Articles by Kate Russell

About Kate Russell
Kate Russell is a UCCE Master Gardener in Santa Clara county.

Reptiles can be useful

Reptiles in gardens? Let’s hope so! You may see a lizard scurrying for cover under your lettuces, or a snake slithering across your strawberry patch, but what are they doing in your garden? Are they pests or helpers? And what’s the difference between reptiles and amphibians? [...]

Luring pests away

Every year, we plant our garden favorites. And every year, the same pests come, causing damage and carrying disease. What if there was a way to lure those pests away from your plants? There is. It’s called trap cropping. Trap cropping is a form of intercropping that uses other [...]

A different type of migration

Migration probably isn’t something you associate with gardening in Gilroy. But maybe you should. When we talk about migration, we generally mean large groups, moving from one region to another, due to seasonal changes, depleted food supplies, safety or reproduction. To most [...]

Vectors for plant disease

Few weeds come up as quickly and resiliently as common groundsel. Also known as old-man-in-the-spring, this European annual weed prefers Morgan Hill’s cool, wet winter weather, dying off each summer, but it never fails to return each year. Common groundsel description Like [...]

Fire safety in the garden

One or two minutes may be all the warning you get when it comes to fire. Fire-safe gardening around your home can give you the time you need to get out safely. [...]

How does your garlic grow?

Being the Garlic Capital of the World means there are plenty of garlic goodies to be found in Gilroy, but growing your own garlic may be the most rewarding way to celebrate this cousin to onions, shallots, chives and leeks. In late spring, garlic plants may not look like much. [...]

Fuzzy, but not friends

If you have citrus trees, you probably have citrus mealybugs. Cousin to scale insects, these tiny Morgan Hill pests are often overlooked. At first, you may see some sooty mold on a few leaves, an ant trail, or, finally, a telltale cluster of fuzzy white, tucked under leaves or [...]

Wonderful Waste

The science behind composting is solid. Yard and kitchen waste are made of plants. In nature, plants decompose and return their nutrients to the soil. Other plants feed on those nutrients, growing stronger and healthier. As a bonus, adding compost to planting areas makes plants [...]

Sap-sucking pests

Aphids, or plant lice, are nearly always a problem in the garden. This is particularly true in winter, when it comes to cabbage aphids. Cabbage aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae) can wipe out a cabbage crop before it ever gets started. Native to Europe, this pest of cole crops is [...]

Garden myths

Oxalic acid—you’ve heard the warnings, telling how rhubarb leaves and other plant parts that contain oxalic acid should not be eaten. But that’s not entirely accurate. Let’s learn the truth about oxalic acid in the garden. The chemistry behind oxalic acid As an acid, [...]
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