UCCE Master Gardener of El Dorado County
El Dorado County conjures up images of snow-laden mountains and crystal clear Lake Tahoe, but there’s another side to El Dorado County: El Dorado Hills. This is the first place you find as you make your trek up Highway 50 toward Lake Tahoe and it’s an important community that the Master Gardeners are targeting for additional outreach opportunities.
El Dorado Hills has diverse gardening opportunities with homes that include both small backyards and multiple-acre lots; it’s the perfect community to benefit from all of the classes and information provided by the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of El Dorado County. The median age in El Dorado Hills is about 40 years old, with many of these people having at least one child.
The UCCE Master Gardeners reach out to this community by providing classes for parents and kids to start gardening together. These classes are focused on vegetable gardening, vermiculture (composting with worms) and activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. These “family” classes, like most all classes offered by the UCCE Master Gardeners, are free.
In the upcoming year, there will be many more classes offered close to El Dorado Hills, either in Cameron Park or further up the hill in Placerville. These classes include composting, grape growing, vegetable gardening, lawn maintenance and soil workshops. Master Gardeners will teach you about your vegetable garden but they can also provide information on landscaping, irrigation, pest-control and more. Master Gardeners are not just here for those who have a passion for gardening, they are here for homeowners who are interested in having yards that look great and are free from weeds and pests.
Master Gardeners can provide information as to how to manage, detect and control rattlesnakes, which are present in certain El Dorado Hills neighborhoods. Integrated pest management (including snakes, voles, mice, bugs and spiders) is a main focus of the Master Gardeners. Information and recommendations can be made to help control populations of these pests on your property (or in your apartment).
All information provided by Master Gardeners is research-based and has been provided by UC Davis or other accredited sources.
Master Gardeners are volunteers and get their satisfaction by helping others. One of my favorite programs supported by the Master Gardeners is the Plant a Row campaign. Extra fruits, vegetables and herbs grown in backyard gardens can be donated to those in need. El Dorado Hills has its own drop-off location just outside of Town Center at the Rolling Hills Church.
This program is always looking for participants and a Master Gardener would be happy to recommend a vegetable or herb that would work well with your environment. Whether you can place a single basil plant in a pot on your balcony or plant an entire row of squash, every bit helps.
Working as a family to help others that are less fortunate is a great way to get to know the Master Gardeners as well as provide healthy, home-grown food for your kids.
We hope to see many of you in 2017 at some of our classes and don’t forget to visit the Sherwood Demonstration Garden, open during the winter on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon for Saturdays with Barry. Ask Master Gardener Barry Wold all your home gardening questions and see a winter garden in progress. The garden is located at 6699 Campus Drive, behind Folsom Lake College El Dorado Center in Placerville.
UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County are available to answer home gardening questions Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon or by calling (530) 621-5512. Walk-ins are welcome at the Master Gardener office, 311 Fair Lane in Placerville.
For more information about public education classes and activities visit mgeldorado.ucanr.edu. Sign up to receive online notices and an e-newsletter at ucanr.edu/master gardener e-news. You can also find UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County on Facebook.