Gardens

Volunteer with Us

volunteers collect CT Trail Census data in 2017 on a multi-use trail
Volunteers collect data in 2017. Photo: Aaron Burris

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many use this as a day of service. Extension values the service our volunteers contribute. In 2019, they volunteered 207,887 hours across all programs, valued at $5.3 million to our communities.

Volunteers contribute knowledge and experience to Extension, and expand our capacity to deliver programs in every municipality and town of Connecticut. UConn Extension volunteers are from a range of sectors including robotics, information technology, project management, and agriculture. 

Marlene Mayes, a volunteer with the Master Gardener program since 2004,

working in garden
Hartford County Master Gardener Coordinator Sarah Bailey and a Master Gardener volunteer work in Burgdorf. Photo: Chris Defrancesco.

coordinates the Foodshare Garden at the 4-H Education Center at Auerfarm in Bloomfield. Each summer, the garden has over 600 community volunteers, who grow 4,000 pounds of vegetables donated to Foodshare. “Everything is research-based, the greenhouse and garden are about teaching and getting people to grow in their own backyard,” Mayes states. 

We have volunteer opportunities for UConn students, and citizens throughout the state in several of our programs. Join us as a UConn Extension volunteer.

Deer Damage and Control

whitetail deer looking at camera in snow
Photo: David Restivo, NPS

Deer damage or feed on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables such as cole crops, lettuce, grapes, corn, pumpkins, berries, tomatoes, fruit trees and other plants. Because white-tailed deer lack upper incisor teeth, the damaged leaves and twigs or stems have jagged edges, compared with a clean-cut surface left by rodents and rabbit feeding. Vegetables are readily eaten and entire gardens may be destroyed. Sweet corn tips are eaten, including the silk and one to two inches of the ear but occasionally plants are grazed to the ground. In addition, deer trample many crops as they move about the field.
 
Deer are active in Connecticut year-round. Breeding occurs from October to December. Fawns are born in May and June weighing about eight pounds at birth and increasing in weight over the next six to seven years. Peak feeding activity occurs in early morning and late evening; thus, deer may damage the garden without being seen. Damage by deer in Connecticut is increasing as residential development forces deer into smaller and smaller habitats and wild food sources decrease.

Deer are protected during all times of the year except various hunting seasons or by obtaining special crop damage permits. All methods of destroying deer such as using traps, poisons, toxic baits, etc. are dangerous to domestic animals and individuals and may result in liability for damage and poor public relations. Read more….

Article: UConn Home and Garden Education Center

Holiday Plant Care

pink and cream poinsettias
Photo: Pamm Cooper

Did you receive a plant during this holiday season? Poinsettia, holiday cactus and rosemary trees are filling the shelves in greenhouses, grocery stores and even big box stores appealing to the giver to gift a plant lover on their list. While they are beautiful plants, they will need the correct care to keep them that way and in good health.

The familiar red foliage of the poinsettia plant are modified leaves called bracts. They surround the actual small, yellow flower at the center of the red bracts. Once the pollen from the flowers are shed, the bracts are dropped from the plant. Chose plants with little to no pollen for the bracts to be retained for a longer length of time. Plant breeders are developing different colored bracts, including variegated, offering many options than just red. Read more…

Article by Carol Quish of the UConn Home and Garden Center

Workshop: Production Agriculture – Back to Basics

back to basics flyerProduction Agriculture – BACK TO BASICS 

Farmers of all experience are encouraged to join the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, University of Connecticut, and the American Farmland Trust on Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Tolland Agricultural Center in Vernon, Connecticut to hear the latest in IPM/biocontrol, soil management, and water programs.

Aaron Ristow of the American Farmland Trust will discuss his findings on the economic and environmental impacts of soil health practices. This is a free program and pesticide credits will be offered.

Register online now at http://bit.ly/2PNPDPC. For more information please contact Erin Windham at 860-713-2543 or Erin.Windham@ct.gov.

Job Opening: Laboratory Technician

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: UCPEA 4 LABORATORY TECHNICIAN II

 

POSITION

soil in handThe Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Connecticut invites applications for a permanent, 12-month position as an UCP 4 Laboratory Technician II. Reporting to the Laboratory Manager, this position provides technical support for the Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory and serves as a primary resource to the University community, the general public and a wide variety of internal and external constituents.

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) at the University of Connecticut contributes to a sustainable future through scientific discovery, innovation, and community engagement. CAHNR’s accomplishments result in safe, sustainable and secure plant and animal production systems, healthier individuals and communities, greater protection and conservation of our environment and natural resources, balanced growth of the economy, and resilient local and global communities. We epitomize the role of a land-grant university, which is to develop knowledge and disseminate it through the three academic functions of teaching, research, and outreach. In so doing, we improve the lives of citizens of our state, region and country.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The successful candidate will be expected to prepare and analyze soil and plant tissue samples, and report results to farmers, contractors, researchers, professors, commercial growers, landscapers, lawn care companies, and homeowners. Specific duties include: participate in meetings to plan and evaluate lab procedures; identify procedures for intended results and make modifications to incorporate suggestions for improvement; assist in editing and updating lab manuals, and keep current on new procedures and laboratory software; prepare reagents, solutions and other lab supplies or apparatus needed to complete laboratory procedures; assist, and instruct student workers with their duties and with technical problems related to laboratory procedures and equipment; Maintain up-to-date inventory of supplies; set up and maintains laboratory; instruct others in proper and safe use of equipment; answer phone and provide information to customers about interpretation of results or refer customers to Home and Garden Education Center; order lab supplies, chemicals and office supplies using UConn’s KFS, purchase orders and Pro-Card; and schedule outside repairs of lab and office equipment as well as perform routine maintenance and minor repair of lab equipment and related apparatus to ensure proper working order. Maintain the Laboratory’s Facebook page and perform outreach at Hartford Flower Show annually. The person selected will work in close cooperation with the Home and Garden Education Center.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

B.S. degree in chemistry, geology, biological sciences or other lab oriented scientific discipline and 1-3 years of experience, or equivalent education and experience. Demonstrated knowledge of concepts, practices and standard laboratory procedures used in a soil testing laboratory, including digital handling of laboratory data.  Knowledge of standard laboratory safety procedures. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to explain laboratory procedures and to edit laboratory manuals. Experience using Microsoft Word and Excel, and social media platforms, e.g. Facebook. Demonstrated ability to work independently.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

B.S. degree in chemistry, geology, biological sciences or other lab oriented scientific discipline. Ability to program in Microsoft Access; Experience analyzing water or soil extracts using an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), discrete

analyzer, or other related analytical instrument; Knowledge about how fertilizer recommendations are developed; Plant science background; Knowledge of analytical chemistry.

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is a full-time position with a competitive salary and a complete benefits package including health insurance, vacation time and retirement benefits. The successful candidate’s appointment will be at the Storrs Depot campus. The Soil Nutrient Analysis Lab is located at 6 Sherman Place, Storrs, CT

TO APPLY

Position available March 15, 2020. Applicants should submit a letter of application, resume, and a list of contact information for three (3) professional references to UConn Jobs at http://www.jobs.uconn.edu/.  Unofficial transcripts will be required at time of interview.

This job posting is scheduled to be removed at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on January 15, 2020.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

__________________________________________________________________________________

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Gardening Tips for November

Gardening Tips for November

  • Cut back perennials that were covered in powdery mildew during the summer. Cut stalks to the ground and dispose of them. Image by Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org.
  • Once the ground has frozen (but before it snows), mulch fall planted perennials by placing 3 to 5 inches of pine needles, straw, chopped leaves around them.
  • Contact your local garden club for a list of upcoming programs or sign up for a workshop, lecture, or course at your local garden center or through the UConn Master Gardener Program.
  • Avoid chilling houseplants by moving them away from windows as nights get colder.
  • Trim existing asparagus foliage to the ground after the first hard frost and mulch beds.
  • Asian lady beetles and brown marmorated stink bugs may enter the home to overwinter. Use weather stripping or caulking to keep them out.
  • After the ground freezes, mulch small fruit plants such as strawberries. One inch of straw or chopped leaves is ideal for strawberries. Small branches may be used to keep mulch in place.
  • Continue to thoroughly water trees, shrubs, lawn areas and planting beds during dry spells until the soil freezes.
  • Cut back most perennials to 3-4 inches. Sedum, rudbeckia, asters, and ornamental grasses can be left to provide winter interest and food for the birds.

For more information visit our UConn Home and Garden Education Center.

Growing Food with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and UConn Extension have been collaborating thanks to a U.S.D.A. Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program to enhance agricultural production, food security, and health of tribal community members.

UConn Extension Growing Food With the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

#AskUConnExtension #UConnImpact

CAHNR Strategic Visioning Process

food, health and sustainability are the three program areas of UConn CAHNR

The UConn College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources is engaged in a strategic visioning process.  You also may have received the invitation below from Dean Chaubey.  As one who knows about the College, we would love to have your input into the strategic direction the College will take over the next 5-10 years. Listening Sessions are scheduled in different parts of the state during the week of November 18. Please read some more about the process and information about how to attend. Here is the link for more information and this is the link to sign up.

Dear Colleague,

We need your assistance. The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) is undertaking a strategic visioning process that we believe will ensure that CAHNR will continue to be successful for many years.  While maintaining its roots at the core of the state’s land grant institution, the college has grown to include a diverse set of academic disciplines.  The unique combination of disciplines within CAHNR provides opportunities for innovation that can help address today’s emerging issues.

Our goal, with your input, will be to identify key knowledge areas that enable the college to have the greatest potential success for the next decade.   The project will allow us to have a dialogue on the future implications of trends and issues affecting our society, state, industries and communities, and to reflect on the state of the college and then come to consensus on focus areas of teaching, research, and extension. Ultimately, the project will drive our work to be as successful in 2030 as we are today.

The process will involve capturing input from internal and external stakeholders, gathering and evaluating data/feedback, and creating a vision for the future.  This will be a data and stakeholder driven effort because we believe you know most about what is needed from CAHNR to impact important issues within and beyond the state.  We created a process that we believe will produce a dynamic, forward-thinking, and focused description of a future that will position CAHNR to be among the most preeminent institutions of its kind in the nation.

To successfully achieve our goal, CAHNR leadership has identified a core team of individuals to spearhead this effort. These individuals bring their knowledge, experience, vision, and commitment to this endeavor while reaching out to learn as much as they can from others.  The strategic visioning team is co-chaired by Ashley Helton (Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment) and Justin Nash (Professor and Head, Department of Allied Health Sciences) and includes a cross-section of units in the college. The strategic visioning team is spending the next several months listening to stakeholders of the college, studying peer institutions, and consulting with funding agencies. As this will require time, energy, and commitment, our goal is to listen and learn from as many stakeholders as possible while maximizing the use of everyone’s time.

As part of the information gathering process, we will be reaching out to you and other individuals to ask you a brief set of questions.  As one of our leadership team members reaches out to you in the next few weeks, I sincerely hope that you will l be available to provide your input. We value and appreciate you volunteering your time to help us envision a future that will make CAHNR a regional and national leader in our mission areas. A brief fact sheet about the college is attached.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach me (email: Indrajeet.chaubey@uconn.edu) or Committee Co-Chairs (ashley.helton@uconn.edu or justin.nash@uconn.edu).  Thank you again for your time and help.

Best,

Indrajeet Chaubey

Dean, UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources                          

Interveinal Chlorosis

One of the most common plant-problems we see in the lab is interveinal chlorosis. This issue can affect house plants and garden vegetables, to landscape trees and shrubs. We often get inquires about the plant-tissue analysis we offer in the soil testing lab as a means to identify various problems. While this is an extremely useful tool for diagnosing nutrient deficiencies, when we see a plant showing interveinal chlorosis, we usually check the soil test results first.

What is interveinal chlorosis? A good place to start is defining what chlorophyll is. Greek for green leaf, chlorophyll is the pigment in plants that gives them their green color, and traps the light necessary for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process in which plants produce sugar from light energy. The chlorophyll molecule is held together by a central Magnesium ion. Interveinal Chlorosis is a yellowing of the tissue between the veins of a leaf due to the decline of chlorophyll production and activity. A give-away tell of interveinal chlorosis is that the veins generally retain their green color, hence the name, interveinal. When a plant cannot produce chlorophyll it loses its green color and could face stunted growth, fail to produce fruit and flowers, and eventually die.

What causes interveinal chlorosis? The quick version is nutrient deficiency. We already know that Magnesium is a central part in chlorophyll, but there are other essential elements like Iron, Manganese, and Molybdenum that are necessary in many enzyme activities, and a deficiency in one of these nutrients can lead to interveinal chlorosis. In our lab we most commonly see interveinal chlorosis caused by a lack of Iron or Magnesium. When thinking about a nutrient deficiency, it’s important to remember that there are other factors to take into account than just whether the nutrient is present in your growing media. Interveinal Chlorosis brought on by a nutrient deficiency can be caused by a pH imbalance, injured roots or poor root growth, and excessive amounts of other available nutrients in your growing media.

How can you get rid of interveinal chlorosis? We are available in the lab, and in the Home & Garden education center to help you figure out what’s causing your interveinal chlorosis. Once you determine what the cause is, fixing the problem shouldn’t be too difficult. Most of the time it’s a pH issue. If your soil is too alkaline, generally having a pH value of over 6.7, iron becomes more insoluble and less available for absorption. Soil pH can be corrected using a few different approaches, the most common method for acidifying soil is adding Sulfur. Generally, 1 lb Sulfur/100 sq ft will lower pH ~ 1 unit. Nutrient deficiencies can also be remedied using foliar and trunk applications, as well as soil treatments amendments.

More information on diagnosing and remedying interveinal chlorosis can be found through the UConn Home & Garden Education Center and the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Lab. Information on foliar fertilization can be found here: http://www.soiltest.uconn.edu/factsheets/FoliarFertilization.pdf. Happy Gardening!

Tomato plant leaf with magnesium deficiency.

 -J.Croze

Originally published by the UConn Home & Garden Education Center