Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Website & Plant Database

Yavapai County Cooperative Extension

Jeff Schalau and Mary Barnes have finished the conversion of the horticulture information to the new website.  Jeff says that this page will likely take longer to load and there are some other things that aren't as user friendly but there are pluses to the new site.  At the top of the page is a link to Extension publications.  Look to the menu at the left for the horticulture page.  If you have bookmarks to the old site you can still use them but first you will reach a page that will redirect you to the new site.  Take a few minutes and bookmark these new links.


There are some differences from the old one so I recommend you spend a bit of time exploring. To get to the main horticulture page use the link below. You can find Jeff's newpaper columns here, a terrific resource since it is searchable.


From there you can find the Master Gardener pages.  This is the place to find the reporting forms, both electronic and not.  There is also a link to the Arizona Master Gardener Manual, this blog, forms to apply to become a Master Gardener, the Master Gardener Newsletter (there is an index for the newsletter starting in 2000) and a calender.


One link that is terrific, is the plant database.  This database was created by Master Gardener volunteers and covers around 150 native plants of Yavapai county.  It isn't a complete list, there are portions still in development but the grasses, shrubs and trees sections have a wealth of information.  The listings include several pictures of the plant, description of the species, flower characteristics and habitat information.  If you are a Yavapai County Master Gardener and would like to work on the database contact Mary Barnes.


The links to the new website are posted on the main page of the blog also.  Take some time and and explore the site, it's filled with terrific information.

Science News

It's late November and not much is going on in my garden.  Instead I've been doing one of my other favorite things—reading.  I'll read just about anything someone puts in front of me but one of my favorites is the magazine ScienceNews.  http://www.sciencenews.org/   They do a terrific job of explaining science in friendly terms.  Below are some interesting tidbits.

(SN:7/18/09, pg 12)  The heat of chili peppers apparently protect them from  fungus, but they are more likely to be affected by drought and ants.

(SN Online: 2/13/09) The stress of plants being grown organically could explain the abundance of some micronutrients, ones that protect the plants and aid human health.

(SN Online: 8/25/09)  For those using pomegranate supplements instead of eating the real thing:  don't bother, most of them don't actually contain any of the plant material they claim.

(SN 1/16/10, pg 8)  Deception amongst the squash.  Squash are slight of hand advertisers thanks to a common virus.  When cucumber mosiac virus infects squash plants, the plant starts to smell more attractive to aphids.  Oh by the way, none of this is good news for the gardener!  Anyway the virus attracts the aphids, the aphids take a taste and go "UGH" and move on.  The aphids also pick up the virus and help spread it to other plants.

(SN 1/16/10 pg 8)  Worried about bed bugs, not sure whether you have them?  A low tech, low expense, way to find them has been devised by researchers.  The bugs apparently are attracted by carbon dioxide.  Take about a kilogram (sorry you'll have to figure out how much this is) and put it in a 1/3 gallon insulated jug (available in sporting goods stores).  Don't quite close the opening.  Stand the jug in a low dish and build a paper ramp up to the lip of the bowl.  Dust the bowl with a slight coat of talcum powder.  Leave the room, close the door and leave it alone for 11 hours.  The pesky bugs are attracted to the CO2, climb the ramp, fall into the bowl where the slick sides and talcum powder prevent them from escaping.  Some good news (?) is that modern bed bugs don't live as long without feeding.  Small consolation, but it will save you money by not hiring a pest inspector.