Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Fool A Master Gardener!

Hi, all you Master Gardeners out there!
Do you think you know it all now that you are a Master Gardener? Well, neither do I. And to prove it, let me tell you a story .

My daughter and fellow Master Gardener Lori, who works at a local nursery, called one day to tell me that they had a beautiful blue orchid, and if I wanted one I should immediately come to the nursery before they sold out. I did and bought a magnificent orchid of a color I had never seen before. When I got home, I decided to do a little investigating online and discovered, much to my dismay, that my exotic blue orchid was dyed!! The next morning I called my daughter to tell her, but before I could, she shouted out that the orchid was dyed! The next time it blooms, it will be white. You sure could have fooled me! There’s something new to be learned every day!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where to begin?

Welcome to warmer weather! Isn't it fabulous after the historic freeze of February? Spring is around the corner and I can't wait. I'm excited to see the hyacinths and daylilies stretching their arms up through the dirt and new leaves emerging on roses and clematis. Even the peonies are showing signs of life. I'm anxious to get in the garden, but what to do first? I should probably tackle the weeds that have also popped up. Lucky to have had the weed talk in class last week! I'll be hoe, hoe, hoeing the scorpion weed and applying pre-emergent elsewhere.

It's a good time to start planting dahlias, cannas, lilies, and gladioloi. Watch for new growth on established plants and remove what the frost damaged. Finish pruning roses and grapes. Check turf areas for grub activity. April is Hay Fever month, and you might want to identify any plants you have that are causing you misery and replace them. Examine all irrigation systems and make necessary repairs. Later in the month plant melons, vegetables, strawberries, raspberries, grapes and asparagus, and that's just the beginning of another fantastic growing season. Garden on!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Food In Community

Most of our food comes from far away; all the out-of-season food does. Most of us depend on distant others for this most basic of life’s necessities. I have never known a time when this arrangement wasn’t good enough, but in recent years I have come to wonder if it really is good enough. Is it good enough for me to have no experience growing any of my own food? Is it good enough for me to ignore my connection with the earth in this way? Is it good enough for me to have no food that comes straight from the ground here where I live? Is it good enough for me to trust the long supply lines utterly? Is it good enough not to be in a community that produces food? Is it good enough to live in a community where nutrition is almost exclusively tied to one’s ability to pay? Is money the source of life rather than the earth?

What if our food supply lines were to be broken? Would we not have to become a food producing community? I noticed in the “Master Gardener Manual” that the seedlings of Tumble Weeds (Salsola Iberica) are edible – hmm. In a time of extreme need would we not come together to maximize all our food producing resources? Would we not have to get much better at identifying nutrition and maximizing it? Could this be done in isolation? Wouldn’t it have to be done in community? I am not suggesting that famine is coming, though famine has been a part of human history. I am wondering if it is good for us as a community to have so little skill in raising our own food – good not just in terms of nutrition but also in terms of our relationship with the earth and each other.

These considerations have moved me into the Master Gardener Program.