Posts Tagged: Master Gardener
A common springtime nuisance, whitefly populations have escalated this year in California Central Coast areas, reported Megan Healy on KSBY Channel 6 in San Luis Obispo.
People are mistaking them for clouds of pollen or ash; some leaves look like they're coated with a thin layer of new-fallen snow.
The reporter spoke to Cathryn Howarth, a UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener in San Luis Obispo County. She said the office has received dozens of calls from residents wondering why the whiteflies are so abundant this year.
"It's probably a reflection of the increasing temperatures coming on top of all that nice water we have had, so we have had a flush of vegetation and the flies that came from eggs originally have just all hopped out," Howarth said.
The story referenced the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Integrated Pest Management Program, which has produced a Pest Note on whiteflies that says signs of an infestation include:
- Tiny nymphs on the underside of leaves
- Sticky honeydew on leaves or a covering of black sooty mold
- Yellowing, silvering or drying of leaves that have whitefly nymphs on them
Howarth said home gardeners can spray the whiteflies with a stream of water from a hose or spray them with insecticidal soap to reduce the population. The pest has abundant natural enemies in the yard, including ladybugs, spiders, lacewings and hummingbirds. However, whitefly outbreaks can occur when the natural biological control is disrupted.
For more information on whitefly management, read the UC IPM Pest Note on whiteflies.
UC Cooperative Extension in Stanislaus County is launching its first UC Master Gardener program to extend research-based gardening assistance and information to county residents, reported John Holland in the Modesto Bee.
“Our goal is to encourage healthy environments (and improve the appearance of our community) with sustainable landscaping and gardening, green waste reduction and water conservation,” said Roger Duncan, UCCE county director.
Gardening enthusiasts may apply for the first round of training until Sept. 28. Weekly training sessions will be from Jan. 30 to June 5, 2019. Tuition is $180. After certification, Master Gardeners volunteer 50 hours of service in the first 12 months, then 25 hours per year after that.
The training will be held in Stockton this year, along with UC Cooperative Extension in San Joaquin County.
"They are joining our regular training to help get their program up and running," said Marcy Sousa, the UC Master Gardener program coordinator in San Joaquin County.
The volunteers do not need to start out with detailed knowledge of gardening, said Kari Arnold, the UCCE farm advisor overseeing the program. That will come from experts tapping into university research on the various topics.
For more information and to apply, visit the Stanislaus County Master Gardeners website.
UC Master Gardener program, launched in California in 1981, now serves more than 50 California counties with 6,116 actives volunteers.
The success of a garden is normally identified by plentiful crops of tomatoes and squash or the beautiful display of vibrant thriving flowers, shrubs or trees. However, a school garden's true success is dependent on the rich experiences and education students receive.
Taking the classroom into the garden
School gardens can play a big part in supporting a child's education outside of the traditional classroom environment; offering hands-on learning experiences in a variety of core curricula. Social sciences, language arts, nutrition and math are just a few of the many subjects that can be easily integrated into the school garden curriculum.
When paired with nutrition education, school gardens can transform food attitudes and habits.
“Gardens containing fruits and vegetables can change attitudes about particular foods; there is a direct link between growing and eating more fruits and vegetables,” said Missy Gable, statewide director for the UC Master Gardener Program. “Programs statewide connect people to local community gardens, or provide school administrators and staff the information needed to get started with their own school, community or home garden.”
“Dig it, Grow it, Eat it”
The UC Master Gardener Program of Marin County hosts an award-winning school gardening program that emphasizes engaging students with the many learning opportunities in nature. The program is a portable field trip for school-age youth called “Dig it, Grow it, Eat it.”
“Dig it, Grow it, Eat it” starts with University-trained UC Master Gardener volunteers training school educators. Once trained, educators use the curriculum to teach students how to grow edible plants from seed to harvest. UC Master Gardener volunteers help deliver the curriculum and provide additional resources. Students learn how plants grow, and receive nutrition lessons to give them a better understanding of the human body's need for healthy food.
The half-day workshop rotates groups of students through six stations providing them with garden enhanced nutrition education, linking health with growing and harvesting foods they like to eat and are good for them. These include:
- Edible Plant Parts
- How Plants Grow
- Plant Seed Science
- Soil Science
The “Dig it, Grow it, Eat it” curriculum is centered on the theme “We love the earth because we care for it. We care for the earth because we love it.” For many children, getting their hands dirty in the garden and discovering the science of growing their own food brings a sense of joy and pride they can carry with them for years to come.
Connect with us
The UC Master Gardener Program extends to the public free UC research-based information about home horticulture and pest management. In exchange for the training and materials received from the University of California, UC Master Gardeners perform volunteer services in a myriad of venues. If you are interested in becoming a certified UC Master Gardener contact your local UC Cooperative Extension office or visit mg.ucanr.edu.
See those red spots on your milkweed seed pods? Lady beetles (aka ladybugs or "garden heroes") are feasting on aphids. And they're having a...
A lady beetle feasts on aphids on a milkweed plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, also known as balloon-plant milkweed or hairy balls. Note the spiky hairs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Peek-a-boo? Or peek-a-beetle? A lady beetle, resplendent in red, crawls through the spiky hairs of milkweed seed pods. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Hurry! A lady beetle snags aphids on a milkweed seed pod, while other aphids try to escape (far right). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Billed as Sacramento's "ultimate gardening event," the annual Harvest Day hosted by UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners attracted thousands to the program's demonstration garden in Fair Oaks last Saturday.
Visitors tried cherry tomatoes, heirloom melons and table grapes grown by Master Gardeners at the facility. Dave Wilson Nursery provided new pluot, plum, peach and nectarine varieties for sampling.
Saving water and growing food were major themes of the event, reported Debbie Arrington in the Sacramento Bee.
"There's a lot of concern about water,” said Judy McClure, coordinator of the Sacramento UCCE Master Gardener program. “Because of that, we really increased our information and focus on water during Harvest Day. Attendees can actually talk to their water providers about rebates and (other programs) at the event. They also can see what we're doing in the garden to save water.”
UC Cooperative Extension already has next year's Harvest Day on the calendar. It will be Aug. 1, 2015, however, in the meantime the Master Gardener program hosts a multitude of events and classes at the horticulture center throughout the year. For more information see the Sacramento Master Gardeners website.