New Class of Master Gardeners. The University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program, under the direction of Master Gardener Coordinator Dona Jenkins, started a new training class consisting of 50 students. Thirty-eight trainees reside in valley cities stretching from Montclair and Rancho Cucamonga to Redlands and Yucaipa and 12 trainees join us online from the mountains and High Desert. Once trained, Master Gardeners each volunteer 50 hours a year back into their communities helping residents save water in their landscapes; grow food at home and in community and school gardens; and participate in ‘Healthy Communities’ activities with partner cities.
Inland Empire RCD Project Managers Jasmine Orozco and Susie Kirschner joined UCCE and other partners during our first class to welcome the new students and share information about the mission and goals of IERCD. Their message was heard loud and clear, with trainees already stepping up to help get school garden projects in Fontana and Rialto off the ground as well as helping out by hosting booths and demonstrations at the Huerta del Valle Community Garden. Thanks to IERCD Special Funds, Master Gardeners have already reached over 3,900 residents within the IERCD service area since June 1, 2017 through Farmers’ Markets, email and phone helplines, workshops, information booths, and hands-on demonstrations at community and school gardens.
Sustainable Landscape Educational Materials. Even though the five-year drought is over, the need for water conservation in our home landscapes remains. University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources has several free downloadable publications that are just a click away. ‘Sustainable Landscaping in California’ (authored by Hartin, et al) can be downloaded here. Read all about the six key ways to garden sustainably (conserve water, nurture and protect soil, incorporate plants suitable for the climate/microclimate; prevent/reduce pest problems; conserve energy/reduce pollution; and, encourage wildlife and pollinators). ‘Keeping Plants Alive Under Drought and Water Restrictions’ (authored by Hartin, Oki, and Fujino): is another new UCE publication with timely advice on caring for traditional as well as more water-efficient landscapes. And, while you’re online, learn how to protect your property from invasive plants by downloading the free ‘Invasive Plants’ Pest Note (authored by Ditomaso, Bell and Wilen here.