Posts Tagged: UC Master Gardeners
Stephen Cantu, a UC Master Gardener in San Diego County UC Cooperative Extension, is well aware of ways to improve accessibility and inclusiveness in gardening for people with mobility issues, reported Lisa Deaderick in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Cantu, who has used a wheelchair for 37 years due to a job site accident, identifies obstacles and solutions that help people of all abilities benefit from the joys of tending a home garden. He is active in the UCCE Master Gardener Association program that assists community members in designing garden spaces for maximum accessibility called Friendly Inclusive Gardening (FIG).
FIG teaches people how to implement the principles of universal design to make home, school and community gardens safer and more accessible to people with physical disabilities, seniors with mobility issues and young children. A workshop scheduled for March 21 had to be postponed in order to comply with efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, so Deaderick published a Q&A with Cantu to share how people can start a small garden at home while waiting out the coronavirus.
He said FIG is not just for wheelchair users. "In other words, a garden designed for the whole family to use, from young children to grandma and grandpa," Cantu said.
He recommends new gardeners start simple and build on success.
"Start out with a small kitchen garden of mostly herbs, something that is in small containers that you can grow next to your kitchen. . . Don't buy anything until you have an understanding of your needs. For a small garden, all you really need are your hands, a pair of gloves, some soil, and a few herbs," Cantu said.
With many schools are closed due to the coronavirus crisis, families are educating and entertaining children at home. Susan Schena of The Patch provided nine enriching activities for housebound kids; for the third one she turned to UC Master Gardner Louisa R. Cardenas from the Los Angeles County University of California Cooperative Extension for advice.
"There are numerous free sites with kids' gardening and environmental activities," said Cardenas, who chairs the Los Angeles County Master Gardener Program School Garden Network. "While most resources focus on school-yard gardening, many activities may easily be applicable to home gardens or apartment living."
According to a Los Angeles Times article, gardening does more than keep the kids busy and enriched. It can relieve stress associated with trying times. The article cited research in the Netherlands in which a test group performed a stressful activity for 30 minutes, and then were randomly assigned them to garden outside or read a book indoors. The study found that both activities reduced the cortisol levels that trigger stress, but the people who gardened saw much lower cortisol levels and their positive mood restored, as opposed to the readers, whose moods got worse.
For gardening advice, Times reporter Jeanette Marantos spoke to Yvonne Savio, the now-retired long-time UC Master Gardener coordinator for UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County. Savio writes the blog GardeninginLA.net.
You can plant your tomatoes in late March, Savio said, but wait until April to plant summer crops like eggplant, peppers and cucumber.
If the soil hasn't warmed up to at least 60 degrees, warm-season seedlings “just sit and pout at you,” Savio said. Worse, she said, the cool temperatures can stunt their future growth, destroying your efforts to get an early harvest.
There are plenty of garden tasks that can be accomplished while waiting for warmer soil. The Times article suggests:
- Feed your soil with good organic amendments such as compost and steer manure or organic potting soil for pots.
- Water it well and wait a week or two before planting, because the organisms create a lot heat as they break down, and can burn your tender seedlings. You'll know the soil is safe for planting when the temperature feels comfortable to your bare hand, said Savio.
- Try Savio's technique of burying 5-gallon nursery buckets among your plants (the kind with holes already in the bottom). Make sure the rim of the buckets are about 4 inches above ground, so you have room for mulch, and then fill those buckets with water once or twice a week to force moisture — and roots — deeper into the ground.
For more at-home gardening information, find your local UC Master Gardener program website here:
Yvonne Savio now volunteers as a UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener.
Back in February, butterfly guru Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, told a monarch butterfly summit on the UC...
A male monarch nectars on a butterfly bush in Vacaville, Calif. on Oct. 12, 2019. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Showing his colors, the male monarch adjusts his position on a butterfly bush on Oct. 12 in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The male monarch takes flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Meet the pollinators, And meet the UC Davis researchers, UC Master Gardeners, students and community members who study them or promote them. That's...
Pipevine swallowtails at the UC Davis Arboretum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee foraging in mallow at the UC Davis Arboretum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Central Valley magazine. The issue is focused on gardening, ranging from growing one tomato plant on an apartment balcony to tending numerous raised beds that produce a bounty of produce for the family table.
"Locally, there are plenty of resources for the budding home gardener," wrote reporter Cyndee Fontana-Ott. "One of the most valuable is the UCCE Master Gardeners of Fresno County."
On the cover of the magazine is UC Master Gardener Rose Pipkin. Master Gardeners Michael Harman and Charlie Hindles are pictured inside along with beauty shots of the Garden of the Sun, the Master Gardeners' one-acre ornamental and food production demonstration garden at the Fresno Discovery Center, 1750 N. Winery, Fresno.
The magazine includes a two-page spread on two upcoming UC Master Gardeners of Fresno County activities: A series of garden seminars at the Fresno Home & Garden Show at the Fresno Fairgrounds March 2-4, and the Master Gardeners Spring Garden Tour April 21.
In her introduction to the gardening issue of Central Valley magazine, editor Carey Norton writes about her personal experience on the Master Gardeners Spring Garden Tour.
"What I love is that within every showcased garden are docents who can answer questions about the plants themselves and what it might take for a gardening novice like me to attempt to grow them," Norton wrote. "And if I'm confused about just what it is that I'm looking at, each and every plant is meticulously labeled, so I know what I'm seeing."
Many UC Cooperative Extension offices in California have UC Master Gardener programs. To find your local program visit http://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs.