Just the idea of gardening can seem challenging and intimidating, especially if you’ve never tried it before. That’s how Alan felt. He couldn’t understand why anyone would plant their own potatoes, when you could buy them so cheaply in the store. That was before he met up with El Dorado County’s UCCE Master Gardeners. In February 2013, the Master Gardeners helped Alan start his first garden. Taking what he learned from them, he installed a deer fence and set up raised beds. He began by planting raspberries, then added some boysenberries, and then strawberries, potatoes, rhubarb, herbs, and an assortment of annual veggies. Before long he had added seven fruit trees, set up three compost bins, installed drip irrigation, and added a special table with a sink in his garden. Now Alan has plans for his own greenhouse and has applied to become a Master Gardener trainee so he can pass along everything he’s learned. All this from a man who had never gardened before! “Now I know why you plant potatoes. The creamy, buttery, fresh taste is unlike anything you can buy in the store, and you know where it comes from!” says Alan.