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Frequently Asked Gardening Questions

Program Contact: Caitlin Blethen, Master Gardener Program Coordinator
(360) 370-7663 •

How do I get help diagnosing a plant problem?

WSU Master Gardeners volunteer their time to diagnose plant problems, and are available year-round to help you. Please provide us with a good-sized sample which includes the affected part of the plant, if possible, as well as the healthy part of the plant. We require an informational sheet to be filled out with each sample submitted. This helps us to diagnose the plant problem more accurately. Plant samples may be dropped off at WSU Extension M-Th 8:30-4pm, or at plant clinics at Farmers Markets every Saturday April – October.

Where can I get native plants for this area?

Native plants are often a good choice, since they are adapted to our soils, and climate. WSU Master Gardeners hold an annual Native Plant Sale each March. Most plants are native to western Washington and are either bare-root or in small containers. For more info about the native plant sale visit

How do I start a worm bin?

Getting started composting with worms is easy, and anyone can do it–whether you live in an apartment, or on 10 acres. It is a great alternative to a compost pile, and food waste decomposes quickly without odors, or attracting rodents.Wood or plastic bins can be filled with shredded newspaper, along with worms and kitchen scraps. Omit oils, meat, and citrus– worms will eat everything else. Informational packets are available at the WSU Extension Office or you can read this Worm Compost Fact Sheet or find directions here to make your own cheap and easy worm bin.

Need Help or Advice?

Master Gardeners are available throughout the year on San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez islands to answer your gardening questions. Whether you have questions about your soil, have a problem with your fruit trees, or are thinking about starting a garden, volunteers will be happy to provide you with the research-based information you need. Master Gardener Volunteers are available to speak to garden clubs, horticulture classes and workshops. They conduct diagnostic labs and tours. During the summer, WSU Master Gardeners can be found at plant clinic locations around the county.