Kathy Ruiz

Grow For It! The new Master Gardener Handbook

Gardening books are like seed catalogs. There is such a variety, so many specialties and they often come beautifully illustrated. For Master Gardeners, however, the definitive gardening book is the California Master Gardener Handbook, now in its second edition. The handbook is the “textbook” for the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program in […]

Grow For It! Dormant spraying

There’s no time like the fall season to start thinking about dormant spraying for fruit trees. Dormant sprays help reduce the presence of overwintering insects and diseases. The rule of thumb has always been to spray three times during the dormant season and to time your spraying at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. However, sometimes […]

Grow For It! Five reasons to try a straw bale garden this year

First there were straw bale houses. Now you can have a straw bale garden. Is there a more versatile field crop byproduct than a bale of straw? Straw bale gardens are garnering a lot of gardening interest these days. The beauty of the straw bale is that it provides the perfect medium for growing veggies […]

Grow for it!: Ever-blooming, ever-beautiful orchids

Are you the recipient of an orchid plant gift? Did the plant arrive with a beautiful and exotic-looking bloom but it hasn’t bloomed since? Read to find out how to encourage your orchid to bloom again. First, identify your orchid. If the plant did not come with a tag, the easiest way to identify it […]

Grow For It!: Edible flowering plants

Growing edible flowers is all part of the resurgence of interest and popularity in edible landscaping. Just as many of the formal European landscapes were initially designed with food production in mind, it should come as no surprise that many of the flowers we grow today were chosen for the garden long ago not for […]

Grow For It!: Growing leaf lettuce

It may be cold and rainy outside, but any day now there will be a break in the weather with sunny days. That’s the time to start some spring vegetables like peas and leaf lettuce. Leaf lettuce is one of the easiest winter/spring vegetables to grow and, unlike many garden veggies, it thrives in the […]

Grow For It: What’s in store for the Master Gardeners in 2013?

The wonder of gardening is that each year the cycle begins anew with an opportunity to learn from the previous year’s efforts as well as a chance to try something new. In the quest to offer a wide variety of forums for local gardeners, Master Gardeners will introduce several new educational venues in 2013. All […]

Grow For It! Sign up for the Master Gardener Edible Landscape workshop

Have you seen those beautiful green and purple cabbages planted as a border in a flower bed or noticed the glorious red that blueberry bush leaves are turning this time of year? Interest in having edible plants as design features in an otherwise all ornamental landscape is gaining in popularity. The practice of incorporating edible […]

Grow For It! Growing the ‘bitter’ out of cucumbers

There’s nothing worse than biting into a bitter cucumber. It ruins the whole fresh garden salad. It’s even worse when the cucumber comes from your own garden! Did you grow some bitter cucumbers this summer? If so, read on to learn what you can do next year to avoid this problem. Cucumber Botany. Cucumbers are […]

Grow For It! Master Gardener demonstration garden

The University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners in El Dorado County are “growing” a demonstration garden. When completed, the garden will provide the community with a hands-on, interactive experience, demonstrating research-based, sustainable gardening practices specific to El Dorado County. The garden will have activities appropriate for all ages and will be reflective of a […]

Grow For It: Enjoy flowers from your garden longer

The warm weather this spring has certainly helped flower gardens prosper. If you have roses, columbine, peonies, tulips, daisies, phlox, or other flowers in bloom, bring them inside to further enjoy them. Keep them fresh longer by following these few tips. Cut the flowers early in the morning. Select flowers that are just opening up. […]

Grow For It! Get the gardening bug in 2012

Remember those gardening resolutions from just a few days ago? Whether the goal is to grow more, grow it better or grow it beautifully, the El Dorado County Master Gardeners has lots of information and guidance on ways to achieve this. The Master Gardeners are available to answer home gardening questions Tuesday through Friday, 9 […]

Grow For IT: Gardening resolutions for 2012

Most New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside by the middle of January. However, resolutions centered on gardening practices have lots of time to be implemented and every effort, even a minor one, will count in the long run. For starters, resolve to grow vegetables this year. They will give you great satisfaction and their […]

December 28, 2011 | Posted in Prospecting | Tagged | 1 Reply

Grow For It! Caring for poinsettias

Nothing says the holidays like a beautiful poinsettia, known botanically as Euphorbia pulcherrima. Poinsettias are natives of Mexico and Central America. They were first brought to the U.S. in the 1820s by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first American ambassador to Mexico. The plants bear his name today; certainly easier to say than their Aztec name […]

Grow For It! Bats — Pest management for garden and orchard

Bats usually get a lot of attention at Halloween. However, savvy gardeners are looking at ways to encourage and support bats all year long because of their natural role in managing insect pests. Bats eat the insects that eat our crops. Favorite meals are cucumber beetles, coddling moths, leafhoppers, mosquitoes and stink bugs. When female […]

Grow for it! Composting basics

If you’re not already composting your garden and kitchen waste, this article is for you. Compost is organic matter in various states of decomposition. There are many techniques for making compost, from the simplest — a 3-foot square pile in a corner of the backyard — to elaborate boxes and bins, even commercially made tumblers. […]

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Grow For It! Attracting native pollinators to the garden

What is vital for producing fruits, vegetables and nuts? Plants like apples, squashes and almonds need animal pollinators like birds, bats, bees and other insects. Without the help of pollinators to promote fertilization in plants, there would not be an abundant production of plant fruits and seeds normally seen. Pollinators are not only critical for […]

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