Charlie Basham

Grow For It! Go hog wild and show what you grow at the El Dorado County Fair

The 2015 “Hog Days of Summer” El Dorado County Fair opens Thursday, June 18 for four-days of family fun and entertainment. There’s always lots of exciting things to see and do like the wheelbarrow races, consuming insane amounts of  favorite treats, mutton bustin’ and exploring the fair’s agriculture/horticulture exhibition coordinated by the UCCE Master Gardeners […]

A muddy Confederate flag and the foiled plot

As the defeated Confederate soldiers made a hasty, pre-dawn retreat from Fort Anderson on Feb. 19, 1865, the garrison flag was “captured” by Capt. Hiram H. Darter and his men of Company C of the 140th Indiana Volunteers. This muddy flag became a symbol of the Union’s victory and a coveted trophy of war. Capt. […]

Adoption, the Civil War and finding a hero

A 40-year journey As an adoptee, I’d always wondered who my birth parents were. Was I the son of a Korean War soldier who didn’t come home? Maybe there’s royal blood in my veins? When I became an adult and a father, the questions got more urgent. I needed to know: Are there heroes or horse […]

Grow For It! Missing March miracle means more mulch

Our prayers for another “March Miracle” rain went unanswered. We’re now officially and deeply entrenched in a fourth consecutive year of a severe drought. As water saving regulations, both voluntary and mandatory, are being implemented, there are some hard choices home gardeners need to make. Do gardeners give up on gardens and let the plants […]

Grow For It! Bark beetles — The silent killer among us

There’s a quiet killer in our midst and its ability to attack gets stronger every day the drought continues. The victims are trees, which are weak and stressed from too many years without enough water. They’ve become defenseless against the deadly attack of diseases and insects. Insects like the bark beetle. Bark beetles are a […]

Grow For It! Give garden tools a little TLC

It’s hard to know exactly when to call it quits with the yard work and welcome in the winter. Murphy’s Law dictates that the day after you’ve trimmed, raked and mowed your yard for the last time of the season, a two-week burst of warm weather will bring back the greenery — ironically, much thicker […]

Grow For It! It’s fair time: hot dogs, herbs and gardening

At high noon on Thursday, June 12 the annual El Dorado County Fair opens its gates for a four-day run of family fun and entertainment. This year there are plenty of things to see and do: watch the 70th annual John M. Studebaker International Wheelbarrow Races; eat massive amounts of hot dogs and tacos; enjoy […]

Grow For It! Electric safety in your yard: Look up, look out and live

Electric safety tips in a gardening article? Really? Yes, really. Electric safety is relevant to every home gardener and because May is National Electric Safety Month, this a perfect time to review the basics of electric safety before you step outdoors for a serious day of fresh air, weed pulling and yard work. Many daily […]

Grow For It!: At your service

One of the greatest rewards of being a master gardener is helping a homeowner solve their gardening mystery. Every day the Master Gardener office gets phone calls, e-mails and visitors posing challenging questions that would stump Sherlock Holmes: “What would cause my tomato plants to mysteriously fail in just a couple of days?” “Can you […]

Grow For It!: High praise for the raised garden bed

A raised garden bed is an above-ground, open-bottomed container filled with a rich mix of topsoil, compost and other organic materials. A raised garden bed is also the solution to many of the shortcomings of home gardening. A raised bed is easy to build and even easier to maintain. It’s ideal for a small planting […]

Grow For It: If you plant it, they will come

A hungry deer will eat most any plant, even the deer-resistant varieties. I found this to be true last year after a small herd of the four-legged weed eaters feasted on my garden of deer-resistant ornamental plants, plus an entire vegetable garden for dessert. For the coming growing season I’ve completed my homework to find […]

Grow For It! Give your garden a tune-up for spring planting

The days are getting longer and warmer — it’s a sure sign that the planting season is finally here. You may already be fantasizing about your summer bounty of tasty vegetables and bundles of fresh cut flowers. But, before you put any seeds or plants in the ground, try giving your garden a quick tune-up […]

Grow for it! Pocket gophers: How to control the furry little root eaters

You’ll see evidence of a garden invasion first. A half-dozen horseshoe shaped mounds of loose dirt with a plugged hole to one side. Then the healthy plants begin to die — or suddenly disappear altogether. And the irrigation lines may spring multiple leaks. If you recognize these symptoms, you likely have a pocket gopher that’s […]

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