Hands-On Succulent Container Design Class!

Join Goin Native Founder, Marianne Taylor on Saturday, August 19th at 11AM, for a Succulent Container Design Class, where you can craft your very own garden centerpiece in a 14 inch glazed ceramic container. Learn and create in the outdoor setting of Reata Park & Event Center. Sign up below for this unique opportunity for only $125.00 (includes all materials, supplies, and a 14 inch glazed ceramic container).

Hands-On Succulent Container Design Class

Saturday, August 19, 2017 // 11:00AM Reata Park & Event Center 28632 Ortega Highway San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

For inquiries about having Marianne come teach your community group, business, guests, etc., please email info@goinnative.net.

Sign Up Here

 Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens is the result of a  girl with big dreams of making the world a more  beautiful place, one garden at a time. Marianne  has a passion for teaching people how to provide  for themselves using sustainable resources in their  own garden. She is a certified UCCE Master  Gardener of Orange County.

Smart Gardening 101!

This weekend, come to a free Smart Gardening 101 Class on Saturday, July 29th from 9:30am-11:00am at Reata Park & Event Center, 

Designing Small Container Gardens.

 Join Goin Native and the UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners for this, and other amazing Smart Gardening 101 classes!

Learn More Here

About the UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners

The University of California Cooperative Extension was formed in 1918 to provide vital research-based information to growers and their families in this agriculturally rich community. The landscape has changed a bit but the mission of education and training has not. UCCE has unique access to UC research to provide a great resource for our gardeners here.

The Master Gardener program cultivates a growing number of volunteers trained to help residents of Orange County become better gardeners. They make an initial commitment of over 50 classroom hours and 50 volunteer hours. Each subsequent year they contribute at least 25 volunteer hours and 12 hours of continuing education.

Bug Hunting

Us gardeners can often hear the word bug and cringe a bit.  But the truth is that not all those insects are necessarily pests in the garden.  There are certainly beneficial insects that can help with pollination or even pest control themselves.  To expand this mindset of insects as beneficial, Thomas Christopher of Garden Rant has a friend who has created a habitat specifically designed to encourage insects and has started to identify them one by one.  Check out some of the results below!

9 Tips From Professional Organic Farmers That'll Work Wonders In Your Own Garden

Organic gardening is a great way to go in terms of resource management and environmental impact.  Chances are you don't have a large farm or plot of land but you can still take some good tips from professional organic gardeners.  Fritz Stahlbaum over at Rodale's Organic Garden lists out some of the best advice we can glean from the professionals.  From creating the ideal soil, to watering plans, to battling pests, these are some great ideas you can take into the backyard.

10 Key Tips For Growing Squash

With the end of summer and the coming of fall, you will likely be seeing squash popping up at farmer's markets.  There is an opportunity to actually grow your own if you want to take the plunge.  Like any other vegetable or plant, there are methods and strategies to ensure you get the best yield from your planting.  The staff at Rodale's Organic Life have come up with a list of tips on everything from sowing, watering, pollination, fighting pests and diseases, and harvesting.  Check it out!

California Native Plants on the Op-Ed Pages

The drought here in California has many people and municipalities thinking about how to truly conserve water.  Low water landscaping is a big category, though and just because a landscape lacks grass, doesn't mean it's environmentally sustainable.  There are a number of recent op eds crowing about the benefits of using California native plants that will provide proper filtration and habitat area.  Steven L. Hartman of the California Native Plant Society recently went through these writings and noted the trend toward California friendly landscaping.  Check it out and visit Los Rios Park or Reata Park and Event Center if you need inspiration for your own garden!

Dirt Therapy: A Beginner's Guide to Healthier Soil

With autumn settling in and the leaves starting to fill your yard, this is the perfect time to begin composting. Composting is great for all gardeners because it improves soil, which in turn prevents plant diseases. And it can even reduce harmful greenhouse gases. I often call composting the lazy person’s guide to gardening. You don’t really have to think about it once you get going. With the right compost bin and evenly mixed greens and browns, you’ll see amazing results in a few months. The “black gold” you’ve created for the healthiest soil will grow the healthiest plants.

How to Get Started

There are several types of containers to choose from. A simple rubber trash can makes a great compost bin—it fits in small spaces, has a lid to keep animals out and is easy to move around the garden. Be sure to drill holes along the sides and bottom in order for air to circulate the decamped matter you will place inside. Raise the trash can on bricks so material doesn’t stagnate inside bin. Add uncooked vegetable scraps, dried leaves, grass clippings and disease-free plant material. It is helpful to chop the vegetables into small pieces so that they will break down quickly. Keep moist by adding water and be sure to turn every week—you can roll the trash can on its side with the lid on or take a long wooden stick or rebar to stir. Don’t make it too heavy with material that you can’t stir. The compost will be ready in a few months.

I prefer repurposed wooden pallets to create my compost bin. It’s inexpensive, easy to turn material, naturally aerates the decomposed matter and keeps the pets away. I wire three pallets together to form a U shape and start adding waste in a ratio of three “browns” to one “green.” Browns are carbon-rich materials and include wood chips, straw, branches and leaves. Greens provide nitrogen and include grass clippings and kitchen scraps, like eggshells and carrot tops. Be sure to add water as you layer your material and use a pitchfork to turn once a week. Don’t let the pile dry out. If it starts to smell, add more browns.

What Can You Put in Your Composter?

  • Uncooked vegetables and fruits—be sure to cut them up into small pieces so they will break down faster. This is helpful with a small compost bin.
  • Grass clippings
  • Dried leaves
  • Disease-free plant material
  • Shredded paper
  • Avoid sticks and woody plant materials because they will not break down.

How to Tell if Compost is Ready

When it’s ready for use—which could take anywhere from a few months to a year—compost looks and smells like very dark soil. If you’re unsure, put it to the baggie test: place a small amount in a plastic bag and take a whiff before sealing. Then place the bag in a drawer for a few days. When you open the bag, the sample should smell the same as it did before. If it smells worse, your compost needs more time in the pile.

Want to learn more? Join Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens and the UCCE Master Gardeners of OC for a free Compost 101 class on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Los Rios Park in San Juan Capistrano. Meet near the grape arbor and restrooms in inside the park. RSVP to marianne@goinnative.net or call 949.606.6386.

Marianne Taylor, of San Juan Capistrano, is the founder and executive director of Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens, a 501(c)(3) teaching gardening and life skills as a way of empowering, engaging and connecting people. Goin Native focuses on educating local families, special needs adults, seniors, at-risk youth and members of the military.

Drought Costs California Farms $600 Million, but Impact Eases

Aside from restrictions on our personal water usage, the current drought here in California had an impact on the agricultural industry as well. How much of an impact? Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee reports that the drought is costing farmers $603 million, which is actually much less than a year ago. This is due to having to let a significant amount of farmland go fallow and also having to actively pump groundwater to make up for shortages. Check out the full article below!

Clever animation reveals hidden cost of deforestation in less than 1 minute

What's a biotop? Essentially it's a habitat with a consistent environment that supports a stable array of wildlife. As we know, ecosystems are incredibly interconnected and changing the balance at one level has ramifications well down the food chain. Polish graphic designer Jola Ba?kowka has created a great short animation to illustrate these effects, specifically long term strategy to help save wild tigers by restoring their habitats. The Mother News Network has a great explanation of the video and its background.

Create a Secret Garden as a Therapeutic Outdoor Space

At Goin Native, we obviously love the idea of the garden as a therapeutic space. For us, it can be a space to work with our hands and also let the garden work on us. It gives us a soothing connection to the land and a sense of calm. The concept of a secret garden fits right into this mindset as it creates a relaxing space to enjoy the garden and heal. Stephanie Rose of Garden Therapy takes a tour of some secret gardens and details her own secret garden she created. Check those out below!

Gardens of Alcatraz

When we think of Alcatraz, the former island prison in San Francisco, we probably think of a barren and foreboding rock in the middle of San Francisco Bay. But it turns out there's more than meets the eye on The Rock. Saxon Halt of Gardening Gone Wild took a trip and documented the gardens, which were planted starting in the 1920s. Check out the views and even book a garden tour!

Why We Need to Keep Rivers Cool with Riverside Tree Planting

In Britain, a movement is a foot to combat rising river temperatures. As cool water fish are struggling in these rising temperatures, the Keep Rivers Cool campaign, noting that shade can reduce river temperatures by an average of 2-3C, are asking for a joint effort to try and preserve the river ecosystems. The writers at The Ecologist give a great overview of their efforts.  Read more about it below!

Monday Morning Gardening: Avocado Drop

Are you losing too many avocados from your tree before they are ripe due to immature fruit dropping off early? An avocado tree typically can produce up to about one million flowers but will typically only set about 100 to 200 fruit per tree. Or in other words, 1 fruit in 10,000. Sometimes they will set fruit but then drop them when they are pea to walnut size. Again this is typical.

To minimize fruit drop of good, fertilized fruit, avoid stressing the tree. That is, don't under or over water the tree. There has been research in Israel which suggests that fruit retention is also facilitated when there are other avocado varieties present to provide cross-pollination and that these crossed fruit have a higher tendency to stay on the tree. We also recommend not fertilizing with nitrogen from about April through mid-June, or applying only very low amounts during this time.

Good luck and may you enjoy many avocados this year!

3 Water Saving Tips You’ve Never Heard Of

Water saving can actually be an attribute of the landscape.  It has a lot to do with curves.  The contours of the land are natural characteristics that the human populations has flattened out over time.  But the good news is that it's not hard to create some in your own garden.  Here, Lisa Cahill of The Tree People Blog details the difference among swales, berms, and rain gardens.  Check it out and see if you can build your own!

Tomatoland 5 Years Later: A Conversation with Barry Estabrook

Barry Estabrook wrote an expose on the tomato industry, Tomatoland back in 2011.  Now, 5 years later, Morgan Childs of Kitchn caught up with Barry to see how things have progressed.  From an encouraging labor practices improvement, to slower than expected adoption of increased standards in our food economy, to a rise in the 'artisinal economy', Estabrook details some of the advances we've made since Tomatoland and how far we have to go.  Check it out!


Why Sunflowers 'Dance' to the Sun's Rhythm

It's pretty well known that sunflowers orient themselves toward the sun (giving them their name!) but do you know why they do this?  It is more than just wanting the sun on their face.  It turns out that an underlying scientific explanation involving circadian regulation is behind this delicate dance.  Check out this video, posted by Science that helps explain why those flowers follow the sun!

Monday Morning Gardening: What's Up With Vertical Gardening?

Have you ever noticed that there is always a new “fad” that takes the world by storm? (Need I say Pokemon GO?) Well, it happens in the gardening world too.  And while some of those fads can be a bit amusing, (Did you know that there is actually a Naked Gardening Day?) some of them dig in and hold on and become a part of the gardening world and we wonder, “Was there a time when we DIDN’T do this?” Vertical gardening is one of those “fads” that should be here to stay.  While in the 50’s and 60’s houses were built on sprawling lots, and a beautiful garden was a given, today’s world has smaller and smaller spaces and people that live in condo’s and townhomes want to garden too.  So along comes vertical gardening to help those who have big garden dreams, but don’t have the space.

On August 20th, Master Gardener Joan Whithorne will be giving a FREE presentation at Reata Park and Event center to giving you great information on taking your garden “vertical”.  Whether you or someone you know has a living space that doesn't accommodate their love of gardening, this is the class for you!  Joan will talk about the special needs of plants that are living in an environment that are more exposed to the elements and how to meet those needs without breaking the bank (or your back)!  Get ideas on how to design your up, up and away garden or just come and share ideas with people that have done it or want to do it.

So the next time that you think that you are out of space and you just don’t know what to do, don’t despair, look up and remember, vertical gardening is much more forgiving than exposing your garden on National Naked Gardening Day!

About the Author

Laurie Menosky has been in the UCCE Master Gardener program since 2007.  During this time she has taken her love of gardening from a level of modest interest to an all out passion. She has enjoyed learning more about growing edibles in the past few years, even though our ocean-side living often proves to be a challenge.  She enjoys working with other volunteers to help people understand simple and confident ways to incorporate gardening into even the smallest spaces.  Bringing a love of gardening to children is also so important and Laurie is proud that her grandchildren are enthusiastic gardeners.