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Winter Gardening Festival at Children's Storybook Garden & Museum

Master Gardener Cathy Iseman

Wind and rain didn’t stop the Master Gardener’s Winter Gardening Festival at the Children’s Storybook Garden on Saturday, February 2nd. Bill Hofmans of Hofmans' Nursery began the festival by taking participants into the orchard in the Kings County Farm Garden to discuss the reasons to prune - why, what, and when.

According to Hofmans, pruning allows for you to customize the tree to your needs. The aesthetics, type of shade, size, shape, and height of the tree can all be assisted with the right type of pruning. By pruning all year round, and following easy suggestions, you can keep your trees healthy and balance the energy used by the limb. You can also prevent them from becoming lopsided or sunburned. Pruning controls the spread of bugs, dead wood, and diseases - just make sure you regularly clean your tools. Keeping your tree healthy ultimately helps you by keeping future maintenance down.

After attendees were able to practice hands-on pruning under the guidance of Hofmans and the Master Gardeners, everyone moved inside the Museum for a presentation by Master Gardener Cathy Iseman. Proper planting, pruning, and caring for fruit trees helps optimize your needs, whether it be saving space or increasing fruit production. Following simple procedures to correctly feed and water your trees give them the best possible foundation - which benefits the trees for years to come.

Iseman then demonstrated proper tool care to prolong the life of your tools. A small file at a 45 degree angle should be used on one side of one blade to keep them sharp. Cleaning your tools either with a bleach solution or rubbing alcohol regularly (and especially after pruning a diseased limb) will prevent the spread of diseases and bacteria. Bleach can dry the mechanisms, so keep your tools oiled. Store them in a dry place to prevent rust.

Both the Master Gardeners and Hofmans encouraged continued learning. There will be a pruning demo at Hofmans' Nursery on February 16th at 10:00 a.m.; contact the Nursery for more details. Iseman suggested the book The Home Orchard by Chuck A. Ingels which is available at San Joaquin Valley Libraries. The Master Gardeners publish an article in the Hanford Sentinel every two weeks. A copy of all of the materials the Master Gardeners offered at the Festival is available at Children’s Storybook Garden & Museum. There will be a Beginner’s Gardening Workshop at Children’s Storybook Garden & Museum on February 16 at 11:00 a.m.: learn how to design your spring garden and receive free seeds. Contact the Garden for more details.

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