To The Root of it Master Gardener Show

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OSU Master Gardeners get "to the root of it"


Gardening Radio Show airs year ‘round

By Mary Stewart, OSU Extension Service

oregon state university extension service master gardener 100pxEach Saturday at 9:00 a.m., two OSU Extension Master Gardeners™ take to the airways to share some sage gardening advice. Ray VanBlaricom and Kyle Hunter co-host a radio program on McMinnville’s KLYC AM 1260, To the Root of It, and stock their show with information that is timely and top of mind for local gardeners.


“We try to take the mystery and fear out of gardening,” says VanBlaricom, the original host of the program who took his Master Gardener training while recuperating from an industrial accident. “Gardening needs to be fun and therapeutic; it doesn’t have to be an obsession.”

According to co-host Kyle Hunter, the radio show has a local focus. “We take the information we receive from OSU Extension, and gear it specifically toward Yamhill County gardeners,” explains Hunter.  Discussion topics are often chosen from questions received at the OSU Extension Master Gardener table at the farmers markets, in the Extension office, or emailed to: OSU’s “Ask an Expert” online information service is also a source for the dialogue.


“The radio program helps the OSU Extension Service reach a multitude of audiences within the local community,” explains Heather Stoven, OSU Extension Community Horticulturist for Yamhill County. “We are fortunate to have Ray and Kyle a part of our OSU Extension Master Gardener program. They have an exceptional combination of skills and talent that makes them able to provide quality gardening education in an enjoyable and entertaining manner,” she adds.


As the gardening show gained popularity over the years, the broadcast length grew from 12 minutes to a full hour. “KLYC and Dave and Norma Adams are great supporters,” says Hunter. The on-air personality role comes naturally to Hunter, who was a professional radio broadcaster for several years. Listeners are able to call in and have their questions answered on the air. 


When VanBlaricom became an OSU Master Gardener in 2003, he turned over a new leaf. “Previously, I was a dangerous gardener.  I liked the fastest, cheapest method of growing or killing things, so I wasted a lot of money on fertilizer and toxic chemicals.” 

Despite his extreme growing practices, VanBlaricom was not achieving the results he envisioned in his garden and wanted to change his ways. “I was inspired by the Oregonian garden writers. I always wanted a garden that looked like theirs. And, I wanted to be an OSU Master Gardener,” he adds.   

During the OSU Extension Master Gardener training, he learned methods of low-impact gardening that are kinder to the environment and the pocketbook.

Kyle Hunter became an OSU Extension Master Gardener three years ago, after purchasing 20 acres of farmland. “I had to figure out what we were going to do with the land,” says Hunter. “I didn’t know anything about gardening or farming. So, I became a Master Gardener because I figured they would be able to dump all their knowledge into my head.” And, now he is passing along what he has learned from the OSU Extension Service to the residents of Yamhill County through the radio program.

“Ray and Kyle are uniquely qualified to speak about gardening on KYLC’s To the Root of It.  Both have been highly-trained through the Oregon State University Master Gardener program, and continue to get advanced education about current university research related to plant problems and gardening methodologies,” says Stoven.