Gardening

Master Gardener Garden Tour

Come visit six beautiful gardens in Shelton! Tours are self-guided, but garden owners and friendly Master Gardeners will be on the property to answer questions. This year’s gardens are all located in Shelton, either downtown or uptown,for easy travel in between gardens. All will inspire wonderful ideas for garden creativity!
Date:  Saturday, July 12th
Time:  10 AM to 4 PM
Tickets are $12.00 each, ticket book includes garden descriptions and a map to this year’s six gardens.
Tickets willl be sold at these locations:
Sage Book Store (Shelton)
Lynch Creek Floral (Shelton)
Hunter Farms (Union)
Laurie’s Gifts (Hoodsport)
Jeannette’s Old Town Flowers (Allyn)
Pacific Northwest Salmon Center (Belfair)

The Rights, Wrongs, and Realities of Pruning

Pruning is the most commonly implemented cultural practice among family forest owners. It helps produce lumber clear of knots, reduces the risk of fire climbing into crowns, may decrease the transmission of certain diseases, and improves the aesthetic appeal of the stand. Regardless of why you’re pruning your trees, it’s important that you do it and do it properly so your management objectives are achieved. Read More on the Small Forest Landowner News site.

by Andy Perleberg, WSU Extension Educator

Native Plant Appreciation Week

Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed April 28 through May 3, Native Plant Appreciation Week in Washington. Native Plant Appreciation Week is a celebration of the amazing diversity of Washington’s native plant species.

The diverse climates in Washington allow for an incredible variety of native plants, from sword ferns to cacti, to the many different species that call prairies, forests and shrub-steppe home.

Read more HERE.

AmeriCorps WSU Mason County Extension

lapp michelleMichelle Lapp is a second term AmeriCorps member at the WSU Mason County Extension working as a Food $ense nutrition educator and Assistant Coordinator of the Mason County Master Gardener Program. Michelle took the Master Gardener course in September of 2012 and has been entusiastically soaking up all the information that she can from her fellow Master Gardeners and Extension Office workers. Michelle’s background in Nutrition and Dietetics gives her a unique insight to the Mason community needs and inspires her to combine the initiative of healthy living and nutrition with the idea that sustainable gardening practices and growing food at home will help community members to be more self sustaining, healthy, and physically active while becoming more economically sound.

The Food $ense Nutrition Program educates youth and adults with limited incomes on gaining the skills and behaviors to eat healthfully and maximize the value of their food dollars and food assistance benefits. The program partners with schools and food banks to reach the eligible community by working directly with people to provide emotions-based education that builds skills needed to provide themselves and their families with nutritious, low-cost, and safe food.

The Master Gardener Program focuses on training volunteers to be effective community educators in gardening and environmental stewardship. Master Gardeners provide WSU research based information and enhance communities through demonstration and community gardens and donation of produce to local food banks.
For questions and information related to nutrition, gardening and WSU Mason County Master Gardener events contact Michelle at (360)427-9670 ext. 689 or .

 

 

hagan erikErik Hagan is a local farmer, co-founder of the West Olympia Farmers’ Market, food and farming policy advocate and Small Farms Program Coordinator for WSU Extension and Mason Conservation District. He enjoys all things farming related and will ramble for hours on ecological awareness and sustainable agriculture techniques. Erik’s interest and experience lies in integrating food production systems that mimic and perform natural ecosystem function for maximizing conservation efforts and diversifying agricultural production.

The Small Farms Program is a partnership with Mason Conservation District and WSU Extension in Mason and Thurston Counties. We provide educational workshops and trainings on agricultural strategies for Mason and Thurston agricultural producers as well as consultation with landowners to protect our regions precious natural resources through technical assistance, conservation farm planning, and cost-share opportunities.

For questions and information related to food and livestock production and/or technical assistance, conservation farm planning and financial assistance opportunities to help protect our Natural Resources on your property contact Erik at 360-427-9436 ext. 117 or

 

 

Grow Blueberries!

July is National Blueberry month, among other things, according to a website I found that lists bizarre and unique holidays. Although blueberries are native to the eastern United States, the hybrids that we grow here actually do quite well. They are self-fertile in pollination, but growers should plant more than one variety to increase yields and extend the harvest season. Blueberries are long-lived and can produce high yields at 50 years of age. Full bearing is not reached until 7 or 8 years of age.

Any soil with high organic matter and good water holding capacity will support blueberries. An acid soil in the range of 4.5 to 5.5 pH is ideal. Remove all weeds, especially perennial weeds prior to planting.

Plant dormant plants in late winter or spring when available. Add peat moss or rotted sawdust to the soil when planting, if necessary. Mulching will help to protect the shallow root system from temperature fluctuations and drying.

Prune after planting to stimulate new vigorous growth. Strip off blossoms the first two years to concentrate on vegetative growth. Prune mature plants to retain 1- to 3-year-old wood for best fruit production. The amount of fertilizer depends on rate of previous growth. Use three separate applications for optimal growth. Ammonium sulfate is a good acid forming fertilizer. Blueberries prefer moist soil, but also adequate drainage. Apply 1 to 2 inches of water when irrigating once every 2 weeks in summer. Blueberries are well adapted to drip irrigation systems. Mulch up to 6 inches to conserve water.

Diseases that affect blueberries include Mummyberry and botrytis fruit rot. Mummyberry can be very severe in wet weather.

Relatively insect-free, blueberries can suffer from Scale and root weevils and cherry fruitworm can be a localized problem. Birds will be a persistent problem. Net the plants as the berries start to color up.

According to The World’s Healthiest Foods website (whfoods.org)… “in terms of U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries rank second to strawberries in popularity of berries. Blueberries are not only popular, but also repeatedly ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. We recommend enjoying raw blueberries — rather than relying upon blueberries incorporated into baked desserts — because, like other fruits, raw blueberries provide you with the best flavor and the greatest nutritional benefits.”

As one of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries have been enjoyed by Native Americans for hundreds of years. They have also enjoyed great popularity around the world in cuisines from Asia to the Mediterranean.

If you have a gardening question you can contact a Master Gardener on Mondays from noon – 3 pm at the WSU Extension office at 303 N. 4th Street in Shelton. Have you ever thought of becoming a Master Gardener?Call 360-427-9670 Ext. 688 for details.

Submitted June 26, 2013.

Written by R. Jeanne Rehwaldt, Extension Coordinator Supervisor
WSU Extension – Mason County Food $ense Nutrition and Master Gardener Programs

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