Master Gardeners are Ready to Help You at Saturday Plant Clinic

By Helen Triolo, last updated 6/25/14 10:00am

Patty, Barbara and Alison are among the many Montgomery County master gardeners ready to help you at the Twinbrook Library plant clinic on Saturdays.


Montgomery County prides itself on its agricultural assets and its encouragement of local farmers, growers, beekeepers, and backyard gardeners. With assets including our prized Agricultural Reserve, an active Community Gardens program, many local farms, CSAs and Farmers Markets, Montgomery County also has an active involvement with the University of Maryland Master Gardener program, with over 300 trained Master Gardeners in Montgomery County devoted to helping promote backyard gardening and agriculture throughout the county.

We met three of those Master Gardeners on a Saturday in June, when we stopped by the Plant Clinic at Twinbrook Library to get some help for an emerging problem with our tomato plants. The table was busy with people stopping by both for general advice and with samples from their gardens needing a diagnosis, like this gentleman.

On this Saturday, the table was staffed by 3 volunteers (l-r): Patty Neame (3 years experience as a master gardener), Barbara Waite-Jaques (11 years), and Alison Mrohs (2 years). Different volunteers staff the table each week, but all have resources to help you diagnose garden problems or give advice about gardening issues like what grows in shade, which plants are invasive, and which plants do well in our area.

Also at the table this week were some verbena seedlings brought in by Twinbrook Civic Association President Christina Ginsberg, to be given away to anyone who wanted one, and a display of some of the herbs that grow well in gardens here.

This is a picture of the tomato stem I brought in to have looked at. Despite its ugly appearance, it doesn't seem to have affected the rest of the plant (yet), which overall looks very healthy and has about 15 still-green tomatoes growing on it. I wanted to get it diagnosed it so I can prevent the spread of whatever it is to nearby plants.

Alison said she has seen the same thing for the first time in her garden this year. She looked through the resources on hand and said it appears to be early blight. These are the suggestions for what to do about that. I've already pulled off all affected shoots and plan to do a thorough weeding between plants (I probably should leave more room between them next year too - I always want to make maximize use of the space I have available but not at the expense of the plants thriving). If things look bad in a week or two, I'll check into fixed-copper fungicide.

The Plant Clinic is a great resource, right here in our own backyards. Open every Saturday, April through September, from 10am to 1pm at the Twinbrook Library, the clinic is a great place to come and be inspired by other gardeners to successfully grow flowers, vegetables and fruit in your own backyard. May all our gardens thrive this summer!

Filed under Home & Garden, Food: organic, local, sustainably produced

Login to add a comment.  Forgot your password?  Need an account?

Your email: Password: