It’s Official – I’m now a Master Gardener

I am so happy that I’ve graduated as a Master Gardener! But there is still a lot to learn.

Master Gardener Badge

Master Gardener Badge

Now I think back to last year’s garden. How I had to plant it three times, well I planted once and then replanted two times due to frost and other conditions. I sure wish I had known then what I know now. And yet, after all my classes I still feel inept. They say some people have green thumbs. My Mom is one such person. You should see her yard, front and back, it’s just beautiful. She has such wonderful plants, trees and shrubs.

I have learn to stand back and look at how things grow differently. Case in point, I willingly looked into a plant because a specific spider was present and I wanted to see what he was eating. (Of course when said spider decided he had had enough and quickly came running out I promptly jumped back assuming I was his next meal.)

What I need is a dose gamma rays to ignite my green DNA. So here’s to lush tomatoes, crisp green lettuces, juicy black berries, fresh green beans and fragrant herbs. Let the growing season commence!

 

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Dear Tomato how do you grow?

Spring and summer are coming so it’s time to start thinking about growing tomatoes! But what kind?

Well here is some info that might help you understand how they fruit so you will know. Tomatoes that are determinate type ripen in a concentrated period of time. So you’ll get the bulk of your crop all at once.

Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, will grow vigorously to heights of up to 12 feet and produce fruit until frost kills them. Wonderful type to have that fresh tomato taste all summer long.

So if you want to make a big batch of sauce you will want determinate and if you want tomatoes for salads, sandwiches thru the summer etc., you want to grow indeterminate. For me it was one step further, what would grow well in my area but also what will grow well in containers in my greenhouse.

The Oregon State University (OSU) has actually developed several breeds of tomatoes that some of the best determinate tomatoes you can grow in the Northwest. Be sure to contact your local extension office to find out what you should be growing in your area.

Now lets get our salsa, tomato sauce, bruschetta, caprese salad and BLT’s on!

First day of school and no detention!

Well today I officially started my classes towards becoming a Master Gardener.

My Trainee Badge

My Trainee Badge

I use that term loosely as I think it will be years before I could remotely say I’m a Master Gardener.

Class starts promptly at 9am with a lecture on basic botany. I had 2 concerns, one that I have zero knowledge on botany, or anything relating to science and figured this part of the class was going to be very boring and confusing. And two, that I was sitting in the very first row of the class and would be caught sleeping. Because seriously the discussion of cell structure, xylem, phloem and what tap roots do couldn’t be that exciting…right?

Well I was wrong! Our instructor, John Punches, made botany come alive! (Ok so when I wrote that I didn’t mean the pun, but that sure worked out nicely) My head is swimming with questions, which (and this one is on purpose) propagate more questions. It also gave me a much better understanding of why plants do what they do. I can only imagine how much I would know if I had a master’s degree in botany considering how much I learned today.

We also went over climate vs. weather, current weather trending and how something as simple as 2 foot drop can make a huge difference in how a crop will grow.

All in all a very interesting day! I look forward to our “lab” work which takes us out to orchards, greenhouses, micro gardens and xeriscaping.

If all goes well I might actually be able to keep my silk plants alive after this!

Becoming a Master Gardener

Coming in January I will be starting my classes for my Master Gardener certification. I am very excited to start this new adventure! I can only hope I have a fraction of the green thumb my mother does.

Went to our orientation and got our book, which weighs about 20 pounds I do believe so I guess I’ll get a workout walking to and from class. After reading the first chapter, as instructed, my brain is already fried. I am having to learn what appears to be greek, medical or just a totally different language. Words like totipotent (because some plants carry their entire DNA structure in it’s cells it can reproduce a totally new plant – remember spider plants?), meristems (a formative plant tissue usually made up of small cells capable of dividing indefinitely and giving rise to similar cells or to cells that differentiate to produce the definitive tissues and organs), tunicate (having, arranged in, or made up of concentric layers like an onion) and formulas like 6CO2 + 6H2O > C6H12O6 + 6O2. Look I stopped helping my own daughter with math when she was in third grade!

I really wish our book also came in digital format so I could use my online dictionary.

Stay Tuned!

Master Gardener Logo

Master Gardener Logo