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Marin IJ Articles

Green thumbs at the Marin County Fair

  • Wendy Irving
  • Here comes the annual Marin County Fair! This year’s fair theme is All for One/Fun for All. Not only is the fair, which runs through July 4 at the Marin County Civic Center Fairgrounds, full of all sorts of funs and food, but there are many displays of local talent from arts to culinary arts, floriculture/horticulture to livestock breeding.

    This is a favorite time of year for UC Marin master gardeners. Not only do we participate in the Marin County Fair, but we also use the occasion to reach out to the community to find those with an interest in joining us to help fulfill our mission to extend research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management and sustainable landscape practices to the residents of Marin County and, just as important, to learn, share and have fun doing it.

    Wondering about how to get the most out of your vegetable garden this year or concerned about pruning your favorite rhododendron? Stop by our booth — just across from the ever-popular pig races — from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. We are there to answer your gardening questions, as well as share information about our organization. Members of our edibles guild and pruning guild will be on hand to offer techniques and demonstrations throughout the day.

    UC Marin master gardeners is a group of more than 300 trained volunteers who work as non-paid staff members of the University of California Cooperative Extension. There are master gardener programs in 50 counties across California; our Marin group is one of the largest and most active.

    UC Marin master gardeners has a free help desk in Novato, next door to the California Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures. We publish a free quarterly email newsletter available to all residents of Marin full of gardening tips and advice. We conduct public seminars, events and classes on a wide array of gardening and horticultural subjects, including Marin Garden Walks, demonstration gardens, community gardens, native plant propagation and youth programs, including our participation in Marin County’s Farm Day, also at the Civic Center. We also has information tables at farmers markets in San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley and Point Reyes, not to mention the ever-popular annual tomato markets in Greenbrae and Novato in April. And every Saturday, you can check this space in the IJ for an article of current interest written by a UC Marin master gardener.

    Do you love to garden? Are you interested in continuing to learn about gardening and horticulture, and sharing that learning with others? Are you interested in volunteering in your community? You just might be a candidate for the UC Marin master gardeners program. You will work with fellow gardening enthusiasts, gaining scientifically sound knowledge about the life of the garden, and putting what you know into practice for the benefit of home gardeners, the community and the environment. Master gardeners also encourage sustainable landscape practices, support the creation of local food sources and promote interest in gardening among young people.

    Applications are available this month online at marinmg.ucanr.edu It will supply all the information you need to apply plus give you a comprehensive overview of the training program, our organization and what we do. You can also pick up one at the help desk in Suite 150-B at 1682 Novato Blvd. in Novato.

    See you at the fair!