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Gardening Resources

California Garden Web

The UC Master Gardener California Garden Web extends the University of California's vast collection of research-based information about gardening to the public. The California Garden Web offers information on:

  • Drought
  • Flowers
  • Gardening Basics
  • Glossary: A - Z
  • Growing Berries in Your Backyard
  • Growing Grapes in Your Backyard
  • Indoor Plants
  • Landscape Trees, Shrubs, & Vines
  • Lawns
  • Links
  • Nut & Fruit Trees & Vines
  • Poisonous Plants
  • Vegetables

Pest Management

Solve your pest problems with UC's best science. The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management website includes:

Home, Garden, Turf, and Landscape Pests

Natural Environment Pests — Insects, diseases, and invasive weeds that threaten California's natural environments

Exotic and Invasive Pests

Natural Enemies Gallery — Organisms that kill, decrease the reproductive potential of, or otherwise reduce the numbers of another organism and are key components to an integrated pest management program.

FREE UC IPM Publications

"Selected Plant and Soil Laboratories in Northern and Central California": (PDF 2018 - CE Sonoma County)



Plant and Tree Selection and Care

UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars Plant Search - Find the right plant for your garden

PlantNative  - Native plants lists, how to create a native plant garden, nursery finder

Pruning roses (PDF) UC Master Gardeners of Tulare & Kings Counties

Citrus during the winter.  PDF 

Find An Aborist - International Society of Arboriculture

Sudden Oak Death


Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruit

Year-round Vegetable Planting Schedules for SM and SF Counties

Master Gardener, Carol O'Donnell, has prepared several charts for the specific weather conditions that exist on the Peninsula -- Hot, Sunny, and Foggy. 

UC Vegetable Center - resources for growing a variety of vegetable crops in your home garden

Selecting Fruit, Nut and Berry Crops for Home Gardens in San Mateo and San Francisco Counties(PDF)

UC California Backyard Orchard - a wealth of information about growing and harvesting fruits and nuts

UC Fruit and Nut Research Center - current research info on various crops

Selecting Fruit, Nut and Berry Crops (PDF)

Culinary Herb Profiles (PDF)

Landscaping with Herbs (PDF)


Soil, Compost, and Mulch

You can compost all that is grow in the garden and much of the food waste from in your kitchens.  By doing this, you will nourish and replenish the nutrients and life in the soil and keep plants healthy.

Backyard Composting (SM County RecycleWorks)

Worm Composting (SM County RecycleWorks)

Grasscycling (SM County RecycleWorks)

Build your own compost bin or worm bin - StopWaste.org

Improving Garden Soils with Organic Matter - Oregon State University Extension Service (PDF)

Compost, mulch and amendments help replenish soil and amendments - Marin County Master Gardeners

Sheet Mulching - StopWaste.org (PDF) 

Time to pump up your soil for plants - Joan Tharp (The Daily Journal)

Soil Testing Labs for Home Gardeners - San Mateo/San Francisco Counties Master Gardeners (PDF)


Lawn Care

UC Guide to Healthy Lawns - How to select and care for turf

Natural Lawn Care (Bay-Friendly Gardening)

Lawn Care Without Pesticides (Cornell University)

Waterwise Lawn Alternatives - Photo Gallery (PDF)


Welcoming Life into the Garden

Choose plants that are in tune with the natural rhythms of our area, providing food and homes for beneficial insects, migratory and native birds, bats, reptiles, and amphibians.

Beneficial Insects

Meet the Beneficials poster

The Ten Most Wanted Bugs (PDF)

How to Attract and Maintain Pollinators in Your Garden (PDF)

UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab - Tips on gardening for bees and other pollinators, with links to plant lists for attracting bees.

Farming for Pest Management (PDF) - Even if you don't have a farm, scroll to page 2 for an excellent graphic showing all the ways you can help beneficial insects in any landscape.

Garden For Wildlife - Find out how to certify your backyard or schoolyard as a wildlife garden.

California Native Insect Pollinators - An introduction to gardening for pollinators, with photos, from a native-plant nursery. Other links focus on bees, and photos of all the plants are available as well.

Bay Nature article on Gardening for Wildlife with Native Plants

California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Guide to Habitat Gardening — Convert traditional landscape plans in privately owned yards or public spaces to those that attract and support native birds, bees, butterflies, and other wildlife.

CNPS guide to Songbird Habitat

Protect our Local Pollinators

Suggested Book List

California Bees & Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, by Gordon W. Frankie et al. (Heyday, 2014, 296p.).
Excellent handbook by the same people responsible for the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab. Engaging and authoritative, it can help you choose plants to attract specific species of bees, or to identify which bees are in your garden.

The California Wildlife Habitat Garden: How to Attract Bees, Butterflies, Birds, and Other Animals, by Nancy Bauer (UC Press, 2012, 232p.).
Offers guidelines for habitat gardening and profiles many habitat gardens and gardeners, with photos.

Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide to Conserving North American Bees and Butterflies and Their Habitat, by The Xerxes Society ((Storey Publishing, 2011, 384p.).
Focuses on bees and butterflies but includes other pollinators.

Farming with Native Beneficial Insects: Ecological Pest Control Solutions, by The Xerces Society (Storey Publishing, 2014, 272p.).
Shows you how to create a garden (or farm) habitat that will attract beneficial insects and thereby reduce crop damage from pests without the use of pesticides.

Sustainable Gardening

Don’t Plant a Pest  - Alternatives to invasive garden plants

Plant Right - Promoting non-invasive plants for California 

Identify Your Weeds - (UC IPM)

Pesticides and Urban Water Quality (UC IPM)

Local Agencies Supporting Sustainability:

BAWSCA: Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency - includes rebates for saving water and water-wise gardening classes

San Mateo County Recycleworks

Bay Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Alameda County Waste Management Authority

Bay Friendly Coalition