The Garden Guy | Gardening advice is closer than you think

The 40 in-person clinics of the Master Gardener Program of King County may not be operational in 2020, but they have been replaced with access-friendly alternatives. For routine questions, gardeners can email their questions to the program at ask-a-mastergardener@ live.com, Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Working from their homes, volunteers from the county’s 600+ Master Gardeners will do their best to research and answer your questions.

If there is a need for a visual plant diagnosis, the program instituted a new online plant clinic where gardeners can show their problem plant, pest, or disease to participating Master Gardeners. These virtual clinics will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. More detailed information concerning both services be accessed at extension.wsu.edu/king/gardening/mg/.j.

Before contacting either program, home-owners are well-advised to do their research before submitting questions. For instance, they should determine:

l What type of damage can be seen and when did it start?

l Which parts of the plant are being impacted; flowers, leaves, stems, fruit, etc?

l How is the plant irrigated, e.g. sprinkler system three times a week for fifteen minutes?

l Where is the plant located, in a garden bed, in the lawn, perhaps next to the house or garage? How much sunlight does the plant receive and from which direction?

Yes, these are all small details. But, it is surprising the difference in conclusions and solutions that can be suggested by the responding Master Gardener when they learn all of the relevant information about the plant, insect and/or environmental issues. Help them to help you.

The Garden Guy | Gardening advice is closer than you think

Before this March and the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the classes were held at the Grange in Issaquah and El Centro de la Rasa in South Seattle. Now, both programs have transitioned to virtual classrooms. These may lack some of the spontaneity and atmosphere of traditional classroom settings, but, the information presented is every bit as spot-on and useful. King County’s Growing Groceries Program can be accessed at www.mgfkc.org/education/growinggroceries.

For the most recent information, gardeners are encouraged to visit the Washington State University Extension webpage at https://pubs.extension.wsu.edu/extension-publications and the King County Master Gardener Foundation webpage at https://extension.wsu.edu/king/gardening/gardening-tip-sheets/ for printable topical sheets on a wide variety of subjects, including soils, plants and fruits and vegetables, as well as insect and disease identification and remedies.

Do you have other gardening questions or concerns? Then, email The Garden Guy at gardenguy4u@gmail.com and let’s discuss your horticultural challenges. Happy gardening!

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