UC Master Gardener Program
UC Master Gardener Program
UC Master Gardener Program
University of California
UC Master Gardener Program

UC Master Gardener Program News:

Thank you! We wish you the very best in 2018

The UC Master Gardener Program plays a critical role in extending research-based information to the public and simply put, we could not do it without people like you.

In 2017 you helped:

  • Extend sustainable landscaping practices to more than 2.1 million people in California!
  • Support more than 1,000 demonstration, community and school gardens around the state; creating beauty, outdoor classroom training opportunities, and increasing science literacy in schools, jails, hospitals, senior centers and more.
  • Combat food insecurity in our local communities by giving people the skills and knowledge to grow their own healthy fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce pesticide use and inspire habitats for pollinators and other beneficial insects.

While we've had an incredible year as a program, we've also seen devastating loss with the fires that burned and continue to burn across California. We will continue to come together as a community and support one another, especially as our friends and colleagues deal with the overwhelming loss of their homes and property damage.

During the holiday season of giving, those interested in providing support can submit their contact information into the UC Master Gardener Fire Relief survey and be connected to local programs in need. Looking into the future we will work together to rebuild the gardens, landscapes and the communities we serve.

As we embark in the New Year we sincerely appreciate your efforts and thank you for the work you do to support the mission of the UC Master Gardener Program.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Missy Gable 
Director, UC Master Gardener Program

Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Raising Awareness and Support On #GivingTuesday

Thanks to passionate UC Master Gardener volunteers, partners and friends, we raised $10,050 during #GivingTuesday!

Social media was buzzing with activity and "UNselfies" celebrating the program for #GivingTuesday!
#GivingTuesday provided an opportunity to raise awareness and talk about the UC Master Gardener Program and the incredible volunteers that make a difference across California's landscape. Funds raised will be used for both local county initiatives, school, community, demonstrations gardens, and statewide funds raised will be used to support advanced training opportunities to volunteers across the state in 2018. 

The UC Master Gardener Program plays a critical role in extending research-based information to the public and simply put, we could not do it without people like you. 

In 2017 you helped:
  • Extend sustainable landscaping practices to more than 2.1 million people in California!
  • Support more than 1,000 demonstration, community and school gardens around the state; creating beauty, outdoor classroom training opportunities, and increasing science literacy in schools, jails, hospitals, senior centers and more.
  • Combat food insecurity in our local communities by giving people the skills and knowledge to grow their own healthy fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce pesticide use and inspired habitats for pollinators and other beneficial insects. 

Social media was buzzing with activity on #GivingTuesday, with volunteers and program supporters sharing reasons why they love the program. "UNselfies" or unselfish selfies were posted in support of the incredible impacts the UC Master Gardener Program makes across California. Check out the fun slideshow of #UNSelfies that were shared across social media on #GivingTuesday! 

With much gratitude,

Missy Gable
Director
mjgable@ucanr.edu
(530) 750-1266

Posted on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 9:20 AM

Halloween Plants that will Scare the BOO out of you!

It's a scary time of year! Plants are amazing life forms, coming in a wide array of forms, shapes, and colors. Here are some of my favorite Halloween plants that are sure to scare the living daylights out of you!

Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)

Doll's eyes plants are not only poisonous but host eyeball-like berries that are highly toxic to humans but don't harm most birds. Unless you're visiting friends or relatives or vacationing in the Midwest or Northeast USA you may never set your own orbs on this plant!


Devil's Claw or Ram's Horn (Proboscidea louisianica)

This unfriendly looking species is native to the South Central USA and sports a unique horn-shaped pod. In addition to its attention-grabbing visual appeal, pigments contained in the pod are used for black dyes by several Native American tribes.

Bleeding Tooth Fungus (Hydellum peckii)

This startling-looking fungus oozes fake blood through minute pores. (The red goo is actually a result of guttation that forces water into the roots during osmosis.) Fortunately for Southern Californian's, it is found mostly in the Pacific Northwest and Europe living peaceably in a symbiosis with conifers.

White Ghosts or Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora)

Photo credit: Jay Sturner / Flickr

These eye-catching specimens have bright white droopy flowers reminiscent of ghosts found in spooky dark, dank basements. They hide in shady spots and live in a symbiotic relationship with a fungus in their roots providing food.

Happy Fall!
Janet

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 9:18 AM

Crazy for Catmint: Celebrate your Cat for National Cat Day Oct. 29th!

Dedicated to Rascal Snowden.

Some of us garden for ourselves, others for our children and pets. When it comes to gardening for your fur friends, especially cats, catnip is the first thing that most people think of. Catnip (or catmint), Nepeta cataria, is in the mint family, Lamiaceae. Members of this aromatic family include many common herbs like rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, lavender and perilla. Nepetalactone is the compound in catnip that gives it a fragrance. Not all cats respond to nepetalactone but those that do are drawn to the garden to sniff, roll around and generally enjoy the plant.

Create a garden experience for your furry family members to enjoy with Catnip, Nepeta Cataria. (Photo credit: Lauren Snowden)

Traditional catnip, Nepeta cataria, should be planted with caution. It re-seeds readily and therefore requires a fair amount of maintenance to keep the plant from getting out of hand. Fortunately, there are numerous kinds of catmint that a gardener can choose from, all with the same cat alluring nepetalactone.

A Honey bee nectaring catmint (Nepeta), a flower that attracts pollinators into the garden. (Photo credit: Kathy Keatley Garvey)

 

Look for a catmint with valuable landscape qualities such as a long blooming period and maneagable growth habit. All Nepeta attract pollinators, are drought tolerant, rabbit and deer resistant, and according to the American Chemical Society may help repel mosquitos from the garden.

A common and favorite catmint is Walker's Low catmint (Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker's Low'). This particular catmint was the 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year and is an attractive garden showstopper with a soft gray-green foliage and bright lavender-blue flowers. It is suitable in Sunset zones 1-24 and does not reseed like other Nepeta racemosa.

Walker's Low catmint (Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker's Low') was the 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year. (Photo credit: piedmontmastergardeners.org)

Many gardeners use Walker's Low catmint as a groundcover although with flower spikes 2-3 feet tall, it can easily be placed farther back in a planting bed and still get attention. This easy to grow catmint tolerates full sun and morning sun with afternoon shade.

If you are looking to give your garden some “cattitude”, take a little time to look into the many catmints available and which one is most suitable for your space.

Posted on Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 9:56 AM

The New Backyard Orchard Workshop: Grow Your Own Fruits and Nuts

Liberty apple espalier in the Sherwood Demonstration Garden Orchard in El Dorado County.
Thinking about planting a fruit or nut tree? Fall is the perfect time to start planning the steps for a new tree or trees, including variety selection, location in the landscape and planting plan.   Most gardeners use their taste buds during summer and fall harvest to identify fruit and nut varieties and cultivars that have desired characteristics.  Additional preparation in the fall can make for an easier and more informed process for winter procurement and planting of bareroot fruit and nut trees. 

Developing a healthy and productive backyard orchard, according to The Home Orchard, requires the following:

Identify a location for fruit trees where they will receive full sun 6 or more hours per day during the growing season, too much shade will affect the quantity and quality of fruit produced. If you don't have loose, well-drained soil you may want to amend the soil and add compost, or fertilizers.

  • Proper tree selection 
    Selecting a quality tree and caring for it increases the chances for success.  This begins with selecting a tree from a quality nursery.  At the nursery this winter, select bareroot trees that appear strong, healthy, and do not show signs of disease.

  • Good planting techniques
    Planting of bareroot trees should take place in winter, between December and March.  Dig a planting hole just bigger than the depth and width of the roots, it is best to leave a “pedestal” or to leave the soil below the root system undisturbed to help prevent the tree from settling. Fruit trees should be planted high to help avoid crown rot disease.

A UC Master Gardener volunteer working with schools on a field trip to the Sherwood Demonstration Garden in El Dorado County.
Once your trees are in the ground, having a thorough understanding of how fruit and nut trees function for proper pollination, bud formation, and fruiting will help you more effectively care for your trees.

The UC Master Gardeners of El Dorado County have gathered an excellent team of experts to teach about tree factors and show you how to take advantage of pruning techniques that allow your trees to obtain better sun exposure, better airflow, and better structure for easier netting and pest prevention.

Join the UC Master Gardeners of El Dorado County, on Nov. 2 for a new workshop titled The New Backyard Orchard, at the Cameron Park Community CenterThe New Backyard Orchard workshop will help you choose the right tree varieties for your region, plant trees correctly, and shape trees to make them attractive, as well as high-bearing. You'll receive a thorough, scientifically correct understanding of how trees generate fruit, to help you understand how to manage your orchard.

When:  
Nov. 2, 2017
10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: 
Cameron Park Community Center 
2502 Country Club Drive
Cameron Park, CA 95682

Speakers: 

  • Phil Pursel, Specialist, Dave Wilson Nursery
  • Ted DeJong, Professor Emeritus, Pomology, UC Davis
  • Chuck Ingels, Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

Cost: 
$40 registration, light lunch included

Whether you have just a tree or two, or hope to expand your food supply through intensive backyard orchard development, this workshop is for you!

UC Master Gardeners who attend will earn four hours of Continuing Education credit. To learn more and to pre-register, please visit our website at http://ucanr.edu/mgedc-workshop  or register at http://ucanr.edu/mgedc-workshop-reg. If you have questions, please call (530) 621-5528.  

References:
Ingels, C.A., Geisel, P.M. & Norton, M.V. (2007) The Home Orchard: Growing Your Own Deciduous Fruit and Nut Trees UC Agriculture & Natural Resources, Publication 3485

The California Backyard Orchard, homeorchard.ucanr.edu

Posted on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 2:25 PM

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