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New Master Gardener calendar debunks the myths

By: Gloria Young Home & Garden
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If you think all herbal remedies are safe and effective — not so. Or that you should prune only in winter — also wrong. These misconceptions are among many others that Placer County Master Gardeners set straight in their 2013 calendar. The 13-month Garden Myths Busted! is filled with informative articles, suggestions for what to plant each month and gardening to-do tips. New this year is a monthly list of what’s available at the farmers market. “We realized everyone doesn’t grow their own vegetables, but might want to purchase what’s in season,” calendar co-chairwoman Pauline Sakai said. “You can look at the month and see what’s in season and go t0 the farmers market and pick it up.” The yearly project is a labor of love for Sakai and co-chairwoman Pauline Kuklis. “I think about it all year,” Sakai said. Coming up with a list of myths to be busted is easy when you are passionate about gardening. “One of my pet peeves is when you see a tree and it has been totally topped,” Sakai said. “They didn’t pick the right tree for the right location. Some people mistakenly may think that is the right thing to do — that trees want to be topped. We try to say no, that’s not a good thing. ” “Pruning Trees, Art & Science,” the featured topic for June, includes a photo of trees that have been pollarded to create a canopy over a patio. Pollarding is not something that Sakai recommends unless you are an expert. “It requires yearly pruning do to it properly,” she said. “It requires a lot of attention. It’s better to select the right tree for the right place. Don’t top your trees.” A volunteer staff of 20 handles all the writing for the calendar. “The team is very cohesive. They know what to do,” Sakai said. “We click away as a machine. We have most of our writers back — two or three are new. The sales team is 100 percent intact.” Kuklis, as chief editor, goes over each article. “Basically I do the project management and the editing,” she said. “I make sure all the articles are written in a similar style and I check to see nothing is incorrect.” Then Kevin Marini, UC Cooperative Extension coordinator for the Master Gardener program, does a final review for technical accuracy. Kuklis also contributed one of the calendar articles — “Mixing Old with New,” busting the myth that online information is not reliable. It includes an index to some useful websites, organized by topic. “I’ll be interested to see if people actually check out those websites,” she said. Working on the project “is creative and a really good team of people and it seems to come together really well and it is just a lot of fun,” Kuklis said. She also appreciates the 2013 theme. “I think the whole concept that we were busting myths was interesting but it was a challenge because I had to come up with a way to make the articles call that out. That was a challenge and that was fun. The photos the team put together were really awesome this year, too.” August’s article, which passes along ideas for what to do with excess fruits and vegetables from the garden, includes a photo of a basket filled with vegetables in a rainbow of colors. “It was at Master Gardener Harvest Days in Sacramento and (the basket) was sitting there on a table. So I just snapped the picture,” Sakai said. “That was last year and I happened to have it in my stash of photographs. As a co-chair, I know what all the articles are and I have them in my mind if I see a ‘snappable’ moment.” Sakai takes about two-thirds of the photos that go into the calendar, although Auburn gardener and photographer Rick Krach took this year’s cover shot — bright yellow sunflowers against a brilliant blue sky. “I’m pretty proud of the photographs this year. They are good and representative of the articles,” Sakai said. In addition to the main theme, the calendar also promotes sustainable landscapes and composting. “Every year, you’ll see an article that encourages that theme,” she said. The 2013 calendar also celebrates the 30-year anniversary of the master gardener program in Placer County. Sakai has been working on the calendar project for so long, “it has become second nature,” she said. “It’s not a big chore for me. It’s very successful, very well received by the public. Everyone who works on the team has great pride in the product. ... What we produce is very educational and enjoyable and that pleases me. I just like all of that. And we do make money for our organization. It has become one of the key pieces for our organization.” The calendars are available through the master gardeners’ website — pcmg.ucanr.org — and at local nurseries and other vendors in Placer and El Dorado counties. Master gardeners also will sell them at the Auburn Fall Home Show Sept. 28-30 and the Mandarin Festival Nov. 16-18 at the Gold Country Fairgrounds. In addition, the calendars are available through the Master Gardener programs in El Dorado and Amador counties. Price for the calendars is $10 each from the Master Gardeners and slightly higher from retail vendors. The master gardeners also have a bulk rate of five calendars for $40. ------------ 2013 Master Gardener Calendar To purchase a calendar or view the list of vendors, visit http://pcmg.ucanr.org or call the Master Gardener hotline at (530) 889-7388 ’