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Posts Tagged: master gardeners

Riverside supervisors vote to restore UCCE funding

After more than 100 4-H members, UC Master Gardeners and others attended a Riverside Board of Supervisors' meeting in support of UC Cooperative Extension June 10, the panel voted 5-0 to restore UCCE's funding, reported Jeff Horseman and Matt Kristoffersen in the Riverside Press Enterprise.

The vote reversed an earlier decision to cut UCCE funding as part of a larger plan to deal with reduced county tax receipts. If the funding had not been restored, services including 4-H, nutrition education and agricultural programs would have been effected, said Eta Takele, UCCE director in Riverside County.

UC Cooperative Extension, a key part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, serves all California counties. Academic advisors work with farmers to implement more-efficient growing methods, solve pest management problems and develop smart water-use strategies. Natural resources advisors conduct wildfire education and research natural resources conservation. Nutrition educators promote nutritious eating habits and exercise for better health. California 4-H Youth Development Program engages youth to become leaders. Thousands of volunteers extend UCCE's through the Master Gardener, Master Food Preserver, California Naturalist, and the California 4-H Youth Development Programs.

During the June 10 meeting, the supervisors heard from Riverside 4-H members who have been aided by their involvement in the program.

4-H member Bethany Campbell told the supervisors 4-H helped her overcome shyness and gain confidence. 

“4-H helped me rise above fear and insecurity to become a leader," Campbell said.

A Blythe 4-H member, Samantha Teater, 17, said, 4-H "definitely saved me from getting into trouble."

UC ANR associate vice president Wendy Powers attended the supervisors' meeting. 

"Those who offered public comment provided heartfelt testimony about the impact of our programs and how they, personally, have benefited and how the county has benefited," Powers wrote in her blog. "The work's not over. We need to continue to engage those who don't know us but make decisions that impact us. We need to continue to engage those who do know us, and brainstorm how to do better – reach more people, have a greater impact."

The article said Riverside County officials would work with UC Cooperative Extension to save money by moving its offices from leased office space to county-owned space.

4-H members made a strong showing at the Riverside Board of Supervisors meeting. (Photo: Jose Aguiar)


Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 11:01 AM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H Economic Development

It's been a tough year for gardeners, but don't despair

LA Times columnist Sandy Banks reached the conclusion that gardening is not for dilettantes.
When Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks shared her disappointment with her summer garden, she got words of encouragement straight from Missy Gable, the director of the UC's Statewide Master Gardener Program. Gable commiserated with Banks, saying her own homegrown tomatoes wound up with blossom end rot because of irrigation difficulties this year.

"I had the same experience that most people did," Gable said.

Banks began the 2014 summer gardening season like most home gardeners, full of hope and enthusiasm. But as fall approached she found herself with "a few spindly stalks of okra, a tangle of barren melon vines and a pepper plant loaded with misshapen pods."

Gable and another UC Cooperative Extension advisor, Janet Hartin, chalked up this year's garden frustrations in part to the state of California's water woes.

"A lot of people are calling and want to rip out their whole garden and just put in native plants," Hartin told the columnist.

But she and Gable assured the writer that vegetables are well worth the water it takes to grow them.

"... By growing fruits and vegetables, you're decreasing your carbon footprint," Gable said. "You're not using pesticides, not making trips to the grocery store.... The environmental and health benefits of home gardens are lasting and important."

Gable offered some suggestions to improve the chances for success:

  • Add compost to the soil to provide nutrients and increase water-holding capacity
  • Switch to water-conserving drip irrigation
  • Insulate the soil surface with a thick layer of mulch
  • Make careful planting decisions

"(Gable) steered me to a bevy of experts who take questions by email and phone through the University of California's Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program. I've bookmarked local planting guides and advice online at," Banks wrote.

Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Five gift ideas from UCCE Master Gardeners

'California Master Gardener Handbook' is on a short list of gift ideas for gardeners.
Who better to give advice on presents for gardeners but Master Gardeners certified by the University of California Cooperative Extension? asks Katherine Spiers this week in the KCET "In-Ground Gardens" blog.

The UC Master Gardener Program trains volunteers to extend research-based information to the public about home horticulture and pest management.

In the KCET story, a few UCCE Master Gardeners of Los Angeles County share their tips for excellent garden gifts.

  1. Master Gardener Denise Friese suggested rain barrels, which collect water when it rains so it can be used between storms for irrigation. "Plus, there is a new rebate for rain barrels from the Metropolitan Water District," she said.

  2. Master Gardener Elizabeth Ostrom recommended moisture meters. "It's an excellent tool that lets you know if you are under/over watering. And over time, it acts as a teaching tool," she said.

  3. Master Gardener Jane Auerbach suggested a gift membership to a garden club, which offers abundant inspiration and, often, free classes with membership.

  4. Auerbach also recommended Felco pruners, "the gold standard" in gardening equipment.

  5. Yvonne Savio, the Master Gardener coordinator in LA County, recommended the California Master Gardener Handbook. Written by UC academics, the 700-page handbook is a gardening encyclopedia.
Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Decorations from the Master Gardener Garden

Why you may ask would several Master Gardeners be spray painting dried agapanthus, hydrangeas, sedum, and so much more in the rain and wind?

Well there is a simple answer; the Master Gardener’s 19th annual Wreath Workshop is just around the corner. We are getting things ready so that you can participate in making a beautiful wreath for your home, what better way to start the holiday season?

To do this, we start by drying some plants we have grown in our gardens. The dried foliage and flowers that look good get to stay their natural color when dried. The not-so-good looking dried materials get spray painted different colors. In addition to the materials mentioned, we also have magnolia leaves, Deodora cones, statice, as well as other plants. The pine cones are of various sizes and we have been painting them to look like they have been dusted by snow. There will be ribbon in a multitude of colors for bows.

Prior to the actual date of the Wreath Workshop, which is December 7, 2013; Master Gardeners will spend 3 days gathering greens. They will then cut materials to a size that is manageable for wreath making, and finally, boxing them. In this box of foliage you might also find in addition to the redwood, some lavender or rosemary.

If you have never attending this Wreath Workshop, this is what you can expect to get for the fee that you will pay: a banana box filled with greenery, a wire wreath frame, paddle wire and all sorts of natural decorations and a bow. Refreshments will be served throughout the event. There will be Master Gardeners to help if you need a refresher on how to make a wreath.

The event is being held at the Buck Mansion Carriage House in Vacaville, December 7, 2013 from 1-4 pm. Space is limited to sign up now! Here is link to the website to sign up for this fun event. Http://

You can also call Jennifer Baumbach at 707-784-1321 for addition information.

A variety of plant materials that have been sprayed. (photos by Toni Greer)
A variety of plant materials that have been sprayed. (photos by Toni Greer)

Artichokes, cones, etc.
Artichokes, cones, etc.

Posted on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Gardens in Schools? What a Concept!

This past year I was involved with a process in Vallejo called “Participatory Budgeting”.   A mouthful which basically means, we citizens got to participate in how a small portion of the City’s budget is spent.  Specifically, this small portion is a percentage of the larger Measure B tax that we voted on a few years ago – we voted to tax ourselves, 1¢ of every $1 spent.  What a good idea that we get to have a say in how at least part of it is spent!

And one project that was proposed for some of this money to be spent on, voted on by citizens and approved by the City, was enhancing current community gardens and creating new ones.  Does everyone know about this?  As citizens of Vallejo you absolutely should!  As citizens of Solano County it would be nice if you did, even though it doesn’t necessarily impact you directly.

But as Master Gardeners, we should ALL be aware of this great accomplishment – getting funds directed toward enhancing and creating more gardens in the community!  However, the challenge now is, how does this get implemented?   That will be a long and somewhat tedious process no doubt and every garden that will be enhanced or created will be a wonderful thing.

However, my original thought when I first heard about this project was putting these gardens in schools.  Not only would it teach children very valuable lessons, but if the gardens could grow to have a significant yield, they could provide food for school lunches!   There are a variety of benefits that could come from creating gardens in schools, but it always comes down to funding. 

I didn’t write this with a grand plan in mind, nor do I expect some major change to occur.  But if a few of us ponder this idea, perhaps we can think of creative ways to help this happen in our schools, no matter where those schools reside.  Anyone even remotely interested in gardening could help make these ideas reality.  After all, one of the best lessons that children can learn is that great-tasting food can come from something they planted with their own two hands.   Not sure if this is a real quote, but it’s similar to the one about fish …. “If you give a man a vegetable you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to garden you feed him for a lifetime”

Cal Maritime Cadet & Community Engagement Student Assistant, Natalie Laconsay, at Loma Vista’s Spring Festival.(photo by Mike Jory/Vallejo Times Herald)
Cal Maritime Cadet & Community Engagement Student Assistant, Natalie Laconsay, at Loma Vista’s Spring Festival.(photo by Mike Jory/Vallejo Times Herald)

Posted on Friday, September 20, 2013 at 8:22 AM

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