Environ. Horticulture, Pears, Cherries, and Viticulture
University of California
Environ. Horticulture, Pears, Cherries, and Viticulture

Strawberries

Meeting Announcement: Field Scout Training for Light Brown Apple Moth

UCCE Farm Advisor Mark Bolda will be providing a training on light brown apple moth (LBAM) that qualifies attendees to be an “approved scout” relating to the Compliance Agreement for shipment of berries to Canada.  On completion of the brief training, attendees will receive a Certificate as a record of their participation. 

This training will be held once in English and once in Spanish.

Where:  UCCE Auditorium, 1430 Freedom Boulevard, Suite E, Watsonville, CA

When:  March 10 – 9:00-10:00 AM in English

          March 11 – 9:00-10:00 AM in Spanish

No pre-registration necessary.   All are welcome to attend, even if they do not intend to ship berries to Canada.

Posted on Monday, February 24, 2020 at 2:48 PM

A Few Pointers on Distinguishing Lewis Mite from Twospotted Spider Mite

I am currently doing a spray trial in a field ostensibly populated with both Lewis mite, Eotetranychus lewisii and twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae. To boot, there's Phytoseiulus persimilis predatory mite mixed in, which people say doesn't eat much of Lewis mite.  

While on the face of it, this should all be easy to sort out when counting, but it turns out that it is a bit of an art telling the Lewis mite from the twospotted, especially when it comes to the females.  In turn, I contacted our expert on the matter Dr. Surendra Dara down in San Luis Obispo and he's graciously held my hand as I work through this. 

See the photos below for a bit of a primer, and then also be sure to look at Surendra's excellent post on comparing Lewis mite and twospotted spider mite.  

https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=5771  

UC IPM Stock photo of twospotted spider mite - spots clearly visible on either side of the body.
UC IPM Stock photo of twospotted spider mite - spots clearly visible on either side of the body.

Twospotted spider mite female, note broken up spots that can confuse.  Smaller individual mite at upper left has spots clearly defined.
Twospotted spider mite female, note broken up spots that can confuse. Smaller individual mite at upper left has spots clearly defined.

Lewis mite. Note distinctive spots at back of abdomen.  Photo courtesy Surendra Dara, UCCE.
Lewis mite. Note distinctive spots at back of abdomen. Photo courtesy Surendra Dara, UCCE.

Challenge question - which is it - Lewis or TSSM?  Back spot clearly visible, or?  Eggs surrounding the exemplar are white.
Challenge question - which is it - Lewis or TSSM? Back spot clearly visible, or? Eggs surrounding the exemplar are white.

Posted on Friday, February 14, 2020 at 11:19 AM

The Timeless Importance of Public Speaking and Extension ( and a Point on How to Master It )

With some of the time that the occasional rainy days have been affording me, I've been catching up with my professional reading.  In particular, an article the November 2017 edition of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau newsletter - like I said I was catching up - caught my eye.

The article concerned the first Farm Advisor in this county, Henry Washburn.  With a Stanford and UC education, Henry started his career with UC Cooperative Extension in 1917, and continued on for another 30 years.  While I knew of Henry and his work here, and also from time to time pass by his gravestone in the cemetery I walk through to get to work, being reminded of all what he did for the community and farmers here is sobering and reminds me of the great tradition we are following in our current capacity.

An interesting comment from Henry shared in the article was his initial difficulty with public speaking, especially since it was the only course he flunked in school.  Nevertheless, according to Henry, speaking in public ended up being almost his "life work" as the local advisor.

No surprise there.  Public speaking is very much a part of what we do as extensionists, and it's something we'd better master well if we hope to be effective at our craft.  It's also one of those skills that, and I'm sure Henry discovered this quite soon, academic study can only carry so far.  This is one knack for which real life experience has no substitute.

Put it this way.  It's been said a person who can part the stem of a wine glass with a gunshot from thirty paces will quite likely not be as sure and steady under the duress of a duel, with a pistol held by another aimed at his heart.  In the same vein, it's all fine and good to learn all the rhetorical devices and tricks to hold an audience's attention in the safe and protective confines of a classroom, but to actually put them into motion on stage in front of two hundred people in various stages of amity is very much another.  

Experience, and only experience, is going to make the master here.

Henry Washburn and a grower in Santa Cruz county more than a few decades ago, apparently taking a soil sample.  While our choice of clothing may have changed over the years, the importance of soil sampling most certainly has not.
Henry Washburn and a grower in Santa Cruz county more than a few decades ago, apparently taking a soil sample. While our choice of clothing may have changed over the years, the importance of soil sampling most certainly has not.

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 12:49 PM

February 4 Biodegradable Mulch Professional Development Workshop

Growing berries on the Central Coast, and in California for that matter, uses a lot of plastic.  A lot of it used to be just thrown away, now some of its recycled, but still not a lot and so it just goes into the landfill or worse like having pieces left in the field or ending up in the ocean.

As a person whose charge it is in many ways to look into the future, I've signed on to a large grant from the USDA with several colleagues from Washington state to start to look at alternatives, in particular biodegradables.  I've done some work over the years with these within my own program of research, and can assure you there's quite a bit of runway to go before these become mainstream.  Nevertheless, it's something that we in the research community should be looking at closer and in a more organized manner.

Since most of the team from the Washington side will be here anyway for the big annual strawberry production meeting the following day (Salinas Sports Complex, Feb 5, be there!), we decided to put on a morning meet up to not only share information, but get input from growers and professionals about where this work can go.

Meeting will be at my office, starts at 8 am and goes until noon.  Agenda posted below.

Biodegradable Mulch workshop pg 1
Biodegradable Mulch workshop pg 1

Biodegradable Mulch workshop pg 2
Biodegradable Mulch workshop pg 2

Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 12:34 PM

Many More Ways to Candify Strawberry

It's almost become part of the season to post pictures of the many ways Japanese people use strawberry in food processing.  And yes, it's all quite tasty.  Believe me.

Two varieties of strawberry chocolate - Meiji will be a big supplier of specialty foods to the 2020 Olympiad in Tokyo.
Two varieties of strawberry chocolate - Meiji will be a big supplier of specialty foods to the 2020 Olympiad in Tokyo.

The top box of candy is
The top box of candy is "Apollo", I guess because the shape is reminiscent of the Apollo re-entry capsule. Other packaging advertises (not shown) the 50th anniversary of this candy, which would put it at 1969 during the heyday of the US and Soviet space programs.

Strawberry milk candy.
Strawberry milk candy. "Tsubu-tsubu" means it's pulpy. Not pulpy by my lights, instead it's quite sticky, which in my opinion would make "netcha netcha" the more appropriate term.

Posted on Monday, January 13, 2020 at 7:06 PM

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