Coconino Master Gardener Association

Another beauty from Cindy Murray. Swallowtail butterfly on phlox.

Welcome to the Coconino County Master Gardeners' Association Blog. The mission of the Coconino Master Gardener Program is to support the University of Arizona by providing researched-based information on environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping to the public.
The program creates a corps of well-informed volunteers, and delivers quality horticultural education programs adapted to our regional high elevation environment. The mission of the association is to provide support for those volunteers and Master Gardener graduates, continuing education, and opportunities to participate in community programs that increase the visibility and participation in the Master Gardener Program.
On this site you will find gardening news, links, a calendar for local events, volunteer opportunities, book reviews, agenda/minutes for our association monthly meetings, and association documents and contacts.
The Coconino County Master Gardener Association was founded in 2009 by a small group of master gardeners with the help of Hattie Braun the Director of the MG Program. After several small meetings it was opened to all master gardeners on May 21st, 2009. Meetings are held monthly on the 2rd Thursday of each month from 6:30pm - 8:30pm. We meet at the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (1601 N. San Francisco). The agenda usually includes continuing education and a short business meeting. Watch this blog for the agenda and minutes for all meetings. Contacts for the association (officers and committee chairs) are listed at the bottom of this blog.

Reporting Master Gardener Hours

All master gardener trainees and certified master gardeners need to report their hours.
Beginning in 2010 certified master gardeners need to have 6 Education hours and 12 Volunteer hours in order to maintain certification.The on line reporting system allows you to report Education or Volunteer hours.
If you have any questions or concerns about the new reporting system, please contact Crys Wells or Hattie Braun. Their contacts are listed at the bottom of the blog under
Link to reporting

Ideas for hours------
--Attend monthly meetings
--Work on an association committee
--Work at an informational booth for the Master Gardeners
--Be a speaker about gardening topics at a variety of venues

--Host a garden tour
--Work at the home show
--Work at a MG site (Olivia White Hospice, the Arboretum, Riordan Mansion, or school gardens (many others)). Check out the Assoc. Doc. & Forms under Volunteer Sites.
--Work in the Extension office
--Write an article for the newspaper column -Gardening Excetera
-Volunteer with the Seed Library
Be creative! There are many ways to fulfill your hours. Just remember for volunteering it needs to be a non-profit endeavor or an approved for profit site.

Change in Contact Information

Have you moved or changed your e-mail address, but would still like to be contacted about high elevation gardening information from the Extension? The Coconino County Extension Master Gardener Program has a site that will let you change your information on-line.

Click here to change your contact information!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Master Gardener Meeting Minutes 8/8/2013

Continuing Education
Todd Cislo – Extremes of Growing in Flagstaff

Todd Cislo has been gardening in Flagstaff for more than 20 years, dealing with extreme cold, high intensity sun, poor soil, lack of moisture, hail, and wind. Because our soils lack organic matter, he emphasized that you should not be afraid to amend your soil – add a lot of organic matter and keep adding it. Also, because our soils are very alkaline do not be afraid to add pine needles.  They take a long time to decompose so they are best used as mulch to shade the soil but do not worry if you mix some into your soil.

Todd gardens all year in Flagstaff.  He does have a greenhouse, but he mainly uses home-built hoop houses to garden.  His beds are raised beds - either native rock or cinder block.  The rock and cinder block hold heat. For the hoop houses, he uses ½ inch PVC pipe set about 12 inches into the ground for the frame and heavier frost cloth for the covering.  He uses sandbags or rocks at most of the corners to secure the cloth. His beds are generally about 20 feet long and about 3 feet wide so that they are easy to reach into from either side.  To vent the hoop houses, he attaches a length of PVC pipe to the frost cloth, rolls the pipe up the side of the hoops and fastens it to a hoop.  When it gets really cold, he places a second layer of frost cloth on small hoops inside the larger hoops.  The small hoops are closer to the plants and the two layers keep the plants warm enough. The hoop houses are very flexible so they survive high winds by leaning over and springing back up. When it snows, he just brushes the snow off.

He generally grows cold hardy greens, onions and garlic in the winter. One advantage of gardening during the winter is that there are no bugs, and you only have to water once every two weeks or so. 

Todd also showed us the hail damage to the garden from a storm in July. His garden was heavily damaged.  If he had been home at the time of the storm, he could have put the covers over the hoops and could have prevented at least part of the damage.

A few more gardening tips he gave included the strategic use of bird feeders to lure the birds away from his garden and using Neem oil to kill bugs on the plants and to cure powdery mildew.

He based his winter gardening on Eliot Coleman’s “Winter Harvest Handbook”.  A garden tour of Todd’s garden is planned for sometime in the not too distant future.

Thanks to Andrea and Galen Guerrette for the refreshments!

Business Meeting – Debi Stalvey

Financial report – Linda Guarino/Crys Wells

There are now 87 members – two more joined at the meeting.
MG Program Happenings (class) – Hattie Braun

Hattie reported that 11 people had already signed up for the class. The class will begin on September 4. She can take up to 35 people in the class.
Hattie will send out invitations for the Recognition Picnic, September 8, 4-6 p.m., Ft. Tuthill.

Committee Reports:

Continuing Education – Jim Mast

Programs are set through November.  Loni Shapiro will talk about planting fall bulbs in October.  Deb Noel will talk about historic gardens and gardeners of the United States in November.

Community Markets – Sherline Alexander

The August Community Markets are covered.
Volunteer Support – Crys Wells

July volunteer hours: 603.5 education hours: 102.25.  Volunteer hours for 2013 to date: 2803, education hours: 601
Epiphany Episcopal Church on Beaver Street has an approved master gardener project.  They will be creating a garden based on biblical plants and will have plaques containing biblical quotes. The garden will be open to the public and volunteers are welcome.
Gardening Questions?

Q. I have tons of lacewings in my garden – how do I keep them?

A. Provide food for the adults. Adults feed only on nectar, pollen, and aphid honeydew. The larvae are the predators.

Q. Aphids – can you put them in your compost?
A. If your compost is working well at a temperature of at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit, it should kill them.

Q. If your basil blooms, can you still harvest?
A. Yes, pick off the blossoms and continue harvesting.

Q. What are all those seedlings coming up?
A. Mostly pine seedlings. The seeds sprouting now are from 2-3 years ago. See the article in the August 9, 2013 Arizona Daily Sun ( A lot of the other seedlings are elms.

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