Garden centers and nurseries busy

An improved housing market and pent-up consumer demand are keeping California nursery and garden center owners on their toes these days. Garden renovation and landscaping projects are at the top of many homeowners’ lists, and the nurseries are trying to keep up with demand and fill the void left by other nurseries that went out of business when the housing industry slowed to a halt. Nursery owners say increased sales are a good economic sign.


Decoding pepper DNA

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have identified key genetic markers for members of the pepper family of plants.

The DNA information they have decoded will help them expand the areas where peppers can be grown by introducing some drought-resistant genes into plants like the bell pepper. Earlier studies indicate that the wild ancestors of all peppers grew in tropical South America, in a region centered in what is now Bolivia.

Healthy eating guidelines hit social media

Nutrition tips, recipes and educational resources are now available on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, courtesy of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s MyPlate program.

The department says it chose to participate in social media to make it easier for consumers to find simple, science-based and practical guidance about healthy eating. The social media channels expand upon resources already available on the website,


Winemakers cheer record sales numbers

Sales of wine in the U.S. rose 2-percent last year, setting a new record, according to industry experts. More than 360 million cases of U.S. wines were sold in 2012, with more than half of that coming from California wineries. Wines, including sparkling varieties, are gaining popularity in American households, wine industry experts added, citing a 50 percent increase in wine shipments to the U.S. since 2001.


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