High-Country Health Food and Cafe in Mariposa California

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Spring Garden Daydreams

Over the Garden FenceJanuary 30, 2023 - by Michele Nowak-Sharkey - Master Gardener of Mariposa County - In the winter months, more time is spent inside than outside when it comes to the garden. Although there are still things do such as pruning and mulching, the dreaming part of gardening is reserved for the colder, precipitation filled days of the year. This is the time to bring out those seed catalogs, check out seed company websites, put another log on the fire and let the dreaming begin!

However, before being swayed to purchase dozens of seed varieties by the photos of cauliflower bigger than a 4-year old’s head or tomatoes that only photoshop could make look so perfect, take a mind’s eye stroll through last year’s garden. Read your scribbled notes about plant failures or scroll through photos of your garden harvest. Refreshed in memory with the information learned from last year, you can view those veggie beauty pageant contestants with open eyes about what might be successful plants for your garden this year.

Treat your seed catalogs like a book

Chances are you will order from more than one seed company. The first step is to read your seed catalog like a book. Lots of valuable information is there under those glossy photos such as heat tolerance, disease resistance, planting zone, fruit color, fruit & plant size, taste, days to maturity and length of harvest. Compare cost. How many seeds are in the packet? Sometimes more seeds in a packet can mean more waste if your plot is small and you want to have a diversity of veggies in your garden.

Compare companies to get the varieties that fit your taste palette, usage, and the growing habits of your location, at a cost that won’t be too painful if all the plants do not thrive.

Work with what you got

Is your garden small or is your time limited? Choose vegetables that you really love, or ones that are best when super fresh or too pricey to purchase at the market.

Beginner?

If you are starting out, begin with easy to grow plants such as beans, beets, carrots, chard, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, peas, spinach, and squash.

For the more experienced gardener, it might be fun to pick one or two plants you have never grown or maybe even tasted. This year might be the one to try growing kohlrabi or bok choy!

If starting your garden from seed seems too much for this year, remember that local nurseries have starter plants. The cost will be a bit more than starting with seeds and the variety will be limited. Either way, if your goal is to thrill at watching a garden grow or hear the crack of the carrot as you chomp down, then start your spring garden daydreams today!

Remember the Master Gardeners of Mariposa are here to support you. Coming soon, details about our Spring Plant sale in April!


For assistance, contact our Helpline at (209) 966-7078 or at mgmariposa@ucdavis.edu. We are currently unable to take samples or meet with you in person but welcome pictures.

The U.C. Master Gardener Helpline is staffed; Tuesdays from 9:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. and Thursdays from 2:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. 
Clients may bring samples to the Agricultural Extension Office located at the Mariposa Fairgrounds, but the Master Gardener office is not open to the public. We will not be doing home visits this year due to UCANR restrictions.

Serving Mariposa County, including Greeley Hill, Coulterville, and Don Pedro
Please contact the helpline, or leave a message by phone at: (209) 966-7078
By email (send photos and questions for researched answers) to: mgmariposa@ucdavis.edu 

For further gardening information and event announcements, please visit: UCMG website: https://cemariposa.ucanr.edu/Master_Gardener
Follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mariposamastergardeners 

Master Gardener Office Location:
UC Cooperative Extension Office,
5009 Fairgrounds Road
Mariposa, CA 95338 

Phone: (209) 966-2417
Email: mgmariposa@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://cemariposa.ucanr.edu/Master_Gardener

Visit the YouTube channel at UCCE Mariposa.