Latest Statewide Master Gardener News
UC Master Gardener volunteers, program coordinators and advisors from around the state are invited to submit their innovative educational and outreach projects by the May 1, 2017 deadline.
Search for Excellence Prizes
The stakes have been raised and the prizes are bigger than ever before! For the first time the grand prize winner of the Search for Excellence awards will receive $1,500 for their county program. Second place winner receives $1,000 and third place winner receives $500 for their county program.
Search for Excellence Categories
Search for Excellence gives county programs the opportunity to share successful and innovative projects in the following seven areas:
- Community service
- Demonstration garden
- Innovative project
- Research (applied scientific methodology)
- Special needs audience
- Workshop or presentation
- Youth program
All applicants, regardless of award status, are strongly encouraged to submit a poster for display at the conference as an opportunity to share their ideas with other county programs. Winners to be announced June 2017.
For questions about submitting a project contact your local program coordinator or advisor. Additional information and forms can be found on the conference website on the Search for Excellence webpage, ucanr.edu/sites/2017MGConference/Activities/SFE/
We look forward to learning about the creative and impactful projects from counties big and small!
(Please include county name in subject line for all email communications)
Southern California (San Luis Obispo, Kern, San Bernardino, and south)
Program Coordinator, San Diego
Phone: (858) 822-6932
Northern California (Monterey, Kings, Tulare, Inyo and north)
Program Coordinator, San Joaquin
Phone: (209) 953-6111
Since 1987, the Cherry Buckskin Project has been working to prevent the establishment of cherry buckskin disease which can decimate entire orchards. “Cherry buckskin disease is spread by leafhoppers, which acquire the disease when feeding on diseased cherries or other plants that host the disease organism. Diseased trees produce pebbly, leathery-skinned paled fruit that is most evident at harvest,” according to the UC IPM website.
Prevention of cherry buckskin disease is a collaborative effort between UC Cooperative Extension, the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture and local cherry growers; the Cherry Buckskin Project aims at early detection through education and outreach.
A major component of the Cherry Buckskin Project is the training of UC Master Gardener volunteers and local growers. UC Master Gardener volunteers in Contra Costa County are trained annually by Caprile, who explains the history of the disease, how it is transmitted and what symptoms to be on the lookout for.
UC Master Gardener volunteers serve as early detectors and scout for symptoms of cherry buckskin disease, through an annual survey of cherry orchards in Contra Costa County. Since the beginning of the project UC Master Gardener volunteers donated more than 1,100 volunteer hours surveying cherry orchards!
A huge congratulations to Janet Caprile for the well-deserved IPM Achievement Award, and a thank you to all of the UC Master Gardener volunteers in Contra Costa County that have helped make the Cherry Buckskin Project possible with the hours they have dedicated to its success.
Also attending the award ceremony with Caprile were Matthew Slattengren, Assistant Agricultural Commissioner Sealer of Weights and Measures, Jorge Vargas, Agricultural Biologist Weights and Measures Inspector, and Claire Bernardo, representing UC Master Gardener volunteers. The ceremony took place in the CalEPA headquarters Building in Sacramento, Calif.
All of the success of the UC Master Gardener Program is due to the hard work and dedication of its volunteers, for this we would like to say a sincere THANK YOU for all you do!
Volunteers make a difference
Volunteer hours focus on services and outreach to the general public, sharing research-based information about water conservation, green waste reduction, pest management, and sustainable gardening practices. UC Master Gardeners are creating healthier communities and gardeners through their love for gardening and hours of volunteer service.
Impacts by the numbers
Last year 6,237 volunteers gave their time and shared their talents, resources and gardening knowledge with communities across California. From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 more than 328,540 hours were donated, a monetary value worth more than $9 million. It is hard to put a value to the service volunteers make for the program, but over the course of our 35 year history more than 5 million volunteer hours have been donated worth more than $137 million to California.
“This year we celebrate hitting the impressive 5 million volunteer hour's milestone,” says Missy Gable, statewide director. “We are so proud of the UC Master Gardener Program and its volunteers and the incredible work they do across the state. This hour milestone represents thousands of volunteers giving their valuable time, horticulture knowledge and sharing their passion about sustainable home gardening with their friends, neighbors and communities.”
Telling our story by reporting
We look forward to reaching our next hour milestone together, a sincere thank you to our incredible group of volunteers, for sharing their passion and valuable time with the UC Master Gardener Program!
Spring-flowering bulbs are easy to grow and pack a punch of color to help usher out winter blues. Order your spring-flowering bulbs, now available for purchase in their dormant state through mail order and at local nurseries. Finding the perfect color, height, blooming time and scent can be very exciting, especially with the wide varieties of bulbs available. When purchasing look for heavy, dense bulbs with no decay, mold, or fungus; they should smell fresh, and be free of cuts and bruises.
Bulbs are very versatile and can be planted in flower beds, raised beds, lawns, around trees, lining walkways, in pots or window boxes. Bulbs generally have very few diseases and insects, but can be disturbed by pests such as gophers, ground squirrels and mice.
Bulbs are low maintenance and any gardener can successfully grow bulbs by following these simple steps:
- Use healthy bulbs (plump, firm, fresh smelling)
- Choose a sunny spot with rich well-drained soil
- Plant correctly
- Planting depth (follow the directions)
- Pointy end up (if you are unsure, plant it on its side)
Landscaping with spring bulbs can create interest in the landscape where there is none and bring pops of color and whimsy to porches and patios. Plant bulbs in formal lines, or free flowing groups, play with color choosing multiple colors or choose a striking monochromatic color palette.
Here are a few design ideas to keep in mind when deciding where to plant bulbs:
- Combine bulbs and perennials such as cranesbill geranium or daylilies for a show stopping flowerbed. Almost any perennial or annual combines well with bulbs and can keep your flowerbed looking perky after the bulb bloom is spent.
- Hillsides, tree lines, meadows and areas that are left undisturbed are great for planting swaths or drifts of naturalizing bulbs. Large bold masses of spring blooming bulbs can be enjoyed year after year as the bulbs multiply and spread.
- Get creative in a container by planting different varieties of bulbs in the same containers to create a colorful spring display.
- Choose bulbs that require different planting depths and have different blooming times. Containers will become a living bouquet of color. This technique is referred to as layering or making “bulb lasagna” and is a fun experiment with different combinations of bulbs.
With California's Mediterranean climate bulbs can stay in the ground year round, but may require replacement or division every three to four years depending on overcrowding or poor bloom quality. After blooming scatter a light feeding of fertilizer (5-10-10) over the area and allow foliage to fade until it has yellowed and withered before removal.
Regardless of how you incorporate bulbs into your landscape, bulbs add a pop of color, interest, depth and character. Happy planting!
Spring flowering bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers:
|Bluebell||Hyacinth (Grape Hyacinth)||Snowdrop|
|Calla||Iris (Dutch, Bearded)||Spanish Bell|
|Crocus||Lily (Oriental, Asiatic)||Ranunculus|
Warm vs. cool season crops
Most vegetables are classified as either a warm season or cool season crop. This designation is based on the temperature range that the plants thrive in. Warm season crops grow best when the days are long and the temperatures are high (between 65°-95°F). In contrast, cool season crops grow and produce the best quality produce when the average temperatures are between 55°-75°F and are typically tolerant of light frosts when mature.
Typical cool season crops include root vegetables such as: beets, carrots, parsnips, and radishes; stems such as asparagus and rhubarb; leafy crops like cabbage, celery, lettuce, spinach and crops that have edible immature flowers like artichokes, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Importance of frost dates
“When deciding what to plant in your edible garden it is important to take into consideration the best months a crop will thrive,” says Missy Gable, statewide director for the UC Master Gardener Program. “Fall can be a very rewarding gardening season. There are a variety of delicious crops that can survive the cooler temps and have a short number of days to maturity.”
Guides for determining the first and last frost dates for a specific area or region are available using historical references from the National Weather Service. Visit the California Garden Web section “When should plant my garden? Frost dates” webpage for detailed information about when to safely plant frost-tender crops.
Cool season vegetable gardening at a glance:
Learn more with the UC Master Gardener Program
Vegetable Gardening Basics, http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8059.pdf
California Gardening Web, cagardenweb.ucanr.edu/
California Master Gardener Handbook, Home Vegetable Gardening, page 338-339, anrcatalog.ucanr.edu
University of California Cooperative Extension Vegetable Research & Information Center, vric.ucdavis.edu