Orland >> Whether you have a “green thumb” or a “brown thumb,” have gardened for years or are just starting to work the dirt, the Master Gardeners of Glenn County group provides free advice to grow by.
The master gardeners answer specific questions and provide information about home horticulture, sustainable landscaping and pest management.
“People call, email and come to us with all kinds of questions. Our goal is to share University of California research-based knowledge with the community, “ said coordinator Bob Scoville.
Scoville took the first series of master gardener courses offered through the UC Cooperative Extension in Glenn County in 2011 and has been volunteering in the program ever since.
“After I took the classes I got a tractor and cleared out my whole backyard and put in a backyard orchard,” he said.
The master gardener programs and services have been offered through local UC Cooperative Extension offices throughout the state since 1981.
Though one of the smaller in the state with 22 master gardeners, the Glenn County program volunteers stay busy. In addition to answering calls and emails on everything from what to do about cottony cushion scale to peach leaf curl, they also host a weekly plant clinic.
The clinic is 2-4 p.m. every Wednesday at the UC Cooperative Extension office in Orland. During the clinic people stop in to discuss garden problems.
“We emphasize integrated pest management because it’s the least intrusive method of management of pests. Whenever possible, we encourage people to let biological natural processes take care of pests as they will over time,” said Scoville.
If someone comes with a question that stumps them, the master gardeners have access to a tremendous amount of research, as well as experts who can help them out.
“If we can’t research the answer, we have advisers from the university available to ask, but generally between the master gardeners system throughout the state we can find the information and help them out,” said Scoville.
The master gardener website also contains a large collection of gardening articles ranging from principals of sustainable landscaping to growing micro-greens. There’s also information about drought gardening and growing flowers, fruit and nut trees, landscaping, grapes, berries, vegetables and gardening basics.
The Glenn County program offers a series of workshops every two years for people interested in becoming master gardeners. Because they are currently offering these workshop courses, it’s too late to sign up for the whole series this year. But the individual workshops are open to the public.
On April 18 they are hosting a workshop on integrated pest management and on April 25 the workshop topic will be irrigation and water management. They are from 6-9 p.m. at the Glenn County Office of Education, 345 South Villa, Willows. Cost is $20 per workshop.