Having a community of gardeners to support you in your gardening efforts, beginning, intermediate or advanced, is invaluable. In the new year, resolve to take advantage of this wealth of information close at hand within the Master Gardener program.
If your free time is limited, you may want to begin with “Western Nevada County Gardening Guide.” The latest edition (2010) has been indexed, making it even easier to look for answers to gardening questions.
The section on composting offers detail that will assist you in resolving to reuse brown and green “waste,” recycling appropriate materials to add to the earth, thus enriching soil.
Soil with compost added releases more nutrients to plants, nourishing stronger root systems and healthier plants.
Simple line drawings in the guide will enable understanding of training and pruning raspberries and roses, the two plants about which I receive the most reader and student questions.
Master Gardeners who have had experience with these two plants have provided input for the guide.
The result is information based on practical experience, the most valuable information you can receive.
It is both a love of gardening and a desire to learn more that brings most volunteers to the U.C. Master Gardener program.
Training expands the awareness of gardening information and resources.
“I don’t know, but I think I know where to look for a possible answer” is a valid response from a Master Gardener. Assistance to the gardening public is available through
the free hotline, (530) 273-0919.
Messages may be left at any time.
Gardeners who join as volunteers also bring their own individual experiences, their own expertise, further enriching the program.
Speaking with the volunteer who has been growing roses for years will be the perfect connection when you ask that burning question of how and when to prune your favorite climber.
In the Gardening Guide, I appreciate the commentary about the “gardener-to-gardener” notation, indicating that lists (such as the one for perennial vegetables) are based on local experiences.
It is noted that the list is limited only by the available information, that the reader should “be adventurous.”
I would add that those adventures should then be shared. My own experiments have led me to include perennial onions, green garlic and sorrel in my garden.
Master Gardeners also have a local call-in radio show on KNCO (530) 477-5626 every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.
When I joined host Durinda Kelly on a show last summer, we listened to concerns about the tent beetles that were affecting madrones, alder, and many non-natives. Hopefully we were able to assure those concerned that most infested plants will recover.
Minimal intervention recommended was to prune off the affected portion.
If you miss the program, you can always download it from www2.knco.com/podcast.cfm (scroll down to “Master Gardeners and Friends”).
Saturday workshops at the demonstration garden on the east side of the Nevada Irrigation District building in Grass Valley and at Full Circle Demonstration Garden at the Rood Center in Nevada City are two-hour programs on a particular topic that might be just what you need to ensure more success in your gardening efforts. The 2013 calendar of events may be found at http://cenevada.ucdavis.edu.
The Master Gardener tomato-tasting event at the peak of harvest is entertaining and enlightening. You may find yourself trying new cultivars because of their superior flavor, or because you are convinced they might be a better performer for our area.
There’s also a Master Gardener behind each bulb added to the glorious daffodil plantings lining the Golden Center freeway in spring, and those adding beauty and inspiration to the Hospice Residential Care Center. Donations to this program are always welcome.
As Master Gardeners and the public engage, more gardening experiences are shared, which strengthens the gardening community and benefits us all.
In 2013, resolve to learn from others and share your own practical knowledge in the process.
Carolyn Singer has gardened organically in Nevada County since 1977. She is the author of “The Seasoned Gardener, 5 decades of sustainable and practical garden wisdom,” now available locally. For more information about foothill gardening, or to contact Carolyn with gardening questions, visit www.carolynsingergardens.com.