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Web site: www.unce.unr.edu

Area Offices: Washoe County Cooperative Extension This newsletter is produced by the horticulture 5305 Mill St., Reno, NV 89502 staff in the Washoe County office. (775) 784-4848 (ext. 120 for voicemail) hansonw@unce.unr.edu Wendy Hanson Mazet, Horticulture Program Assistant, Master Gardener Program Carson City/Storey County Coordinator and Master Gardener Cooperative Extension Newsletter Editor 2621 Northgate Lane, Suite 15 Leslie Allen, Commercial Horticulture Program Coordinator

Carson City, NV 89706 (775) 887-2252

Penny Leyer, Washoe County Horticulture Assistant

Douglas County Cooperative Extension Ashley Vollmar, Washoe County Administra- 1329 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, NV P.O. Box 338, Minden, NV 89423 tive Assistant (775) 782-9960

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners help people improve their lives through education. They are committed to improving themselves, their community and their environment by participating in horticultural education and activities. Master Gardeners are leaders in environmental stewardship through education.

Incline Village Cooperative Extension 855 Alder P.O. Box 3192 Incline Village, NV 89452 (775) 832-4150 Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe 208 Capital Hill Road P.O. Box 256, Nixon, NV 89424 (775) 574-0101, ext. 28

Words From Wendy

The Master Gardener Newsletter is published bimonthly by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension for the benefit of Master Gardeners, their families and others. The University of Nevada, Reno is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, creed, national origin, veteran status, physical and mental disability, and sexual orientation in any program or activity it operates. The University of Nevada employs only United States citizens and aliens lawfully authorized to work in the United States.

Aug.— Oct. 2009

Brand names are used for illustration purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by Cooperative Extension. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Wendy in advance of your participation or visit.

Happy hot August temperatures everyone! It has been quite the growing season so far. We had an amazing start to the season with the June rains and cool temperatures. Then, out of the blue, we were knee-deep in summer with scorching temperatures of 100 degrees and higher. Our plants were happy to see sunlight, but it was an abrupt change for them. I hope that your gardens are doing well. I’m happy to finally say I did get to harvest ripe red tomatoes for the July 4th feast. In addition, with the cool temperatures, my peas were still producing.

Master Gardener Newsletter

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION

Ask Master Gardeners questions at mastergardeners@unce.unr.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION

WESTERN AREA

The Cliff Fouts Demonstration Garden at the Reno office is full of life, fruits and vegetables. The cherry tree is just waiting for a brave soul to climb a ladder and cover the branches loaded with fruit. Most likely it will be the birds that enjoy the abundance of cherries and probably not us, as the tree stands well over 30 feet tall. The bees are relishing all the blooming sunflowers and perennials.

The garden is producing well and the gardeners have been coming out early in the morning to harvest food for the local food kitchens. With the economy in the state it is, I’m sure you have heard the news about the increase in demand for meals at community food kitchens and food baskets. If you have planted too much for your family, (as I have with 23 tomato plants), consider taking your extra produce to one of your local charities. It is a wonderful feeling to talk to the cooks and hear how much they appreciate the fresh food. When you have people who were standing in line for a meal get out of line to help unload produce from your vehicle, you know firsthand how grateful they are for your kindness. It’s like that old saying: “It’s the little things in life that mean so much.” For me it means a lot to be able to help people each day with their horticulture problems and to work with such a wonderful group of volunteers. It was so nice to see many of you at the Master Gardener Appre(Continued on page 2)

Inside this issue: Words From Wendy

1-2

Wendy Update

2

Horticulture Office Updates

3

Soil Testing Update

3

The Last Garden Showoff

3

Kudos and Things to Know

4-5

Volunteer Opportunities

5-6

Educational Opportunities

6-7

Travel Opportunities Compost Tea

7 8-11

Special Events of interest: •

Last Garden Showoff Aug. 8

Nevada State Fair

Evening in the Cliff Fouts Demonstration Garden Potluck

Advanced training classes

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University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension WASHOE COUNTY OFFICE UNR Mail Stop # 408

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Reno, NV Permit #26


Compost Tea: Examining the science behind the claims

Words From Wendy ciation Barbeque in June. It was wonderful to get to see so many Master Gardeners in one place and to have the opportunity to say hello to your families. I’m sorry we could not all get together. It would be an amazing feat to get over 200 Master Gardeners from one area together on the same day in a convenient location. For those who called or emailed you could not make it, thank you. It was nice to hear from so many of you. The day turned out to be perfect. We had a nice little breeze keeping temperatures cool under the shade of the cottonwood trees. My husband Al and Master Gardener Bob Christian slaved over the scorching hot charcoal to cook a wonderful array of chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and tri-tip. Bob brought an amazing smoked beef brisket. They both got sunburned for us! I am working on setting up next

year’s barbeque now. If we start jumping through the hoops a year in advance, I should be able to have contracts signed and the location booked for June 26, 2010 before the New Year. Remember, with all these scorching temperatures, keep not only your plants hydrated but yourself. Enjoy all the flowers and your vegetable garden harvests.

gg

Beware of BBQ bandits who may add ornaments or waskaly critters to your vehicle when your not looking. This cute critter appeared out of nowhere thanks to a clever MG to remain unnamed and my stepson. Wiley Coyote now hangs on my Reno office door as a fun reminder. :-)

Gardener Conference in Las Vegas. There are also several

Should everything go smoothly, I'll be working as usual for the next nine or so weeks. If you need to get a hold of me during that time, please just shoot me an email. After Trenten arrives, I plan to take six weeks off and then I'll work part-time until the middle of January when I will transition back to full-time. The Master Gardener program will continue normally during this time. We will still enjoy our scheduled potlucks together and Sue Donaldson and Leslie Allen will be teaching Advanced Master Gardener training classes in the Reno office. If you should need to get a hold of me this winter, please send an email both to me and to the appropriate contact person in your area (Reno office: Penny Leyer, Douglas County: Lena Johnstone, Carson City: JoAnne Skelly, Winnemucca: Connie Beck) and they will take care of you. Thank you for your encouragement and support! MASTER GARDENER NEWSLETTER

Watch your mail for the flyer.

Leslie Allen will be presenting advance soils and composting in

Crop

Disease

ACT Effective?

Tomato

Septoria No No Septoria Powdery mildew No No Powdery mildew Black spot No Apple scob Phomopsis No No No No Powdery mildew Botrytis Powdery mildew

No

Cornell

No No

Iowa State Cornell

No No

Ohio State U. of Minnesota

Some Some No

Penn State

Brown patch

No

Rutgers

Powdery mildew Black spot Tomato Pumpkin Bacterial wilt Downy mildew

Powdery mildew

Many of you are wondering how my pregnancy is coming along. I want to let you all know that I am doing well. Everything has been great! I feel wonderful and I am very happy to say that 100 degrees hasn’t felt any hotter this year—it is just plain too hot, pregnant or not! I am eating a lot of watermelon to help me stay cool and healthy in this warm summer weather. I eat one large watermelon per week! A fresh watermelon is the best snack in the world and it is sure better for me than my Dr. Pepper! You might think from looking at me that instead of eating my weekly watermelon, I simply swallowed it a small one whole! I look as if I am carrying a soccer ball instead of a baby boy and I still have nine weeks to go (pending on if Trenten wants to be on time, early or late!). Yes, I am still wearing my regular jeans; I just went up one size to give him a little more growing room!

October.

Unpublished university research studies on aerated compost teas

Squash Rose

Wendy Update

Page 2

other research materials that can be found online.

(Continued from page 10)

Apples Wine grapes Downy mildew Black rot Potato leafhopper European red mite Wine grapes (greenhouse) Wine grapes (field) Turf grass

No No

Institution

Michigan State Cornell

Penn State

Want to make your own compost tea brewer? For full instructions on how to make your brewer with instruction form Dr. Elaine Ingham and more information visit: http:// www.finegardening.com/how-to/ Supplies you will need: • An aquarium pump large A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

• • • • •

enough to run three bubblers or air stones Several feet of tubing A gang valve Several feet of tubing At least three bubblers A stick to stir the mixture

• •

Unsulfured molasses (preferably organic) Something to strain the tea, like an old pillowcase, tea towel, or a nylon stocking A bucket

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Compost Tea: Examining the science behind the claims

(Continued from page 9)

for use as pesticides. At this point there are no compost tea products registered as pesticides with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Neither WSU MG volunteers nor websites should encourage the use of compost tea as a pesticide.

populations, both of which are human pathogens. The recent deaths due to E. colicontaminated spinach illustrates how dangerous compost tea applications can be, particularly on food crops. What are alternatives to compost tea? Rather than spending time and money leaching materials out of compost, why not use

If compost tea doesn’t do anythe intact compost as part of an thing, then how can it hurt to organic mulch layer? There is apply it? substantial evidence in “While the scientific evidence is the scientific literature that orcertainly lacking for ACT activganic mulch benefits gardens and ity in disease control, landscape by: there is a serious, documented • Improving soil moisture concern with these types of • Reducing soil erosion and comcompost teas,” says Dr. William paction R. Schneider, a research scientist in the Biopesticides & Pollu- • Maintaining optimal soil temtion Prevention Division (Office peratures of Pesticide Programs) of the • Increasing soil nutrition USEPA. He continues “it is very difficult to do a microbial pesti- • Improving plant establishment cide risk assessment on a mixand growth ture of unidentified microorgan• Reducing weeds isms that could easily contain • Reducing disease human and nontarget organism pathogens.”

• Reducing pesticide use

Indeed, this risk is significant in ACTs that have been “enhanced” with molasses, kelp, and other high-nutrient additives. Such ACTs have been documented through scientific research to contain E. coli and Salmonella

These last two points are particularly germane to our discussion. Organic mulch has been shown to suppress disease biologically, chemically and physically through competition, chemical

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inhibition, and reduced pathogen dispersal, respectively. While compost alone may not be sufficient for a landscape mulch, it can be an important component. Furthermore, mulched landscapes are usually more aesthetically appealing and of greater economic and environmental benefit as they require fewer additions of fertilizers and pesticides. Best of all, this management plan is based on objective plant and soil sciences – not wishful thinking. For more information, please visit Dr. Chalker-Scott’s web page at http://www.theinformedgarden er.com. Linda Chalker-Scott Associate Professor and Extension Horticulturist WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center

Note From Wendy: There has been more compost tea research recent years and several books and programs have been produced. You may be interested in reviewing materials written by Dr. Elaine Ingham who was recently in Reno and Fallon presenting on organic gardening and Jeff Lowenfels who recently spoke at the International Master M A S T E R G AR D E N E R N E W S L ET T E R

Horticulture Office Updates As for the offices and the growing season, to say we are busy would be an understatement. The Reno office has been hopping; but with the help of Master Gardeners and Penny Leyer as Horticulture Assistant, we have been able to handle incoming calls and continuous walk-ins. The Reno office has been trying something new this year to accommodate workloads, being short staffed and accommodating to the public. If you have not been in the office, it is now open for the public to bring in sample and see a Master Gardener, Penny, Leslie, or myself only on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we take phone calls. Leslie and Penny have been alternating every other Wednesday and keeping our horticulture area open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for walk-in clients and phone calls. So far, this has been working well. Phone coverage has been good, but during this busy time, we need to have Master Gardeners every day of the week. If you have not been in this year, we would greatly appreciate you signing up for a shift or two. We tend to be shy of help especially on Fridays. Our extended evening hours will end Sept. 30 and Farmers Market on Sundays will end Sept. 13. Douglas County clients have been very constant this year. There are many days that the “Wendy on Wednesday” is like a carnival event. I am very grateful to the Master Gardeners I have been training who will be coming in to assist clients when I am out in October.

Soil Testing Update by Leslie Allen, Washoe County Commercial Horticulture Specialist Thanks to all of the dedicated Master Gardener soil-testing volunteers! We have officially resumed our soil-testing services, and have tested over a dozen soil samples so far. Master Gardeners Susan Jones, Kathi Linehan and Sheryl Schumacher deserve special appreciation for implementing the training and mentoring program. Over twenty Master Gardeners have gone through the training and mentoring program. Well done! If you are interested in becoming a soil tester, contact Leslie Allen and she will connect you with a mentor. You need to complete three mentored sessions before you can perform the tests independently. If you would like to get your soil tested bring $10 cash or check (payable to Board of Regents) and two cups of dried soil to the Mill Street office in Reno. Call 784-4848 for instructions on how to take a soil sample.

The Last Garden Showoff Don’t miss these wonderful opportunities to tour Master Gardeners’ well-cared for gardens, landscapes, vegetable and flower gardens. Most garden hosts will provide light summer snacks or beverages. For directions to all garden A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

showoff locations, please call or email Wendy or Penny at 7844848, hansonw@unce.unr.edu or leyerp@unce.unr.edu August Reno Date: Aug. 8, Saturday Area: Old southwest Reno

Master Gardeners: Catherine Hancock and Janet Drozd Gardens Hours: 10 a.m. to noon Notes: Two Gardens in the same area

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Compost Tea: Examining the science behind the claims

Kudos and Things to Know Worm Composting Presentation July 9, 2009 The worm composting presentation went extremely well. Thank you to Master Gardener and Master Composter Claudia Skewes, and Leslie Allen for their very informative presentations. We had a full class in Reno with Master Gardeners joining us from Douglas County, Carson City and Winnemucca. Depending on responses to the survey, we will look into doing this again next spring with a wider selection of worm composting units to choose from and maybe compost tea brewers.

Jenifer Fox for staffing our booth. This was a joint collaboration with the Sun Valley Water Conservation District and the Community Center for Sun Valley. The Water Department provided a large tent to house our table and many others. Considering it was 100 degrees on July 19, the tent was greatly appreciated.

Carson City Master Gardeners at Sierra Place Senior Living, June 23, 2009 Carson City Master Gardeners were given a wonderful opportunity to give back to the residents of Sierra Place, a Senior Living complex at the north end of CarCliff Fouts Demonstration son City. The facility had a Garden 4’x4’x20’ raised bed on the east Thank you to the Cliff Fouts side of their building that had Demonstration Garden MGs and been previously used for annual Penny Leyer who have graciously flowers. The Master Gardeners been working with a small group created an edible herb garden. from Easter Seals. The group The chefs can utilize the herbs has been able to come out to the for meals and the residents can garden several times over the enjoy the sights, smells and feel summer months to observe as of the herbs. well as plant their own shady bed The facility is surrounded by with some cool season crops. large trees and was a wonderful Just last week, Master Gardensetting to educate not only Masers donated all the vegetables ter Gardeners, but also residents harvested to the Easter Seals who watched from their balconies group for them to enjoy the and gathered around asking quesfruits of harvest. tions. Thank you to all the Master Gardeners and their family members who came to assist: Dawn Sun Valley Community Day, Aragon, Jocelyn Helling, July 19, 2009 Christy Chamberlain, Bill Heise, Thank you to Whitney Lauren, Ken Haffey, Lupe Wallace, June Stretch, Libby Goga and Page 4

Andrea Heckman, Monique Giron, Verne Horton and Marge Cole. I hope I listed everyone, as I did not have a sign in sheet. Carson City Hanging Baskets & Douglas County Planters Master Gardeners are working throughout our communities on education and beautification. With great effort and time, Dale Hildebrandt was able to help Carson City with their goal of having colorful baskets hanging throughout downtown Carson by June 5. Master Gardeners who assisted in the planting of the baskets: Cheryl Anderson, Susan Bellegante, Lisa Bennett, Mary Bruns, Sondra Ellis, Cindy Etcheverry, Carolyn Feldman, Judy Glassey, Susan Hug, Trudy Kenny, Susan Lester, Beverly Morlang, Chris Quinn, Virginia Smith, June Stretch, Janet Thelen, Steve Tobey and Kathy Williams. I also wanted to give a big thank you to all the Master Gardeners who were able to respond to the desperate call for people to water the first weekend the baskets were hung. The call came in and the email went out Wednesday for volunteers to water over the weekend.

2) Does the article refrain from attempts to sell a product?

Again, there was some success with fungal control in Petri dishes in the lab (1 paper), but less consistency in greenhouse conditions (3 papers). Two fieldbased studies report that not only was ACT ineffective in preventing foliar pathogens, it exacerbated disease organisms in both apples and potatoes. Clearly, the science is not strong for ACT use on crop plants, much less on lawns, shrubs, and trees.

3) Does the article present verifiable information?

Why isn’t there more scientific research on compost tea?

4) Does the article appeal to reason rather than emotion?

While a number of universities are investigating the effect of ACTs on disease control,

poses of this article, only those results reported in the scientific literature are reviewed.

Questions to ask when assessing scientific objectivity and credibility of gray or popular literature: 1) Does the author have legitimate ties to a mainstream academic or scientific institution?

If the answers to these questions are “yes”, then the likelihood is high that the information is objective and credible. Scientific research on compost tea has focused most commonly on foliar disease control. As of this writing, there have been 34 papers published on the efficacy of NCT on disease control. Often, good results are found under laboratory conditions though field results are more variable. There appears to be a trend for NCTs to reduce the incidence, but not the severity, of foliar diseases. In comparison, there have been 7 papers published on ACTs and disease control.

(Continued on page 5) M A S T E R G AR D E N E R N E W S L ET T E R

A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

very few studies have been published. To understand why, let’s quickly review what is needed for a scientific experiment: • Controls: For every plant that is treated with compost tea, another needs to be treated with water. • Replicates: To obtain statistically valid data, each treatment needs to be replicated. In controlled environments such as laboratories, there can be as few as three replicates. For more variable environments, such as greenhouses, there may be ten replicates. In a field situation – the real world – 20

replicates is not uncommon. • Repetition: To verify the results from the first trial, the experiment should be repeated. In general, three repetitions are considered the minimum. Compost teas are highly variable in their microbial and nutrient content from batch to batch. This translates to high variation within data sets and often leads to inconclusive results. Unfortunately, these results are often not published

even though they are just as important as positive outcomes. In other words, if a

particular treatment doesn’t work well under controlled experimental conditions, it’s unlikely to work consistently anywhere else. In addition to the published results discussed earlier, there are university reports of ongoing research that I’ve briefly summarized (pg. 11). The short answer is no. Because WSU Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who rely on science-based information, they cannot recommend a practice or product that lacks a legitimate scientific basis. Furthermore, it is illegal to sell unregistered substances (Continued on page 10)

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Compost Tea: Examining the science behind the claims

Kudos and Things to Know

By Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott WSU Master Gardeners are often asked about compost tea (and other products) but may not have ready access to objective information. This column is dedicated to those hard-working volunteers who want the current best science on products and practices so that they can continue to learn and inform others. What is compost tea? The historical manufacture and use of compost leachates and extracts is a straightforward, centuries-old practice. Plant and animal wastes were placed into a permeable bag and held in a bucket of water until the water turned black. (It’s easy to see how the analogy to tea emerged.) Both indoor and outdoor plants could be watered with this solution containing nutrients and microbes. More recently, the process has been adapted for the compost tea market. One can buy a compost tea brewer, or purchase readymade teas at nursery and garden centers. The original method of compost extraction is passive – it does not require an energy input. This method produces nonaerated compost tea (NCT) whose principal components are thought to be anaerobic microbes and nutrients. The conPage 8

cept behind the passive method calls for use of stable composts without other foodsource additives, such as sugar, to minimize oxygen demand and thus prevent anaerobic conditions from developing. Traditionally, this European method of compost tea production incorporates occasional stirring (perhaps daily) of the extracts. (Though detractors often allege that NCTs are anaerobic, in fact properly formulated NCTs are hypoxic, or low oxygen – not anaerobic.) NCTs have a long tradition of use as a liquid fertilizer and in the 1980’s were the subject of disease-suppression research in Europe. In contrast, compost tea brewers require an energy input in the form of an aerator. This constantly oxygenated mixture forms aerated compost tea (ACT), which contains aerobic microbes and nutrients. ACT will become NCT if aeration stops; likewise, NCT will be converted into ACT if aerated. Sales literature for ACTs and compost tea brewers states that ACT will produce “lush foliage,” “beautiful blooms,” “delicious fruits and vegetables,” and “thick green turf” while keeping “garden plants, turf, and crops free of disease.” This information is pre-

sented as factual, and when combined with the imagery of nurturing an ailing garden with a cup of tea, proves irresistible to many people. Does compost tea work? This is a complicated question that can only be answered by reviewing the scientific literature on NCTs and ACTs. Scientific literature is the body of information that has been peer-reviewed and is often geared to an academic audience. Extension publications are also in this category since they are peer-reviewed but target a more general audience. When an article appears in a peer-reviewed journal or book, it means the methods, results, and conclusions were found to be scientifically valid by objective outside experts. Other information sources include gray and popular literature, neither of which are peer-reviewed and primarily focus on professional and general audiences, respectively. (This magazine (Master Gardener-winter 2007), for instance, would fall into this category.) These resources can be valuable as well but the objectivity and credibility of the information need to be assessed (sidebar). For the pur(Continued on page 9)

M A S T E R G AR D E N E R N E W S L ET T E R

In Douglas County, we also had Master Gardeners assisting the Town of Gardnerville with 40 “adopt-a-pot” full of live plants and annual flowers. This was a project to liven up the businesses along Main Street. With the organizing skills of Master Gardener Carol Sandmeier, Master Gardeners Theresa Higgs, Linda Doty, Pat Colon, Linda Bellmore and Barbara Bardecker all helped create beautiful arrangements.

Carson City Community Resource Fair, July 17, 2009 Thank you to Linda Doty, Jocelyn Helling, Sharon Schroeder and Christy Chamberlain for staffing our booth at Fuji Park. Nestled under the shade of the large Cottonwood trees, the day was beautiful and rather warm for this first event. Twenty-nine presenters set up their displays and presented interactive presentations. The festival had something for all ages as area Mas-

ter Gardeners helped adults solve the challenges of keeping gardens and landscaping healthy in our high desert environment. Full Circle Compost distributed information on composting to enrich depleted soils, and Comstock Seed shared a wealth of knowledge on native wildflower and grass seeds for our area.

Volunteer Opportunities August – October Potlucks: Douglas Special potluck! We will be eating outdoors at Pat Colon’s home, tentatively around 11 a.m., August 13. For those wishing to

receive directions please call or email me.

Douglas Cooperative Extension office and then out to the park to have our potluck under the shade trees, 1 p.m., September 9. Douglas Cooperative Extension office, 1 p.m., October 7. Carson City Carson City Cooperative Extension office, 6 p.m., August 13 and September 10. A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

Please RSVP by August 11, and September 8.

is hands-on with guidance.

Reno Reno Cooperative Extension office, noon, August 3 and October 5.

In Reno, there are the standard two-shift phone schedules on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, while Wednesday has an extra evening shift available. Shifts are flexible, but we try to schedule volunteers: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 to 4 p.m. The special Wed. shift is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Leslie, Penny or I are on hand while you do your phone shift, in case you receive questions you need help answering. If you would like a mentor, we will team you up with an experienced MG. We greatly appreci-

**September Evening in the Reno Cliff Fouts Demonstration Garden - 5:30 p.m., **September 1. Bring your favorite garden dish, a comfy lawn chair & enjoy the garden. Phones: If you have not started or done your phone hours for 2009, now is a great time to come into the Reno or Douglas county offices. WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP! This is the best form of continuing and advance training. It

Reno

(Continued on page 6) Page 5


Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities (Continued from page 5)

ate any time you can volunteer. Working on the phones is a great way to learn more about horticulture. If you have questions or would like to sign up, call Penny, 784-4848. Cliff Fouts Demo Garden: Garden members and any interested MGs, please attend our season wrap-up meet at 11 a.m., October 5 at the Reno Cooperative Extension office. We will discuss the garden, harvesting and shutting down the water. For more information, call Penny, 784-4848. Nevada State Fair 2009: The Nevada State Fair is August 26-30! There are still lots of open shifts for the state fair. For more information or to sign up, call Wendy or Penny,

784-4848. Gardening in Nevada 2009: It’s that time! If you are interested in presenting at the Gardening in Nevada series at Bartley Ranch in February and March next year, now is the time to decide. We are looking for any garden-related topic you are passionate and knowledgeable about, and are interested in presenting to the public. These presentations are generally one and one-half to two hours long, beginning at 6:30 p.m., with crowds ranging from 40 to more than 100. It is best if pictures, either as slides or as PowerPoint, accompany presentations. Wendy will assist anyone interested in creating a presentation and placing it in PowerPoint. Call Wendy, 784-4848, to sign up

or receive more information. Teaching is great fun and very rewarding. Think of all the people you can help! Homework: Are you looking for an easy way to earn volunteer hours? The Master Gardener newsletter is always looking for interesting book reviews or educational articles. If you have time when retreating from the hot summer temperatures, go find a comfy chair, read a book and share the good ones with fellow Master Gardeners. If you visit a wonderful botanical garden or learn something new from a garden talk, share the information and call Wendy, 784-4848 or email me at hansonw@unce.unr.edu.

Educational Opportunities ANNOUNCING TWO NEW NEVADA CROP WORKSHOPS

Western Nevada College (WNC) Specialty Crop Institute

These two new small farm workshops are scheduled to coincide with the harvest season of two popular Nevada crops: market vegetables and wine grapes. Please call or email Ann Louhela, 351-2551, louhelaa@wnc.edu.

Page 6

NURSERY STOCK, HERBS and PRODUCE - HARVESTING FOR MARKETS

Nanadew Herb Farm & WNC Campus, Fallon

Friday, August 14, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. $25 ($30 after August 11) - lunch included Students will tour greenhouses and fields at Nanadew Herb Farm. Drip irrigation & water efficiency methods will be dis-

cussed in afternoon classroom sessions at WNC Fallon campus. WINE GRAPE HARVEST

Churchill Vineyards and WNC Campus, Fallon

Thursday, Sept. 10, 9 am-4 pm • $25 ($30 after September 7) - lunch included Students will tour Churchill (Continued on page 7)

M A S T E R G AR D E N E R N E W S L ET T E R

Vineyards where wine grapes will be at or near harvest. Harvesting for peak flavor and production, frost protection and growing grapes in cool climates will be discussed in the vineyard and in afternoon classroom ses-

Advanced Master Gardener Classes at the Reno office Watch your mail boxes this week for the Advanced classes being offered: September, October and November by Susan Donaldson, JoAnne Skelly and

Leslie Allen. Topics will cover Advanced Pesticide Training, Advanced Soils and Composting and Advanced Botany. Space is limited, so send your registrations forms in early.

Travel Opportunities –Desert Gardens By Judi Kleidon, Master Gardener Last fall, I was missing the outdoor activity I enjoy during the other three seasons here in Reno. If you ever suffer this same malady, I have a cure for it. It involves a trip. Our family drove south for a little warmth and enjoyed a few days in Phoenix and a few days in Las Vegas. Both cities were enjoying exceptionally fine, warm days and in each city, I was able to locate an exceptional garden and want to share them with you. The first discovery was the Desert Botanical Garden located in Phoenix. Phoenix is located in the Sonoran Desert, which is low desert. In addition to the native cacti this botanical garden includes cacti and succulents from all over the world. The stateliest plant in the Garden is the saguaro cactus, which grows in the Sonoran Desert to heights of 50 feet and can live for well over 100 years. They grow very slowly – about an inch a year – and start growing in the shade of “nursery” plants, which provide shade and some moisture. Its traditional “arms” form only after about 60 years of growth. The Desert Botanical Garden was displaying the glass artwork of Chihuly in an exhibit throughout the garden. I was there while they were installing the artwork and got to see a preview. The colored glass forms were spectacular, especially set in the gray-green and sand colors of the garden. The second discovery occurred in Las Vegas. Again, on a wonderfully mild, sunny day I toured the Ethel M Candy Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden. The A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

cactus garden is located next to the factory on 300 acres of land. Quite a change from the glitter of the Las Vegas Strip. Now chocolate is my downfall and seeing them make candy on the self-guided tour was enjoyable but getting a piece of chocolate afterwards was more fun. The garden contains more than 300 different kinds of plants, including Texas prickly pear, spotted aloe, and the teddy bear or jumping cholla. They are sometimes called teddy bear cholla because the spines which cover them look soft and cuddly from a distance. The teddy bear or jumping cholla can grow three feet to five feet tall and makes no viable seeds. They reproduce by segments, which easily break off from the plant with the soft touch of passing humans, animals or even by strong winds. That explains the “jumping” name because people sometimes believe the cactus jumped at them or grabbed them. These segments often travel far before they attach at their new growth site. Cactus and succulent gardens such as these are a wonderful exhibits of Mother Nature’s diversity. While living in the desert presents growing challenges, using plants that have adapted to low or high deserts makes gardening more interesting and less challenging. I hope you get to tour some of our desert gardens when you travel the southwest.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities (Continued from page 5)

ate any time you can volunteer. Working on the phones is a great way to learn more about horticulture. If you have questions or would like to sign up, call Penny, 784-4848. Cliff Fouts Demo Garden: Garden members and any interested MGs, please attend our season wrap-up meet at 11 a.m., October 5 at the Reno Cooperative Extension office. We will discuss the garden, harvesting and shutting down the water. For more information, call Penny, 784-4848. Nevada State Fair 2009: The Nevada State Fair is August 26-30! There are still lots of open shifts for the state fair. For more information or to sign up, call Wendy or Penny,

784-4848. Gardening in Nevada 2009: It’s that time! If you are interested in presenting at the Gardening in Nevada series at Bartley Ranch in February and March next year, now is the time to decide. We are looking for any garden-related topic you are passionate and knowledgeable about, and are interested in presenting to the public. These presentations are generally one and one-half to two hours long, beginning at 6:30 p.m., with crowds ranging from 40 to more than 100. It is best if pictures, either as slides or as PowerPoint, accompany presentations. Wendy will assist anyone interested in creating a presentation and placing it in PowerPoint. Call Wendy, 784-4848, to sign up

or receive more information. Teaching is great fun and very rewarding. Think of all the people you can help! Homework: Are you looking for an easy way to earn volunteer hours? The Master Gardener newsletter is always looking for interesting book reviews or educational articles. If you have time when retreating from the hot summer temperatures, go find a comfy chair, read a book and share the good ones with fellow Master Gardeners. If you visit a wonderful botanical garden or learn something new from a garden talk, share the information and call Wendy, 784-4848 or email me at hansonw@unce.unr.edu.

Educational Opportunities ANNOUNCING TWO NEW NEVADA CROP WORKSHOPS

Western Nevada College (WNC) Specialty Crop Institute

These two new small farm workshops are scheduled to coincide with the harvest season of two popular Nevada crops: market vegetables and wine grapes. Please call or email Ann Louhela, 351-2551, louhelaa@wnc.edu.

Page 6

NURSERY STOCK, HERBS and PRODUCE - HARVESTING FOR MARKETS

Nanadew Herb Farm & WNC Campus, Fallon

Friday, August 14, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. $25 ($30 after August 11) - lunch included Students will tour greenhouses and fields at Nanadew Herb Farm. Drip irrigation & water efficiency methods will be dis-

cussed in afternoon classroom sessions at WNC Fallon campus. WINE GRAPE HARVEST

Churchill Vineyards and WNC Campus, Fallon

Thursday, Sept. 10, 9 am-4 pm • $25 ($30 after September 7) - lunch included Students will tour Churchill (Continued on page 7)

M A S T E R G AR D E N E R N E W S L ET T E R

Vineyards where wine grapes will be at or near harvest. Harvesting for peak flavor and production, frost protection and growing grapes in cool climates will be discussed in the vineyard and in afternoon classroom ses-

Advanced Master Gardener Classes at the Reno office Watch your mail boxes this week for the Advanced classes being offered: September, October and November by Susan Donaldson, JoAnne Skelly and

Leslie Allen. Topics will cover Advanced Pesticide Training, Advanced Soils and Composting and Advanced Botany. Space is limited, so send your registrations forms in early.

Travel Opportunities –Desert Gardens By Judi Kleidon, Master Gardener Last fall, I was missing the outdoor activity I enjoy during the other three seasons here in Reno. If you ever suffer this same malady, I have a cure for it. It involves a trip. Our family drove south for a little warmth and enjoyed a few days in Phoenix and a few days in Las Vegas. Both cities were enjoying exceptionally fine, warm days and in each city, I was able to locate an exceptional garden and want to share them with you. The first discovery was the Desert Botanical Garden located in Phoenix. Phoenix is located in the Sonoran Desert, which is low desert. In addition to the native cacti this botanical garden includes cacti and succulents from all over the world. The stateliest plant in the Garden is the saguaro cactus, which grows in the Sonoran Desert to heights of 50 feet and can live for well over 100 years. They grow very slowly – about an inch a year – and start growing in the shade of “nursery” plants, which provide shade and some moisture. Its traditional “arms” form only after about 60 years of growth. The Desert Botanical Garden was displaying the glass artwork of Chihuly in an exhibit throughout the garden. I was there while they were installing the artwork and got to see a preview. The colored glass forms were spectacular, especially set in the gray-green and sand colors of the garden. The second discovery occurred in Las Vegas. Again, on a wonderfully mild, sunny day I toured the Ethel M Candy Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden. The A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

cactus garden is located next to the factory on 300 acres of land. Quite a change from the glitter of the Las Vegas Strip. Now chocolate is my downfall and seeing them make candy on the self-guided tour was enjoyable but getting a piece of chocolate afterwards was more fun. The garden contains more than 300 different kinds of plants, including Texas prickly pear, spotted aloe, and the teddy bear or jumping cholla. They are sometimes called teddy bear cholla because the spines which cover them look soft and cuddly from a distance. The teddy bear or jumping cholla can grow three feet to five feet tall and makes no viable seeds. They reproduce by segments, which easily break off from the plant with the soft touch of passing humans, animals or even by strong winds. That explains the “jumping” name because people sometimes believe the cactus jumped at them or grabbed them. These segments often travel far before they attach at their new growth site. Cactus and succulent gardens such as these are a wonderful exhibits of Mother Nature’s diversity. While living in the desert presents growing challenges, using plants that have adapted to low or high deserts makes gardening more interesting and less challenging. I hope you get to tour some of our desert gardens when you travel the southwest.

Page 7


Compost Tea: Examining the science behind the claims

Kudos and Things to Know

By Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott WSU Master Gardeners are often asked about compost tea (and other products) but may not have ready access to objective information. This column is dedicated to those hard-working volunteers who want the current best science on products and practices so that they can continue to learn and inform others. What is compost tea? The historical manufacture and use of compost leachates and extracts is a straightforward, centuries-old practice. Plant and animal wastes were placed into a permeable bag and held in a bucket of water until the water turned black. (It’s easy to see how the analogy to tea emerged.) Both indoor and outdoor plants could be watered with this solution containing nutrients and microbes. More recently, the process has been adapted for the compost tea market. One can buy a compost tea brewer, or purchase readymade teas at nursery and garden centers. The original method of compost extraction is passive – it does not require an energy input. This method produces nonaerated compost tea (NCT) whose principal components are thought to be anaerobic microbes and nutrients. The conPage 8

cept behind the passive method calls for use of stable composts without other foodsource additives, such as sugar, to minimize oxygen demand and thus prevent anaerobic conditions from developing. Traditionally, this European method of compost tea production incorporates occasional stirring (perhaps daily) of the extracts. (Though detractors often allege that NCTs are anaerobic, in fact properly formulated NCTs are hypoxic, or low oxygen – not anaerobic.) NCTs have a long tradition of use as a liquid fertilizer and in the 1980’s were the subject of disease-suppression research in Europe. In contrast, compost tea brewers require an energy input in the form of an aerator. This constantly oxygenated mixture forms aerated compost tea (ACT), which contains aerobic microbes and nutrients. ACT will become NCT if aeration stops; likewise, NCT will be converted into ACT if aerated. Sales literature for ACTs and compost tea brewers states that ACT will produce “lush foliage,” “beautiful blooms,” “delicious fruits and vegetables,” and “thick green turf” while keeping “garden plants, turf, and crops free of disease.” This information is pre-

sented as factual, and when combined with the imagery of nurturing an ailing garden with a cup of tea, proves irresistible to many people. Does compost tea work? This is a complicated question that can only be answered by reviewing the scientific literature on NCTs and ACTs. Scientific literature is the body of information that has been peer-reviewed and is often geared to an academic audience. Extension publications are also in this category since they are peer-reviewed but target a more general audience. When an article appears in a peer-reviewed journal or book, it means the methods, results, and conclusions were found to be scientifically valid by objective outside experts. Other information sources include gray and popular literature, neither of which are peer-reviewed and primarily focus on professional and general audiences, respectively. (This magazine (Master Gardener-winter 2007), for instance, would fall into this category.) These resources can be valuable as well but the objectivity and credibility of the information need to be assessed (sidebar). For the pur(Continued on page 9)

M A S T E R G AR D E N E R N E W S L ET T E R

In Douglas County, we also had Master Gardeners assisting the Town of Gardnerville with 40 “adopt-a-pot” full of live plants and annual flowers. This was a project to liven up the businesses along Main Street. With the organizing skills of Master Gardener Carol Sandmeier, Master Gardeners Theresa Higgs, Linda Doty, Pat Colon, Linda Bellmore and Barbara Bardecker all helped create beautiful arrangements.

Carson City Community Resource Fair, July 17, 2009 Thank you to Linda Doty, Jocelyn Helling, Sharon Schroeder and Christy Chamberlain for staffing our booth at Fuji Park. Nestled under the shade of the large Cottonwood trees, the day was beautiful and rather warm for this first event. Twenty-nine presenters set up their displays and presented interactive presentations. The festival had something for all ages as area Mas-

ter Gardeners helped adults solve the challenges of keeping gardens and landscaping healthy in our high desert environment. Full Circle Compost distributed information on composting to enrich depleted soils, and Comstock Seed shared a wealth of knowledge on native wildflower and grass seeds for our area.

Volunteer Opportunities August – October Potlucks: Douglas Special potluck! We will be eating outdoors at Pat Colon’s home, tentatively around 11 a.m., August 13. For those wishing to

receive directions please call or email me.

Douglas Cooperative Extension office and then out to the park to have our potluck under the shade trees, 1 p.m., September 9. Douglas Cooperative Extension office, 1 p.m., October 7. Carson City Carson City Cooperative Extension office, 6 p.m., August 13 and September 10. A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

Please RSVP by August 11, and September 8.

is hands-on with guidance.

Reno Reno Cooperative Extension office, noon, August 3 and October 5.

In Reno, there are the standard two-shift phone schedules on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, while Wednesday has an extra evening shift available. Shifts are flexible, but we try to schedule volunteers: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 to 4 p.m. The special Wed. shift is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Leslie, Penny or I are on hand while you do your phone shift, in case you receive questions you need help answering. If you would like a mentor, we will team you up with an experienced MG. We greatly appreci-

**September Evening in the Reno Cliff Fouts Demonstration Garden - 5:30 p.m., **September 1. Bring your favorite garden dish, a comfy lawn chair & enjoy the garden. Phones: If you have not started or done your phone hours for 2009, now is a great time to come into the Reno or Douglas county offices. WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP! This is the best form of continuing and advance training. It

Reno

(Continued on page 6) Page 5


Compost Tea: Examining the science behind the claims

Kudos and Things to Know Worm Composting Presentation July 9, 2009 The worm composting presentation went extremely well. Thank you to Master Gardener and Master Composter Claudia Skewes, and Leslie Allen for their very informative presentations. We had a full class in Reno with Master Gardeners joining us from Douglas County, Carson City and Winnemucca. Depending on responses to the survey, we will look into doing this again next spring with a wider selection of worm composting units to choose from and maybe compost tea brewers.

Jenifer Fox for staffing our booth. This was a joint collaboration with the Sun Valley Water Conservation District and the Community Center for Sun Valley. The Water Department provided a large tent to house our table and many others. Considering it was 100 degrees on July 19, the tent was greatly appreciated.

Carson City Master Gardeners at Sierra Place Senior Living, June 23, 2009 Carson City Master Gardeners were given a wonderful opportunity to give back to the residents of Sierra Place, a Senior Living complex at the north end of CarCliff Fouts Demonstration son City. The facility had a Garden 4’x4’x20’ raised bed on the east Thank you to the Cliff Fouts side of their building that had Demonstration Garden MGs and been previously used for annual Penny Leyer who have graciously flowers. The Master Gardeners been working with a small group created an edible herb garden. from Easter Seals. The group The chefs can utilize the herbs has been able to come out to the for meals and the residents can garden several times over the enjoy the sights, smells and feel summer months to observe as of the herbs. well as plant their own shady bed The facility is surrounded by with some cool season crops. large trees and was a wonderful Just last week, Master Gardensetting to educate not only Masers donated all the vegetables ter Gardeners, but also residents harvested to the Easter Seals who watched from their balconies group for them to enjoy the and gathered around asking quesfruits of harvest. tions. Thank you to all the Master Gardeners and their family members who came to assist: Dawn Sun Valley Community Day, Aragon, Jocelyn Helling, July 19, 2009 Christy Chamberlain, Bill Heise, Thank you to Whitney Lauren, Ken Haffey, Lupe Wallace, June Stretch, Libby Goga and Page 4

Andrea Heckman, Monique Giron, Verne Horton and Marge Cole. I hope I listed everyone, as I did not have a sign in sheet. Carson City Hanging Baskets & Douglas County Planters Master Gardeners are working throughout our communities on education and beautification. With great effort and time, Dale Hildebrandt was able to help Carson City with their goal of having colorful baskets hanging throughout downtown Carson by June 5. Master Gardeners who assisted in the planting of the baskets: Cheryl Anderson, Susan Bellegante, Lisa Bennett, Mary Bruns, Sondra Ellis, Cindy Etcheverry, Carolyn Feldman, Judy Glassey, Susan Hug, Trudy Kenny, Susan Lester, Beverly Morlang, Chris Quinn, Virginia Smith, June Stretch, Janet Thelen, Steve Tobey and Kathy Williams. I also wanted to give a big thank you to all the Master Gardeners who were able to respond to the desperate call for people to water the first weekend the baskets were hung. The call came in and the email went out Wednesday for volunteers to water over the weekend.

2) Does the article refrain from attempts to sell a product?

Again, there was some success with fungal control in Petri dishes in the lab (1 paper), but less consistency in greenhouse conditions (3 papers). Two fieldbased studies report that not only was ACT ineffective in preventing foliar pathogens, it exacerbated disease organisms in both apples and potatoes. Clearly, the science is not strong for ACT use on crop plants, much less on lawns, shrubs, and trees.

3) Does the article present verifiable information?

Why isn’t there more scientific research on compost tea?

4) Does the article appeal to reason rather than emotion?

While a number of universities are investigating the effect of ACTs on disease control,

poses of this article, only those results reported in the scientific literature are reviewed.

Questions to ask when assessing scientific objectivity and credibility of gray or popular literature: 1) Does the author have legitimate ties to a mainstream academic or scientific institution?

If the answers to these questions are “yes”, then the likelihood is high that the information is objective and credible. Scientific research on compost tea has focused most commonly on foliar disease control. As of this writing, there have been 34 papers published on the efficacy of NCT on disease control. Often, good results are found under laboratory conditions though field results are more variable. There appears to be a trend for NCTs to reduce the incidence, but not the severity, of foliar diseases. In comparison, there have been 7 papers published on ACTs and disease control.

(Continued on page 5) M A S T E R G AR D E N E R N E W S L ET T E R

A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

very few studies have been published. To understand why, let’s quickly review what is needed for a scientific experiment: • Controls: For every plant that is treated with compost tea, another needs to be treated with water. • Replicates: To obtain statistically valid data, each treatment needs to be replicated. In controlled environments such as laboratories, there can be as few as three replicates. For more variable environments, such as greenhouses, there may be ten replicates. In a field situation – the real world – 20

replicates is not uncommon. • Repetition: To verify the results from the first trial, the experiment should be repeated. In general, three repetitions are considered the minimum. Compost teas are highly variable in their microbial and nutrient content from batch to batch. This translates to high variation within data sets and often leads to inconclusive results. Unfortunately, these results are often not published

even though they are just as important as positive outcomes. In other words, if a

particular treatment doesn’t work well under controlled experimental conditions, it’s unlikely to work consistently anywhere else. In addition to the published results discussed earlier, there are university reports of ongoing research that I’ve briefly summarized (pg. 11). The short answer is no. Because WSU Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who rely on science-based information, they cannot recommend a practice or product that lacks a legitimate scientific basis. Furthermore, it is illegal to sell unregistered substances (Continued on page 10)

Page 9


Compost Tea: Examining the science behind the claims

(Continued from page 9)

for use as pesticides. At this point there are no compost tea products registered as pesticides with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Neither WSU MG volunteers nor websites should encourage the use of compost tea as a pesticide.

populations, both of which are human pathogens. The recent deaths due to E. colicontaminated spinach illustrates how dangerous compost tea applications can be, particularly on food crops. What are alternatives to compost tea? Rather than spending time and money leaching materials out of compost, why not use

If compost tea doesn’t do anythe intact compost as part of an thing, then how can it hurt to organic mulch layer? There is apply it? substantial evidence in “While the scientific evidence is the scientific literature that orcertainly lacking for ACT activganic mulch benefits gardens and ity in disease control, landscape by: there is a serious, documented • Improving soil moisture concern with these types of • Reducing soil erosion and comcompost teas,” says Dr. William paction R. Schneider, a research scientist in the Biopesticides & Pollu- • Maintaining optimal soil temtion Prevention Division (Office peratures of Pesticide Programs) of the • Increasing soil nutrition USEPA. He continues “it is very difficult to do a microbial pesti- • Improving plant establishment cide risk assessment on a mixand growth ture of unidentified microorgan• Reducing weeds isms that could easily contain • Reducing disease human and nontarget organism pathogens.”

• Reducing pesticide use

Indeed, this risk is significant in ACTs that have been “enhanced” with molasses, kelp, and other high-nutrient additives. Such ACTs have been documented through scientific research to contain E. coli and Salmonella

These last two points are particularly germane to our discussion. Organic mulch has been shown to suppress disease biologically, chemically and physically through competition, chemical

Page 10

inhibition, and reduced pathogen dispersal, respectively. While compost alone may not be sufficient for a landscape mulch, it can be an important component. Furthermore, mulched landscapes are usually more aesthetically appealing and of greater economic and environmental benefit as they require fewer additions of fertilizers and pesticides. Best of all, this management plan is based on objective plant and soil sciences – not wishful thinking. For more information, please visit Dr. Chalker-Scott’s web page at http://www.theinformedgarden er.com. Linda Chalker-Scott Associate Professor and Extension Horticulturist WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center

Note From Wendy: There has been more compost tea research recent years and several books and programs have been produced. You may be interested in reviewing materials written by Dr. Elaine Ingham who was recently in Reno and Fallon presenting on organic gardening and Jeff Lowenfels who recently spoke at the International Master M A S T E R G AR D E N E R N E W S L ET T E R

Horticulture Office Updates As for the offices and the growing season, to say we are busy would be an understatement. The Reno office has been hopping; but with the help of Master Gardeners and Penny Leyer as Horticulture Assistant, we have been able to handle incoming calls and continuous walk-ins. The Reno office has been trying something new this year to accommodate workloads, being short staffed and accommodating to the public. If you have not been in the office, it is now open for the public to bring in sample and see a Master Gardener, Penny, Leslie, or myself only on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we take phone calls. Leslie and Penny have been alternating every other Wednesday and keeping our horticulture area open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for walk-in clients and phone calls. So far, this has been working well. Phone coverage has been good, but during this busy time, we need to have Master Gardeners every day of the week. If you have not been in this year, we would greatly appreciate you signing up for a shift or two. We tend to be shy of help especially on Fridays. Our extended evening hours will end Sept. 30 and Farmers Market on Sundays will end Sept. 13. Douglas County clients have been very constant this year. There are many days that the “Wendy on Wednesday” is like a carnival event. I am very grateful to the Master Gardeners I have been training who will be coming in to assist clients when I am out in October.

Soil Testing Update by Leslie Allen, Washoe County Commercial Horticulture Specialist Thanks to all of the dedicated Master Gardener soil-testing volunteers! We have officially resumed our soil-testing services, and have tested over a dozen soil samples so far. Master Gardeners Susan Jones, Kathi Linehan and Sheryl Schumacher deserve special appreciation for implementing the training and mentoring program. Over twenty Master Gardeners have gone through the training and mentoring program. Well done! If you are interested in becoming a soil tester, contact Leslie Allen and she will connect you with a mentor. You need to complete three mentored sessions before you can perform the tests independently. If you would like to get your soil tested bring $10 cash or check (payable to Board of Regents) and two cups of dried soil to the Mill Street office in Reno. Call 784-4848 for instructions on how to take a soil sample.

The Last Garden Showoff Don’t miss these wonderful opportunities to tour Master Gardeners’ well-cared for gardens, landscapes, vegetable and flower gardens. Most garden hosts will provide light summer snacks or beverages. For directions to all garden A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

showoff locations, please call or email Wendy or Penny at 7844848, hansonw@unce.unr.edu or leyerp@unce.unr.edu August Reno Date: Aug. 8, Saturday Area: Old southwest Reno

Master Gardeners: Catherine Hancock and Janet Drozd Gardens Hours: 10 a.m. to noon Notes: Two Gardens in the same area

Page 3


Compost Tea: Examining the science behind the claims

Words From Wendy ciation Barbeque in June. It was wonderful to get to see so many Master Gardeners in one place and to have the opportunity to say hello to your families. I’m sorry we could not all get together. It would be an amazing feat to get over 200 Master Gardeners from one area together on the same day in a convenient location. For those who called or emailed you could not make it, thank you. It was nice to hear from so many of you. The day turned out to be perfect. We had a nice little breeze keeping temperatures cool under the shade of the cottonwood trees. My husband Al and Master Gardener Bob Christian slaved over the scorching hot charcoal to cook a wonderful array of chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and tri-tip. Bob brought an amazing smoked beef brisket. They both got sunburned for us! I am working on setting up next

year’s barbeque now. If we start jumping through the hoops a year in advance, I should be able to have contracts signed and the location booked for June 26, 2010 before the New Year. Remember, with all these scorching temperatures, keep not only your plants hydrated but yourself. Enjoy all the flowers and your vegetable garden harvests.

gg

Beware of BBQ bandits who may add ornaments or waskaly critters to your vehicle when your not looking. This cute critter appeared out of nowhere thanks to a clever MG to remain unnamed and my stepson. Wiley Coyote now hangs on my Reno office door as a fun reminder. :-)

Gardener Conference in Las Vegas. There are also several

Should everything go smoothly, I'll be working as usual for the next nine or so weeks. If you need to get a hold of me during that time, please just shoot me an email. After Trenten arrives, I plan to take six weeks off and then I'll work part-time until the middle of January when I will transition back to full-time. The Master Gardener program will continue normally during this time. We will still enjoy our scheduled potlucks together and Sue Donaldson and Leslie Allen will be teaching Advanced Master Gardener training classes in the Reno office. If you should need to get a hold of me this winter, please send an email both to me and to the appropriate contact person in your area (Reno office: Penny Leyer, Douglas County: Lena Johnstone, Carson City: JoAnne Skelly, Winnemucca: Connie Beck) and they will take care of you. Thank you for your encouragement and support! MASTER GARDENER NEWSLETTER

Watch your mail for the flyer.

Leslie Allen will be presenting advance soils and composting in

Crop

Disease

ACT Effective?

Tomato

Septoria No No Septoria Powdery mildew No No Powdery mildew Black spot No Apple scob Phomopsis No No No No Powdery mildew Botrytis Powdery mildew

No

Cornell

No No

Iowa State Cornell

No No

Ohio State U. of Minnesota

Some Some No

Penn State

Brown patch

No

Rutgers

Powdery mildew Black spot Tomato Pumpkin Bacterial wilt Downy mildew

Powdery mildew

Many of you are wondering how my pregnancy is coming along. I want to let you all know that I am doing well. Everything has been great! I feel wonderful and I am very happy to say that 100 degrees hasn’t felt any hotter this year—it is just plain too hot, pregnant or not! I am eating a lot of watermelon to help me stay cool and healthy in this warm summer weather. I eat one large watermelon per week! A fresh watermelon is the best snack in the world and it is sure better for me than my Dr. Pepper! You might think from looking at me that instead of eating my weekly watermelon, I simply swallowed it a small one whole! I look as if I am carrying a soccer ball instead of a baby boy and I still have nine weeks to go (pending on if Trenten wants to be on time, early or late!). Yes, I am still wearing my regular jeans; I just went up one size to give him a little more growing room!

October.

Unpublished university research studies on aerated compost teas

Squash Rose

Wendy Update

Page 2

other research materials that can be found online.

(Continued from page 10)

Apples Wine grapes Downy mildew Black rot Potato leafhopper European red mite Wine grapes (greenhouse) Wine grapes (field) Turf grass

No No

Institution

Michigan State Cornell

Penn State

Want to make your own compost tea brewer? For full instructions on how to make your brewer with instruction form Dr. Elaine Ingham and more information visit: http:// www.finegardening.com/how-to/ Supplies you will need: • An aquarium pump large A U G . — O C T. 2 0 0 9

• • • • •

enough to run three bubblers or air stones Several feet of tubing A gang valve Several feet of tubing At least three bubblers A stick to stir the mixture

• •

Unsulfured molasses (preferably organic) Something to strain the tea, like an old pillowcase, tea towel, or a nylon stocking A bucket

Page 11


Web site: www.unce.unr.edu

Area Offices: Washoe County Cooperative Extension This newsletter is produced by the horticulture 5305 Mill St., Reno, NV 89502 staff in the Washoe County office. (775) 784-4848 (ext. 120 for voicemail) hansonw@unce.unr.edu Wendy Hanson Mazet, Horticulture Program Assistant, Master Gardener Program Carson City/Storey County Coordinator and Master Gardener Cooperative Extension Newsletter Editor 2621 Northgate Lane, Suite 15 Leslie Allen, Commercial Horticulture Program Coordinator

Carson City, NV 89706 (775) 887-2252

Penny Leyer, Washoe County Horticulture Assistant

Douglas County Cooperative Extension Ashley Vollmar, Washoe County Administra- 1329 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, NV P.O. Box 338, Minden, NV 89423 tive Assistant (775) 782-9960

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners help people improve their lives through education. They are committed to improving themselves, their community and their environment by participating in horticultural education and activities. Master Gardeners are leaders in environmental stewardship through education.

Incline Village Cooperative Extension 855 Alder P.O. Box 3192 Incline Village, NV 89452 (775) 832-4150 Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe 208 Capital Hill Road P.O. Box 256, Nixon, NV 89424 (775) 574-0101, ext. 28

Words From Wendy

The Master Gardener Newsletter is published bimonthly by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension for the benefit of Master Gardeners, their families and others. The University of Nevada, Reno is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, creed, national origin, veteran status, physical and mental disability, and sexual orientation in any program or activity it operates. The University of Nevada employs only United States citizens and aliens lawfully authorized to work in the United States.

Aug.— Oct. 2009

Brand names are used for illustration purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by Cooperative Extension. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Wendy in advance of your participation or visit.

Happy hot August temperatures everyone! It has been quite the growing season so far. We had an amazing start to the season with the June rains and cool temperatures. Then, out of the blue, we were knee-deep in summer with scorching temperatures of 100 degrees and higher. Our plants were happy to see sunlight, but it was an abrupt change for them. I hope that your gardens are doing well. I’m happy to finally say I did get to harvest ripe red tomatoes for the July 4th feast. In addition, with the cool temperatures, my peas were still producing.

Master Gardener Newsletter

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION

Ask Master Gardeners questions at mastergardeners@unce.unr.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION

WESTERN AREA

The Cliff Fouts Demonstration Garden at the Reno office is full of life, fruits and vegetables. The cherry tree is just waiting for a brave soul to climb a ladder and cover the branches loaded with fruit. Most likely it will be the birds that enjoy the abundance of cherries and probably not us, as the tree stands well over 30 feet tall. The bees are relishing all the blooming sunflowers and perennials.

The garden is producing well and the gardeners have been coming out early in the morning to harvest food for the local food kitchens. With the economy in the state it is, I’m sure you have heard the news about the increase in demand for meals at community food kitchens and food baskets. If you have planted too much for your family, (as I have with 23 tomato plants), consider taking your extra produce to one of your local charities. It is a wonderful feeling to talk to the cooks and hear how much they appreciate the fresh food. When you have people who were standing in line for a meal get out of line to help unload produce from your vehicle, you know firsthand how grateful they are for your kindness. It’s like that old saying: “It’s the little things in life that mean so much.” For me it means a lot to be able to help people each day with their horticulture problems and to work with such a wonderful group of volunteers. It was so nice to see many of you at the Master Gardener Appre(Continued on page 2)

Inside this issue: Words From Wendy

1-2

Wendy Update

2

Horticulture Office Updates

3

Soil Testing Update

3

The Last Garden Showoff

3

Kudos and Things to Know

4-5

Volunteer Opportunities

5-6

Educational Opportunities

6-7

Travel Opportunities Compost Tea

7 8-11

Special Events of interest: •

Last Garden Showoff Aug. 8

Nevada State Fair

Evening in the Cliff Fouts Demonstration Garden Potluck

Advanced training classes

«AddressBlock»

University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension WASHOE COUNTY OFFICE UNR Mail Stop # 408

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Reno, NV Permit #26


Aug/Sept/Oct 2009 MG Newsletter