Roots and Shoots Newsletters

The Roots and Shoots Newsletters are emailed to the Master Gardener membership each month.

Screen Shot 2021-05-06 at 7.21.22 AM

Be sure to read this month’s President’s message.

If you need a copy of the current issue, you can emailKathy Rostand.

If you are looking for a previous issue of Roots and Shoots, please see Jason Kirby in The Library at Birmingham Botanical Gardens when it is open again or emailJason.

Below are some of the April highlights:

Bethany’s Extras:

Only a few weeks after our last true frost scare, we’re ready to make summer crops thrive. So many Master Gardeners treasure The Alabama Gardeners Calendar and The Alabama Vegetable Gardener —for good reasons. Month-by-month, crop-by-crop, and plant-by-plant recommendations from Alabama Extension experts. My own copies of these invaluable publications are marked with yellow sticky notes and passages underlined but I’ve seen a copy which is so beloved that it is falling apart, and the husband-and-wife gardeners refuse replacement copies (though they would be verbatim facsimiles) because of the good luck they bring every spring. Of course, these publications are available online at a / and . If you’d like your own paper copies, simply scroll to the bottom of the page for the printable PDF version. So now is the time to get your tomato, pepper, and eggplant transplants in the ground. Lima beans, cucumbers, southern peas can be direct sown now too.

Once your garden is planted, it’s time to turn your attention to controlling disease and pests. Tomatoes should be put on a regular weekly spraying schedule of fungicide from the time of transplant. Even seasoned gardeners are sometimes surprised to learn that the best practice is to spray preventatively and not wait until signs of disease show. A 3-in-1 spray which combines a fungicide, miticide and insecticide (like an insecticidal soap) are a good starting place for most home gardeners. Most crops will benefit from close inspection during the growing season so that pests and problems can be addressed by the least invasive means. Tomato hornworms and other destructive caterpillars can be plucked off without use of chemicals. Diseased foliage can be removed before the rest of the plant is affected. Visit the Extension website at and search for “Integrated Pest Management” for a number of helpful articles which guide gardeners to common-sense steps to battle pests.

Lastly, if you’ve always wanted to grow blueberries or simply want to up your blueberry game, make sure to tune in to the four-week series with Alabama Smart Yards beginning Wednesday May 12th at 1pm. Each zoom webinar lasts 30 minutes and delivers the details on: blueberry variety selection, pest management, preserving the blueberry harvest, and proper pruning. Register here.

Zooming Zinnias

IMG 6488

“Save A Spot in Your Plot or In A Pot”

When I heard about the Jefferson County Master Gardener Program, I really had no idea what lay ahead. What I did know was that my horticultural expertise was at its lowest, having gained the name, “Plant Assassin” from my family! What I happily discovered was that the Master Gardener Program offered a sound curriculum and the opportunity to interact with “seasoned” gardeners and “newbies” like myself. As part of the requirement for certification, I joined the “Herb Army” and continue to cultivate herbs at home and at the Botanical Gardens.

I am sharing this story because Zooming Zinnias will allow me and fellow MGs to talk about the wonderful experiences and resources this program provides. This is a social media campaign that originated in the Master Gardener Steering Committee. It is designed to increase awareness and utilization of the vast gardening resources of the Master Gardener Program, Alabama Extension Home Grounds Team and the Master Gardener Help Line. We can connect with neighbors, friends and family by asking them to plant zinnia seeds (Lilliput) and share photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram. We want to encourage them to post often and ask questions about the growth process, soil

types, location, pollinators, etc. As they initiate conversations, we will be there to guide them with practical advice and direct them to the Master Gardener Helpline. And above all, MGs, feel free to show off your beautiful gardens with zinnias and other pollinator plants! We want the community at large to know who we are, what we do and how we can help them. We’re hoping to bring new people to the Extension and of course, to Master Gardeners. So, you can see, this is not just about zinnias!

Your part begins now. Please contact Amanda Redman at or Phyllis Clay at about how to obtain seeds. In the meantime, “like” or “follow” Zooming Zinnias on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you in advance!

Would you like to pay your 2021 JCMGA Membership Dues?

The fee is $35 includes $10 which is the annual dues for AMGA.

You can send a check payable to JCMGA to:

Jan Street

JCMGA Treasurer

c/o ACES

2612 Lane Park Road Birmingham, Al 35223

Or you can use PayPal or a credit card. Go to the JCMGA Home Page. Click on the drop down “For MGs”. If you want to pay with a credit card, click on ADD TO CART. You’ll be taken to PayPal’s site, but you don’t have to pay through PayPal. There is an option to use your credit card.

Coming in May

JCMGA May Program Notes

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Roses for the Real World

with Chris R. VanCleave

The Redneck Rosarian

You Are Invited to a Zoom Meeting

When:April 13, 2021 10:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Jefferson County Master Gardeners Association

Officers, Board Members, and Committees 2021

PresidentGary WalkerWebmaster&SocialMediaDiane Remick

1stVPresidentDarwin BellNewsletter EditorKathy Rostand

2ndVPresidentMary Foy

TreasurerJan StreetACESBethany O’Rear

Asst.TreasurerRick CybulskyHospitalityRuth Varnell & Gail Pless

SecretaryLinda MasseyMembershipKen & Alicia Hall, Linda Systrom


JCMGA 2021