Coconino Master Gardener Association

Currently, warblers of several species are migrating through Flagstaff towards Canada and beyond. The Yellow Warblers, like this little guy are often an exception. They frequently choose to remain in Flagstaff throughout the summer. All of the warblers are busily searching the innermost branches of shrubs and trees for insects.
Photo by Cindy Murray.

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!

Event Calendar

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Flagstaff's Home and Garden Show

The Coconino Master Gardeners will have a booth again this year at the Home and Garden Show. The dates are April 10-12. The show is at NAU Fieldhouse and is free all 3 days this year. We will be doing our usual garden lectures each day. Here is the schedule:

Friday – April 10                                                              
Noon         Ed Skiba                   One Hole at a Time: Proven preparation tips for planting
1:00 PM    Jim Mast                  Just Tomatoes: Tips and techniques for growing tomatoes in Flagstaff
2:00 PM    Dorothy Lamm      Invasive Plants: Learn to identify and deal with invasive weeds
3:00 PM    Linda Guarino        Plant Propagation: How to multiply your plants through stem cuttings
4:00 PM    Matt Schmechtig  Pruning Trees, Shrubs and Perennials: Landscape pruning tips
                                                    and  techniques for the home gardener

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Volunteer Opportunities

I have been a volunteer with RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program)for more than 15 years. During that time I have worked for many non-profits and had great fun meeting many other seniors in Flagstaff. My work for them over the years has mostly been with gardening (the Arboretum) and the Senior Companion program. I did a 5 year stint with AARP Driver's Ed for seniors, and  recently with vets. Others work with educational programs for children. In the last couple of years their efforts have become more focused and include more gardening sites. Michele Lytle, who you may remember from the Extension Office is now heading up RSVP. She is a master gardener and has added some more gardening opportunities to their volunteer program.  I have learned that this program is important not only for those who are helped, but especially for those volunteering. Check out this great opportunity to hear more about it.

There is an information event to learn more about RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) a program of Senior Corps hosted by Northern AZ University.  The program is for those 55 and up. There are many focused volunteer opportunities which include Gardening, Education, and Helping Veterans and Military Families.  Join us to learn more about Senior Corps and RSVP!  This is at the U of A Cooperative Extension office on at 2304 N. 3RD St. on March 24th from 1030-1130am. I am attaching the flyer for you to post and share with friends.
Loni Shapiro
CMGA, Education Chair

"Gardening does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized." - Allen Armitage

Monday, March 16, 2015

CMGA Monthly Talk for March

Nichole Gregory
Photo by Tammy Valdovino
The CMGA would like to thank Nichole Gregory for giving her time for  a wonderful talk on Starting Seeds on Thursday. Nicole has been a resident of Flagstaff for the last 7 years. She took the MG Class in 2012 and has been avidly growing seedlings each spring ever since.  She spent the hour showing photos of her garden and seed starting. Indoors/outdoors/ and a combination were covered. She talked about all the needs for seedlings in detail - light, water, good soil, air, and fertilizer. One tip I learned about light is that it needs to be al around the plant not just on one side in a sunny window. This can best be accomplished by an overhead light (preferably florescent) and possibly using mirrors if you don't have this.

The best part of the talk for me was all the many aspects she covered on doing it sustainably. One tip was using a trays that are just seed flats from the nursery, or cardboard box tops for paper boxes (from the office) covered with a plastic trash bag, and secured with tape, so they are able to hold water. Then the cardboard rolls (toilet paper or paper towels), egg cartons, or paper cups are just lined up inside, filled with dirt and labeled. To water, pour the water into the tray and allow the plants to soak it up from the bottom

Toilet paper roll with a paper towel on
on the bottom held in place with a
Photos by Nichole Gregory

Last month, Kim Costian talked about soil and although she didn't discuss this, she is also a strong believer in watering seedlings from the bottom. Less problems with overwatering and less water is used. Nichole puts these little tubes directly in the ground when ready to transplant, as they will break down on their own. The less the roots are disturbed the better when transplanting.

One practical tip I learned was using a bit of garlic or chamomile in the water you use to start seeds. It is anti bacterial and may help prevent some of the dampening off by sterilizing the seed and medium. Another reminder about water was tepid - avoid cold or hot water and let it sit for 24 hours to decrease the chlorine content. Over watering and unsterile soil can also contribute to dampening off.

If you have any specific questions or problems you can contact her at

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 2015 Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes 3/12/15

Nicole Gregory – Starting Seeds - Both indoor and outdoor seed starting techniques and discuss some common issues with starting seeds, such as dampening off.  Discussed seed selection, storage, and the different germination needs of particular seeds. Demonstrated how to make two types of seedling pots out of recycled containers, and offered suggestions for how to ensure the strongest seedlings possible. The presentation was generic in nature, but broadly applicable to many different types of seeds.
Business Meeting – Jim Mast
MG Coordinator Happenings - Hattie Braun
·         Conference
o   Clara Coleman conference keynote speaker.  Sept 19th.
·         Home Show
o   April 10, 11, and 12.  Set-up April 9th, tear-down April 12 and 13.  Still need a chair for this project.  This year will be free admission.  We will occupy 8 booths to accommodate talks.  Will not be at the Dome; it will be held at NAU Fieldhouse, located at 1050 S. Knoles Dr.
Financial report – Sue Madden
·         PayPal balance is $207.02.  We should transfer $188 to bank account, $60 aprons, $140 dues, $73 raffle,$20 donations, $46 calendars.  Current balance $5569.99 plus the PayPal balance.
Committee Reports:
Volunteer Support – Crys Wells
  • JoAnn Alarcon has volunteered to be on this committee.  She will be working with Crys.
  • In the month of February, 24 people reported 262 volunteer hours and 35.25 education hours.  YTD hours are 310.5 volunteer and 66.75 education.  The discrepancy between what is reported and the YTD are because some of those hours were for 2014
Fund Raising – Debbie James
·         Fall clean-up –Gili Thomas will chair the fall clean-up
MG Projects – Jackee Alston and Gili Thomas
·         33 projects approved – on the blog
·         Starting a seed library; contact information is on the blog
Community Markets – Andrea Guerrette
·         Starting May 17th ending October 18th 
8:25pm – 8:30pm             Gardening Questions?
Next meeting:                  April 9th - Ed Skiba – One hole at a time

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Master Gardener Meeting Agenda March 2015

Master Gardener Meeting Agenda 3/12/15
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
1601 N. San Francisco
6:30pm – 6:35pm               Welcome –Jim Mast

Announcements                  Meeting Raffle – $1 each or 6 for $5 - Must be present to win
·         Drawing will be held after refreshments and before the business meeting                                             

6:35pm – 6:40pm               Introduction of speaker Loni Shapiro

6:40pm- 7:45pm                 Continuing Education - Nicole Gregory – Starting Seeds
15 minute break
7:45pm-8:00pm                  Refreshments provided by Laurel Grubb, Debi Stalvey and Irene Mathews
and Raffle Prize Drawing 

8:00pm - 8:25pm                Business Meeting – Jim Mast

MG Coordinator Happenings - Hattie Braun
·         Conference
·         Home Show