Master Gardener Monthly Newsletter
April 2021
Featured Articles
Spring Gardening Classes
UC Master Gardeners

A series of five spring gardening classes started in February and will continue until April 2021 by the San Mateo & San Francisco Counties UC Master Gardeners. Topics include: planning a year-round garden, caring for tomato seedlings and other warm weather crops, planting a vegetable garden, growing herbs, and good/bad bugs on edible plants. View our calendar for upcoming classes and to register, check out our spring edibles plant library to help you plan your spring garden, and view past classes on our YouTube channel.
Coast Friendly Aloes
UC Master Gardeners

Are you looking for a showy, drought tolerant plant that blooms profusely and attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators? You might like to try aloes! They range in size from six-inch houseplants to tall trees. In the past, people mostly grew small aloes indoors for their medicinal properties. Now there are more than 500 popular species and cultivars to choose from, many of which grow wonderfully in our mild coastal winters. Read the full article and other articles on our blog page.
Online Classes, Videos & More
April Checklist
Grow Organic Peaceful Valley

April is the time to tidy your greenhouse and get ready to start seeds, direct seed cold weather crops, take care of vines, plant native plants and wildflowers, plant tubers, control weeds, and more. View video.
Home, Garden, Turf and Landscape Pests
Integrated Pest Management, UCANR

Identify and manage pests using the UC Integrated Pest Management (IPM) website. Choose a plant to find the most likely source of your pest problem, learn about pesticides and their alternatives, discover more about household pests, predatory bugs that eat bad bugs, and a host of links to more information. Read more.
Monthly Garden Checklist
UC Master Gardeners

Find helpful hints of things to do from January to December. A few tips for April include: prune back herbaceous plants, transplant tomato seedlings, work your cover crops into the soil before they seed, remove aphids from plants with a strong stream of water, start planting summer annuals like lobelia, begonias, marigolds, cosmos, petunias, snapdragons and alyssum, and plant gladiolus, dahlias and lilies for summer blooms. View our monthly checklist.
Eight Reasons Why a Vegetable Garden Makes Us Happy and Healthy
The Old Farmers Almanac

A sense of accomplishment, fresh food, mental health, exercise, money saving, peace of mind, all in the family, and lifelong learning are only eight reasons why to garden. The Old Farmers Almanac describes many benefits of gardening, plus lots more. Read more.
Gardening in the Shade
Lyngso/UC Master Gardeners
March 10, 2021, 1:00pm-3:00pm

If you've always wondered what to plant under your oaks, redwoods, and other shady areas, this is the class for you! Learn the advantages (and a few disadvantages) of having a shade garden. Registration required.
Bridging Trees and Health: The Public Health Outcome of Urban Tree Canopy
March 25, 2021, 10:00am-11:30am

Trees play a significant role in improving public health in urban areas. They reduce air pollution and mitigate heat islands, which lowers the rates of respiratory disease, cardiovascular complications, and heat-related illnesses in cities. In addition to physical health, urban forests have also been proven to enhance mental and social well-being. Though scientific evidence of the benefits of urban trees has grown, public investment in trees has decreased. Registration required.
Spring Edible Home Gardening Group Meeting
San Mateo County Office of Sustainability
April 3, 2021, 10:00am-12:00pm

Jesús Jimenez will provide tips for caring for your garden in the important springtime months. He will address your specific questions about getting started with gardening in the springtime, or about any problems you've encountered as you've been transitioning your garden out of colder weather. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just planting your first seeds, if you have a big backyard or are gardening on your apartment balcony, the Edible Home Gardening community is here to help. This will be a bilingual workshop, with separate audio feeds for Spanish and English speakers. Registration required.
Gardening With Children

Learn how to encourage little hands to plant, water, and grow using the easiest seeds and the best methods. Children are curious, like to learn by doing, and love to play in the dirt. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. Gardening gives children a chance to learn an important life skill, one that is overlooked in standard school curriculums. Gardening is also a great way to teach environmental awareness by exploring the workings of nature. Find out the top 10 plants which are relatively easy to grow, have a short growing season, and fun to harvest. Read more.
10 Inspired Gardening Projects for Kids

Spring has finally sprung! It's time to get outdoors with your little sprouts and have fun exploring, learning and playing. The garden is a great place to enjoy the best spring has to offer as a family. To get started, check out these 10 inspired gardening projects for kids: (1) plastic water bottle hanging tomato planters, (2) super inexpensive herb terrarium, (3) egg carton greenhouse, (4) whimsical butterfly feeder, (5) garden in a glove, (6) adorable painted garden markers, (7) multipurpose homemade sprinkler, (8) earthworm motel, (9) sponge grass house, and (10) Cheerios bird feeder. Read more.
How to Use Soil Amendments - Humates, Humic Acids, and Humus
Grow Organic Peaceful Valley

Humates, humic acids, humus - these soil amendments sound so similar. They are all good for the garden even though they are not really a fertilizer (since they do not add any nutrients to the plants), and they are not all the same. Learn what they are, and how to choose the best one for your needs. Read more.
Edible Native Plants of San Francisco
California Native Plant Society

This video talks about what are native plants, what are edible native plants in San Francisco, gardening for native plants, and edible gardening resources. Native plants are drought resistant because they evolved here. San Francisco’s average annual rainfall is 20 inches, varies from year to year, and 68% of San Francisco is paved. There are many ways to invite native edibles into your garden. Read more.
School Garden Leaders Workshop
UC Master Gardeners
April 13, 2021, 10:00am-11:30am

School garden leaders are invited to attend this online workshop to learn and share ideas. Featured topics include garden pests (ways to outsmart critters), site planning (how to review your garden and prepare for the fall opening), and garden activities beyond the planting bed (ideas for outdoor engagement). This workshop is open to residents or schools in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. Please email us if you have any questions. The class is free, but a $10 donation is requested to support the Master Gardener Program. The class size is limited to 25 registrants. Registration required.
Gardening Workshops
Garden for the Environment

Garden for the Environment is San Francisco's teaching and demonstration garden. Their workshops teach people to garden sustainably and their instructors are gardening experts with years of experience. They believe in hands-on education and design their workshops to be dynamic and educational. Registration required.
The Garden
Garden for the Environment

Garden for the Environment is a 1/2 acre education and demonstration garden in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. Their mission since 1990 has been to teach sustainable gardening practices and are the only garden in San Francisco solely dedicated to this goal. They took over a desolate and vacant lot in 1990 and began growing a vibrant demonstration garden that is designed to inspire and educate youth and adults. They envision a city full of living things that celebrates our coastal environment with smart plant choices and practical garden design. Read more and view video (video at the bottom of webpage).
Gardening Resources
Choose the affected plant from photos displayed, click on the photo, remove any selections that do not apply, click on the plant names, and continue to filter selections to view the results for a possible diagnoses. Learn more.

Select links to access gardening resources, California Backyard Orchard, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), publications, and finding a local Master Gardener program. Learn more.

Do you need help picking plants for your sustainable home garden? Selecting from the “Arboretum All-Stars” list is an easy way to start making “green” choices for your great looking garden. Arboretum All-Stars are top plants recommended by the horticultural staff of the UC Davis Arboretum. They thrive in California’s Mediterranean climate and have qualities that make them great choices for sustainable home gardens. Use a searchable plant database to pick the perfect All-Star for your garden conditions. For more information, view their website.
Ask A Master Gardener!
Do you need help with your garden? Have a pest problem? Curious about what will grow well in your region?

COVID-19 Update
Due to the “Shelter in Place” order issued by all Bay Area counties, including San Mateo and San Francisco, the Master Gardeners are working remotely, effective March 17, 2020. All questions can be directed via email.

Please provide the following information to facilitate a prompt response:

1.   Name
2.   City of residence
3.   Email
4.   Phone, best time to call
5.   Description of problem/question -- for plant or pest problems, please attach photo(s)

Since the Bay Area “shelter in place” requirements have kept many of us at home, gardening in your own backyard has become much more popular! We are seeing an increased interest at the Helpline from both new and established gardeners. It is fun to see many new gardeners asking for advice with questions such as “What do I do with these raised vegetable beds? ”and “How do I start a vegetable garden when I know nothing about gardening?” During the first 30 days of our “shelter in place,” we have had 147 helpline questions, with 17% of them asking about the Spring Garden Market. Many, many thanks to all of our Helpline Volunteers who are working the Helpline remotely and keeping our clients happily gardening!

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