Master Gardener Monthly Newsletter
October 2020
Featured Articles
Produce Safety After Urban Wildfire; Impacts on Local Farms, and Gardens, and Backyard Poultry

Impacts from the 2020 wildfires will take a few years to research. The fires that spread throughout Northern California in October 2017 burned over 160,000 acres of wildland, suburban, urban, and industrial areas, creating dangerous air quality conditions for the region that lasted long beyond the fires themselves. The wildfire smoke likely included high concentrations of toxic air contaminants. There are well-known human health impacts from the inhalation of these contaminants. Additionally, plants have the potential to absorb air pollutants directly through their leaves, but little research has been done on the risk to human health from ingesting contaminants from smoke and ash on produce. Read more.
Master Gardeners' Favorite Tools

Recently our Master Gardeners were polled to find out which garden tool was their favorite, and 10 ranked on top of their list. A clickable document will reveal more information about each tool. Read more.
Loving Lamb's Ear on the Coast

California gardeners are always on the outlook for drought-tolerant plants because of our summer-dry gardens. A good plant for the coast as well as inland is Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina). Read more.
Troubleshooting your Compost: Worm Bins

The San Mateo/San Francisco Counties Master Gardeners held a Zoom presentation on August 22, 2020. What were the four most asked questions and their answers? Read more.
Talks and Workshops
Virtual Talks and Workshops

We miss connecting with the public during this difficult time. We have been busy working on virtual talks and workshops, so please continue to view our website calendar for future events, and hopefully we can have in-person meetings soon.
Shade Gardening with California Natives (virtual meeting)
California Native Plant Society
September 26, 2020, 1:00pm

Garden successfully in San Francisco using local California native plants to benefit yourself and our local ecosystems. Local San Francisco native plants evolved to adapt to local soils and climate, including many plants that thrive in shade because they evolved as understory plants beneath taller plants. The discussion will include information about colorful and edible plants that thrive in shade in San Francisco, and shallow rooted plants that thrive in pots. Registration required. A Zoom link will be provided after registration.
School Garden Leaders Workshop (virtual meeting)
San Mateo/San Francisco Counties Master Gardeners
September 26, 2020, 10:00am-11:30am

Featured topics will include crops to plant in the fall, garden kits for teachers, activities for distance learning, and more. This workshop is open to residents or schools in San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. If you have questions, contact Registration required ($10.00 materials fee applies). A Zoom link will be provided after registration.
Master Gardener Plant Clinic with the
San Mateo Arboretum Society (virtual meeting)
October 4, 2020, 11:00am-12:30pm

Have a plant, pest or gardening question? Ask a Master Gardener at a remote plant clinic offered in partnership with the San Mateo Arboretum Society. If possible, please email your question along with any helpful photos to: Submitted questions will be answered during the Zoom clinic. Live questions will be taken, time permitting. And if you don’t have a question, please still attend. Registration is required. A Zoom link will be provided after registration.
Mycorrhizae: The Mutualistic (Usually) Relationship
Between Fungi and Plants (virtual meeting)
California Native Plant Society
November 5, 2020, 7:30pm

Most plants, about 90 percent of all species, maintain a symbiotic relationship with fungi at the roots. Those relationships are called mycorrhizae and are usually mutualistic; that is, both members of the relationship benefit, although there are exceptions to that rule. J.R. Blair will introduce the mycorrhizal relationship, discuss the benefits that the plant and fungal partner receive, and present the various types found in nature. He will also talk about some of the more recent scientific revelations of this fascinating biological phenomenon. 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.
View videos created by the UCCE Master Gardeners of San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.
Monthly Checklist
October Checklist (video)
Grow Organic Peaceful Valley

October gets people excited for squash, corn, and other fall crops. However, there are plenty of other things to do besides harvesting and decorating for the holidays. Check out our list of things to do in your organic garden during October. View video.
Events and Websites
Managing Wildlife Pests (podcast/website)
Joe Gardener Show With Joe Lamp'l

Managing wildlife pests in the garden and landscape is a challenge for all gardeners. It’s not just those of us in rural areas who deal with damage from deer, rabbits, raccoons, moles, and other furry foragers. These creatures have a solid foothold in metropolitan areas as well. So, what to do to protect your garden? Read/listen to more.
Save the Trees Please (webinar)
Canopy, Palo Alto, CA
October 15, 2020, 10:00am-11:30am (rescheduled)

Canopy is an organization that plants and cares for trees where people need them the most. Their mission is to grow urban tree canopies in Midpeninsula communities for the benefit of all. Their vision is a day when every resident of the Midpeninsula can step outside to walk, play, and thrive under the shade of healthy trees. Visit 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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