Words From Wendy: Summer 2014 Master Gardener Newsletter

Happy Spring everyone! To say the least, it has been a very interesting month. Our area has seen record-breaking temperatures that made it feel like it was already summer, the more traditional cool misty April showers and a little bit of snow here and there. Unfortunately, not enough snow and rain has fallen in northern Nevada. With no relief in sight, it is more important than ever to have Master Gardeners in our office and out educating our communities on how to keep landscapes healthy while conserving water.

We have just finished our spring MG class and we have a wonderful group of people looking forward to taking on that task and earning their hours to become certified Master Gardeners. With that in mind, it is very important that our new MGs have well-trained mentors in our office to teach them how to handle phone and walk-in clients’ plant and landscape questions.

Our Advanced Master Gardener training program is how we develop those mentors. Our latest AMG class was well-attended with 17 MGs coming to learn about low-risk pesticides and proper application. This class focused on four products and the Reno office penstemon demonstration bed. Interestingly enough, when the class went out to put their training to use, they decided not to do anything, not even spray the aphid-laden plants down with water. The beneficial insects were already there and many of the plants were in bud to bloom.

Upcoming AMG classes include a series of refreshers on how to answer plant questions on everything from trees and turf to insects. These classes will help refresh you on plant issues if it has been awhile since you took your MG class. I will give the same classes multiple times to help accommodate everyone who would like to attend.

I am encouraging all MGs to attend these classes to learn about common problems brought into our offices,  how important it is to have consistent messages in our communications with the public and the  importance of IPM (integrated pest management). Teaching IPM techniques to all clients provides them with the knowledge, tools and opportunity to choose a solution that fits their personal preference. Keep an eye on your email inbox for more information about these classes.

When you come in to work in the office or to attend an AMG class, don’t be surprised if things look different. In May, the Reno MG horticulture office will get a complete facelift. I am excited to see how everyone likes starting off our new season with new classes and a new office.

Since we are on such a great roll here, I wanted to share with you the new direction that our Reno (and possibly our Gardnerville) potlucks will be taking. Thanks to Iden B., who suggested our potlucks become less wasteful, we will now be encouraging everyone to bring their own plates and utensils along with a potluck dish to share. This will not only cut down on cost, but will also reduce the amount of trash that fills the garbage cans after each potluck. I will continue to have plates and utensils on hand if anyone needs them.

Until Next Time, Happy Gardening…….