Posts Tagged: UCCE
If there is one thing I appreciate about my UC Master Gardener volunteer groups, it is their desire to rethink, change, evolve and avoid stagnation. Now, sometimes there are “growing pains” involved with expanding a program or developing a new one, but the energy is needed to refresh the enthusiasm of both the volunteers and local gardeners who keep tabs on their outreach projects.
Years ago, a group of my volunteers came up with the idea to create a new community event that would bring amazing speakers into the county to deliver fun and interesting gardening topics to our local gardening clientele. They called it, “A Gardeners' Gathering”, it was created as a one-day event located in an historic fruit shed renovated to host large groups in the “middle” of the county so as to be convenient for both our urban and rural gardeners. The six speakers were chosen carefully and related non-profit groups were invited to have tables at the event. Since it was a full day event, food and beverages were provided, pre-registration was required and the cost was relatively high (although the event was not a fundraising event).
It was very successful in many ways – one big product of the event was the first online credit card survey created and used in our office for registration. For years, we packed the fruit shed with eager gardeners looking forward to networking, listening to some great speakers, and enjoying good food too. After doing this event for years, the volunteers noticed that the same folks were attending year after year and we were limited to 130 registrant because of space limitations. This meant, there was no options for expansion of the event in its current form. So, it was brought up that maybe we should rethink the event which was difficult to contemplate considering how well it was running.
The event was reviewed in a series of meetings and UC Master Gardeners decided it was time to change it up and reach more local gardeners with a different event format. Enter the new “GardenFaire” – an event created and put on for the first time last year reaching more than 300 people. This event had the goals of being inexpensive with no registration required, a kid's area to bring in families, less speakers, more tables and an “Ask a UC Master Gardener” area that had plenty of visitation! We believe this event has a huge potential for future growth.
So, here we are about to put on the 2nd Annual Garden Faire in Placer County and it shows how sometimes a pivot with an event can quickly double or quadruple (fingers crossed!) the number of people we can reach through our program. Remember, even if you have a successful event going for years - take the time to review and reconsider after a while. It may end up being the best path forward to change it up and keep all of our local gardeners wondering, “What will those UC Master Gardeners do next?”
For more information about the UC Placer Master Gardener Program and their upcoming events, visit their website at pcmg.ucanr.org.
One of the most versatile and rewarding plants in a summer edible garden is the tomato. According to a 2014 study by the National Gardening Association, 86 percent of homes with vegetable gardens grow tomatoes. It is understandable that the tomato plant is a popular home vegetable garden staple, tomatoes offer thousands of different varieties options and flavors. Plus, nothing beats the flavor of a ripe tomato straight from the garden.
When properly cared for, a single tomato plant can produce 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kg) or more of fruit. If tomato yields aren't what was expected or the fruit is damaged it could be due to a number of abiotic disorders, diseases or pests. Abiotic disorders result from nonliving causes and are oftentimes environmental, for example: unfavorable soil conditions, too much or too little water, temperature extremes, physical or chemical injuries, and other issues that can harm or kill a plant. Below are five common abiotic disorders of tomatoes and recommended remedies from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources publication, Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden.
Problem: Fruit turns light brown and leathery on side exposed to sun.
Cause: Overexposure to sunlight.
• Maintain plant vigor to produce adequate leaf cover.
• Avoid overpruning.
• Provide partial shade during hours of most intense sunlight.
2. Leaf Roll
Problem: Older leaves roll upward and inward suddenly, leaves become stiff to the touch, brittle, and leathery.
Causes: High light intensity and high soil moisture, particularly when plants are staked and heavily pruned
• Choose less-susceptible varieties.
• Maintain even soil moisture.
• Provide shade during hours of intense sunlight.
3. Blossom End Rot
Problem: Water-soaked spot on blossom end of fruit enlarges and darkens, becomes sunken and leathery. Affects both green and ripe fruit, and is more common on sandier soils.
Causes: Calcium nutrition and water balance in the plant, aggravated by high soil salt content and fluctuating soil moisture.
• Maintain even soil moisture.
• Amend planting area with compost to improve water retention.
• Avoid heavy applications of high-nitrogen fertilizer.
• Soils deficient in calcium may be amended with gypsum.
4. Fruit Cracks and Catfacing
Problem: Circular concentric cracks around the stem end (concentric cracking), cracks radiating outward from the stem (radial cracking), malformation and cracking at the blossom end (catfacing).
Causes: Very fast growth with high temperatures and high soil moisture levels. Wide fluctuation in soil moisture and or air temperature. Any disturbances to flower parts during blossoming.
• Keep soil evenly moist.
• Maintain good leaf cover or provide partial shade during hours of most intense sunlight.
• Mulch around the plant 3 to 7 inches deep to maintain soil moisture and temperature.
5. Solar Yellowing and Green Shoulders
Problem: Yellow or yellow-orange instead of normal red color, upper portions of the fruit remian green even though the lower portion appears red and ripe.
Cause: High temperatures and high light intensity.
• Maintian plant vigor to produce adequate leaf cover.
• Avoid overpruning.
• Provide partial shade during hours of most intense sunlight.
Pests eating away at your tomatotes?
Other damages that are caused to tomato plants can be caused by a variety of pests. Some examples of common pests, include: hornworms, tomato fruitworms, tomato pinworms, stink bugs, white flies, and leafminers. For information about identifying and managing pests in your edible garden visit the UC Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) website, ipm.ucanr.edu.
Looking for free gardening advice?
Since 1981, the UC Master Gardener Program has been extending UC research based information about home horticulture, sustainable landscape, and pest management practices to the public. Through a vast network of more than 6,000 certified UC Master Gardener volunteers, the program is administered by local UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) county offices across California. Contact the UC Master Gardener Program in your county for more information about edible gardening or upcoming educational workshops, mg.ucanr.edu.
Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden Publication 8159, anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8159.pdf
Save-the-Date: 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference in Long Beach, Calif.
August 22-25, 2017
The triennial 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference is taking place Aug. 22-25, 2017 in Long Beach, Calif. The UC Master Gardener Conference is one of the largest gathering of certified Master Gardener volunteers in the world. The last conference in 2014 saw more than 700 attendees who represented 45 counties across California.
The quality and value of the conference is unparalleled in the industry; bringing together leaders in home horticulture and sharing the latest UC research from the field.
- 99% of conference attendees surveyed said they would recommend the conference to a friend or colleague
- 94% of attendees reported being satisfied with the conference topics and training
- 92% reported speakers met or exceeded expectations
Location, Location, location!
Things to do:
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- Rainbow Lagoon Park Shoreline Village
- Queen Mary (5 min.)
- Catalina Island
- Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens (1 hr. drive)
- Disneyland (30 min.)
- J. Paul Getty Museum (1 hr. drive)
Hyatt Regency Long Beach
The Hyatt Regency offers 528 recently renovated guest rooms with spectacular ocean views and access to deluxe amenities, including: spa, fitness room, business center and an outdoor pool. Each room includes down comforters, remodeled bathrooms and are all PURE hypoallergenic compliant which provides a better night's sleep for all guests.
A reduced rate has been negotiated for all conference attendees, the reduced conference hotel rate is not yet available for booking. Room rate details and the process for booking will be announced in future conference communications. All hotel information will also be added to the conference website, check back often for details.
Join us and be inspired
The triennial conference is an important statewide event designed to train volunteers with the most current and up-to-date research-based horticulture information. Training from the statewide conference is used as a jumping board for local-county based programs to be inspired by speakers, content and each other. Attendees are encouraged to share the information in their own county-based programs.
- Book Signings
- Photo Contest
- Poster Session
- Search for Excellence
- Silent Auction
- Vendor Mall
The 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference is a fantastic opportunity to network and visit with fellow UC Master Gardener volunteers from all over California. Save-the-date and see you Aug. 22-25, 2017 in Long Beach!
Visit the conference website for more details, ucanr.edu/2017mgconference.
On Saturday visitors will have the opportunity to tour all 16 themed garden, including: All Stars, Bog, Butterfly, Children's, Cottage, Japanese, Mediterranean, Orchard, Ornamental Grasses, Native, Perennial, Rock, Rose, Shade, Succulent and Vegetable.
UCCE Master Gardener volunteers will be onsite and available in each garden to answer questions and explain how and why a particular garden was planted, what kind of irrigation is used in each, facts about specific plants chosen, pest management practices, and more. A very limited quantity of plants will be available for sale (no credit cards; cash or checks only) and there will be treasure hunt prizes. Free refreshments will also be available.
Do you have a garden or event you would like featured on the statewide UC Master Gardener Program blog? E-mail: email@example.com
Standing in the usually snow-packed Sierra Nevada Mountains, Gov. Jerry Brown called for a mandatory reduction of water use across California the beginning of this month. For the first time in the state a required water conservation action has been called, shedding light on the severity of California's drought conditions.
At the direction of Gov. Brown the State Water Resources Control Board will require local water districts to impose a 25 percent water restrictions on all resident's water use.
These new mandatory restrictions have left many home gardeners to wonder what this means for their home landscape.
Reducing Water Use in the Garden
According to The California Garden Web, an informational website about gardening hosted by the UC Master Gardener Program, water use in the home landscape can often be easily reduced by 20 to 40 percent because overwatering is a common mistake by homeowners. Slowly start to reduce water supplied to plants over the course of a few weeks, giving the plants time to adapt to the change.
It is important for residents to remember to not introduce new plants to your landscape during a severe drought. Even California native plants aren't drought-tolerant until they become well established. When water restrictions are lifted and new plants can be introduced, select drought-tolerant varieties appropriate for your climate zone.
Planting in the fall as opposed to the spring allows plants to become established by winter rains. Residents should prioritize water use in their landscape, saving established trees and large shrubs first because they are typically more expensive to replace and require years to mature.
UC Master Gardener Program Offers Help
The UC Master Gardener Program has volunteers across the state, trained by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), available to answer the public's questions about how to save established trees, plants and reduce water use in their yards.
Many of the program's 50 county-based locations offer free to the public hotline services, home irrigation analysis and workshops for the public that are aimed at helping California's residents reduce their water use. Contact a local UC Master Gardener Program for more water saving information and resources.
The new second edition of the California Master Gardener Handbook from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is a great resource for drought tips and home landscape water conservation methods. With an extensive chapter dedicated to water conservation methods, best practices for irrigation, plant selection, and tips for protecting water quality in urban landscapes.
Another great option is to use the irrigation worksheet for homeowners that was recently developed by Dr. Loren Oki, CE Specialist, Landscape Horticulture with UC ANR and UC Davis. The worksheet is designed to calculate an irrigation schedule for a landscape zone for one calendar year.