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UC Master Gardeners hold berry workshop in Woodlake on Saturday, May 19

UC Master Gardeners hold berry workshop in Woodlake on Saturday, May 19

@TheSunGazette

WOODLAKE – Woodlake Pride Inc. and the Tulare/Kings Master Gardeners invite the public to a free blueberry and blackberry workshop, Saturday, May 19 at the Woodlake Botanical Gardens.

The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. Participants will learn about field planted and container grown blueberry and blackberry plants. In addition there will be a tour of the blueberry and blackberry patches at the botanical garden at Bravo Lake. The workshop is free but pre-registration is preferred. To pre-register call Manuel Jimenez at 559-280-2483.

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Jimenez was a small farm advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension advisor for 33 years before retiring in 2013. In 1998, Jimenez established variety trials at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.  Each year, the planting attracts hundreds of people to the field station for the annual Blueberry Day.  New varieties have been added over the years and new production practices researched. In 2012, Jimenez grafted the most common commercial blueberry varieties on the roots of farkleberry plants (Vaccinium arboreum). Farkelberry is a small, stiff-branched evergreen bush that is more tolerant of alkaline soils than blueberries.

In 1993, Jimenez and his wife Olga founded Woodlake Pride, a volunteer organization that puts youth to work in innovative beautification projects throughout the community.  The program aims to channel the young people’s time and energy into constructive endeavors and keep them out of trouble and street gangs. In time, Woodlake Pride created the 14-acre Bravo Lake Botanical Garden, the first agricultural botanical garden in California. Located at 400 E. Naranjo Blvd. in Woodlake, the botanical garden continues to be maintained by the Woodlake Pride youth volunteers. To find more about Woodlake Pride and Bravo Lake Botanical Garden visit www.tularecountytreasures.org/bravo-lake-botanical-garden-v.html. From Highway 198, turn north on Road 196, turn east on Avenue 344 (Naranjo Blvd,). The garden is located on Naranjo Boulevard two blocks east from the roundabout. 

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