Monarch Butterflies: Feed the butterfly AND the caterpillar
The milkweed plant is the key food source for the monarch caterpillar. But, the monarch butterflies themselves also need to be fed. The adult butterflies need nectar plants and you can help them on their way by planting some in your garden. There are a lot of plants that fit the needs of the butterfly and should be in our native landscape. Try out a few!
Cover Crops for the Winter
Cover Crops are green manure and can add important nutrients, especially nitrogen, to the soil. If you have a garden or just pots you use to grow your vegetables, this is an important method to put your soil in good shape for the new year. Cover crops help the soil retain water. After a long drought, the soil can be hard, so much of the rain can run off the land before it has a chance to soak into the soil. Finally, the cover crop will help reduce the weeds that pop up during the winter rains. You might want to use a mixture of plants to get full benefits. Learn more in the video below, and see this webpage for what to do off-season in the edible garden.
Plant Natives in the Fall
Oaks are a keystone plant in our area. Do you know what kind of oak is on your street or in your yard? You can learn to identify oaks in this area very quickly using this guide. Do you see the oaks dropping lots of acorns in your area? The oaks are masting; they have been talking to each other. They coordinate the release of acorns for many reasons. One reason is an overabundance of acorns will provide too many acorns for the birds, particularly scrubjays, to eat. So, they bury the acorns and then forget them. If luck holds, a new oak tree will sprout! Read more about our California natives here.
Problem plants and the Help Desk
What’s wrong with my plant? Did you know that you can drop off a section of an ailing plant at the UCANR office and have an expert Master Gardener help you rescue your plant? The office is now open for a few days a week. Call us at 415-473-4910 to learn when a Master Gardener will be in the office. There is a box outside the office where you can drop off samples 24/7, with forms and gallon bags to contain your plant sample.