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How can I get my soil tested?
Although the UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa cannot test your soil for you, many commercial laboratories provide a variety of soil testing services to the public. Most have informative web sites that describe what tests and other services are available, how to submit soil samples for testing, etc. Read more in Soil Testing Laboratories for Home Gardeners.
How can I get my water tested?
Although the UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa cannot test your water for you, many commercial laboratories provide a variety of water testing services to the public. Most have informative web sites that describe what tests and other services are available, how to submit samples for testing, etc. Read more in Water Testing Labs for Home Gardeners.
What plants tolerate boron?
Numerous locations in Contra Costa have higher than normal concentrations of boron in the soil and/or ground water. Many landscape plants are sensitive to excessive boron, so if your garden has this condition, select boron-tolerant plants. Read more in 2011-02-19 Boron in Irrigation Water.
When are the first and last frost dates?
Understanding the average dates for first and last frosts can help you determine when to safely plant vegetable gardens or annual flowers. A simple rule of thumb is November 15th and March 15th, but the dates do vary by location within the county. Read more in 2010-09-11 Local Frost Dates.
What were those winged insects? Termites?
Fall or the first rains can bring out swarms of termites and ants, so learning the difference is helpful. If they are termites, looking for the telltale signs of structural infestation is the next step. Controlling termites requires professional assistance. Read more in 2010-09-04 Termite Swarms.
Why are my citrus fruits splitting open?
Citrus rind split is a common, but incompletely understood problem. Specific cultural techniques, such as maintaining even soil moisture and nutrient content, can help to lessen the problem. Read more in 2011-09-03 Citrus Rind Splitting.