San Bernardino County
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San Bernardino County

Posts Tagged: master gardener

Welcome Accepted Master Gardener Applicants!

What do more than a dozen community and school garden organizers, members and directors of 15 non-profit boards, several K-12 teachers, a department chair from Loma Linda University a, retired USDA senior marketing manager, a sociologist, an anthropologist, a handful of IT and human resource managers, a structural engineer with a second career as a public health educator and 40 other San Bernardino County residents have in common? They all have a desire to give back to their communities and were recently accepted into our UC Cooperative Extension San Bernardino County Master Gardener program.

The Master Gardener 'class of 2021' hails from all parts of the county including Yucca Valley, Victorville, 29 Palms, Running Springs, San Bernardino, Redlands, Chino, Montclair, Chino Hills, Running Springs, Pinion Pines, Colton, Rancho Cucamonga, Rialto, and Ontario. They will be brought together for the first time ever in the history of the program entirely via Zoom! In exchange for the horticulture knowledge they receive during the 18-week training class, each has agreed to volunteer 50 or more hours helping county residents landscape more sustainably and grow fruits and vegetables in home, community, and school gardens.

Please help Master Gardener Coordinator Maggie O'Neill, our 150+ current Master Gardeners, and me welcome these new students into our program. I am excited to get to know them and inspired already by their passion and giving spirit. Besides helping residents landscape more sustainably, this year the Master Gardener program will focus heavily on helping county residents develop home, school, and community gardens. This closely aligns with the increased interest county residents have in growing food and adopting healthier lifestyles. Master Gardeners are in the process of developing vegetable planting guides for our three main climate zones (valley, high desert and mountains), ‘how to' videos on planting, growing, and harvesting cool and warm season vegetables, and conducting workshops (via zoom for the time being) to help current and new home, community and school gardeners become even more successful. And, of course, Master Gardeners will continue to staff our email and telephone helplines and hope to resume staffing their Farmers' Markets booths as soon as it is safe to do so!

I'm looking forward to another great year!

school garden san bernardino master gardener university of california
school garden san bernardino master gardener university of california

Master Gardener San Bernardino University of California 3
Master Gardener San Bernardino University of California 3

Master Gardener San Bernardino University of California 2
Master Gardener San Bernardino University of California 2

Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 9:18 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Food, Health, Yard & Garden

Meet August 'Spotlight' UCCE Master Gardener Brenda Spoelstra

Brenda helping youth learn to garden at Micah House 3

I became a University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardener in San Bernardino County in January of 2019. I had learned about it from a friend who is an instructor with the UCCE Master Food Preserver program. She knew I liked...

micah house veggie garden 1
micah house veggie garden 1

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 7:45 PM
  • Author: Brenda Spoelstra
Focus Area Tags: Environment, Food, Health, Yard & Garden

Invasive Plants: Don't Encourage 'Bad Neighbors'

What do ice cream, potato chips, Scotch and Spanish Broom, and Tree of Heaven have in common? While they're all tempting to indulge in, less is more. In fact, plants such as Scotch, Spanish Broom, Tree of Heaven, Pampas Grass, Green Fountain Grass, and dozens of plants are all considered invasive plants in California. Simply put, they should not be planted. There are some great alternative plants that are better choices listed at the end of this blog.

Truth be told, I admit to falling madly in love with the Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum) shrubs adorning Highway 18 on my drive from San Bernardino to Lake Arrowhead in early spring 1984 right after my job interview for my current position. Being a “wet behind the ears” recently hatched graduate student from the Midwest I was truly in awe of their lovely yellow blooms and vowed to plant one if I got the chance to move to California. Fortunately, I found out very soon that, while the plantings were made on purpose, they were a mistake and needed to be removed due to their invasive nature.

While they were ‘recruited' from Europe and had what seemed like a perfect resumé (fast growth, lovely yellow flowers, adaptability to poor infertile soil and disease and insect-resistance), they didn't play well with others, a fatal flaw. In California, they were aggressive and crowded out native plantings. Fires only exacerbated the situation. After the 2003 burns, the Spanish Broom populations exploded, obliterating any remaining natives and taking an even larger area hostage. In summer 2010, the San Bernardino National Forest removed the plants in a costly but necessary $500,000 project under a partnership with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Constant monitoring continues in the San Bernardino Mountains and other areas of the state to prevent its reestablishment which is challenging due to its ability to quickly resprout, seed longevity, and effective dispersal. It has definitely earned its ‘noxious weed' label!

This is just one example of the problems posed by invasive plants. In effect, they grow too well! They outcompete desirable plants in our gardens, lawns, and other urban and natural areas for water, nutrients, and space. They also shade sun-requiring plants. Threatened and endangered plant species and other California native plants are particularly vulnerable to their encroachment. (In most cases, invasive plants are non-native species.) Interestingly, our beloved state flower, the California poppy, is an invasive plant in New Zealand, Hawaii and other locations outside of California.

 

 

Non-Invasive Alternatives

As urban gardeners, we can all greatly reduce the impact of the encroachment of invasive plants in our urban environments. Please don't plant invasive sane remove plantings on your property to stop their spread. Below are some great resources to learn more about invasive plants and find viable replacements:

California Invasive Plant Council: https://www.cal-ipc.org/

Don't Plant a Pest: https://www.cal-ipc.org/solutions/prevention/landscaping/dpp/

Invasive Plants of Southern California:https://www.cal-ipc.org/solutions/prevention/landscaping/dpp/?region=socal

PlantRight: https://plantright.org/about-invasive-plants/plant

 

 

 

 

Posted on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 7:42 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

Landscape Tree Irrigation to Maximize Tree Health, Benefits, and Beauty

Most trees in California need supplemental irrigation above and beyond what Mother Nature supplies naturally. Even drought-resistant species need regular watering through their first growing season due to their shallow roots. Once trees become established, it's important to water less often but more deeply to encourage deep rooting and structural balance above and below ground. Both under and overwatering can lead to unhealthy trees and even death if the situation is not corrected. Trees receiving too little or too much water exhibit similar symptoms since, in both cases, water is not available to the plant. Trees initially wilt, grow slowly, and develop yellow leaves. Over time, growth stops and leaves become brown and drop. Overwatered trees often develop lower crown and root rot from one or more disease-forming pathogens.

Knowing what type of soil you have (soil texture) is as important as knowing the water needs of your trees. Use the ‘feel test' (pictured below) to find out how much water your soil holds and how often to water. Heavier clay-based soils hold water longer and drain more slowly than sandier soils that need to be watered more often for shorter periods of time.

do a feel test of your soil to help you know when to water

Trees should not be watered on the same irrigation system used for lawns and groundcovers. Soaker hoses and drip systems allow trees to be watered less often but for longer periods of time than your lawn or groundcover. Avoid applying water too close to the trunk. Instead water half-way between the trunk and the dripline of the tree and outward. If you use a garden hose, apply the water on the lowest volume possible slowly, moving the hose every few hours to each of four quadrants around the tree. 

Applying a 3-4 inch layer of mulch around the tree can reduce soil evaporation.  Use only non-flammable mulches in fire-prone areas within five feet from the house and non-contiguous for the first 30' away from the house. In all cases keep mulch a few inches away from tree trunks to keep the trunks dry.

Tip: Before planting a tree, make sure there is adequate drainage. Dig a hole where you want to plant it (the same depth of the pot, which is about one foot) and fill the hole with water. Let it completely drain and refill it. Measure the time it takes to drain one inch using a ruler. If it does not drain more than one inch an hour it is not a good location for your tree. Avoid adding compost or soil amendments to try to correct the problem since tree roots will likely grow in circles, staying within the confines of the amended hole rather than growing outward the confines of the amended hole rather than growing outward.

do a quick drainage test before planting a tree
Posted on Saturday, April 25, 2020 at 1:52 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

Volunteer Appreciation

  This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Week by highlighting the volunteers and partners who are a vital part to the success of UCCE programs. On February 24, 2020 UCCE San Bernardino hosted an appreciation dinner to recognize the invaluable volunteers and partners.

  The celebration started with a welcome by County Directors Janet Hartin and Chris McDonald followed by dinner and finally the recognition. Honorees received a certificate of appreciation from UCCE and? Board of Supervisor Chairman Curt Hagman. Seven San Bernardino County departments were recognized for their valuable partnerships needed to implement programs. The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program recognized teachers, school administrators, and parent liaisons who are key in reaching families to provide them with education to live healthier lives. The Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver Programs recognized their indispensable volunteers who are the heartbeat of the program and provide outreach to the community. 4-H recognized leaders who are empowering today's youth to be leaders of tomorrow. To top off the dinner, the Master Gardener Coordinator, Maggie O'Neill, made a delicious cake decorated to represent all programs.

 

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Posted on Friday, April 24, 2020 at 2:23 PM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H, Environment, Family, Health, Yard & Garden

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