Have you ever wondered what’s causing those little holes in your favorite plant’s leaves? Why its flowers aren’t turning to fruit? How to feed its soil? Wonder no more! The Pima County Master Gardeners Program (PCMG), part of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, is here to answer those and any other plant questions you might have. Submit any and all gardening questions at EdibleBajaArizona.com. Starting in the March issue, we’ll answer them in our Ask a Master Gardener column.
The goal of our 200 enthusiastic Master Gardener volunteers is to help you become a more successful gardener. We provide university research-based answers and resources through our plant clinic, library talks, garden tours, seminars, workshops, home garden consultations, publications, website, and many outreach programs. We want to help you enjoy gardening and grow healthy, vigorous plants. From cacti to fig trees, we can show you how it’s done.
Just who are these people who call themselves Master Gardeners (MGs)? Here are three examples of Master Gardeners who will be answering all your burning questions from the garden.
After moving to Green Valley from Kentucky for her husband’s job, Megan Todd found herself feeling homesick and trying to adjust to living in the desert. She loved gardening back home in Kentucky, so she planted some of her favorite plants here. But they didn’t grow as expected. So she sought advice from the Green Valley Master Gardeners.
Megan says that anybody can have a garden; she enjoys teaching people how to grow a variety of plants in containers in even a postage-stamp-sized yard. Megan serves on the raised bed edible garden committee and is eager to help others learn to grow their own fresh vegetables. She continues to volunteer with the Green Valley MGs to help residents and winter visitors oversee their own garden plots.
Murray DeArmond, a retired psychiatrist, joined the program in 1999 and has remained a steady and passionate volunteer ever since. Murray honed his gardening expertise by putting in hundreds of hours working in the MG Plant Clinic at our Cooperative Extension Office on Campbell Avenue. At the clinic, MGs answer questions from the public by phone, in person, and online.
“We are much more than just hands in the dirt,” he says. “We get the chance to do a variety of activities besides actual gardening.” Over the years, he has served on almost every committee the program has. On Thursday mornings he can be found with his shade hat and gardening gloves on, shovel in hand, helping to create a beautiful garden full of colorful flowers.
Wanda Bentley was a special education teacher and a 4-H leader in Arizona before she retired. In 1988 she led the first 4-H club in the nation for school-aged children with special needs. She brought her love of plants and flowers to the classroom, where she used gardening to help her students learn vocational and leisure time activities.
Wanda loves being part of the MG community and interacting with the array of people from all walks of life who share a common interest in helping to educate the public about the many benefits of gardens. She has contributed more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time. She believes that the MG program is a great way to learn how to grow from “farm to table.” She says, “If you want to eat really well, grow it yourself.”
Megan, Murray, and Wanda are just three of our many gardening experts. To benefit from their knowledge and become a more successful gardener, check out our Master Gardener programs. ✜
Pima County Cooperative Extension. Master Gardener Program. 4210 N. Campbell Ave. 520.626.5161.