- Editor: Karen Giovannini
Press Release by Board of Supervisors of Sonoma County
At their January 24, 2017, Board meeting, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors extended agreements with the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) through December 31, 2025, continuing agricultural, environmental and community-based research and educational programming in Sonoma County.
“UCCE works with so many community partners, dedicated volunteers, and other County departments to serve the public and our youth population,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Shirlee Zane. “We are excited to continue our partnership with UCCE to support innovative programs to educate the public about the importance of our local landscapes, agriculture, and recreational opportunities.”
The UCCE's offices are local problem-solving centers. More than 400 campus-based specialists and county-based farm, home, and youth advisors work as teams to bring the University's research-based information to Californians. UCCE has been partnering with Sonoma County since 1918 and manages several local programs aimed at preserving agriculture and strengthening community development and leadership in youth and adults. A few of these program include:
- 4-H Youth Development: The Sonoma County 4-H program helps young people, ages 5-19, reach their fullest potential as competent, confident individuals who contribute to and are connected with their communities. In 4-H programs, youth serve in leadership roles where they set goals, develop plans, complete projects, and reflect on their experiences.
- Master Gardener program: 320 volunteers provide environmentally sustainable, science-based horticultural information to the community, including over 100 classes per year, at 13 farmer's markets and at various workshops throughout the year.
- General Agricultural and Natural Resources Education: Monthly educational seminars for Sonoma county farmers and ranchers address production, marketing systems, business planning and food safety issues; along with increasing local jobs for smaller-scale farmers by promoting and supporting businesses and products, through value added opportunities and streamlined permitting processes.
Stephanie Larson, UCCE County Director said, “Our partnership with Sonoma County continues to grow and strengthen, by providing essential community services such as our 4-H youth program. The 4-H program educates more than 1,000 youth and offers a broad curriculum including leadership skills, arts and crafts, and civic engagement. We appreciate the ongoing relationship and look forward to serving Sonoma County for many more years to come.”
To learn more about the UCCE, please visit UCCE Sonoma County.
- Author: Mimi M Enright
On August 2, 2016, Mimi Enright, Program Manager for the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County, and Ellen Zaslansky, an MG volunteer, were pleased to receive the proclamation from City of Sebastopol.
The biennial “Bloomin' Back Yards” educational garden tour is returning to Sebastopol on September 18th and offers a tour five private gardens in the Sebastopol/West County area along with a plant, crafts, art & book sale.
The public will find expert advice and demonstrations on growing low-water use plants & vegetables, lawn replacement, drip-irrigation, gopher control, compost, soil improvement, beneficial insects and bees, and much, much more!
We hope to see you there!
- Author: Mimi M Enright
For the Sonoma County Fair's 2016 movie theme, the Master Gardeners were inspired by the spaghetti westerns of the past. Our interpretation of “THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY BEAUTIFUL” shows examples of sustainable practices for home gardeners.
The "BAD" home garden uses chemicals to kill insects and inorganic fertilizers on "unused high water-use" turf. Not all bugs are bad—we rely on pollinators for food crops. Sonoma county residents will need to become “water smart” to maintain our limited water supply for future generations. Invasive plants like ivy and Vinca major can escape our home gardens and grow wild along our streams and overwhelm native plants. Other invasive plants like feather grass, common fountain grass and pampas grass spread their seeds by the wind invading other gardens and competing with native grasses.
Drought tolerant gardens don't have to be “UGLY,” with so many low water plant options, our home gardens can be “BEAUTIFUL.” Our garden display shows many beautiful low water plant choices to add interest and color for a serene low maintenance garden. Instead of turf lawn, use a lawn alternative like Kurapia (Lippia nodiflora). Select plants for their mature size and best location in the garden. Other sustainable practices include adding a rain garden to slow, spread and sink water, watering low water plants with drip irrigation instead of spray irrigation, feeding the soil with compost, providing flowers, seeds and water for pollinators and birds, understanding how beneficial insects help our plants survive and using good horticultural practices to maintain our gardens.
The Master Gardeners will be at the Sonoma County Fair every day from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to answer your questions about sustainable gardening practices. We hope that you stop by to see THE GOOD, BAD AND BEAUTIFUL of sustainability in the garden. See you at the fair!
- Author: Mimi Enright
Topics included in the Handbook cover a wide range such as soil, fertilizer, water management, plant propagation, plant physiology, weeds & pests, home vegetable gardening and much, much more! New to the 2nd Edition is information on invasive plants and principles of designing and maintaining landscapes for fire protection.
There will be a book signing event at the Petaluma Seed Bank on Thursday April 30th starting at 7:00PM. In addition to it being available for purchase at the Petaluma Seed Bank, it can be ordered online in paperback, along with other excellent University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources reference books.
- Author: Mimi Enright
The SFE is designed to recognize outstanding group projects, not an individual who does outstanding work. The International Master Gardener recognition is a SEARCH FOR EXCELLENCE of the highest quality within Master Gardener programs across the United States and Canada. Only projects that improve people's lives are awarded.
SCMG has been focusing on the sustainable gardening practice of water conservation via the Garden Sense program, a partnership developed between SCMG and the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) in fall 2013. Most home landscapes in this region have been created without any regard to our summer-dry climate, and the public is not at all aware of the water needs of commonly used landscape plants.
A team of two of our volunteer consultants will visit a Sonoma County homeowner's garden to show how to conserve water by creating a climate-appropriate garden that is healthy, sustainable and environmentally sound. The program is offered countywide to municipal water users and well users.
In our first year of operation we estimate
water savings as a result of the program at 6 acre feet.