Irvine resident Teena Spindler has been a University of California Master Gardener since 2006.
What is the UC Master Gardener program?
The university cooperative extension educates and trains volunteers to be a public-outreach arm in regard to gardening expertise, water-quality issues, and safe pest-control methods. The beauty of our program is that it’s based on science-researched information. I think we all perhaps have our grandmothers’ traditions that may or may not be based on science. When you listen to a workshop put on by us, you can rest assured that the information is research-based.
How can people get involved?
It is an application process, and we usually hold open houses in the summer and fall. People do not need to be horticulture experts. They just need to have a love for gardening and be willing to volunteer. In Orange County, the program typically starts in January and ends around April or May.
What is your role in the community?
To help home gardeners with information they need to have successful gardens. We give workshops, talks, and strategies. If you live in a small place, we teach a lot of container-gardening strategies. We want everyone to experience the joy and mental benefits of being able to work with the soil, touch it, watch something grow, and share that with your children and grandchildren.
What do you love most?
(With vegetable gardening), it’s the actual gathering of the food and eating it and knowing that you grew it yourself. In the summer, I will make caprese from the tomato and basil that grow in my garden or make jam from the boysenberries. It’s incredibly rewarding.
Learn from a master gardener at an upcoming workshop. mgorange.ucanr.edu
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