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On the Road Tour – A Day with Family-Owned Businesses

For over 70 years, the Schmidt Family has been “Growing New Ideas”. As originators of the Red Sunset ® Maple and introducer or co-introducer of more than 50 other patented or trademarked cultivars, the company is known as a premier source of deciduous trees cultivars and new introductions. Red Pig Garden Tools make garden tools old-fashioned way – by hand, with steel, fire, an anvil & sweat! These hand-crafted tools are stronger, sharper and will last longer than any others you can buy. You will also learn “How you use the tool is as important as the tool itself.”

For lunch we stop at family-owned Tollgate Inn in Sandy.

Al’s Garden Center in Gresham, a 3rd generation family business, is continually filled with fresh annuals grown in its own greenhouse and is well supplied with perennials, trees, shrubs and vines from Al’s other growing facilities. More than 75% of the shopping area is covered.

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Van transportation from Enterprise Rent-A-Car; 9319 NE Hwy 99, Hazel Dell, WA. Cost: $35. Lunch: On your own at the Tollgate Inn. Online registration required by Oct. 8 at 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 360-397-6060 ext. 5738 or Visit us online at

Seed Saving, Preserving the Bounty and Winterizing the Garden Workshop – Washougal

Sept. 29, 2018 –Join Master Gardeners Vione Graham and Jessica Burnett for a talk on putting the garden to bed. This is a hands-on workshop for folks that like to see and do!

Saturday, Sept. 29th from 11:00 AM to noon at the Washougal Community Library;

1661 C Street, Washougal, WA 98671.

Learn why seed saving – from harvesting to storing – is so vital, but easy to do at home.

Learn best practices for preserving to enjoy the fruits of your labor, including information about harvesting, the process of fermenting and finalizing to store fruit in a safe manner.

Learning how to clean and prepare tools, beds, and soils for the Spring will wrap up the whole adventure in the garden.

For more information: (360) 397-6060 x5738 or No registration required.

On The Road — Wine, Chestnuts and Coffee; the Taste & Sights of Fall

Chestnut on treeMASTER GARDENER PROGRAM — Workshops & Event

We start at Allen Creek Farm, a family owned 20-acre chestnut farm with 800+ trees. You’ll see the harvesting and processing that goes into creating roasted chestnuts. Across the country, there are very few chestnut growers who also process and mill chestnut flour on-site. Learn about delightful recipes using chestnut flour in time for the holidays!

Down the road we’ll stop in at Stavalaura Winery. This is a small-batch, family owned and operated vineyard and winery. Owners Joe and Beverly Leadingham have produced quality wines with unique character, not widely produced in Washington and Oregon. Wine tasting for a cost is available!

Lastly, the passion at Paper Tiger Coffee is for coffee, and the rich story that surrounds it. Care and dedication at every phase of the coffee’s journey from seed to cup produces superior results. Taste and see for yourself!


DATE/TIME: Tues., Sept. 18, 2018  •
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

TOUR BEGINS/ENDS: Van transportation from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 9319 NE Hwy 99, Hazel Dell, WA

TOUR STOPS: Allen Creek Farm, Ridgefield, WA Stavalaura Winery, Ridgefield, WA
Paper Tiger Coffee, Vancouver, WA

COST: $35 registration.

LUNCH: Please bring a brown bag lunch to enjoy while at the winery


FOR MORE INFORMATION: (360) 397-6060 x5738 or
Read about all of our upcoming events.

Thank You Volunteers!


Published: July 27, 2018

appreciate flyer with photos of happy people.

Tool Talk Workshop

Apple on treeMASTER GARDENER PROGRAM — Workshops & Event

Confused about the vast array of garden tools out there? Using the right tool for the job will reduce your workload, get the job done right and, most importantly, minimize the possibility of injury.

At this 90-minute workshop aimed at saving time, effort and money on your gardening adventure, our “Tool Guy,” Master Gardener, Jack Berhardsen will solve the mystery of 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 if you need 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.


When: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018   •  10 AM to 12:30 PM

Where: Pacific Park — Natural Demonstration Area
NE 18th St & NE 172nd Ave, Vancouver, WA 98684

Cost: FREE with 45 minutes of service at the demo garden.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: (360) 397-6060 x5738 or
Read about all of our upcoming events.

Tomato Pruning Workshop – Hands On

WSU Clark County Extension Master Gardeners Tomato Pruning Workshop; Hands-On – July 14

You prune your fruit trees and your shrubs, but should you prune your tomato plants? Join WSU Clark County Extension Master Gardeners for a hands-on training on tomato pruning. Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 10:00 to 11:30 AM. Location provided upon registration (Hazel Dell/Vancouver). Cost $5 — class is expected to fill up fast! This workshop will clarify which types of tomato plants need pruning and will provide hands-on instruction on when and how to prune. Participants will get a chance to practice. The class is conducted entirely in the field. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing. No tools are required.

Participants will work in small groups receiving hands-on instruction on pruning techniques. Advanced registration required at  No admission without advance registration. For more information: (360) 397-6060 x5738 or Visit us online at

Clark County Plant Sales Help Gardeners Find Right Foliage to Aid Yards, Habitat


Published in: Columbian • April 22, 2018, 6:03 AM

By Patty Hastings, Columbian social services

Read this Columbian article online.

Earth Day evokes images of people hugging the planet and saving this big blue and green globe we call home through large-scale environmental efforts. Ending plastic pollution. Stopping deforestation. That sort of thing.

But being good to the world can start small. It can start in your own backyard.

Spring is here and gardeners are marking their calendars for the bevy of plant sales happening over the next several weeks. What they choose to put in their gardens can make a difference.

Erika Johnson coordinates the local Master Gardener Program through Washington State University Extension.

The first rule of gardening, she said, is putting the right plant in the right place. Simply listening to where a plant tag says it’ll do best can ward off pest and disease problems down the road that might require harsh pesticides or herbicides, Johnson said. For instance, a Camas lily thrives in a much different environment than a sword fern. Some basic soil care, such as leaving leaves on the ground or spreading wood chips, can prevent weeds and help build up soil nutrients. Soil microbes — beneficial fungi, bacteria and invertebrates — are the “unsung heroes” of the garden, Johnson said.

Minimizing grass can be beneficial for wildlife and rewarding for people who don’t need large lawns. Grass is limited in the group of organisms it supports, Johnson said. She squared off sections of her yard and over time added plants until eventually there wasn’t any grass left.

Johnson also recommends incorporating native plants into the landscape, such as red flowering currant, a colorful shrub that attracts hummingbirds, or Oregon grape, which is loved by birds and bees.

“You’re providing food and shelter for the animals that have evolved in this area,” Johnson said.

Meredith Hardin, president of NatureScaping of Southwest Washington, also praised the benefits of native plants. (This week is Washington’s Native Plant Appreciation Week, by the way.)

“Native plants use less water. They have acclimated to our rainy winters and dry, hot summers, so they’re not going to need as much water during the dry, hot summer,” she said.

NatureScaping, which has 10 themed demonstration gardens in Brush Prairie, is working on a new garden that will feature drought-tolerant plants and a rain garden. People can find inspiration by browsing the labeled plants at NatureScaping. Everything there is meant to be wildlife-friendly, that is friendly primarily to birds, butterflies and reptiles. Hardin noted that birds like thickets and hiding areas, a design feature used heavily at NatureScaping.

NatureScaping’s sale, happening April 28-29, is “really our only fundraiser,” Hardin said. The sale helps support the gardens, along with gardening classes and other educational programs.

She said people can check out the sale next door at the Center for Agriculture, Science, and Environmental Education, or CASEE, whose students will be selling native plants they cultivated.

Some native plants can be found at the Master Gardener Foundation’s popular Mother’s Day weekend sale. Even though last year was rainy and muddy, a lot of people still turned out for the sale, which benefits horticulture programs throughout the county.

“You can’t keep gardeners from a plant sale,” quipped Julie Carlsen, a master gardener.

She said shoppers can find native bleeding heart, fringecup, foamflower and sword fern if they’re looking to incorporate some natives into their gardens. Volunteers will be available to answer questions about the plants for sale.

Or, people can call the Master Gardener answer clinic for gardening-related questions or problems. Volunteers at the clinic can help diagnose issues and help gardeners avoid using sprays. Some people, for instance, may think a bad bug is munching away at a plant when really it’s a beneficial caterpillar trying to eat all the nutrients it needs to turn into a butterfly.

Learn More

Have a gardening question? Contact the Master Gardener answer clinic at 360-397-6060, ext. 5711, or Otherwise, visit the clinic at 78th Street Heritage Farm, located at 1919 N.E. 78th St., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.

Want to volunteer? Plant flowers in Propstra Square in Esther Short Park, 605 Esther St., from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 19. Bring gloves, kneeling pads and trowels. Lunch will be provided. Volunteers will meet at the southwest corner of the park.

Looking for inspiration? Visit a demonstration garden. Pacific Community Park at Northeast 18th Street and Northeast 172nd Avenue, Vancouver.NatureScaping Wildlife Botanical Gardens at 11000 N.E. 149th St., Brush Prairie.

Want to learn more about native plants? Clark College’s Native Plant Propagation Center will host a talk, “Why Native Plants?”, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. May 3 in Room 201 at Anna Pechanec Hall at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way. Erin Harwood will offer planting tips and talk about why native plants are important for the wild ecosystems.

List of Plant Sales


Master Gardener Foundation

What: Hanging baskets, ornamental trees and shrubs, edibles, perennial and annual flowers, and house plants priced between $1.25 and $20. Sales support the Master Gardener Program and horticulture education in Clark County. MasterCard, Visa, cash and checks accepted.
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 13.
Where: 78th Street Heritage Farm, 1919 N.E. 78th St., Vancouver.

NatureScaping of SW Washington and CASEE

What: Bare-root trees, shrubs and perennial sales support NatureScaping gardens and classes. Perennials start at $1, shrubs start at $5 and trees are $10 or more. MasterCard, Visa, cash and checks accepted. Next door, the Center for Agriculture, Science and Environmental Education sells Northwest native plants priced at $3, $5 and $10. Cash or check only.
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 28-29.
Where: Wildlife Botanical Gardens, 11000 N.E. 149th St. and CASEE, 11104 N.E. 149th St., Brush Prairie.
Info: or 360-737-1160.

Stephen’s Place

What: Sales of vegetables, houseplants and garden gifts benefit the therapeutic garden program at Stephen’s Place, an assisted living facility for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
When: 10 a.m. to noon May 5.
Where: Stephen’s Place, 501 S.E. Ellsworth Road, Vancouver.

Two Rivers Heritage Museum

What: The Camas-Washougal Historical Society hosts its annual plant fair, featuring native Camas lilies, Canterbury bells and hybridized irises, along with other local plant starts, flowers and berries. Proceeds help cover the museum’s operating costs. Cash or checks only.
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 19, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 10.
Where: 1 Durgan St., Washougal.


All school sales accept cash or checks only.

Battle Ground High School

What: More than 15,000 plants for sale, including hanging baskets, perennial flowers, bedding plants, vegetables, berry plants and nursery stock. Sales benefit the district’s horticulture, welding and FFA programs. Customers can also check out the school’s demonstration garden that includes aquaculture, tissue culture, hydroponics, trellised fruit trees and several perennial fruits.
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 5-6.
Where: Greenhouses at 300 W. Main St., Battle Ground.

Clark College Environmental Field Studies

What: Native shrubs, perennials and trees such as Camas, buttercup, blanket flower, snowberry, red flowering currant and nodding onion. All proceeds go toward field-based science experiences for Clark College students.
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 4, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 5.
Where: Greenhouse at southeast corner of Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way. Park in Orange 2 lot near East Reserve Street and McLoughlin Boulevard.
Info: or

Columbia River High School

What: For sale are annuals, perennials, vegetable plants, herbs, house plants, native plants and hanging baskets that are grown in a no-spray greenhouse that uses all-organic soil. Proceeds help students participate in FFA competitions; this year Columbia River will compete in the state convention.
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 28, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 30-May 4.
Where: Greenhouses at 800 N.W. 99th St., Vancouver.

Fort Vancouver High School

What: The sale includes annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, sedums, succulents, houseplants, orchids, fruit plants and native plants, as well as vegetables, including organic, heirloom and hybrid tomato varieties. Prices range from $1 to $20, with most being $1 or $3. Proceeds benefit the FAA club and next year’s plant sale.
When: 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 2-4.
Where: Next to the track at 5700 E. 18th St., Vancouver.

Hudson’s Bay High School

What: Many varieties of fruits, herbs, veggies and native trees ranging from $1 to $15. Proceeds go toward the school’s natural resources classes and FFA program.
When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 2-3, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 4.
Where: Greenhouses on the east side of the school, 1601 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver.
Info: or

Mountain View High School

What: Vegetables, herbs, flowers ($1.50), four-pack vegetables ($2.50), one-gallon geraniums and annuals ($3), and hanging baskets (one for $16, two for $30). Sale benefits the school’s horticulture program.
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 2-4.
Where: Greenhouse behind the 100 building, 1500 S.E. Blairmont Drive, Vancouver.

Prairie High School

What: Sales of hanging baskets, vegetables, flowers, grasses, herbs and succulents benefit the district’s horticulture, welding and FFA programs. Visit to see photos of what will be available at the sale.
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 5.
Where: Greenhouse at 11311 N.E. 119th St., Brush Prairie.

Vancouver Flex Academy

What: Students sell veggies, herbs, tender and hardy succulents, sun and shade hanging baskets and some landscape plants to benefit the academy’s horticulture program and launch an FFA program.
When: 4:30 to 7 p.m. May 10-11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 12.
Where: 2901 General Anderson Ave., Vancouver.

Woodland High School

What: Florticulture and horticulture science students sell organically grown plants, including hanging baskets, geraniums, petunias and succulents. The sale also features more than 30 varieties of tomatoes and 15 varieties of peppers, along with squash, zucchini, pumpkins, broccoli and kale.
When: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 5.
Where: 1500 Dike Access Road, Woodland.


Camas Plant and Garden Fair

What: Plants, trees, garden art and supplies.
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 12.
Where: downtown Camas.

Clark Public Utilities Home & Garden Idea Fair

What: Plant sale, home and garden businesses, landscaping displays and farmers market vendors. Parking is $6.
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 29.
Where: Clark County Events Center at the Fairgrounds, 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

Read this Columbian article online.

Mother’s Day Plant Sale


Published: April 24, 2018

Mother's Day Plant Sale Poster

Heritage Farm  — Get ready for gardening season at the annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale.

When: May 12 and 13

Where: 78th Street Heritage Farm!

Presented by: Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County

On The Road — Gardening In Nature

Desert or tropical looking plants with strappy or fleshy or spiky leaves in containers at a nursery.MASTER GARDENER PROGRAM — Workshops & Events

Our tour begins at Westwind Farm Studio with its amazing views overlooking the valley and mountains in the distance. The tour begins in the upper meadow – a field of 15 varieties of lavender. Down the hill is a breathtaking garden surrounding the residence designed by Pietro Belluschi. Twenty of their 80 acres contain an undisturbed beautiful forest and native understory that is protected by a conservation easement.

Next we travel to scenic Sauvie Island to visit the Blue Bee Blueberry Farm, a small family owned and operated u-pick farm. It is an all natural, no spray farm with Reka, Hardy Blue, Bluegold, Liberty and Legacy blueberries that span the season.

Our last stop is Cistus Design Nursery on the other side of the island. Cistus is a retail micro-nursery with a display garden specializing in unusual Mediterranean, southern hemisphere, hardy tropical plants and more that thrive in the Northern Willamette Valley.

DATE/TIME: Mon., June 11, 2018  •  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

TOUR BEGINS/ENDS: Van transportation from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 9319 NE Hwy 99, Hazel Dell, WA

TOUR STOPS: Westwind Farm Studio, Portland, OR • Blue Bee Blueberry Farm, Portland, OR • Cistus Design Nursery, Portland, OR

COST: $35 registration.

LUNCH: On your own at Fultano’s Pizza.


FOR MORE INFORMATION: (360) 397-6060 x5738 or
Read about all of our upcoming events.