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Are you a San Mateo or San Francisco County resident with an interest in science-based horticulture and sustainable gardening practices, and a desire to share your knowledge and skill with the public as a volunteer in your community?

Become a Master Gardener Volunteer

GivingDay Thank You
We send heartfelt thanks to our Giving Day 2023 donors! This year, your
generosity made an even bigger impact by helping us to win two Challenge prizes of $500 each! Your contributions go directly to our operating budget and go a long way to support the work we do for our communities. Thank you again so much!

To Prune or Not to Prune?

Photo by Thomas Johnson
Photo by Thomas Johnson
Tomato pruning isn’t always necessary. However, careful pruning can produce higher yields, provide sun protection and prevent disease.

Before pulling out your pruning shears, it’s important to know the type of tomato: indeterminate or determinate. Indeterminate tomatoes produce vines that continue to grow and produce fruit throughout the growing season. Determinate tomatoes, or bush tomatoes, stop growing when they set fruit.

Most tomato plants are indeterminate, and those are the ones to prune. For information on tomato pruning, visit UC IPM Cultural Tips for Growing Tomato.

Keeping Aphids Under Control

ladybug ucanr-square
It’s spring, the temperatures are warming and plants are growing. As you’re out in the garden, do you see small, pear-shaped insects on tender buds, shoots and veggies? These are most likely aphids and damage to plants can include leaf curl, sooty mold fungus, stunted growth and transmission of viruses to other plants. Check your plants regularly and hose off aphids with a stream of water to keep the populations down. Lady beetles (ladybugs) are voracious eaters of aphids. For more on how to manage aphids, click here.

Spring Soil Prep

Photo by Terry Lyngso
Photo by Terry Lyngso
Compost and mulch are great additions to the garden in early spring.  A thin layer of compost and cover of mulch provides many benefits to the soil and in turn the plants.  Supporting and growing the microbial life in your soil cycles nutrients to the plants and breaks up compaction, allowing water to move deeper into the soil.  To learn more about spring soil care, click here.

Plant for Pollinators

Photo by Ankith Choudhary via Unsplash.com
Photo by Ankith Choudhary via Unsplash.com
Pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths, and birds play an important role in pollinating your vegetable garden and supporting a healthy ecosystem.  However, habitat loss, disease, and pesticide use have contributed to the decline of these species.  You can help pollinators by selecting a wide variety of flowering plants, guiding pollinators to your garden by planting in groups rather than single plants, and providing a source of clean water.  For a list of pollinator-friendly plants, visit: Pollinators Are Unsung Heroes of Planet Earth

YouTube Channel - Latest Videos

  • MGGroup shot 2023
    Become a Master Gardener - Learn art, science of growing plants and communities

    This article was originally published in Coastside Magazine on May 26, 2023 Since 2016, Coastside Magazine has featured monthly articles written and edited by members of the San Mateo-San Francisco chapter of the University of California...

  • May 2023 Coastside mag cover
    Easy-to-Grow Plants for Spectacular Summer Sips

    The best cocktails are made from the garden! There are endless possibilities for infusions, syrups, and garnishes that can be easily grown in your plot or patio. Planting a cocktail is an easy and cost-effective way to customize your drinking experience....

  • April 2023 coastside mag cover
    Summer Tomatoes: What to Do Now for a Successful Season

    If you want to enjoy your own fresh, homegrown tomatoes this summer, April is the time to get started. Unless you are a hardcore gardener and start your own from seeds, most likely you will be buying young tomato plants (“seedlings”) from a...