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It's a Honey of a Festival

A frame from a hive. The California Honey Festival will feature honey, mead, bees, speakers, live music, a kids' zone, and arts and crafts. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It's going to be a honey of a festival. Truly. And Amina Harris would love it if you're interested in participating in this event or...

Three old trees might save the citrus industry

Three citrus trees that produce inedible fruit at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center in Visalia may be a game-changer for the citrus industry, reported Ezra David Romero on Valley Public Radio.

The trees are thought to be resistant to huanglongbing, a severe disease of citrus that has devastated the Florida industry and could become a serious problem in California. The citrus-saving potential of the three 34-year-old trees was outlined in an article by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources writer Hazel White in the most recent issue of California Agriculture journal.

UC Riverside citrus breeder Mikeal Roose collected seed from the trees and will test seedlings as soon as they are large enough. 

"So what (breeders) have to do is cross this with some edible varieties and eventually create something that has the gene for resistance, but also the genes for good fruit," said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Lindcove director and research entomologist.

Huanglongbing disease has cut citrus production in Florida by more than half. It's been found in residential citrus trees in Southern California, but hasn't reached the state's vast commercial orchards yet. Grafton-Cardwell said she expects the disease will arrive in 4 or 5 years.

Eremocitrus crosses at Lindcove REC are potentially promising in the pursuit of a genetic source of resistance to HLB. The fruit is golfball size and inedible.
Posted on Friday, February 24, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Well, Hello, Bumble Bee...

A black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, peers at the photographer. This one buzzed into Robbin Thorp's office at UC Davis on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

What are the odds? Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, greeted a visitor on Feb....

Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 5:50 PM

Never-ending Broccoli?

Back in the end of October I planted my winter garden plot at the Avant Community Garden in downtown Benicia.  Since I was a little late to the game I planted transplants of broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, Swiss chard, and direct seeded carrots and beets.  I battled the slugs and weeds all winter and have eaten most of what was planted.  I still have a few beets, carrots and Swiss chard to finish off before I can amend the soil and plant my spring/summer garden.   

For broccoli this year I chose 'Green Comet'; (Brassica oleracea var. capitate) It is an early variety of broccoli that is known for producing numerous side shoots later in the season.  As advertised I got nice moderate-sized heads of broccoli. And then it seems after every warm and wet period the plants produced a flush of small side shoots.  I think I harvested 3 times.  We will see if I can squeeze another round out of these plants, I bet I can get more if I control my urge to pull them out and plant warm-season veggies.  Like most gardeners I tend to jump the gun and plant the summer garden too soon!

Benicia Community Gardens is now part of Sustainable Solano,  more info about all their programs is at

Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 12:22 PM

UCCE part of World Ag Expo throughout its 50-year history

Last week the World Ag Expo in Tulare County marked it's 50th year, reported Luis Hernandez in the Visalia Times-Delta. UC Cooperative Extension played a role in creating the event in 1967 and in 2017 was one of 27 organizations that have been involved every year since.

The article featured a picture of Jim Sullilns, who served as director of UC Cooperative Extension in Tulare County from 1993 to 2015. He now volunteers at the World Ag Expo, coordinating educational seminars.

“We always tried to provide an educational component on what's going on in agriculture and what's being done at universities,” he said. “We wanted to make sure it was available. We always had a booth here.”

As a volunteer, Sullins said he is getting a different perspective on the selfless acts of others.

“I see how much volunteers put in out of their own dime,” he said. “I realize how much it is hands on.”

2017 marked 50 years of involvement in World Ag Expo for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.


Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 11:40 AM
Tags: Jim Sullins (6), World Ag Expo (1)

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