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Garden wisdom

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | March 27, 2024 2:19 PM

MOSES LAKE — Using water more efficiently in the garden and on the lawn will be the subject of presentations and demonstrations April 20 at the Eco-Gardening Symposium by the Grant-Adams Master Gardeners. 

It’s the seventh annual program. Advance registration is requested, and is available at the WSU Extension website at: https://bit.ly/WSUGRDN24.

Sharon Hastings, a member of the Master Gardeners and one of the organizers, said the goal is to show people how to get the yard and garden they want — whatever that is — with less water.

“There are more efficient ways to water the yard,” Hastings said. “There are more creative ways you can (manage) your garden. You can eventually save money by doing this; you can also choose plantings that are going to yield the most in terms of produce and be the most productive in terms of flowering.”

Gardeners can take baby steps if they choose. 

“We’re encouraging people not even to do it one fell swoop, but maybe take a little patch and experiment with it,” Hastings said. 

Three speakers are scheduled. Harold Crose of the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Project will be talking about “Water: The Local Story” at 9:15 a.m.

All communities in the Columbia Basin, and some of the farms, use water from a common aquifer, and Hastings said it’s important to recognize that.

“This is something we all share. So what happens in one place eventually is going to affect everybody,” she said.

Tim Kohlhauff of WSU-Spokane County Extension will discuss techniques, equipment and plants that help save water. “Waterwise Gardening” is scheduled for 10:20 a.m.

Kohlhauff, an urban horticulture coordinator, will talk about how gardeners can work with the soil they’ve got, the return on their investment in water conservation, and combating weeds and pests in a garden using more efficient watering techniques. 

Hastings cited the example of planting annual flowers in the garden or in pots around the yard. Annuals have shorter and shallower root systems and as a result the soil dries out faster and plants need more water, she said. One way to reduce water use is to plant more perennials. There are also native plants that gardeners could use, giving the yard a more unique look, she said.

 “To start thinking about what it is that’s special here, and how we can create beauty here out of the things that grow here, I think is really a curious and interesting and creative enterprise,” she said. “And there are some really beautiful choices out there.”

Dinah Rouleau, project manager for the Columbia Basin Conservation District, will talk about that very subject at 11:20 a.m. “Creating Beautiful Waterwise Gardens” will feature information on plants that work well in the Washington desert. 

Experts on local water conditions will answer questions after the first presentation, and a demonstration on using perennials in pots and hanging baskets is scheduled following the second presentation. Presenters will give mini-presentations on pruning roses and talk about maintaining the heritage garden at the Old Hotel in Othello. 

Organizations and vendors will have booths, including the Ephrata Seed Library, the Xerces Society and the Washington Native Plant Society. The CBCD will have information on water use and conservation, and the Master Gardeners will sponsor a plant clinic. 

Cheryl Schweizer may be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

Hang out with the gardners:

To join the Grant-Adams Master Gardeners at the Eco-Gardening Symposium, make a note of the event details below:

Big Bend Community College
ATEC Building
7611 Bolling Street NE
April 20
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 


    Master Gardener Bonnie Bodenman demonstrates planting techniques at the 2023 Eco-Gardening Symposium.
 
 
    Attendees listen to a speaker during the 2024 Eco-Gardening Symposium. The event allows plant enthusiasts to discover how they can plant responsibly and care for the flora in their care.