Master Gardener Update
Next Meeting Prez Sez... by Nina Meygesi
Tuesday, September 12, Summer's winding down--we've planted, weeded, toured, barbecued,
7:00 p.m. at University and exhibited and are now busy harvesting, gathering, canning and freez-
Park Building. Michele ing. Now it's time to plan our winter meetings. Please let me know if you
Hébert will talk about have any requests or suggestions.
perennial management. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 12, at 7:00 p.m., at
Want to volunteer to bring University Park Building. Michele Hébert will talk with us about perennial
refreshments? Call Cindy at management. If you'd like to volunteer to bring refreshments, please call
474-2421. Cindy at 474-2421.
The Georgeson Botanical Garden classes were accepted well by our
Volunteers are needed to community. How about some Master Gardeners volunteering to teach next
help put the fair garden to year? Any subject related to garden-
bed and to dig potatoes on ing--from seeds to jam--will be wel-
September 6, 10:00 a.m. comed.
A garden is the
Help is also needed to plant
a memorial tree grove on interface
August 30. Call Michele or
Sphagnum moss between the
Cindy to volunteer at 474- Sphagnum moss grows in Alaska
in bogs and below black spruce trees.
house and the
Commercially it is used to line fern rest of
baskets and other containers. It hosts a civilization
rare bacterium that can prevent damp- Geoffrey Charlesworth
ing off disease of seedlings. According A Gardener Obsessed (1994)
to the University of California-Davis
Land Resources Agent researchers, the bacteria comes to life
when sphagnum moss is moistened, but remain dormant when the moss is
dry. As these tiny creatures prosper in their microscopic world, they give off
Michele Hébert an antibiotic that inhibits the growth of other microorganisms, including
Editor fungi that cause damping off. This is one reason why sphagnum peat moss
Cindy Riddle makes a good addition to potting soils used for starting seedlings.
Design & Layout
Inside. . . How insects overwinter
Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario states that insects have two
Bee-friendly gardening ........ 2 antifreeze proteins to help them overwinter. The proteins lower the tem-
A slope can be a gift ............ 2 perature at which water turns to ice, and they change the structure of the ice
September kids' gardening ... 2 crystals that do form so that they are less damaging to the frozen cells. The
Cream of radish leaf soup .... 3 proteins in bugs are 30 to 100 times more effective than fish antifreezes.
Vermiculite warnings .......... 3 Adult and larvae insects survive the winter by using these natural anti-
MG listserv .......................... 4 freezes.
No endorsement of firms and products mentioned is intended, nor is criticism implied of those not mentioned in the Master Gardener Update.
Master Gardener Update
Page 2 Master Gardener Update, September 2000
September Kids' Bee-friendly gardening
Bees land among that category of beneficial insects. Though they may
Gardening evoke fear among some people, they provide a valuable service by pollinat-
ing food crops and flowering plants. Because the bee population has been
reduced due to harmful mites, protecting our helpful bees is a priority. Many
of the pesticides we use in the lawn and garden can harm bees that are
foraging for pollen and nectar.
(JMG) Here's how to protect them:
educational materials are • Select pesticides such as horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps and Bacil-
available at the Extension lus thuringiensis (Bt) products that are less harmful to bees. Call the Exten-
Office. sion Office for advice.
• Read the instructions for any spray product to see if there are special
The program incorporates precautions with respect to bees.
community and volunteer • Apply pesticides after 3 p.m., by which time most bees have returned to
service within the following their hives.
eight units: • Prevent drift by spraying during calm wind conditions.
• If there are beekeepers nearby, be sure to advise them before applying
• Plant Growth and Develop- pesticides so that they may protect their hives if necessary.
• Environmental Horticulture
• Fruits and Nuts A slope can be a gift
• Landscape Design Slopes in the home landscape can be challenging but also a benefit. They
• Soils and Water offer a new perspective, provide for drainage, can conceal or display, offer
• Insects and Diseases more or less light exposure, and can control circulation.
• Vegetables and Herbs
• Life Skills and Career Design choices
1. Plant it. Plant roots (that provide structural strength and draw up excess
The JMG program has both a moisture from the soil, plant foliage and debris all help to cover the soil
youth handbook and a lead and reduce runoff.
er/teacher guide for each 2. Retain it. Several low walls are often better on steep slopes than one
level. The handbook has high one; anything over 3 feet should be designed by a licensed engineer.
group and individual activi- Always build a wall on cut or undisturbed soil, not fill.
ties. Group activities can be 3. Terrace it. It is often beneficial to break a long slope into several shorter
done with a school class, slopes or near level surfaces to visually reduce the steepness.
JMG club or an after-school 4. Climb it. Steps, stairways, or ramps and the percent of slope can control
program. Individual activities the rate of movement through the garden space.
allow youths to extend their 5. View it. It is easier to see a garden on a slope that is tilted towards the
learning experiences from the viewer.
group site to the home. All of There are several master gardeners in our community that have successfully
the activities allow flexibility worked with slopes. They can be a wonderful source on information and
in selecting from a bank of provide visual examples of what works well. Joan Robson has done an
activities when participating outstanding job with terracing, steps and perennials. Janelle McCrackin has
in the program. landscaped a steep site with a combination of perennials and grassy walks.
Judy Murphy has stone retaining wall combined with a sloping lawn. Site
More on page 3... visits to a successful garden.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service programs are available to all, without regard to race, color, age, sex, creed, national origin,
or disability and in accordance with all applicable federal laws. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in
cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tony Nakazawa, Director, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Master Gardener Update, September 2000 Page 3
(Continued from page 2)
Cream of radish leaf soup
Children may 2T butter 1 large russet potato,
1large onion, chopped peeled and chopped
participate in JMG 2 bunches radish leaves, chopped 1/2 cup whipping cream or
three different ways: 2 garlic cloves, minced creme fraiche
4tomatoes, peeled and chopped • Salt and white pepper to taste
• Become a certified Junior 1-1/2 quartsvegetable water or • Sliced radishes for garnish
beef or chicken stock • Chopped fresh parsley for
Master Gardener. This is the
1/4 cup uncooked rice garnish
highest level of program
participation and includes Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add onion and cook until tender but not
certification in all eight brown. Add radish leaves; cook until wilted. Add garlic and tomatoes; cook 3
minutes. Add stock, rice and potato; bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer about
subject units in one level.
Put through blender or processor in batches. When soup is smooth, return to
• Complete a Golden Ray pan and heat almost to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Series by selecting option 1 Stir in cream and adjust seasoning to taste. Pour into soup bowls and
or option 2. garnish each serving with radishes and parsley. Yields 8 to 10 servings.
Option 1: One of the eight
subject units of the JMG From "Quick French Cuisine"
handbook is completed
as a Golden Ray Series.
Option 2: Complete a
thematic unit as a
EPA warns gardeners about
Golden Ray Series. handling vermiculite
These units combine a from Forest Nursery Notes, July 2000
variety of activities from submitted by Sarah McClellan, ACE
all subject units to focus "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is warning consumers
on one topic, such as not to handle one specific garden product containing vermiculite, and to
"Creating a Backyard treat all similar products as if they are contaminated with cancer-causing
Habitat," "Developing a asbestos."
Vegetable Garden" and
others or a custom- One vermiculite product called Zonolite which was used for building
designed unit that you insulation has been found to contain fibrous actinolite and tremolite which
create on your own. are both classified as carcinogens. A vermiculite mine in Libby, MT was
closed because workers exposed to tremolite asbestos fibers developed
• Simply use individual several fatal diseases. A class-action lawsuit is currently pending against
activities in the handbooks the company. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper reported that the
to enhance your program. EPA has found "asbestos in several brands of garden products." Testing
also showed that "using these products caused asbestos fibers to be released
For information: into the air where they could be inhaled."
call Michele Hébert 474-2423
Zonolite brand attic insulation was sometimes used in growing media
or Lou McLean 474-2427.
in the past because of its coarse texture. It was never intended to be sold for
that purpose, however, but the Seattle paper found that bags were still for
sale in garden and hardware stores in the Puget Sound area.
Commercial growing media producers have been using a completely
different source of vermiculite for many years that has been shown to be
free of asbestos contaminants.
If you have further questions, Forest Nursery suggests that you
contact Kerry Bierman at The Scotts Company, (614) 719-5604, e-mail:
Listserv for Master Gardeners
At the Alaska Master Gardener Conference in Juneau this past May
the presidents of several MG Associations and several Extension Agents
met to discuss how to increase communication among Master Gardeners
across the state. Sarah McClellan has set up the list to help Mater Garden-
ers increase their ability to communicate.
AKMG-L, the Alaska Master Gardeners' Statewide listserv, is a
service of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Cooperative
Extension. The purpose for this e-mail connection is for MASTER GAR-
DENERS to share gardening information, pose questions, and announce
gardening events across the state. To subscribe, send a message to:
In the body of the message write:
Then send your message. To post messages to the list for all of your fellow
gardeners to read, send messags to:
Penalty For Private Use, $300
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-6180
PERMIT No. G268
PO Box 756180
University of Alaska Fairbanks
POSTAGE & FEES PAID U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
PRSRT STD Alaska Cooperative Extension