Class Title: From Seed to Shining Seed
Where: Stanislaus County Agricultural Center, Harvest Hall breezeway, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto, 95358.
When: Tuesday, October 19, 2021 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Instructor: Heidi Aufdermaur
- Author: Anne E Schellman
Despite COVID-19, the Sensory and Pollinator Garden committee volunteers have been hard at work, drawing up their “wish list” of desired plants, path materials, benches, and other structures. Our goal today is to raise $3,000 more for the gardens.
We envision accessible gardens not only for employees of the Ag Center, but for anyone to visit and explore. Bring a picnic lunch, snap photos of plants (and their name tags) and get inspired by plant arrangements.
Please make your gift for #BigDigDay https://ucanr.edu/sites/BigDig/ now to help us fund the Sensory and Pollinator Gardens! Navigate to Stanislaus County, and then using the drop-down menu, select “Master Gardener Fund.” Your donation will go directly to help fund the garden. You can also send a check made out to UC Regents to 3800 Cornucopia Way Ste A, Modesto, CA 95358.
We have just learned that thanks to matching gifts from UC ANR, $100 will go to the first 40 groups that raise $500 or more total, a $250 prize to the first 4 groups with the most NEW donors, and a $500 prize will go to the first 10 groups that secure a single $500 gift or sponsor. Please donate as soon as you can to help us match our funds, and thank you for considering our project!/h3>
- Author: Terry Pellegrini
But wait! Did you know that cucumbers are actually fruits? Botanically speaking a fruit should have at least one seed and grow from the flower of the plant. Because of this definition cucumbers are classified as fruits because they contain tiny seeds in the middle and grow from the flower of the cucumber plant. While I will always consider it a veggie - as I do that other “fruit” the tomato – knowing its proper classification makes my inner Master Gardener very happy.
Growing cucumbers is relatively easy, although they do take some care. They need plenty of sunshine, loose and nutrient dense, slightly acid soil. Adding several inches of compost or aged manure into the soil, worked in to a depth of about 6 inches, is usually all it takes to make them happy. They do not like frost so plant your seeds after the threat of frost has passed – about March 20th here in the Central Valley. If you are planting a vining variety place your trellis first, before planting your seeds or transplants to avoid disturbing the roots of the plants later on. Also cucumbers HATE being watered by sprinklers (trust me, I learned this one the hard way). Water only at the base of the plant - I use a drip system that the cucumbers seem to love.
Bush varieties need a little extra care as the immature cucumbers can die or get slimy if they sit on wet soil or in water all day. A good layer of mulch around the base of the plant and then under the maturing leaves will keep your cukes out of harm's way.
Harvesting your cucumbers will vary in timing and size depending on the variety, but on average it takes between 55 and 70 days. Your seed packets or the information that accompanies your transplants should tell you when to pick your cucumbers. But no matter the variety, always clip off your cucumbers, don't pull off or twist them. This can damage your plants and may discourage it from producing more flowers and thereby less cucumbers. With care, your plants should give you several harvests, especially if your succession plant your cucumbers – planting one to two weeks apart.
Once harvested, the fun begins. Your cucumbers can be added salads, made into sandwiches, and can be eaten straight from the vine (yes, you can eat the skin – be certain to wash it first). I love to make fresh tzatziki sauce for dipping and of, course, pickles! Fermented or refrigerated, dill or sweet, a pickle made from those from your own garden are extra special.
Tomorrow, look for an email in your inbox with a video we put together with the fun details about this project.
Your gift to our local UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardener Program has the chance to be DOUBLED thanks to generous donors who have committed to the first $15,000 raised.
Stay tuned for exciting updates!
- Author: Terry Pellegrini
Composting is a fabulous way to turn your garden waste into garden gold. By taking your dry waste and combining it with your green waste, you can transform it into a rich, usable material to enhance your soil. You can also use it as a mulch around plant beds to reduce weeds and fill your containers and pots without the cost of store-bought soils.
Not only is composting good for your garden, but it is also good for the environment. By composting your garden (and some kitchen) wastes you are conserving precious landfill space, reducing the need for commercial soil conditioners and fertilizers, as well as adding beneficial microbes and nutrients back into the soil. Compost, either added to the soil or used as a mulch, saves on water usage as well.
Turn your compost every day or two (for rapid composting), or once per week. Check to make sure it isn't too wet or too dry (it should feel about as moist as a wrung out sponge) and protect it from the weather (a tarp or covering to keep out intense heat or rain) and in no time you'll have rich, usable compost.
Composting is a science but still, things can go wrong. The number one complaint I've heard from friends is, “My compost always turns out stinky and I give up.” Stinky compost is a sign of an imbalance in your pile. A healthy compost pile should smell earthy and not look wet and slimy. Trust me, stinky compost is a real turn-off. I should know – it's happened to me on occasion. Checking your moisture levels, adding in additional brown materials if needed, and making sure to turn your pile will help with this issue.
Don't let composting scare you. It can be a fun and rewarding way to give back to the environment, save money and water, and enhance your landscape. With a little bit of work, a pile of waste becomes the garden gold we all desire. Still have questions about composting?
Sign up for our Composting Basics class!
When: November 24, 2020 6-7:30 p.m. PST.
Where: on Zoom.
How: http://ucanr.edu/compost/2020 sign up by Nov 24 at 4 p.m. to receive a link sent the morning of the class.
Instructors: Master Gardeners Terry Pellegrini and Heidi Aufdermaur.
And remember, all classes are recorded so you can always watch it again later.
Hope to see you there!