December in Sonoma County
The Bloomin’ Backyards team is working hard to prepare six unique Petaluma gardens belonging to Master Gardeners for the 2020 BBY Tour. The gardens have been selected for their beauty and as displays of sustainable gardening practices. Each of the gardens will be featured in an article on the website over the next six months. You will learn what to look for in each, and understand what to appreciate such as: goals of the gardener, special features of a particular garden, and important gardening practices such as sustainability, firewise choices, and other valuable horticultural methods.
The Spring 2020 Bloomin’ Backyards garden tour is scheduled for Sunday, May 17, 2020 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Petaluma. Recognized experts will be on hand to demonstrate and answer questions on organic gardening, soil development, drip irrigation, integrated pest management, habitat gardening, growing fruits and vegetables, water catchment, firewise landscaping, and much, much more. The tour is a biennial event presented by the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County.
Ticket information will be posted on our website in early January. Please visit sonomamg.ucanr.edu for regularly updated information.
A Time To Rest...NOT!
Watch the new Sudden Oak Death Video
The Sudden Oak Death team at the University of California Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources has just released a new video that is well worth watching. There's a lot to learn here, all presented with great visuals to aid our understanding of Sudden Oak Death. Makes learning about SOD easy!
Growing a Thriving Vegetable Garden with Less Water
The Food Gardening Specialists (FGS) of the UCCE Sonoma Master Gardeners are excited to present water-wise food gardening strategies. Given our hot, dry summers along with the prediction of extended drought, we can’t afford to waste a drop. This video demonstrates how home and community gardeners can grow a thriving vegetable garden with less water. In addition, this video is complemented by a planting scheme and a drip system instruction and shopping list that reflect the 4x8-foot demonstration vegetable bed in the video. Click here for these documents along with additional helpful documents for food gardening with less water.
Ask a Master Gardener
Questions and Answers from the Helpline
Watch to Learn What Master Gardeners Do
Master Gardener-staffed Help Desks are located
at Sonoma County Farmers' Markets and Fairs
Master Gardeners are volunteers trained by the UC Davis Cooperative Extension.
Sonoma County Master Gardeners will provide environmentally sustainable, science-based horticultural information to all of Sonoma County’s population. We strive for diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our organization.
UCCE Farm Advisor: Stephanie Larson, County Director
SCMG Coordinator: Mimi Enright
Sundays with Sue
By SCMG Sue Lovelace
Updated: December 8, 2019
I was really feeling justifiably sustainable in the backyard after chipping up the extra large fig leaves and laying them right back under the fig tree to eventually leach nutrients back to the tree. The gloating only lasted long enough to see that our chore had many more hours to go and the little area around the fig tree was only a beginning!
When we talk about sustainability and the cycle of giving back to the soil, compost and mulch are ways we do it in addition to planting cover crops and/or keeping roots in the soil. Little communities of beneficial bacteria, fungi and larger organisms, like earth worms and beneficial nematodes, live in and around those roots and beyond. The little white threads we see in a composting soil, called hyphae, are actually bacterium that branch out throughout the soil, gathering nutrients to deliver to roots and the soil around them. According to soil specialist, Karen Guma, letting roots of plants decompose naturally in the soil is important to soil health. (Once the plant is “done” on the surface, clipping it at ground level and allowing it to decompose in the soil is how this is accomplished.)
If you are wondering how, or why, I decided to mention the above information, I will tell you that I attended a presentation by Guma on soil, on native plants and the general web of life that left me inspired. In other words, my experience with leaf mulching is only one tiny segment of all we can do to protect and preserve our environment, both above and below the ground. A gardener’s job can be powerful; right on!
Be safe, everyone, in whatever weather you are facing, and try to slow down (Look who’s talking!) and enjoy the process and the environment and people around you. The garden will really need us once this rain stops! Have a great week.
“Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet but the roots are down there riotous!” Rumi
Master Gardeners in Print
The Garden Doctors
Dana Lozano & Gwen Kilchherr, The Press Democrat
The best ways to store squash and potatoes 10/18/2019
Webmasters: Kim Roche, Stan Pawlak
Website Editor: Penny Fink
Food Gardening Editor: Stephanie Wrightson
Staff Photographers and Videographers:
Cie Cary, Electra de Peyster,
Coby Lafayette-Kelleher, Laura Salo Long