By Kathy Ruiz
UCCE / El Dorado County Master Gardener
2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the UCCE Master Gardener volunteer program in El Dorado County. The Master Gardener volunteers will continue to offer a wide variety of forums for local gardeners. All information is research-based and verified by University of California experts. Topics will include home horticulture, pest identification, landscape management, and other environmental and natural resource issues.
Free Saturday classes
Throughout the year on almost every Saturday, from 9 a.m. until noon, the Master Gardeners conduct a free class on a variety of timely and pertinent gardening topics. Thanks to a growing public interest in gardening, we have moved our classes to the Veterans Memorial Building, 130 Placerville Drive in Placerville. We will continue to offer many of our most popular classes, like “Vegetable Gardening” with spring and fall sessions, “Raised-bed Gardening” and “Backyard Chickens.” We have some new classes, including the following: “From your Garden to Vase — Cutting Annuals and Perennials,” “Children and Gardening” and “Garden Bugs” a class on differentiating beneficial insects from pests, “Designing with Houseplants” for selecting and using plants in your home décor, and “Trash to Treasure” all about repurposing and recycling discarded items for use as containers and garden art.
2011 class list
• January classes: “Fruit Tree Pruning,” “Rose Pruning,” “Living with Oaks,” and “Fire Safe Landscaping.”
• February classes: “Soils and Fertilizers,” “Weather and Climate,” “Beekeeping,” and “Spring and Summer Vegetables.”
• March classes: “Propagating Plants and Seed Saving,” “Organic Gardening,” and “Backyard Chickens.”
• April classes: “Trees and Shrubs,” “Herb Gardening,” Cutting Gardens,” and “Landscape Irrigation.”
• May classes: “Salsa Gardening,” and “Children and Gardening.”
• June classes: “Water Efficient Gardening,” “Hanging Baskets,” and “Growing Orchids.”
• July classes: “Garden Bugs,” “Container Gardening,” “Landscape Design,” and “Cottage Gardening.”
• August classes: “Fall and Winter Vegetables,” “Raised Beds,” “African Violets,” and “Perennials.”
• September classes: “Trash to Treasure,” “Native Plants,” and “Controlling Yellow Star Thistle.”
• October classes: “Lawns,” “Composting,” “Growing Citrus in Marginal Areas,” “Propagating Plants,” and “Making Worms Work for You.”
• November classes: “Roses — Selection and Planting,” “Designing with Houseplants,” and “Growing Berries.”
• December classes: “Selecting and Planting Fruit Trees,” and “Caring for Holiday Plants.”
Visit our website at ceeldorado.ucdavis.edu/Master_Gardener/ to get the latest updates on our class schedule, find archived Master Gardener articles, and link to other pertinent gardening sites, including many University of California Websites.
• Gardening hotline: Master Gardeners research and answer horticulture and pest questions on the phone, by e-mail, and/or in person at the Master Gardener office at 311 Fair Lane in Placerville, Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon. The phone number is 530-621-5512; the e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Speakers bureau: Does your group need an educational program or speaker for a meeting? Master Gardeners can provide public presentations on a wide variety of gardening topics to community organizations. We have an extremely talented pool of speakers with a passion for gardening. These individuals have developed programs that reflect their knowledge and expertise. Contact the Master Gardener office to arrange for one of the Master Gardeners to speak to your group.
• Gardening articles: If you are reading this, you know that Master Gardeners write a weekly article for the Mt. Democrat. We try to select local topics of interest for the residents of El Dorado County.
• Children and gardening: Master Gardeners host a vermiculture session annually at Farm Day. This field trip event provides a fun-filled day of demonstrations and exhibits for third grade students in El Dorado County and teaches them how agriculture affects their lives. Our interactive session gives the students a chance to learn about the benefits of worm composting and to build a “working” worm bin to use in their classroom.
• Gardening information booths: Master Gardeners have an informational booth at multiple farmers markets several times a week throughout the summer and fall. At the El Dorado County Fair, Master Gardeners present mini-workshops, receive and set up horticultural entries, judge the “Adopt-A-Spot Garden” competition, and staff an informational booth. They also participate in a variety of horticulture events throughout the county, including the Home and Garden Show and the Green Thumb lecture series at South Lake Tahoe.
• Demonstration garden: El Dorado Master Gardeners continue in their efforts to establish a demonstration garden to provide the community with a hands-on, interactive experience, using research-based sustainable gardening practices specific to the El Dorado County area. Our goal for the site is to demonstrate different garden designs in a multi-use setting. Development plans to make this a reality continue.
• Plant sales: To help support community outreach efforts, Master Gardeners will hold plant sales in April and September. Many of the plants have been propagated and nurtured by Master Gardeners. In addition, many local nurseries will generously contribute plants for the sale. Also look for unique garden-art items at the sale.
Master Gardeners will conduct mini-workshops during the sale. For a small donation, Master Gardeners will be happy to sharpen your hand-gardening tools. Look for the Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, April 16, at the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot. Arrive early to get the best selection of native and annual plants, herbs, and vegetables for your garden.
• Training for new Master Gardeners: El Dorado County will be the beneficiary of the volunteer services of seven new Master Gardeners starting in May, 2011. As has been the practice, El Dorado and Amador counties alternate holding the Master Gardener training class. The 2011 class will be held in Amador County and will begin in January for 16 weeks. The trainees will receive an orientation on the Master Gardener program and courses covering a myriad of plant science and horticulture-related topics including plant physiology, insect taxonomy, integrated pest management, soils, plant diseases, home vegetable gardening, home orchard management, organic composting and weed control. The Master Gardener curriculum is based on research and materials provided by the University of California, as are the public education classes and the information provided through the Master Gardener hotline.
If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, you may add your name to an interest list on our Website at ceeldorado.ucdavis.edu/Master_Gardener/, or by phone at 530-621-5528. This will ensure that you will receive notification of our next orientation meeting, which should be in September, 2011.
Tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 8, UCCE Master Gardeners will present a class on “Pruning Fruit Trees.” The class is free and starts at 9 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building, 130 Placerville Drive, Placerville.