WSU Master Gardeners celebrate 40 as Pacific County Fair continues today and tomorrow in Menlo

WSU Master Gardeners ProgramMENLO, Wash. – The WSU Master Gardener Program is 40 Years Old, and they’re celebrating tomorrow at the Pacific County Fair in Menlo. They’re inviting you to bring your stories of being a Master Gardener, attending a Master Gardener presentation, or calling WSU Extension to get a solution to a gardening question.
WSU Master Gardener Program started in Pierce & King Counties and the first class was held in 1973. No one realized that the idea of training volunteers to provide other community members with research based solutions to gardening questions would spread to all 50 states & many other countries.
Be a part of the celebration. Tell your stories, connect with former Master Gardeners, wish WSU Master Gardeners another 40 years of service, bring your questions or stop by to say, ”Hi”. Make it part of your day at the Pacific County Fair.

WSU Master Gardener Program is 40 Years Old – CELEBRATE

Come to the Pacific County Fair on Saturday, August 24, to help us celebrate. Bring your stories of being a Master Gardener, attending a Master Gardener presentation, or calling WSU Extension to get a solution to a gardening question.

WSU Master Gardener Program started in Pierce & King Counties and the first class was held in 1973.  No one realized that the idea of training volunteers to provide other community members with research based solutions to gardening questions would spread to all 50 states & many other countries.

Be a part of the celebration.  Tell your stories, connect with former Master Gardeners, wish WSU Master Gardeners another 40 years of service, bring your questions or stop by to say, ”Hi”.   Make it part of your day at the Pacific County Fair.

Hoquiam Farmers Market News – Rhubarb and Strawberry Rhubarb pies Edition

The Hoquiam Farmers Market has a table laden with seed catalogues, a spin rack full of seeds, and many experienced gardeners who are willing, yes, anxious even, to share their wise words of wisdom. Pitfalls can be avoided if you just ask Judy if she recommends trying your hand at basil. She might suggest that you start with beans. Build your confidence before trying the prima donnas of the vegetable world.
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Start with something really easy, like Rhubarb.
Rhubarb is a luscious, tart, and tasty treat that loves Grays Harbor weather! In fact, most of the Rhubarb sold in stores is grown in the Pacific Northwest. If you bought one of Judy’s plants earlier this Spring, by now you’ll see the stalks and leaves stretching their way outward. Next year you can look forward to a respectable harvest of Rhubarb.

Nancy is baking Rhubarb and Strawberry Rhubarb pies this week! Rhubarb has been called ‘Pie Plant’ for centuries, and for good reason.
Fresh Rhubarb stalks have the loveliest aroma when you cut into them, and as they cook, the flavor expands and deepens. The sweet-tart taste can’t be compared to any other fruit that I know of, and for me, Rhubarb is an instant flashback to childhood. My Grandma Bennett used to make a Rhubarb, Strawberry, and Pineapple jam that was over-the-top delicious.
Now that my own Rhubarb is ready to harvest, I’m planning on making her recipe

three cups diced Rhubarb
two cups fresh or canned pineapple chunks, unsweetened. Do not drain.
one pint strawberries
four cups sugar
one package of pectin
 

Combine fruits in large pot. Gently stir in sugar. Let stand about 15 minutes (no heat!) To let the juices begin to flow. Bring jam to a boil, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes before adding the pectin. Then cook for 1 more minute. Ladle into hot, clean jars and process in hot water canning bath for 10 minutes.

This is scrumptious when served over vanilla ice cream. I speak from experience. Grandma always made that from scratch too! We can delve into that process later, when summer and hand-churned ice cream season has arrived.

Come on in for a look at our seed catalogues, get our gardening advice (oh , we even have a great little book on 50 effective methods of slug control!), starter plants, and the best darned Rhubarb pie since my Grandma was in her prime!

Barbara Bennett Parsons, not a master gardener, but an enthusiastic one!
Grays Harbor Public Market, at 1958 Riverside in Hoquiam
open Wed & Thu. 9-5, Fri. & Sat. 9-6, and Sunday 10-4

Hoquiam Farmers Market News – Rhubarb Recipe Edition

The Hoquiam Farmers Market has a table laden with seed catalogues, and many experienced gardeners who are willing, actually anxious, to share their wise words of wisdom.  Pitfalls can be avoided if you just ask Pat if she recommends trying your hand at basil.  She might suggest that you start with beans.  Build your confidence before trying the prima donnas of the vegetable world.  Maybe your garden plot is in a sunny microclimate, and corn will come up thinking that it’s in Kansas- but not at our house!  
 
Rhubarb is a luscious, tart, and tasty treat that loves Grays Harbor weather!  Judy has divided her enormous plants, and has large pots ready to be plunked into your garden.  In no time at all the stalks and leaves will be stretching their way outward, and you will be able to harvest your first crop before the pea and bean seeds even go into the soil!  This is the time of year for planting berry canes, and we have raspberry, blueberry, loganberry, and marionberry.  Strawberry plants are also available, along with sage, chives, and columbine.  
 
How I wish that salmonberries were just a bit more flavorful.  We could all retire as gentleman farmers if the berries became popular, because those berries would take over every square inch of ground in the county if we let them.  We’ve already begun the annual hacking back of the salmonberry bushes, reclaiming precious ground.  Why they haven’t been named an invasive species, I can’t tell you.  After that rant, I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I enjoy plucking the fruit off the cane for a quick snack.  The deep red ones look like rubies, and have a more intense flavor.  Naturally, they are harder to find!
 
 
Our forest gleaner and harvester Doug brought in Hedgehog and yellow foot Chanterelle mushrooms this week!  Another sign of impending Spring!  He promises to have Fiddlehead Ferns at the Market by Saturday morning.  I pushed for Friday, and maybe he’ll bring them early!  Fiddlehead Fern aficionados adore these tender green sprigs and cook them up much like asparagus.  Seattle chefs at the most elite restaurants count themselves fortunate if they occasionally have enough to offer a single Fiddlehead in a dish, but we are blessed with the natural abundance of heaping platters.  
 
Nancy is baking Rhubarb and Strawberry Rhubarb pies this week!  Oh Bliss!  Fresh Rhubarb stalks have the loveliest aroma when you cut into them, and as they cook up the flavor expands and deepens.  The sweet-tart taste can’t be compared to any other fruit that I know of, and for me, Rhubarb is an instant flashback to childhood.  My Grandma Bennett used to make a Rhubarb, Strawberry, and Pineapple jam that was over-the-top delicious.  Now that my own Rhubarb is coming up well, I’m planning on trying to replicate her recipe.  I found one which sounds similar;
2 cups diced Rhubarb
2 cups fresh or canned crushed pineapple (Grandma  used chunks)
1 pint strawberries
4 cups sugar
Combine fruits in large pot.  Gently stir in sugar.  Let stand about 15 minutes (no heat!) To let the juices begin to flow.  Bring jam to a boil, stirring occasionally for 15 or 20 minutes.  Ladle into hot, clean jars and process in hot water canning bath for 10 minutes.
Wouldn’t this be incredible to serve over vanilla ice cream?  Grandma always made that from scratch too!  We can delve into that process later, when summer and hand-churned ice cream season has arrived.
 
Come on in for a look at our seed catalogues, get our gardening advice (oh yeah, we even have a great little book on 50 effective methods of slug control!), starter plants, and the best darned Rhubarb pie since my Grandma was in her prime!
 
Barbara Bennett Parsons, not a master gardener, but an enthusiastic one!
Grays Harbor Public Market, at 1958 Riverside in Hoquiam
open Wed & Thu.  9-5, Fri. & Sat. 9-6, and Sunday 10-4

Know what’s in Your Food – Grow it Yourself!

Knight will have handouts she has written based on her research and questions people have often asked. As a nursery professional certified by the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association and a Master Gardener certified by the Washington State University Extension Service, Knight offers tremendous expertise.

After each presentation, people can cultivate their new gardening knowledge by checking out library books and DVDs. In addition, librarians have gathered some of the best Web sites on general and northwest gardening at www.trlib.org/gardening.asp.

Click for DirectionsThe Elma Timberland Library is located at 118 N First Street, Elma. For more information, please contact the library at (360) 482-3737 or go to www.TRL.org.