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Home and Garden Show: The Place to Be Next Weekend

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Saturday, March 15th (9-5) and Sunday March 16th (9-4), rain or shine, is the Union Democrat-sponsored Home and Garden Show. Businesses from around the county will display their wares and entice the show goers with a wide array of products and supplies to enhance their homes and gardens. Many will offer drawings for services and merchandise.

The Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County will host a booth containing literature on a vast variety of subjects for the home gardener. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. Each day there will be drawings for both a blue bird house and a bat house. The name of the winner of a large garden container filled with all sorts of garden goodies will be drawn on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Visitors can also choose to guess the number of poppy seeds in a jar to win a small garden basket which also will be awarded at 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Winners of these drawings need not be present to win. Packets of California poppy seeds will be available to everyone while supplies last.

Each day there will be demonstrations by Master Gardeners. We start off each day at 12:00 p.m. with a composting demonstration by Becky Miller-Cripps. Compost is your garden´s best friend. Let Becky show you how easy it is to compost leaves, trimmings, and kitchen waste to make a wonderful additive for your soil. Your plants will love you for it.

Following at 1:00 p.m. will be yours truly, putting together a living garden Easter basket. When completed, it will be given to one of the children in the audience. A living garden Easter basket is a way of getting children interested in gardening and a way for you to provide an Easter basket with candies and toys of your choosing.

Next up at 2:00 p.m. Master Gardener Erin O´Hare will demonstrate vermicomposting. If you have a small garden without a lot of waste or just don´t want to haul those kitchen scraps out to a compost pile, then you´ll want to watch and listen to this demonstration. Vermicomposting is the practice of using worms to create a rich garden amendment just by feeding the worms all your kitchen scraps. And the best part is that the worm bins can be kept on your back porch, easy to monitor and feed. Erin will have her worm bins for you to see and information on how to get started.

A new and exciting project is being sponsored by the Master Gardeners this year and we will be supplying information regarding this endeavor at the Home and Garden Show. "Plant a Row for the Hungry" (PAR) is a nationwide program that asks gardeners to plant one row in their garden to grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, or herbs to be donated to a local food bank and/or soup kitchen. Our Project Coordinator, Master Gardener Ron Maria, will have brochures describing the program as well as handouts as to the various agencies in Tuolumne County that will accept your donations.

The PAR program was started in Anchorage, Alaska when garden columnist Jeff Lowenfels, former Garden Writers of America president, asked gardeners to plant a row of vegetables for Bean´s Cafe, an Anchorage soup kitchen. That was in 1994. The program has grown exponentially through continued media support, individual and company sponsorship and volunteerism. The total produce donations through 2005 reached nearly 10 million pounds of produce to help those in need in communities throughout the United States and Canada. When you consider that each pound of food makes four meals, the number of hungry people served is quite significant. The Master Gardeners would like to help feed our community´s hungry citizens with your help. Stop by our booth and talk to Ron and pick-up a brochure to help us do just that.

The Master Gardener Garden Tour is just a few months away. Sunday May 18th to be exact. Tickets for the Garden Tour will be available for purchase in our booth. This is the first year that tickets will be available at the Home and Garden Show. Tickets are $10.00 each. There are four beautiful gardens on this year´s tour plus a rest and refreshment stop at the Master Gardener´s Demonstration Garden in Sonora. So be sure and get your tickets when you stop by our booth.

If you forget the lineup of demonstrations, don´t worry. There will be a listing displayed in the Master Gardener booth. Stop by, ask a question, watch a demonstration, sign-up for the drawings, pick up UC Extension information brochures, talk to Ron about PAR and buy Garden Tour Tickets. There´s something for everyone.

The Master Gardeners will be looking forward to meeting you!

Carolee James started out making living Easter baskets for her grandsons. Now she makes living baskets for all occasions using flowers, herbs and grasses.