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Got Gardening Questions?

Volunteers for our Hotline are working via email to respond to your gardening questions. All responses to your questions will be conducted via email.

Email Us at mgbutte@ucanr.edu (preferred).

Call: 530-538-7201 (leave a message)

Help Us Help You

You never can tell what's at the root of the problem. Below are some questions we may ask when you contact us:

  • Name of plant
  • Age of plant
  • Soil type (loam, sandy, clay)
  • Current watering methods (drip, sprinkler, hand)
  • Frequency of watering
  • Sun exposure
  • Evidence of insects or other damage – check on both sides of leaves
  • Recent changes that may effect the plant (watering, fertilizing)

Samples and photos related to your question are strongly encouraged. Drop them by the office any time, or email them to: mgbutte@ucanr.edu

What’s Hot Now?

garlic braid
What’s the difference between softneck, hardneck, and elephant garlic, and how do I grow them?

A nutritious member of the onion family, garlic is an excellent addition to cool season gardens. Although it can be sown in the spring, autumn planting will result in a crop of superior size and quality. You’ll reap delicious rewards next July, and well beyond: properly cured and stored garlic will keep for six months or more.

Softneck garlic (Allium sativum ssp. sativum ) is the type most commonly found in grocery stores. It tends to produce large bulbs containing randomly scattered cloves of varying sizes. Its pliable stems can be attractively braided after harvest.

Hardneck (Allium sativum ssp. ophioscorodon) varieties produce smaller bulbs bearing fewer cloves more uniform in size. They make up for this dearth by offering a culinary bonus: their bright green stalks, called scapes, are edible. Snip off in late spring and early summer, and enjoy either cooked or raw—their mildly sweet flavor is reminiscent of scallions or chives, but with a hint of garlicky goodness. Left unharvested, the stalks will flower and eventually dry into stalks too stiff for braiding.

The impressive size and mild flavor of elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) make it a kitchen standout, but this popular allium has a secret: it’s not a garlic at all! Although similar in flavor, growth habit, and cultivation requirements, this gentle giant is more closely related to leeks.

Get tips on growing, curing, and storing garlic.


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