Garden Workshops and Master Gardeners

Artichokes growing in the demonstration garden at the Farm and Food Lab

Barbara: The wonderful UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County are at it again. They’ll be presenting a series of five exciting gardening workshops March 13 — May 15 at the Farm and Food Lab in the Great Park in Irvine (details below and in the sidebar). If you live in Orange County and are a gardener you should go. No excuses!

I discovered these workshops last fall and wrote about my experience in this post, A Morning Full of Surprises. Check it out for pics and more details about the Farm and Food Lab.

Sweet peas at the Farm and Food Lab

Master Gardeners

Do you have gardening questions? The MGs are very knowledgeable and they’ll be available at the workshops to answer any questions you may have. If you stump them, they’ll research your problem and get back to you. And it won’t be just any old opinion either. The answers will be research-based and scientifically accurate information. If you can’t wait for the first workshop on March 13th to talk to them,  you can call or email the Master Gardener hotline for answers to your gardening and pest problems: 714-708-1646 or

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Master Gardener in Training. And let me just say that this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time! Volunteering is an important part of the program — Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 50 hours a year. At first I thought this sounded like a lot. Now I say, “Piece of cake!”

I’m falling all over myself trying to take advantage of volunteer activities because they’re fun, the folks I’m working with are great, and I learn so much doing them. Two of the best so far have been planting espallier bare-root fruit trees, which you’ll see when you go to the workshops, and grafting persimmon trees. I’ll be doing a post on the bare-root fruit tree planting next week and one about the grafting shortly after that.

Here’s the workshop info. See you there!

Garden Workshops

At the Great Park Food and Farm Lab from 10 a.m.-noon. Admission and parking are free.

Grow it NOW: Warm Season Vegetables — Saturday, March 13
Ready to dig in the garden again?  Now is the time to plant warm season vegetables to feed your family over the summer months.  The Master Gardeners will give you the information you need to choose your crops so that you can follow the #1 rule: plant what you and your family like to eat!  Yum!

Tomato Time — Saturday, April 10
You could plant from dawn to dusk and still not plant every variety of tomato!  Whether you are a novice or a pro, you’ll enjoy learning about tomatoes:  the many varieties, their culture, diseases and pests, growing in the ground vs. growing in containers – and finally, how to use them.  Come hear the Master Gardeners on the “A to Z” about tomatoes.

The Backyard Orchard — Saturday, April 17
Not enough room in your backyard for an orchard?  With a little planning and know-how, it could happen. Learn about the varieties of fruit trees suitable for backyard growing and how to plant and care for them. The Master Gardeners will provide tips for fruit trees in small gardens.   Valuable information…ripe for picking!

Tool Time — Saturday, May 1
Okay, okay – there are some trusty standby tools that you need in your garden.  And then, there are the cool tools – the ones that take your breath away, that you don’t want to live without, that you see in your dreams.  The Master Gardeners will discuss and demonstrate tools for home gardens.  Be there!

Smart Gardening — Saturday, May 15
What does it take to be a Smart Gardener?  Knowledge – and application of that knowledge – about irrigation, soil care, pest control, energy and wildlife.  Sound complicated?  The Master Gardeners will simplify it as they provide tips for you to save time, money and create a healthier garden.   If you want to be a Smart Gardener, attend this workshop.

Garden Workshops will be held at the Orange County Great Park Preview Park in the Farm & Food Lab.  The Orange County Great Park is located on Marine Way off of Sand Canyon by the 5 Freeway in Irvine.  For more information, please visit or call 949-724-7420.

4 thoughts on “Garden Workshops and Master Gardeners

Add yours

  1. I am interested in becoming a master gardener as well. I am in the Navy with only about 5 years left and want to start a nursery and flower shop by next year and build it for my retirement. I live in Oak harbor WA near the base.
    Do you think the prgram will work with me for this?

    1. Hi Scott – The focus of the Master Gardener programs differ in each state or region, but I think the training in all of them is pretty extensive. And because the training would be specific to your area, you’d learn a lot about you area’s soil, pest, etc., which would certainly help you with your business. Here’s a link to a the WSU Master Gardener Program. Best of luck. Barbara

  2. Hi Barbara. Love your blog site!!! You are an amazing photographer. Don’t you think gardening and photography go great together. I have a question about what to do with the ground-nesting bees at my nursery. They are laying eggs in certain potted plants so they hover in this one area. I am afraid customers might get stung because the bees are always there. Can you help?????? debo

    1. Hi Debo – Mary Beth and I thank you for your kind words about the blog’s photography (we both love taking pics in the garden). As for your question about ground-nesting bees, they are in their nesting phase right now. You can normally discourage them by frequent watering and covering the bare ground with turf or mulch. However, since they are in your pots, I would recommend moving the pots to a secluded area (if possible) and repotting after the babies hatch. These critters are valuable pollinators and generally not aggressive, so I wouldn’t recommend doing anything more extreme. I’ll do a little more research and a post later today. B

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