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

By From page B3 | December 31, 2012

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 information is research-based and verified by University of California experts. Read on for more information on these valuable gardening resources.

Edible Landscaping Workshop – Jan. 26: Edible landscaping is an exciting way to have your landscape pull double duty for you. By including edible plants among your ornamentals you have an opportunity to grow a landscape that’s good enough to eat.

Topics covered in this 7-hour workshop will include an Introduction to Edible Landscaping; Planning and Design; Planting and Maintenance; and Harvesting, Storing and Food Safety.

A box lunch will be provided. Check-in and enjoy a light breakfast at 8:30 a.m. The program begins promptly at 9 a.m. The workshop will be held at the El Dorado Hills Fire Station, Station 85, 1050 Wilson Blvd. in El Dorado Hills.

A charge of $15 covers lunch and refreshments. Pre-registration is required. Log on to, or sign up at the UCCE office in the Bethel-Delfino Agriculture Building, 311 Fair Lane in Placerville, on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or call 530-621-5528.

Free Saturday Classes ─ 9 a.m. to noon: Throughout the year on almost every Saturday, Master Gardeners conduct a free class on a variety of timely and pertinent gardening topics.

In addition to offering many popular gardening topics, four new classes appear in the lineup this year.

On Jan. 19, Master Gardeners will host a discussion panel on its “Top 20 Gardening Hints” for successful seed starting, propagating by cuttings and divisions, and general suggestions on how to get the most bang out of your gardening buck.

On March 2, Master Gardeners will host a “Tomato Class.” This class covers how to choose the right varieties, deal with pests and diseases, properly water, care for and harvest your tomatoes.

The second half of the class will cover how to can, dehydrate and freeze your tomato harvest.

July 20 marks the date for “Gardening for Wildlife Habitat.” This course focuses on native plants that provide food for wildlife. Applications and steps for obtaining a Wildlife Habitat Certificate from the National Wildlife Federation will be available.

In the fall, on Oct. 19, attend a class on “Putting Your Garden to Bed” and learn helpful tips and ways to get your garden ready for the next planting season.

Visit the Website at to get the latest updates on the class schedule, find archived Master Gardener articles, and to use 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 from 9 a.m. to noon. The phone number is 530- 621-5512. Sign up to receive the online notices and e-newsletter at Master Gardeners is also on Facebook.

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. 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 Mountain 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.

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, and staff an informational booth. They also participate in a variety of horticulture events throughout the county.

Community Demonstration Garden: El Dorado Master Gardeners made great strides this past year with developing the hardscape and infrastructure for this 2-plus-acre garden located behind Folsom Lake College and near the community observatory. When completed, the demonstration garden will provide hands-on, interactive experience on gardening practices for El Dorado County. The area is slowly being transformed into 12 distinct public gardens, which will demonstrate a variety of growing possibilities for the backyard gardener.

Plant Sales: To help support community outreach efforts, Master Gardeners hold plant sales in the spring and fall. Look for the spring plant sale on Saturday, May 4 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: If you are interested in helping others learn about gardening and landscaping consider applying to train as a Master Gardener volunteer. The application deadline is over; however, contact the UCCE Office at 530-621-5528 to see if space in the class is available.

The 2013 classes will be held weekly in Amador County on Fridays, starting on March 1 for 16 weeks, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Jackson. Only one class may be missed. Topics and activities will cover basic plant science, propagation, fertilization, irrigation, soil, compost, vegetable and fruit gardening, trees, Integrated Pest Management (diseases, weeds, insects, small animals), research tools, and outreach techniques.

If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener in the 2014 class, which will be held in El Dorado County, you may add your name to an interest list on the Website (address listed above), or by phone at 530-621-5528. This will ensure that you receive notification of our next orientation meeting, which should be in Nov. 2013.

On Saturday, Jan. 5, UCCE Master Gardeners will present a class on “Pruning and Remedial Pruning of Deciduous Fruit Trees.” The class is free and starts at 9 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building, 130 Placerville Drive, Placerville.

Kathy Ruiz

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