Volunteer Spotlight: Sally Swartz
Colorado Master Gardener℠ (CMG) volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals who are knowledgeable and passionate about sharing gardening, landscape and horticulture education. This month we are highlighting Sally Swartz.
When did you join the Colorado Master Gardener program and why did you join?
 
I joined the program in 2003 after retiring from teaching. I taught Biology and Geology for 30 years, the last 25 years at Cherry Creek High School. After retirement, I wanted to stay involved in education at some level, and this program seemed like a good fit. I had a grandmother in Illinois who always had a large vegetable garden, and she was my inspiration to focus on gardening.
A Year in Review
By Lucinda Greene, Colorado Master Gardener Program Coordinator and Assistant Horticulturist
Despite the restrictions of COVID, Arapahoe County Extension Colorado Master Gardener volunteers can be proud of all they accomplished for the citizens of Arapahoe County in 2020. These efforts were especially welcome in this challenging year.
Almost 60,000 citizens in Arapahoe County (9%) are considered food insecure1. During 2020, volunteers grew 4,466 pounds of produce and donated it to local food banks. Our volunteers contributed almost ten percent of the state’s total effort in the Grow & Give program. Educational outreach is another high-impact area where CMGs provided a significant contribution. CMGs helped over 1,000 citizens from a remote help desk, educated tens of thousands at the Colorado Garden and Home Show, and engaged thousands more through Lunch & Learn classes, electronic media, and print media.
Thanks go out to our wonderful volunteers for staying the course in 2020. Their adaptability helped continue to deliver important programs to the Arapahoe County community.
 
Reference: 1Feeding America. (2020). Food insecurity in Arapahoe County.
CSU Extension Joins Arapahoe County Open Spaces
By Lucinda Greene, Colorado Master Gardener Program Coordinator and Assistant Horticulturist
Effective January 1, CSU Extension in Arapahoe County is reporting to the Open Spaces Department. Shannon Carter, Director of Arapahoe County Open Spaces and Intergovernmental Relations said, “One of the goals of the Open Spaces program is to expand environmental education in our community. The collaborative partnership we are building will enable us to expand and enhance what we offer as an ‘outdoor classroom’ to our citizens.”
Photo: arapahoegov.com
Growing Herbs Indoors
By Kathi Thistlethwaite, Colorado Master Gardener
This is the fourth of a six-part series focusing on container gardening in Colorado.    

Fill the gap between mid-winter and outdoor gardening in the spring by growing potted herbs indoors. The result is fresh, fragrant herbs to enjoy in cooking and teas. Growing herbs indoors is easy and requires just a few steps to get started.
SOIL
Use a good quality potting mix rather than garden soil for your container herbs. Garden soil is too dense and won’t allow proper drainage.
Photo: spoonful of comfort
FIND THE RIGHT POT
Container choice is a matter of preference largely dependent on the available space. A good option is terracotta pots, which are available in a variety of sizes and are quite porous, making them beneficial to herbs because the characteristic evaporation of terracotta reduces the possibility of overwatering. Terracotta trays will catch excess water, however because they are porous, an extra barrier may be needed.

WATER
Indoor herbs will grow better when kept slightly dry. Allow the soil to dry to the depth of about an inch before watering. Misting the leaves occasionally will boost the humidity level around the plants.
From the Hort Desk
All About Wasps - Part II: Social Wasps
Part I covered the purpose of wasps in the ecosystem and answered questions on the Asian giant hornet that made headlines in 2020. If you missed it, click here. Part II will cover social wasps, their role in the ecosystem, and possible control methods if they become a nuisance. In 2021, look for the next article covering solitary wasps and parasitoid wasps.
 
Wasps sometimes get a bad reputation because they can sting and are sometimes a nuisance. We have one species of wasp that can be aggressive: the western yellowjacket. Don’t let one or two species of nuisance wasps ruin your opinion of all wasps. Wasps are a diverse group of insects that provide important ecosystem services such as pest control.
Lisa Mason
CSU Extension Horticulture Agent
Western Yellowjacket, a native social wasp
Photo: Lisa Mason
Social Wasps
 
Social wasps are probably the most familiar wasps to people because they are easily seen in the yard and landscape. Social wasps live in a colony together. They have a similar lifecycle to a bumble bee (Bombus spp.). A new colony is started each year by a fertilized queen that survived the winter. She will lay several generations of female workers throughout the season. Toward the mid-to-end of the summer, she will lay eggs that are male wasps and potential queens. The males and potential queens will leave the colony to find a mate. Once cold temperatures arrive, the current colony will die, except for the newly mated queens. The cycle will repeat the following spring, when the new queens begin a new colony. Social wasps always build a new colony each year. They never reuse old nests, which is important to note if you’re looking to control nuisance wasps.
Garden Resolutions
By Martha Kirk, Colorado Master Gardener
Resolutions are tricky because they can make you feel guilty if you do not accomplish all of them. The best advice is to start small and build from there. Keep it simple. Small changes can have big impacts.
 
I resolve to...
  • Winter water until my sprinkler system is turned on.
  • Provide good habitat that supports pollinators and wildlife.
  • Grow a new variety of vegetable.
  • Change my irrigation schedule as the seasons change.
  • Kill every Japanese beetle I find.
  • Plant a native tree or shrub.
  • Plant a row for the hungry.
  • Take a deep breath when a hailstorm happens.
  • Keep a garden journal for future reference.
  • Be grateful for all the natural beauty that surrounds us.
In Memoriam
Carolyn Scarbeary
January 30, 1955 - November 9, 2020
Sadly, we lost a Colorado Master Gardener this past year. Carolyn Scarbeary was an active member of our group for three short years and in that time, she had a positive impact on the many lives she touched through her volunteer efforts. She helped at our demonstration gardens, information booths at garden centers and the Arapahoe County Fair, on the help desk, with the Speaker's Bureau, and more.

Carolyn's love of everything gardening and her passion for volunteering were extraordinary, and she will be greatly missed by her fellow Master Gardeners.
PHONE
(303) 730-1920

EMAIL
Mastergardener@ArapahoeGov.com

LOCATION
6934 S. Lima St., Suite B
Centennial, CO 80112
CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.