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Ann Wright: New year, new gardens

As the calendar has flipped to 2017, we look forward with anticipation to a new year of gardening.

The Nevada County Master Gardeners appreciate the participation of our community at our events and workshops, and we enjoy meeting people from the area; your questions and comments help guide us as we develop new programs and educational offerings. In concert with the UC Davis Cooperative Extension (Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources), the local Master Gardener volunteer program started in 1983 with our mission to extend research-based gardening and composting information to the public through various educational outreach methods.

We strive to present accurate, impartial information to local gardeners so they have the knowledge to make informed gardening decisions in regard to plant choices, soil fertility, pest management, irrigation practices, and more. Master Gardeners complement the gardening community through participation at Growers Markets, and annual events at the fairgrounds such as the Home and Garden show and Nevada County Fair. The plant sales and Tomato Tasting events are additional outreach opportunities.

Education resources include our public workshops, the telephone hotline (530-273-0919) and weekly on-site office attendance by Master Gardeners from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Vets Hall, 255 South Auburn St. in Grass Valley. A weekly "Master Gardeners and Friends" radio program presented on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon (on KNCO 830 AM) provides a chance for listeners to call the Master Gardeners with gardening questions or concerns.

The Demonstration Garden on the Nevada Irrigation business grounds (1036 W. Main St. in Grass Valley) provides a venue for education through observation of several special garden themed areas. The public is encouraged to stroll through the Foothill Mediterranean and Oak Habitat gardens. The orchard and cottage gardens provide examples of several fruit trees and ornamentals, and are integral to our pruning workshops. New to the garden are a pergola with raised beds, and our meadow garden with some native grasses.

Through the Master Gardeners Daffodil Project, many areas of our county have been adorned with lovely displays of daffodils. In 2016 additional bulbs were planted on a slope of the parking area at the soccer fields of Sierra College.

The public workshop calendar has been posted to the website (http://ncmg.ucanr.org), and there are some new classes scheduled this year.

We will kick off the 2017 workshop season on Feb. 4 with "Deer Resistant Gardening/Landscaping in the Foothills." The workshop is scheduled 10 a.m. to noon at the Elks Lodge in Grass Valley at 109 S. School St.

On Feb. 11, "Plan it! Growing Veggies 12 Months a Year" will be presented, also at the Elks Lodge from 10 a.m. to noon.

For those who are new to gardening, or new to gardening in Nevada County, a workshop on Feb. 18 may help you get started: "So, You are New to Nevada County Gardening?"

Workshops are free, but donations are graciously appreciated.

As we celebrate 2017, we want to welcome and recognize the new class of trainees to the Master Gardener program. Nevada and Placer Counties combine training of new volunteers. Starting Friday, Jan. 6 trainees will begin a series of weekly classes and field trips to complete the training for certification as a Master Gardener. Once the course is complete in May, volunteers will be joining the ranks of our existing MG's in any area they wish — and there are so many ways to serve our gardening community.

Welcome trainees, and here's to a great year of gardening ahead!

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener.