Fall has arrived with its gray mornings and rainy days. As I struggle to get my “Dawn of the Dead” vegetable garden vines and shrubs into the compost pile, I am heartened by all the bird activity amongst the standing stalks and stems. Even looking its worst, my garden is providing important food for birds and insects. I have raked the leaves up off of sidewalks and paths and placed them gently under the shrubs and trees to provide overwintering sites for moths, butterflies and other insects. The juncos, thrushes, robins and other birds will utilize this resource for winter sustenance.
Things are winding down on campus as well. The gardens have been tucked in and are enjoying the rain after the long summer dry spell. The gardens and grounds crew continues to place signs, and remove debris from paths — a year-round job.
In the Native Plants Nursery, volunteers working in Greenhouse 2 meet each Wednesday from 9 to noon to start seeds in stratification trays and pots. Beginning in December, we will start planting our milkweed seeds in special pots for sale in the spring. As always, I am looking for a crew to help with that.
The failure of the well is being addressed. Our hope is that the winter rains will recharge the shallow well used to irrigate the orchards and gardens. However, we are going forward with research on a rainwater catchment system to use as supplementary water. Also, an old well site is being evaluated as another possible source of water for next summer’s irrigation needs.
Our JCMGA association election is complete and we are pleased that all positions have been filled. I am thankful that we had members willing to step up and take on positions of responsibility to assure that the association could continue.
It has been both a challenge and a great honor to have served as president this past year, and I sincerely thank all those who guided and supported me in that effort. If you are interested in becoming more involved with Master Gardeners, we welcome your attendance at our monthly meetings on the second Friday of each month.
Finally, we are looking forward with great hope to the coming year and the start of a new Master Gardener class. Having students on campus is always such a joy. And teaching new skills to gardeners is pretty much what we do this for.
Hope you will all come out, as the weather and your interests permit. And remember to Garden for Life.