Small Gardens & Small Spaces - SJ Master Gardeners

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UC San Joaquin Master GardenersGarden NotesJanuary - March 2019INSIDE THIS ISSUESmall Gardens& Small Spaces1Winter GardenChores2Community3Connections: The Timberwolf GardenPests and Plantsof the Season4-5Senior Gardening6Beneficials:Tachinid Flies7Growing Knowledge8From the Garden9Demo Garden10Horticultural Terms 11The Help Desk:Pruning Roses12Taste of the Season13Coming EventsSHARPS CollectionProgramGarden Notes1417Coordinator CornerMarcy Sousa, Master Gardener CoordinatorHappy New Year! We’re all settling in after the frantic activity ofthe holidays for a quiet winter. January is a good planning time ofyear. Assessing what you have for seed starting supplies, pottingsoil and seed varieties is always a fun way to start the excitement forthe spring ahead. Like many people, the new year brings renewedenergy and hope, plans for self improvement and of course resolutions. Our resolutions this year as a program, is to help plant asmany gardens as possible, to teach old and young alike how to care for their soil and their plants,be a resource to our community and to encourage the residents of San Joaquin County to conserveresources, reduce green waste and practice sustainable gardening practiceThis year marks nine years since we sent out our first Garden Notes issue. This publication hasevolved into something that our program is quite proud of and that we hope you enjoy! This yearalso marks the eleventh anniversary of the Master Gardener Program in our county. Master Gardeners have volunteered over 56,100 hours and have earned over 15,000 hours of CEU’s sinceJuly of 2007 on various projects in the County. At the end of the month, we will be starting ournext training class and are excited to have Stanislaus County join us as they kick off their brandnew program.If you have a gardening questions, you can contact us at 953-6112. I hope you enjoy this editionof our newsletter. Happy Gardening!Small Gardens & Small SpacesSusan Mora Loyko, Master GardenerSmall growing spaces are quickly becomingmore of a trend with people from all walks oflife. Whether it's people living in small apartments, condos, or homes with limited growingspace; aging gardeners downsizingtheir growing area; or young peoplewanting to try their hand at growingtheir own fruits and veggies, manyare learning how to successfullygarden in smaller spaces.Even in the smallest of spaces thereare lots of opportunities to growveggies, flowers, and shrubs bylooking at gardening differently than the traditional rows, hedges and pots. There's no rulethat says you can't mix the flowers with vegetables in a garden. Veggies are quite ornamentalin their own right. To keep things pretty whilePage 1growing flowers and food together, clusterplants in multiples of three or five and varyheight and textures of the plants you’re choosing.Integrating flowers into vegetablegardens or growing vegetables inwith your flower borders can be funand beneficial. Flowers bring in thepollinators and beneficial insects,such as butterflies, lady beetles,bees, and more which are crucialfor vegetable development.Gardeners can do a lot with a small growingarea with a little time, a few great plants, and alittle creativity to beautify the smallest of outdoor areas. The first stepContinued on pg. 15is to look at the potentialUC San Joaquin Master Gardeners

Winter Garden ChoresSue Davis, Master GardenerJanuary, February, and MarchAre you tired of being cold? Take a few days to sit inside whereit is warm and look through the abundance of gardening catalogs. You can plan your spring or summer garden, select a plantor two to enhance your landscape, or find a newvariety of a favorite vegetable. If a day turns outwarmer than others, there are always a fewmaintenance issues that will need your attention.time you move to a new plant or tree will also work to keep yourpruning tools disinfected.Rake and discard all the fallen leaves around your rose busheswhich may be harboring next season's pests.Remove all mummified fruit from your fruit trees,as well as any fruit or leaves still on the ground todiscourage pests and diseases. Apply dormant oilsprays to control pests, disease and infection.Dormant sprays are labeled for specific diseasesor pests as well as for the recommended amountand frequency of spraying. Please read labelscarefully. You’ll get the best results from sprayingafter rain or foggy weather and not during or justprior to freezing weather.January ideas:Plant –Bare root roses and fruit trees are available inyour local nursery now. Bare root plants are lessexpensive than they will be in a couple ofmonths when they have been potted.It’s not too late to plant spring bulbs if yourlocal nursery still has some in stock. For production of good blooms, bulbs should feel heavy andJanuary: Acer palmatum 'Sangodense. Summer bloomers (begonias, dahlias,Kaku' (Coral Bark Maple)gladiolus, and lilies) should be available by mail.Azaleas and camellias are in bloom now. Choose one thatcatches your eye. Before purchasing a plant, make sure it'shealthy and its leaves are lush and green. Avoid plants that havepale leaves, overly leggy growth, or roots protruding throughdrain holes.Mulch around your plants at least as far as thedrip line but not near the trunks to discourageweeds, prevent soil erosion and help regulate soiltemperature.Work compost into the soil around your plantsand continue or start a composting pile for yourspring and summer gardens.Use a balanced fertilizer for winter-flowering plants to keepthem blooming in these cold months. Among those that shouldbe fed: primroses, stock, calendula, snapdragons, poppies, pansies and violas. Potting a few of these will add a splash of colorto your porch or patio.Japanese maples (A. palmatum) are available in nurseries now.These trees come in many varieties, including ones with deeplySnails and slugs hide under pots, wood, benches and pavers.cut leaves or variegated foliage. They can range in height from 3Dispose of any you find in a pail of soapy water.to 20 feet and should be protected from thewind. Sun tolerance varies by species.In February:Plant-Determine the mature size of plants you areadding to your landscape so that you allow sufficient space when placing them in your garden.If the area looks sparse now, fill it in with someannuals or small perennials that can be relocatedlater.Start seeds indoors (see Lee Miller’s Winter2012 and Trish Tremayne’s Winter 2015 articleson starting seeds). Peas can be planted outside;however, it is best to pre-germinate the pea seedson moist paper towels in a warm room for a fewdays before you sow them.Maintenance –Pruning tips and tools. Vines, fruit and shadeWinter blooming annuals such as pansies andtrees, grapes and roses all benefit from pruningsnapdragons can still be planted this month.with sharp tools to remove dead, diseased, andDahlia tubers are available in area nurseries. Forbroken branches, open their framework to theFebruary: Carolina jessaminethe best selection and a rich array of color andsun and improve air circulation. As you work,(Gelsemium sempervirens)different flower forms, choose them now. Wait todisinfect your pruning tools with a 10% bleachplant them in the garden from mid to late April (when the soilto-water solution to prevent the spread of disease. You can alsoreaches 60 degrees) for the most successful growth.wipe your tools with rubbing alcohol as you go, and/or submergeand soak them for 1 minute between uses. Be sure to dry themTuberous begonia and other summer blooming bulbs should beavailable at your nursery if you didn’t mail order last month.with a clean rag and oil them after use to prevent rust. KeepingLysol spray in your garden tote and spraying your tools eachChoose the largest and healthiest lookContinued on pg. 16Garden NotesPage 2UC San Joaquin Master Gardeners

Community Connections—The Timberwolf GardenPatty A. Gray, Master GardenerSchool gardens are hard enough to establish, but the real challenge comes in maintaining them for the long haul. The task seems torequire an infinite supply of energy, enthusiasm, and determination. How many schoolteachers can manage that on top the demanding task of teaching?Ansel Eayrs, a teacher at Stockton Early College Academy, makes it look easy. Eayrs, who obtained his doctorate in education atUniversity of the Pacific’s Benerd School of Education, teaches Honors Chemistry and AP Physics at SECA, and also advises thePhysics Explorers Club. In 2015, he inspired the students to help himcreate an edible garden for the school in the small space just outsidehis classroom building.But Eayrs and his students didn’t merely turn some soil and plantsome seeds; they created a set of four solidly-built wooden planterboxes with built-in irrigation. A dedication ceremony was held inOctober 2015 to launch the garden, and then they set about plantingkale, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and radishes. Students had only to step outside their classroom to snack on freshgreens.As if this wasn’t enough of an accomplishment, Dr. Eayrs decidedthose 16 sides of the planter boxes were blank canvases that had tobe filled with art. The medium he chose to embellish them waswoodburning. He and his students spent countless hours at the painstaking work of burning dozens of images representing science andliterature, music and sports, nature and culture. Each student who contributed to the project also burned in her or his own signaturesomewhere on one of the planters. These students have literally left their mark on their school.By the time this work was completed, summer crops were already growing: tomatoes and cucumbers, summer squash and eggplants, sunflowers and pumpkins, and corn. In the summer of 2016, they planted some fruit trees in the area. And then Dr. Eayrsand his students got really ambitious. They set about to double the size of the garden.Not only did they build four more planter boxes – even larger thanthe first four – but they first transformed a barren patch of groundbehind the classroom buildings into a beautifully designed patio.This involved a lot of digging to level out the ground before layingdown pavers, which became the main after-school activity for several of Dr. Eayrs’ students. Comparisons to Tom Sawyer and hisunpainted picket fence are appropriate here, and the medium thathelped Dr. Eayrs prove how fun it was to dig was Twitter – hemade frequent posts with photos and videos of the progress beingmade.The new planter boxes were set farther apart to create a plaza between them, and Dr. Eayrs and his students constructed benchesalong the sides. As a result, the garden is also a communal gathering place, which encourages more students to come out and interact with the plants.Every October, Dr. Eayrs holds a ceremony to commemorate andre-dedicate the garden, which takes place in the garden plaza. Before a gathering of students and fellow teachers, he makes aspeech, and then turns it over to students, who also make speeches, while others film the proceedings. So students are not onlylearning to build things and grow things, but also to express themselves articulately.You can follow the latest developments in SECA’s garden on Twitter by searching the hashtag #Timberwolf Garden.Garden NotesPage 3UC San Joaquin Master Gardeners

Pests of the SeasonTrish Tremayne, Master GardenerWeeds: ChickweedChickweed gets its name because chickens love to eat it. This is wonderful ifyou have free-range chickens, but not so great if you find them in your lawn orornamentals. Common chickweed is an annual weed that germinates January toMarch and can be prolific after a rain. It can grow either erect or prostrate, butnormally forms a dense low-growing mat. It has small succulent, bright greenhairy leaves and white flowers. It can produce seeds within five weeks of germination so it can spread rapidly in your turf or garden. Not only doesit steal nutrients from your plants, chickweed is a host plant for manypests like thrips and lygus bugs. It also acts as a reservoir host for diseases liketomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). The rootsare shallow so the plants are easy to remove by hand pulling or hoeing. An organic way to reduce the seed bank is soil solarization which can be done in summer. Link A pre-emergent herbicide can be used in late fall or early winter on turf and ornamental areas. For a list of productsavailable to home gardeners see Pest Note #74129 ChickweedsPest: Cabbage WormThe imported cabbage worm is active year around in California. It is the larvae of the cabbagebutterfly. If you see the butterfly flitting around your Brassicas (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage and kale), most likely it is the female is looking for a place to lay hereggs. The oblong-shaped eggs are white or cream in color and are laid singularly on the undersideof the leaf. The larva is green with a velvet like appearance. While they are slow moving, they arevoracious eaters leaving large irregular holes in the leaves. Monitor the plants for damage by looking for holes in the leaves and the greenish brown fecal pellets the worms leave behind. If you seefecal material, look at the leaves above the droppings and you will probably see the worms. Normally I just handpick the worms off the cabbage plants and squish them. If you have a heavy infestation, you can also use a biological product called Bacillus thuringiensis (BT). It’s an organicproduct that is relatively safe for the environment. Spray the plants with the diluted product(follow the directions on the package). The worms eat the sprayed leaves, get sick and stop feeding. Eventually, they die of starvation. See UC IPM COLE CROPS pg 25 on Imported Cabbageworm for more information.Disease: Peach Leaf CurlIf you have peach or nectarine trees in your garden landscape you probably haveseen peach leaf curl. The disease is caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans.Spores of the leaf curl fungus overwinter on the surface of peach twigs. In spring,the spores multiply during periods of wet weather until the leaf buds swell andopen. Rain is necessary for infection. The leaves become puckered and turn pink orreddish in color. Quite often they fall off the tree. Unfortunately by the time yousee the symptoms it is too late to control the disease. It is necessary to spray a fungicide prior to bud swell to control the disease. Fixed copper products containingcopper ammonium complex products with 8% MCE (e.g., Kop R Spray Concentrate [Lilly Miller brands] and Liqui-Cop [Monterey Lawn and Garden]) are available for use by home gardeners. Spray in late winter or early spring before budswell. Adding a 1% horticultural spay oil to the application will make the application more effective and will help in controllingsome aphids, scale and mites. Thorough coverage is essential. Trees should be sprayed until they are dripping or until the point ofrun off. If you are spraying in late spring monitor the weather. Unusually warm weather in late winter can encourage bud swellthereby making fungicide sprays ineffective. Once the fungus enters the leaf, the disease cannot b controlled. See Pest notes #7426for more information.Garden NotesPage 4UC San Joaquin Master Gardeners

Plants of the SeasonJulie Schardt, Master GardenerA hike through the Sierra Nevada forests or in the valleys of places like Yosemite mightmake you wish for a way to relive the experience beyond what your smartphone's camera app might offer. One possibility is to bring that experience into your own gardenwith California native plants that offer a bright spot in a winter garden and help wildlifeto flourish as well. Here are some examples that have been thriving in a mid-city Stockton garden for years.Flower: Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana)This lovely perennial begins its display of color in late winter and continues throughoutspring. It is a showstopper in a planter bed or along a garden swale where it can takeadvantage of serendipitous rainfall or runoff. The rich green, spiky leaves are 1 to 3 feetlong and set off flowers that range in color from creamy white to shades of lavenderand deep purple. Like many native California irises, if conditions are right, Douglas Iriscan be long-lived. They can grow in full sun but need the respite of afternoon shade. Itstolerance for a wide range of soil types make it an ideal candidate for Central Valleygardens. It requires little or no summer water. Insects are attracted to these flowers(which brings birds), and hummingbirds appreciate their nectar.Shrub: Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus sericea)This thicket-forming deciduous shrub ranges from 6 to 9 feet tall and spreads from 8-10feet. (This is not the big flowering dogwood, Cornus nuttallii, that lives in the CaliforniaSierra Nevada mountains.) In the wild, it commonly grows in areas of damp soil, suchas wetlands but inland it can thrive in part shade with regular water. Cornus sericea’swine red, willowy stems are evident throughout the year. Fall and winter offer a show ofcolor when the dogwood’s leaves turn to shades of red, yellow, plum, orange and pink.In early spring, 2- to 3-inch wide clusters of small white or cream flowers appear andcontinue their inflorescence into fall. Birds are attracted to the white berries that appearin late summer. The versatility of theRedtwig dogwood makes it particularly useful for bordering lawns. Include the stems inwinter floral bouquets to add color. It’s awonderful addition to a bird garden, but alsogrows well as a specimen plant in containers.Tree: Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)The Toyon is a small evergreen native California tree, but it carries significant historicand cultural distinction. It’s the only California native plant that still bears its NativeAmerican (Ohlone) name. The Toyon’s resemblance to European holly and its abundance in the hills of Southern California were the genesis of the name “Hollywood.”Why not let this iconic plant share some space in your garden? It tolerates a wide variety of soils, is drought tolerant (although it might need occasional irrigation) and thrivesin sun to partial shade. Sometimes called Christmas Berry, this easy-to-grow specimenGarden NotesPage 5UC San Joaquin Master Gardeners

Senior GardeningRegina Brennan, Master GardenerNovember was particularly challenging to senior gardeners, and to others as well, because of the unhealthy air quality from thedevastating Camp Fire wild fires in Paradise and surrounding mountain communities. This tragic loss of life and property affectedmany vulnerable seniors and pointed out again the risk of growing older and needing help to deal with the challenges of maintaining home and property because of declining health and physical strength.Many of us have fallen behind in our garden chores getting ready for winter because of the poor air quality caused by an abundance of smoke in the air. Just as the smoke cleared out, welcome rains arrived with more challenges. As always, attempting torake leaves on slippery ground and apply compost and fertilizer to soggy soil requires both thought and preparation which mayinclude seeking help with these necessary chores.Many stories have been shared among friends and family of the independent seniors intheir lives refusing help and instead putting themselves in harm’s way by climbing upladders to clear out gutters and taking on tasks that could be done quickly by someonemuch younger and stronger. For the aging senior, risky activities often result in injuriesthat can mark the end of independence. For many seniors, asking for help makes themfeel useless and dependent on others, neither of which is acceptable in their way of thinking. What I am suggesting is the need to reframe our old patterns of thinking and to moveforward into new areas of thought more in line with the reality of our personal circumstances. Aging means making adjustments. Taking care of how we use our bodies

Gardeners can do a lot with a small growing area with a little time, a few great plants, and a little creativity to beautify the smallest of out-door areas. The first step is to look at the potential Small Gardens & Small Spaces Susan Mora Loyko, Master Gardener January -March 2019 ontinued on pg. 15 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Small Gardens 1

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