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Got Gardening Questions?

Visit or call the Hotline
Wednesday 9am-12pm
Thursday 1-4pm

Call: 530-538-7201

Or drop by: The Butte County Cooperative Extension Office
2279-B Del Oro Avenue
Oroville, CA 95965

Email Us at mgbutte@ucanr.edu. Include a description and photos of the problem. See "Help Us Help You" below for what to include.

You can also catch us in person at local farmers markets or at one of our information booths. Check out where we'll be on the Events page.

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 call:

  • 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

How can I tell when my olives are ready to be picked and cured?

Harvest times vary depending upon the olive variety, region, and overall weather conditions. In California, the first phase of picking generally begins in mid-September when fruits have reached the “green-ripe” stage. These olives have attained their mature size, are an even yellow-green in color, and release a creamy-white liquid when crushed. As the ripening process continues, the green hue changes to a mottled reddish-brown, and in December, final harvests gather the fully ripe “naturally black” olives.

Green olives tend to be more dense, firm, and bitter than black olives, but the texture and flavor of any olive depends upon the method and length of the curing process. A quick nibble of a just-picked fruit will make abundantly clear why curing is necessary. Oleuropein, a bitter compound found in the skin, may be effective at repelling pests, but millennia ago, clever humans developed a variety of methods to leach away the offending substance, with delicious results. Processing with lye is the fastest way to accomplish this, but care must be used with this highly caustic substance. Oil-, water-, brine-, and dry-curing techniques are slower but safer, and all are excellent methods for the home gardener.

For more information see UC ANR’s publication Olives: Safe Methods for Home Pickling (pdf).


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