Located at the McClellan Ranch Park community garden plots, 22221 McClellan Road, Cupertino, the Master Gardener (MG) McClellan Ranch Project is one of the oldest MG projects in Santa Clara County. Going back to 1989, McClellan Ranch Project has continued to trial many vegetables that can be grown in Santa Clara County. These vegetable trials help the public learn about growing tasty alternatives to the standard vegetable varieties sold in supermarkets. In the most recent years, MGs have grown different varieties of sweet potatoes (twenty-one varieties) and beans (twenty varieties). Each year in the fall, McClellan Ranch Project has an open house with tours of the garden and discussion, along with rating sheets, of the trialed vegetable varieties. Access to the garden is through the community garden plots and MGs are there often to interact with interested gardeners.
Since 1989, UCCE Master Gardeners volunteers have conducted vegetable trials in a community garden plot donated by the City of Cupertino. These projects inform the public about growing interesting alternatives to the standard vegetable varieties sold in supermarkets. All our vegetables are grown organically.
At harvest time we hold a tasting event for the public and either prepare dishes with our produce or present them al fresco. The events are announced in the San Jose Mercury News Garden section published in Friday's edition, and in other local newspapers. At our tasting events master gardeners give tours of our experimental plot, provide information about vegetable cultivation, answer questions about horticulture and offer ideas about cooking the vegetables we grow. Hope to see you at the next event.
Learn about some of these project by clicking on these links:
- Asian vegetables
- Summer squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter Squash
Demonstration and raised bed gardening
While the primary focus at McClellan has continued to be trialing vegetables, we have demonstrated Asian and Hispanic gardens as well as raised bed gardening. In 2010 and 2011, six large raised beds and a smaller one were built. The smaller one provides access for disabled persons. The raised beds are 12-feet long, 4-feet wide, and 18-inches tall. The disabled access bed is 4-feet square and 29-inches tall. The bed bottoms are lined with hardware cloth. The construction features prevent crop damage by gophers and rabbits.
Beans in raised bed | Asian leaf vegetables | Beans in ground bed
About McClellan Ranch Park
This 23.5 acre park is owned and maintained as a nature preserve by the City of Cupertino. Stevens Creek flows through the park, shaded by western sycamores, black cottonwoods, willows and other riparian trees. Steelhead, roach, stickleback and crayfish are at home in these waters, and numerous species of birds can be seen or heard from the nature trail that parallels the creek’s path as it curves around the old pasture.
Many of the original farm building have been restored and are open to the public. In addition, the City of Cupertino has set aside space for an an award-winning 4H program. You can see hogs, goats and lambs in season. The Santa Clara Audubon Society offices are housed in the original farmhouse and Cupertino Community gardens occupy two acres of the park.
This fertile land was supporting a thriving population Native Americans when Juan Bautista De Anza camped nearby in 1776. His expedition named the creek here Arroyo San Joseph Cupertino. Today it is known as Stevens Creek, after Captain Elisha Stephens who settled here is 1859. By 1964 this area had become “too durn civilized” for the Stephens family and they sold the land to W. T. McClellan and George McCauley who raised dairy cattle here. It was operating as a horse ranch at the time the City of Cupertino purchased it. It was designated a Nature and Rural Preserve in 1975. Each year thousands of children and adults participate in naturalist-led activities in McClellan Ranch Park.
For more information about McClellan Ranch Park, please call Cupertino Parks and Recreation (www.cupertino.org) at (408) 777-3120. The park is located at 22221 McClellan Road, Cupertino, California.