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Wasps; Management in the Home Landscape

April 30, 2019 — Would you like to know the difference between a wasp that might sting and those that are unable or unlikely to sting? How about do-it-yourself wasp management options that help you reduce the risk of being stung while also minimizing impact on the environment? Attend this workshop to learn more about what you can do before you call a pest management professional or apply a pesticide. We will go over the physical appearance and biological differences between common wasps around the home and yard, and effective methods for homeowners to reduce encounters with stinging wasps.

Emphasis will be on integrated pest management for homeowners: non-chemical options to prevent and suppress common stinging wasps, and the judicious use of least-toxic chemical options as a last resort. Following the interactive talk, the instructor will lead participants in a walk around the property to identify and discuss wasp habitat in the built environment. Tuesday, April 30, 2019 from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

Battle Ground Community Library, 1207 SE 8th Way, Battle Ground, WA 98604. FREE! No registration necessary. For more information: (564) 397-5738 or

See all of our workshops at

On the Road Tour – Spring Beauties

April 23, 2019 –It’s that time of year when faithful lovers of Holland America make their pilgrimage and pay homage to the beauty and diversity of the remarkable tulip, so we start our April Tour there. The founder, Benne Dobbe will be giving us an informal presentation of the Show Fields and Gift Shop. Next, we step back in time to Hulda Klager’s Lilac Gardens and breathe in the magic of this fragrant and gracious plant that welcomes spring into our gardens and hearts. A guided tour of the home and shopping opportunities await! Lunch will be at Los Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant in Woodland. Muy Bueno!

The last stop at All Seasons Company brings together growers and landscapers. They locate hard to find plants that excel in high quality. The knowledgeable staff is there to help the “do it yourselfer” – rounding out your early spring approach to your garden! Cost: $35 registration. Bring $5 CASH for the special guided tour at Hulda Klager Garden. Lunch: On your own at Los Pepe’s. Tues., Apr. 23, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Van transportation from Enterprise

Rent-A-Car, 9319 NE Hwy 99, Hazel Dell, WA. Online registration required by Apr. 15 For more information: 360-397-6060 x5738,

Made in the Shade Workshop

April 6, 2019 –Have you ever wanted to learn how to create your own oasis garden in the shade? Master Gardener Laura Heldreth will take you through the steps that she used to create her own oasis under mature Douglas fir trees. She’ll cover everything from light conditions, mulch, organic fertilizing methods, researching plant additions to her favorite plant choices. Be prepared to be inspired to grow plants made for the shade! April 6th from 2 to 3:30pm at the Camas Community Library, 625 NE 4th Ave, Camas, WA 98607. For more information; or 564-397-5738.

Container Gardening Workshop

April 1, 2019 –Learn how to apply garden design concepts and color principles to your beautiful garden containers. Fill your home, patio, or balcony with vegetable and ornamental container gardens. Join Laura Heldreth, WSU Clark County Extension Master Gardener and winner of the 2016 Fine Gardening Magazine container contest for an inspiring and educational experience. Learn to express your creativity as you find and design your own DIY containers out of salvaged objects. Participants will create small bouquets; please bring a small vase and garden clippers for a bouquet design exercise. Monday, April 1 from 4 to 5:30pm at the Three Creeks Community Library, 800-C NE Tenney Rd., Vancouver, WA 98685. For more information; or 564-397-5738.

Upcoming Regional Ag Events- 3.7.19

WSU Extension events at the 78th St. Heritage Farm are in bold, red font. All others are off-site

Off-site events that WSU Clark Co. Extension is involved in are in simple bold font.

Fliers for any select, starred *spotlight events* underlined.

March 2019:

3/8: Organic Table Grape Management Workshop. OSU Extension Small Farms Program. Rickreall, OR:

3/9: Ties to the Land 2019- Farm/Forest Succession Planning. WSU Extension Forestry Program. Chehalis, WA:

3/9: Field-to-Market Workshop Series. OSU Extension Clackamas County. Aurora, OR:

3/12: Webinar- Understanding Stress and Depression in Farmers and Ranchers. SDSU/Michigan State U/eXtension. Online:

3/12-14: Statewide/regional event- Healthy Soils, Healthy Region Workshop. WSU CSANR/OSU/U of I/USDA/WA State Conservation Commission/Okanogan Conservation District/NIDA/WA Potatoes. Pendleton, OR:

3/12: Webinar- Capitalizing on Soil Health Benefits: A California Farmers Perspective. USDA NRCS Soil health Division. Online:

3/13: Webinar: Protecting yourself and others on the farm. U-Maryland Extension/eXtension. Online:

3/13: Webinar- Getting started with quality hay and pasture. Michigan State U Extension/eXtension. Online:

3/14-4/11: Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Hybrid Course. OSU Extension Small Farms Program. Mid-Columbia Gorge (various locations), OR and Online:

3/16: Soil Health in Orchard Systems Workshop. Thurston Conservation District. TBA Thurston County, WA:

3/19: Annual Caneberry Production Workshop. Northwest Berry Foundation. Woodburn, OR:

3/19: Agritourism 101. OSU Extension Small Farms Program. Salem, OR.

3/19: Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training 2-day Course. PSA/OSU Extension. Hood River, OR.

3/20: Webinar- Getting started with selling to wholesale buyers. Michigan State U Extension/eXtension. Online:

3/23: Clackamas Tree School. OSU. Oregon City, OR:

3/27-28: Statewide/regional event- 2019 Resilience for Land and Livestock Conference. Roots of Resilience. Pendelton, OR.

3/27-29: Youth Tractor Safety and Certification Course. OSU-NWREC. Aurora, OR:

3/27: Webinar- Soils and Salts: From Fertilizer to Tidewater. U-Maryland Extension/eXtension. Online:

3/27: Webinar- Breeding New Cultivars for Soil-enhancing Organic Cropping Systems in the Western Region. OFRF/eXtension/eOrganic. Online:

3/27: Webinar- Getting started with farm financial management: The next step. Michigan State U Extension/eXtension. Online:

April 2019

4/2-6/6: Online course- Principles of Vineyard Management. OSU Extension. Online.

4/2: Webinar- Benefits of Intercropping in Organic Systems. Oregon Tilth/USDA-NRCS. Online:

4/9: Webinar- Aligning Soil and Human Health. USDA NRCS Soil Health Division. Online:

4/10: *Clark County 78th St. Heritage Farm Master Plan Update- Community Open House*. Clark County 6-8 pm, Sixth-floor hearing room, Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver, WA:; anonymous online survey link for community input:

4/10: Webinar- Estate and Transition Planning Success. U-Maryland Extension/eXtension. Online, TBA:

4/13: Soil School 2019. West Multnomah/Tualitin Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Portland, OR:

4/24: Webinar- Predator Control for your Small Flock. U-Maryland Extension/eXtension. Online:

4/30: Webinar- Adapting Dry Farming Techniques to Vegetable Gardens. OSU Extension/eXtension. Online:

May 2019

5/8: Webinar- Keep it Legal!: Legal Considerations for Marketing Your Farm on Social Media. U-Maryland Extension/eXtension. Online:

5/29: Webinar- Meeting Weather Challenges in the Western U.S.: Organic Practices to Mitigate and Prepare for Climate Change. OFRF/eXtension. Online:

If you know of other events that may be relevant to this list, please feel free to bring it to my attention. Events for this list should contain a substantial educational component related to commercial agriculture. Events greater than 120 miles from Clark County, WA are generally not included, but occasional exceptions are made for unique, rare, and/or high-demand statewide/regional events.

Cultivating The Urge to Grow Veggies at Home


Published in: Columbian • February 12, 2019, 6:05AM

By Susan Cox, WSU Extension

A supermarket tomato simply can’t compare in taste to a ripe tomato fresh off the vine. Vegetables that are typically picked early for supermarkets have more nutrients when they are allowed to appropriately ripen before picking. Supermarkets don’t provide the full range of vegetable varieties available to the home gardener. If you agree with these statements and you aren’t already a gardener, why not make 2019 the year you give gardening a try?

There are four key criteria to get started: sufficient sunlight, access to clean water, protection from wind and quality soil.

Most vegetables prefer eight hours of sun daily. Your garden should be positioned to avoid sun blockage from trees, shrubs, fencing or buildings. You can also paint nearby fencing or siding white to increase light reflection.

If you have a lot of shade, you can still try growing plants with low light requirements like leafy greens, asparagus, garlic and leeks. If these grow well, try branching out into medium light plantings like beans, radishes and peas.

Watering can be done by hand, sprinklers or irrigation. Regardless of method, the water source needs to be easily accessible. Repeatedly carrying heavy watering cans to the garden can quickly dampen your enthusiasm for gardening!

If your yard is subject to wind, your plants will need a wind break to protect them from both the wind and the debris wind can carry. Plantings or fencing can do the trick.

The last essential is soil that can sustain the plants. There isn’t enough room here to discuss all the elements that make good soil, how to test it, how to develop good soil over time, and how to work with the soil to optimize its texture for planting, but there’s a lot of information online to help.

If you have plants growing in your garden space now, it’s likely to be able to sustain a garden with the addition of some compost. If your desired site is rocky or full of dense clay that doesn’t drain, don’t despair! You can grow plants in containers or you can purchase or construct frames to build a raised bed on top of this undesirable soil and fill the frame with purchased soil mixes.

If you opt for a raised bed, be sure the width allows you to access the whole bed: if it’s against a fence, don’t make it wider than about three feet so you don’t have to stretch too far to reach the other side. If it’s not right next to other structures, think about how you’ll maintain the area around it (for example, leave enough space for your mower to get around the bed).

A couple of other considerations are accessibility for wheelbarrows and such and protection from critters that might eat or disturb your crops. Deer need eight foot fencing, but dogs, cats and rabbits can be deterred with shorter fencing. Just make sure you either leave enough space between fence and bed for you to fit while working in the beds or have a way to open the fencing to access your plantings.

When you first start gardening, it’s a common mistake to be too ambitious and plant too much. Start with a few veggies you really love and then use what you learn this year to expand next year. Draw a plan, record what and when you plant, and make notes throughout the growing season on what works and what doesn’t so you don’t make the same mistakes next year.

When you plan your garden, normally you’ll want the tallest plants in the back (northern side) graduating to the shortest in the front; however plants like lettuce prefer some shade and you can place them behind your tallest plants (like tomatoes, trellised beans or corn) to provide the cooler atmosphere they prefer.

Use the instructions on the back of seed packets to evaluate plant spacing needs, though you can often plant a bit more densely than the packets recommend. Square foot gardening is a popular technique that uses even denser planting techniques to make the most of available space.

Because our SW Washington temperatures are cooler than other areas or the country, you’ll need to add additional “days to maturity” to seed packet estimates: from 10 days added for varieties that typically harvest in 40-50 days up to 30 days added to varieties that normally harvest in 100 days.

If you have enough light and space indoors, you can start plants inside to get a head start. It’s particularly helpful to start long growing plants like winter squash indoors and transplant them when the weather warms to give them a chance to mature by autumn.

If this has given you an urge to plant, but you’d like to know a lot more before you start, please sign up for the two part workshop — sponsored by the Washington State University Extension Master Gardener Program — “Get Growing: Introduction to Vegetable Gardening,” which focuses on organic methods and the use of the square foot gardening technique.

From 9 am to 2:30 pm on March 2 and March 9, you’ll learn about soil preparation, crop selection, pest and disease management, irrigation and more. The first session is an interactive classroom session at the Clark County Operations Center and the second is a hands-on greenhouse session at the 78th Street Heritage Farm where you’ll start your own cool weather crops.

Cost is $35 and registration is required at Coffee and tea are provided; just bring a brown bag lunch. For more information, contact or call 397-6060, ext. 5738. For more about workshops, visit /workshops-events.

Read this Columbian article online.

Growing Vegetables in Your Hellstrip Workshop

March 23, 2019 — You know that strip between your sidewalk and the street that you can never figure out what to do with? Why not put it to use growing delicious vegetables your family can enjoy?! Join Master Gardener Laura Heldreth for a workshop on the process of transforming your parking strip into a vegetable garden; how to plan, plant, tend, and harvest this unique type of garden. The workshop runs 10:30am to noon at Three Creeks Community Library; 800-C NE Tenney Road; Vancouver, WA 98685.

Don’t have a parking strip on your property  but want to start growing your own veggies? Come anyway; Laura will also cover growing vegetables in containers. This workshop is perfect for those with limited yard space or those just getting started gardening. For more information: 360-397-6060 x5738 or Visit us at


Mason Bee Workshop

March 30, 2019 — The mason bee — our gentle friend and incredible pollinator. Most likely you have these busy native bees in your own yard; you just haven’t met them yet.

Join Master Gardener Vione Graham for an introductory workshop on mason bees. The presentation will cover their role in pollination, their life cycle and habitats and how we can protect these valuable creatures.

Get up and running in time for this mason bee season, now!

This workshop is put on in conjunction with Clark County Public Health – Solid Waste Outreach.

Saturday, Mar. 30, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the Washougal Community Library; 1661 C Street Washougal, WA 98671. Cost: FREE! No registration necessary.

For more information: (360) 397-6060 x5738 or Visit us online at

On the Road Tour – Garden Design Done Right

March 28, 2019 — Having a beautiful, healthy garden begins with a great design and thoughtful preparation. Come along as we begin our spring planning at Shorty’s Garden Center.

Award-Winning Landscape Designer, Vanessa Nagel, will present the Basics of Garden Planning necessary to increase both gardening success and enjoyment.

After browsing the nursery (and picking up goodies along the way), we will travel to Dragonfly Hollow, Vanessa’s demonstration garden, to see a practical example of thoughtful garden design.

Next, we will gather over lunch to enjoy the company of our fellow plant lovers.

Following lunch, we will take a trip to Right Irrigation Supply where owner Cindy Webb will coach us regarding simple, effective irrigation principles.

Thurs., Mar. 28 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Van transportation from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 9319 NE Hwy 99, Hazel Dell, WA. Cost: $35 registration.

Lunch: On your own at Frontier Public House.

Online registration required by Mar. 15

For more information: 360-397-6060 x5738 or

From a Master Gardener: Right tools makes garden tasks a pleasure

Home enthusiasts need a handful of well-chosen gadgets

By John Moore and Jack Bernhardsen, WSU master gardeners. Published: August 30, 2018, 6:02 AM

It seems that a gardener’s work is never done. Our hobby is not a passive one, and we should always be on the lookout for ways to reduce our workload.

One way to keep the workload under control and maximize your gardening enjoyment is to choose the right tool for the particular job at hand, use it properly, and then take proper care of it so it’s ready to perform the job the next time around.

Typical tasks

When you think about the tasks we do in the garden, it may seem that we need an awful lot of tools. But if we make a list of our tasks, put them into groups or categories, make a few thoughtful compromises, just a few well-chosen tools will be needed. In the home garden, common tasks that require a proper tool are: digging and tilling, planting and weeding, and cutting and pruning.

Right tool for the job

Digging and tilling require shovels, rakes and hoes. We’re generally standing for these tasks so tools should fit the user. The handle should be long enough so the user is not working at an odd angle, inviting back stress. In general, the handle should be as tall as the gardener.

Planting and weeding are aided by trowels, weeders and soil knives. These tasks are done with a short-handled tool that should fit the user’s hand for comfort, efficiency and safety. Tools should be sturdy enough to stand up to heavy use without being too weighty for the gardener. Avoid flimsy materials that will chip and rust easily. Stainless steel is a good choice for many of these items.

Cutting and pruning tools include loppers, saws and hand pruners. In choosing these tools, keep the maximum capacity in mind. Using an undersized tool can damage the plant, the tool and the user. There are many features available and a huge variety of price points. It’s not necessary to break the bank, just make sure that the tool is the right size for the job, fits your hand, and will take a sharp edge.

Keep tools sharp

Sharp tools are important to ensure that you get a clean cut, reduce fatigue, and avoid accidents that stem from overstressing the tool and your body. Most garden tools can be kept sharp with frequent use of a bastard file — so-named for the coarseness of the file’s cut, which is a medium one. Only use pressure on the forward stroke or your file won’t last long. Try to imitate the manufacturer’s bevel. Large tools, such as hoes and shovels, are fine with a large angle up to 45 degrees. Cutters such as pruners and loppers need to be very sharp. Use a narrower angle in the range of 20-30 degrees.

Cleaning saves time

Cleaning and disinfecting can save a lot of trouble in the long run. Cleaning keeps rust away and disinfecting prevents spreading disease from plant to plant.

A rag and wire brush can take care of cleaning, but disinfecting is another story. There are many methods to accomplish this task, but none of them is perfect. The effectiveness of products varies, and many of the solutions are corrosive to metal. Suffice it to say that there are plenty of over-the-counter household disinfectants that will work fine for the home gardener. After researching the issue, we learned that chlorine bleach can damage plants and is corrosive to metal. Steer away from it.

Lysol is a favorite because it’s generally effective, fast acting and noncorrosive.

Lubricate to preserve

Lubricating and preserving are critical tasks. However, there’s no consensus on the best way to accomplish them. A good oil such as linseed or tung, or furniture wax will work for wooden handles. Metal parts need an oil coating to inhibit rust keep operation smooth. Personally, we would never follow commonly suggested methods such as storing tools in sand soaked in used motor oil — these tools work in your garden! Use products with the least toxicity like linseed and mineral oil.

The authors would like to acknowledge and thank Bob Denman of the Red Pig Garden Tools in Boring, Ore. His presentation to the Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County inspired our deeper journey into the world of tools and tool care.

If you would like to dig deeper into the subject, please join us at 10 a.m. on Sept. 22 for a Tool Talk workshop at the Pacific Park Natural Garden demonstration site.

At this 90-minute workshop aimed at saving time, effort and money on your gardening adventure, our “Tool Guy,” Master Gardener Jack Berhardsen, will provide the answer to important questions like, “what’s the difference between a spade and a shovel” and “why should I care?’ We’ll also discuss how to cut down your workload, prevent the spread of disease, and how to care for your gardening arsenal.

So, whether you’re just beginning your gardening journey, or you’re needing to expand an already robust tool collection, join us. Everyone is welcome.

Bring a lawn chair and your work clothes. We’ll do some maintenance in the demo garden after the workshop.

This workshop is put on in conjunction with Clark County Public Health – Solid Waste Outreach. Information is at 564-397-5738 or Visit us online at