UC Master Gardeners of Monterey
and Santa Cruz Counties
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Dear Gardening Friends: Welcome to our newsletter, where we usually feature hands-on classes designed for local home gardeners.
In lieu of in-person classes and events, we're sharing information and resources we hope you find informative and helpful.

2020 Spring Pop-Up Plant Sale

Customer Appreciation Sale: All Plants 40% Off

Thank you to all who have supported our UC Master Gardener program. In appreciation, we're offering a 40% discount over the final days of our spring plant sale. Please note our online store will close for the season on Friday, May 8, 2020. Curbside pick up is available at our Salinas greenhouse. 

We have a variety of plants that our propagation team has cultivated especially for this sale. Seasonal vegetables, herbs and California native plants are available to add to your spring and summer gardens, including a wide selection of tomato varieties, globe artichokes, and the hard-to-find Coast Buckwheat, a California native plant and pollinator magnet!

1.) Browse our online nursery and select your plants. Our online store will close for the season on Friday, May 8. When you've finished shopping, review your cart and pay for your purchase.

2.) You will receive a confirmation email with instructions to schedule a 15-minute pick-up appointment. This allows us to manage the number of people picking up at the same time. Note: Curbside pick up is only available in Salinas. If you do not receive the confirmation and pick up appointment scheduling email, please check your spam folder. 

3.) Come to the UC Cooperative Extension offices at 1432 Abbott Street in Salinas at your chosen appointment time. Please be on time and bring a copy of your receipt to confirm your order and identity. 

When you arrive, please use the driveway on the left side of the UCCE buildings as you face them from the street. Pull up between the greenhouse and shade house and pop your trunk or hatch open.

We will place your plants in the back of your car. (If no one comes immediately, please beep your horn to alert us that you have arrived.)

Have questions? Call and leave us a message at (831) 763-8007.

In the Garden


What to Do in the Garden

  • If you plan to purchase plants at local nurseries, continue to call ahead to check nursery hours, item availability and curbside pick up services. While some nurseries are closed, many nurseries that have chosen to stay open are short-staffed while dealing with increased demand for goods.
  • Root crops, such as beets, radishes, and carrots, are best direct sown as seeds, rather than planted as starts. Root crops are sensitive to overcrowding. Plant seeds, then thin the seedlings to allow ample room for each plant to grow. Consider succession planting if you are interested in staggering your harvest.
  • Warm-season annual crops such as summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers, and beans should be direct sown as seeds. Others perform better planted as starts, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Refer to the California Garden Web guide to growing vegetables for plant-specific information.
  • Leafy greens: If you can, choose a cool spot in your garden to grow plants prone to bolting in hot weather. These plants include Asian greens, spinach, lettuce, chard, and herbs like cilantro. Look for heat-resistant or bolt-resistant varieties.
  • Herbs: Get a jump start on your herb garden by planting starts of basil, parsley, sage and other Mediterranean herbs. Though you can start some herbs from seeds, parsley is notoriously slow to germinate from seed!
  • Consider adding plants to attract beneficial insects and pollinators to your garden.
  • If you plant California native plants now, keep them watered until rain returns in winter. Check out our tips for caring for native perennials through their first year in our California Native plant spotlight on native buckwheats.
coast buckwheat blossoms in the watsonville demo garden - eriogonum latifolium

California Native Plants: Pollinator-Attracting Buckwheats

Native buckwheats are wonderful plants to include in the native or pollinator garden. Due to its long flowering period and showy white flowers, California buckwheat is an excellent nectar source for beneficial insects when planted next to crops as part of an (IPM) Integrated Pest Management program. 

Coast Buckwheat (eriogonum latifolium) and California buckwheat (eriogonum fasciculatum) are our most common native species.

The Coast Buckwheat, in particular, is an important plant for the Central Coast, because it is one of only two host plants for our endangered Smith's Blue Butterfly. The other is Sea Cliff Buckwheat (eriogonum parvifolium). 

If you are inland, do not plant latifolium in full sun. Instead, plant eriogonum fasciculatum which can handle the heat.

Tips for summer watering of perennial natives in their first year:
  • Do not water when it is hot. 
  • Water when cool so that fungal pathogens are not activated.
  • Water deeply and often enough to encourage the establishment of deep roots. 
  • Allow the soil to partially dry out between watering.
  • Taper off watering as we move further into summer.
  • Once established, eriogonum latifolium should not require water more than once a month.
Read more about Native Buckwheats in California in this blog by a Master Gardener.

--Tips provided by UC Master Gardener, Janice Kuch
spring vegetables - succession planting

Food Gardening: Extend the Harvest with Succession Planting

One of the challenges of food gardening is timing. If you plant all of your veggies at the same time, you'll need to harvest them all at once. One of the ways you can have manageable amounts of vegetables is using a practice of staggering your vegetable plantings. 
Succession, or staggered planting, is the practice of sowing seeds or planting vegetable starts in 1-3 week intervals across the season to grow smaller quantities and extend the harvest. Leafy greens like lettuces, and root crops like carrots, radishes, and beets are well-suited to this practice. Check the Planting Schedule for your area to see how long you can stagger your plantings and review the "days to maturity" for each plant to help you decide how often to sow your next crop. 

Planting Schedules
Santa Cruz County (PDF)
Monterey County (PDF)

peach leaf curl on a nectarine

Plant Disease Focus: Peach Leaf Curl

Does this look familiar? This is peach leaf curl, which affects stone fruit trees, such as peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Unfortunately, if the leaves on your tree look like this, it's too late to address it this year.

Spraying the fruit trees 1-3 times next winter, when the tree is dormant, (before leaves bud out in late winter or early spring) is the best preventative measure. 


Additional Resources

In addition to our hotline, we host an active Facebook page where we post timely, instructional and useful gardening videos and information. We invite you to visit us and LIKE our Page!

Tuesdays: Gardening Tips
Wednesdays: What is That Weed?
Thursdays: Teaching Thursday (in-depth educational webinars and videos)
Saturday: Succulents!
Solace on Sunday: Nature & Gardening Inspiration

We encourage you to check out our complete collection of class resources from past classes, including Edible Landscaping, Backyard Composting, Landscaping with California Native Plants, Seed Starting, Raising Chickens, and more.

Quail (c) Maria Gaura
Copyright 2020 UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties

Our all-volunteer organization offers no-cost & low-cost research-based gardening and landscaping advice to the home gardeners in our beautiful Central Coast region. For more information on classes, resources, and advice, please visit our website.
Copyright © 2020 UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, All rights reserved.

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