- (Focus Area) Yard & Garden
- Author: Lauren Snowden
It may seem odd to see seventy-five people at a hotel conference center learning about insects and rats on vegetables, but not if you are a UC Master Gardener. The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) in partnership with the UC Master Gardener Program just wrapped up the Vegetable Pests and Solutions train-the-trainer series. More than 340 UC Master Gardener volunteers from across the state took part in the regional trainings offered in Fresno, Orange, Placer, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma counties.
The advanced UC IPM training offered a hands-on, train-the-trainer experience that increased participants' knowledge of insect pests of vegetables, vegetable plant diseases and disorders, and vertebrate pests of gardens and homes. One of the highlights of the training was Human-Wildlife Interaction Advisor, Niamh Quinn, showing a taxidermy collection of vertebrate pests at the Orange and San Luis Obispo County workshops. Being able to handle and observe the different markings, colors and claws on certain animals makes future identification easier as participants learned the signs to look for when identifying vertebrate pest damage in the vegetable garden.
UC Master Gardener volunteers were lead through exercises that mimic questions commonly received from the public. Some of the questions had a photo, others just a sparse description that volunteers worked together to solve using online IPM resources and materials provided at the training. The exercises were designed to challenge and expose the learner to different types of scenarios and tools they can use in the future.
Outreach and Education
The UC Master Gardener Program's mission is to extend research-based information, by attending advanced trainings such as this, volunteers are even more prepared to contribute to the program's mission. With exposure and practice using new resources and materials training attendees have the tools and knowledge needed to educate the public on vegetable pests and solutions including scripted PowerPoints, activities, handouts, and vegetable pest identification card sets. One attendee reported “As a first year UC Master Gardener, this training helped me become more comfortable and more confident researching answers for pest management questions.”
At the conclusion of the training volunteers convened with their fellow county volunteers to talk about their plans to take new found knowledge back into their communities. Some of the great ideas generated were:
- offer seasonal pest problems workshops
- include a “Need Help Solving Pest Problems?” flier for all events
- add IPM tips to newsletters and social media
- integrate IPM into presentations as appropriate or relevant to topic
- add signage for damaged or diseased plants with IPM solutions in demonstration gardens
- share IPM toolkit at farmers markets and demo garden events
How We are Making a Difference
One portion of the agenda was focused on how the UC Master Gardener community is making a difference. With 6,000+ volunteers serving more than 517,000 Californians per year the impact of the UC Master Gardener volunteer effort is truly amazing. Through statewide program evaluation efforts the impact in sustainable landscaping, food gardening and community well-being is now being analyzed and reported in the programs annual report. Volunteers can see the impact they are having statewide and be proud of being part of a group that social changes they are seeing in their local communities.
As active volunteers and life-long learners UC Master Gardeners are a powerful educational tool and inspiration for others not only in the garden but in the volunteer community. Statewide educational offerings like UC IPM's train-the-trainer series help hone the diagnostics skills while building confidence in the subject matter.
The next statewide training opportunity for UC Master Gardener volunteers will be the 2020 UC Master Gardener Conference, Sept. 28 –Oct. 2, 2020 at the Granlibakken, Tahoe. The conference is the beginning planning stages and taking speaker and topic suggestions, click here to suggest a speaker or topic.
- Author: Laura Lukes
Educating the public about the best gardening practices for our region is the primary mission of the UC Master Gardeners of Butte County. A terrific example of our educational outreach was on tap at the first offering of our Fall 2019 Public Workshop series. This 90-minute workshop focused on getting the most out of our Gardening Guide and Three-Year Garden Journal, a publication full of useful information, seasonal tips, and regional plant wisdom specific to Butte County.
Designed with journaling and record keeping in mind, the interactive part of the Guide follows the seasonal introductions. Each of the thirteen weeks of the season is given a two-page layout which features three lined columns, each to be headed by the month and year of use, and filled in by the user as they wish. On the left side of each two-page layout is a short, pertinent article. Helpful tips and items of interest appear on the lower right.
All-in-all this Gardening Guide is a handy resource for gardeners of all abilities and preferences. But lecturing about what's in the Guide is one thing – getting us into it hands-on is another, and as a good teacher, Hill knew how important it was to engage us in this educational material. To that end, she had prepared a series of garden-, plant-, and climate-related questions, each of which was printed out and pasted onto colored construction paper. Colors were coded by season, and workshop participants were grouped by season/color to locate the answer to each question within the Guide.
About two-thirds of the workshop participants had brought their own dog-eared (or hardly used) Garden Guides with them – the others were able to purchase them on site before we began. Within our groups, we began to leaf through our Guides – the cleverly formulated questions directed us variously to the table of contents, planting guides, pest tables, and task lists.
A former community college instructor myself, I valued group work as an educational tool, and learned to gauge the success of an exercise by the level of noisy interaction occurring in each group. Judging by that criterion, Hill's color-coded questions were a success – we were discovering, learning, and helping each other. Better yet, we were using the Guide as it was intended.
A second benefit of group work is when each team shares the outcome of its investigation. And here is where even more learning occurs – individuals share experiences and knowledge – all of us tapping into expertise that would not have been available in a traditional lecture-oriented class.
The Garden Guide and Three-Year Garden Journal is currently available in Chico at Magnolia Gift and Garden, the Patrick Ranch Gift Store, the Butte County Cooperative Extension Office in Oroville and all Master Gardener workshops.
To learn more about UC Butte County Master Gardeners and our upcoming workshops and events, and for help with gardening in our area, visit our website. If you have a gardening question or problem, call our Hotline at (530) 538-7201 or email email@example.com.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Yes, they're still there.
More today than yesterday. That's how it goes in the Magical World of Butterflies.
The Gulf Fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae) are keeping busy, and so is this insect wedding photographer trying to capture their images.
There! A Gulf Fritillary has just emerged from her chrysalis on the passionflower vine, and a suitor descends within minutes. He doesn't use any pick-up lines. He doesn't have to. In seconds, there's a twosome on the passionflower vine, something apparently rarely seen. (The Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, answers telephone calls from folks who excitedly proclaim they've found a "two-headed butterfly.")
Soon another suitor appears...three heads...a three-headed butterfly?...and flutters away.
Meanwhile, other brides and grooms meet and greet. It's like being on the Las Vegas strip with all the wedding chapels occupied.
Just another day in the Magical World of Butterflies.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Love is like a butterfly
A rare and gentle thing
--Love Is Like a Butterfly, Dolly Parton
When Dolly Parton penned her song, "Love Is Like a Butterfly," she probably wasn't thinking of passion butterflies, Gulf Fritillaries.
And when she sings that popular song, neither she nor her audience are thinking of Gulf Fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae), getting together on a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia.
But Lepidopterists, entomologists, horticulturists and insect photographers are.
It's autumn, approaching Halloween, and the Gulf Fritillaries are doing what comes naturally on their host plant, the passionflower vine. But sometimes you'll find them on the fence line, on the ground, or on a neighboring flower.
Then you make a beeline for your camera. It's insect wedding photography. The bride and the groom and the photographer. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are producing nectar, the bees are buzzing, the crickets are chirping, and all's right with the world.
Love is indeed like a butterfly, "a rare and gentle thing."
- Author: Anne E Schellman
Question: Can you name a fun way to compost some of your kitchen scraps?
Answer: Vermicomposting, using worms to eat your "garbage!"
Vermicomposting is the process of keeping red wriggler worms in a “hotel” where they eat food scraps and other organic materials like paper and cardboard. Hotels can be simple or fancy, and the materials needed are easy to put together. This odorless hotel can be kept anywhere inside your house, or outdoors if you prefer.
Our local UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardeners will tell you which foods worms prefer and demonstrate how to create a hotel and feed your worms. You'll go home with information on how to start your own bin.
This class may appeal to the kids in your family, so be sure to bring them along. We hope you will join us for this fun class to learn about this sustainable way of turning waste into compost!
Please sign up for our Thursday, November 14, 2019 class from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at: https://ucanr.edu/sites/stancountymg/Classes/