Master Gardener Monthly Newsletter
December 2020
Featured Articles
Giving Tuesday, December 1, 2020
UCCE San Mateo/San Francisco Master Gardener Fund

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals to celebrate generosity worldwide and is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Your gifts allow UC Master Gardener volunteers to be the most reliable source of high quality research-based gardening information in California. The UC Master Gardener Program offers its services at no cost to local communities, connecting concerned citizens and home gardeners to research and information directly from the University of California. With your support, we invest in research, education, and services in your community -- to be a neighbor in times of need. We can’t do this without your help. Please donate on or before December 1st!
What to Do With Fallen Leaves
National Wildlife Federation

A leaf layer several inches deep is a natural thing in any area where trees naturally grow. The leaf layer is its own mini-ecosystem! Many wildlife species live in the leaf layer as their primary habitat including salamanders, chipmunks, wood frogs, box turtles, toads, shrews, earthworms, millipedes and many insects species. Read more.
Five Sure-Fire Native Plants for the Coastal Garden
San Mateo/San Francisco Master Gardeners Blog

Finding plants for coastal gardens can be challenging. While many California natives do well, others need the inland heat to look their best, but whether inland or coastal, natives need at least two years of summer watering to get established before you cut their water off. Planting them in the fall helps as the winter rains jumpstart their root balls for the spring/summer growing season. No matter when planted, though, most natives need additional summer watering during drought years. Read more about this article that appeared in "On the Coastside Magazine" as well as other Blog articles.
Online Classes, Videos & More
Harvest Craft Workshop
UC Elkus Ranch
1500 Purisima Creek Road
Half Moon Bay, CA
November 22, 2020, 10:00am-12:00pm

Come get your craft on and create three fun projects while social distancing (masks required). Create a fall pumpkin planter, wool dryer balls, and calendula oil. Materials fee of $75.00. Registration required.
Ranch Tours
UC Elkus Ranch
1500 Purisima Creek Road
Half Moon Bay, CA

Ready to get outside and try something different? Book a Private Ranch Tour for your social bubble! Tours are guided by one of our knowledgeable educators, bringing you through our gardens, historic barns, and animal pens. Groups can feed our sheep while learning about wool processing, learn the different adaptations of predators and prey, view our impressive animal bone collection, visit with our goats and miniature donkeys, and plant a seedling to take home. Please contact Leslie Jensen at or (650) 712-3151 to reserve your group's tour today. Read more.
How to Improve Your Soil
Lyngso Garden Materials

Soil is alive! Plants and soil interact together in very interesting ways. Learn about the relationship between plants and the soil and what you can do in your garden to ensure that relationship is thriving. Presented by Theresa Lyngso. Terry is a lifelong gardener, a Master Composter and a Master Gardener, a student of the soil food web and a lover of the natural world. Terry is President of Lyngso Garden Materials, a 65 year-old family business located in San Carlos, CA. View video.
Donate Excess Harvest
Drop off locations and/or Request a Harvest

Drop off: St. Francis Center, Monday-Friday, 10:30am to 1:30pm, 151 Buckingham Avenue, Redwood City, CA, or Holy Trinity Church, Tuesdays, 8:00am to 12:00pm, 330 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, CA.

Do you need someone to harvest your fruit and citrus trees? Request a harvest.
Nature's Best Hope
California Native Plant Society

Doug Tallamy discusses simple steps that each of us can and must take to reverse declining biodiversity and explains why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope. Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 103 research publications and has taught insect-related courses for 40 years. View video.
December and January Checklist
Grow Organic Peaceful Valley

The garden can get pretty bare in December and January, however there is still plenty of work to do. Here are some tips and tricks to help get your organic garden through the winter! View video.
Create a Holiday Wreath
Garden Answer

Learn to create a festive holiday wreath with natural materials from your own garden. View video.
The Dynamic Nature of the Salt Marsh
Grassroots Ecology
November 19, 2020, 7:00pm-8:00pm

Learn about the ever-changing salt marshes of the San Francisco Bay. Since sediments began to accumulate and salt marshes formed around San Francisco Bay some 6,000 years ago, the plants and animals that call the salt marsh home have been required to adapt to continual change. Plants must go from submergence in salt water at high tide to the desiccating effects of sun and salt at low tide.  Animals that live in this tidal environment must navigate the challenges of limited freshwater and tides that routinely flood their homes. Registration required.
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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