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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?

by Barbara Hill

I’ve read that vegetable seedlings grown indoors need “hardening off” before they’re transplanted, but what does that mean, and how do you do it?

The process of hardening off is a bit like a two-week Charles Atlas course for delicate seedlings, without the push-ups. Gradually exposing your tender youngsters to the harsh realities of the great outdoors will transform those 98-pound weaklings into beefy specimens, which are then better able to grow into strong, productive plants.

The term itself is quite literal: exposure to less hospitable conditions signals to the plant the need to toughen up. This initiates a process that creates an accumulation of carbohydrates in cell walls, creating thicker, woodier plant material. Properly hardened seedlings are unfazed by sun, wind, light frosts, or even getting a bit of sand kicked in their faces.

Read Tough Love: Hardening Off for more information.


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