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SJ Master Gardeners offer free workshops
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Master Gardner Harry Dedini, center, leads a discussion during Saturdays rose pruning clinic at the Manteca Senior Center Memorial Garden. The San Joaquin Master Gardeners are offering a series of free monthly workshops. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The free monthly workshop program offered by the San Joaquin Master Gardeners at the Manteca Public Library is making a comeback following its initial successful run last year.

Topics range from starting your own back-yard orchard and growing a vegetable garden to fill your dining table with fresh produce all summer long, to fertilizing your garden using food scraps from your kitchen or yard wastes and how to create a stunning garden using native California plants.

Attendance is not the only thing that is free at these workshops. Even the materials related to the day’s topic which are made available to participants at each class are free for the taking. However, a staff at the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener said that participants are asked to register for the class that they intend to attend “so we know what the headcount is going to be to tell us how many (materials) we are going to print.”

Those who want to attend the workshops are not required to bring anything either. The rest of the classes, which will be conducted by area Master Gardeners, will be held in the John McFall Room of the Manteca Library from 10:30 a.m. until noon on Saturdays. The library is located at 320 W. Center Street (tel. 209-937-8221).

All participants need to register a week prior to the class by calling the Master Gardener program at (209) 953-6100. In charge of the San Joaquin Master Gardeners is Marcy Sousa.

Below is the complete schedule of this year’s Master Gardeners workshops:

•March 17: From the garden to the table – Learn how to grow vegetables your family will enjoy all summer long.

•April 21: What’s bugging you? – Common garden pests and how to deal with them in an environmentally friendly way.

•May 19: Calling all garden helpers – Gardening for the birds, bees, butterflies and beneficals.

•June 16: Simply composting: Turning yard debris into garden gold. Learn how to improve your soil and the health of your plants by simply using your own kitchen and yard wastes.

•July 21: The grass could be greener on your side: How to have a healthy yet sustainable lawn.

•Aug. 18: Bulbs to bloom-seasonal beauty: Learn how to plant and care for bulbs.

•Sept. 15: Designing with California-friendly plants: Natural setting, less water, beautiful yard – a great combination for a stunning landscape.

•Oct. 20: Let’s plant a tree: Fall is a great time to add a tree to your landscape. Learn how to select, plant, stake and have a healthy tree in your yard for many years to come.

•Nov. 17: Refuse into resources: Learn creative ways to recycle and repurpose in your garden and landscape.