as cucumbers up an A-frame trellis because it fits nicely over a 4-foot bed.
- It's easy to fit season extenders such as row covers with wire hoops over the 4-foot beds.
- Raised beds are designed with the human back in mind – less bending and stooping over.
- Lower maintenance for weeds, watering, pests and replanting.
- You’ll have more control over your soil mixture and you can easily change the soil texture, fertility and tilth.
- Ability to add gopher wiring and copper barrier around edges easily.
- Raised beds are a good way of balancing nature’s resources.
- They're beautiful!
Key points - good drainage for proper aeration and organic matter, organic matter, organic matter!
- Decide whether to use an amended garden soil and organic matter or a growing media like potting soil with amendments.
- Mix the top several inches of native soil with several inches of whatever you put in the raised bed to prevent abrupt soil boundaries that could impede drainage.
- Put down hardware cloth to eliminate gophers.
- Very sandy soils or soils high in clay will have the most benefit from organic matter amendment.
- If you use garden soil, double dig the planting bed to make sure that amendments and organic matter are uniformly mixed.
- Aim for at least 4 to 5% organic matter to soil ratio, good compost works well (good compost doesn't look like the original materials, but has a dark rich appearance and a moist, crumbly texture.)
- Add 2 to 3 inches of compost for every 6 to 8 inches of depth and mix well. 3 cu. yds of compost covers 1000 sq ft 1 inch deep
- Check the pH in the root zone after a week or so - should be around 6 to 6.5. Lime or sulfur can be used to adjust pH up or down, respectively.
- Leave at least 2 inches for a mulch on top of the beds
Other issues to consider:
- Peat moss is often mentioned as an organic matter addition - is this a sustainable amendment?
- Manure also mentioned as an organic matter addition –it can add salts to the bed and should not touch the edible parts of the plants.
- Good quality compost (fully composted, no large pieces of woody material) is best and sustainable.
- Vermiculite and perlite are also referred to as good soil amendments- they can be costly for large beds but may be reasonable for smaller units. They are also very light and tend to rise to surface and wash away.
More information can be found here:
Soil Information for Raised Beds:
Soils and Trouble Shooting:
Chemically Treated Lumber Info:
Vegetable Gardening Basics:
Master Gardener Gardening Resources: http://camastergardeners.ucdavis.edu/files/64772.pdf
For more information and events, follow us on our website: http://groups.ucanr.org/slomg/
- Author: Chris Cocchiaro
Here is an update; I have included all the data for the winter so far. Overall, it looks like a pretty good rainfall year, and no frost. Remember the Rainfall calendar is July 1 through June 30th, so we do not have complete data as the station was brought online in November. We will continue to download and publish the data quarterly, but feel free to ask for more details.
Data for the station between 11/20/2009 and 3/22/2010:
High Temp = 26.7 C/80.1 F (on 03/17/10 at 3 pm)
Low Temp = 0.7 C/33 F (on 12/09/09 at 6 am)
Highest Wind Gust = 36.62 mph (on 01/20/10 at 11 am)
Rain gauge = 624.25 mm/24.58 in
Largest single rain measurement:
18 mm/0.71 in one hour on 01/20/10 at 12 pm (interestingly right after the Highest Wind Gust)