Ask the Master Gardener

Demonstration garden is educational resource for community

By: By Laurie Meyerpeter
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Question: I dropped my neighbor off at the Senior Garden in DeWitt Center and I noticed some new garden areas. Someone said that it was part of the new Master Garden Demo Garden. What’s the scoop?
Answer: It’s our new “Placer County Master Gardener Vegetable Demonstration Garden”! We’ve been working on the project for about two years now but it’s only this past year that we’ve been able to grow vegetables and begin having workshops.
The garden is located on the upper east side of the Senior Garden, 11477 E Ave., in DeWitt Center, Auburn. Originally, that portion of the garden was hard-packed ground, with lots of rocks and weeds. Bermuda grass was especially thick and tenacious. It took nearly a year of covering the ground with black plastic, and solarizing the soil with clear plastic during the summer, to eliminate most of the weeds. Paths were laid out and vegetable beds were dug in the hard soil and amended. Compost bins were brought in. Rocks were taken out.
A local company generously donated some good top soil. Fruit trees were planted. It’s the culmination of many hours of hard work by a dedicated group of volunteers.
The demo garden includes numerous beds to demonstrate different techniques of growing vegetables including square-foot gardening, biointensive gardening, traditional beds, herbs, fruit trees, beds devoted to plants that attract beneficial insects, perennial vegetable beds and more. On one side is a large area devoted to composting and composting workshops.
We offer regular workshops on a variety of subjects at our demo garden throughout the year.
It’s been a challenge but it’s encouraging to show how much can be done with such poor rocky soil. It’s a testament to the patience and hard work of numerous volunteers who turned a patch of hard, Bermuda grass-infested dirt into a garden that is now growing corn, amaranth, beets and kale.
We encourage all area gardeners to stop by and see the gardens! To learn more about workshops offered at our demo garden, check our website at
Have gardening questions? Call the Master Gardener hotline at (530) 889-7388.