garden

Soil Testing Lab is Open

soil in hand

In light of agriculture (including community gardening) being designated as essential, the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory will remain open utilizing best practices; social distancing and disinfecting are a high priority. No one will be allowed in the lab but essential personnel. Any soil tests need to be mailed or left in the drop box outside the lab. Anyone needing a soil test should go to http://www.soiltest.uconn.edu. Tests will take longer because they are running on essential lab personnel only.

‘Birds and Bees’ landscaping symposium offered in March

Connecticut Sea Grant and the Rockfall Foundation are co-sponsoring the 2020 Symposium titled “The Birds and The Bees: What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You,” from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 26.

The workshop, at the deKoven House at 27 Washington St., Middletown, will focus on landscaping practices for a sustainable future. Landscape choices, whether for a commercial site plan or a backyard garden, as well as what we plant for pollinators, can influence the viability of our farms and help mitigate climate change impacts.

Sessions include:

  • Landscaping for Birds and Pollinators: the importance of creating a friendly place for nesting and migratory birds (it’s not just for birdwatchers) – Patrick Comins, executive director, Connecticut Audubon Society
  • Planting for Bees: the importance and benefits of bees and of public and private land rich with native plants and nutrition – Dr. Kimberly Stoner, agricultural scientist, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Beyond the Birds & Bees: landscape practices that encourage sustainable habitats of all types – Judy Preston, Long Island Sound outreach coordinator, Connecticut Sea Grant
  • Panel – The three speakers will be joined by Mary Ellen Mateleska, director, education & conservation, Mystic Aquarium with a perspective on the role of Citizen Scientists.

The symposium is intended for land use planners, landscape architects, gardeners, land trusts, conservation commissions, birders and butterfly enthusiasts, horticulturalists, engineers, beekeepers and all concerned with plant selection for a sustainable future.

AICP and CAZEO continuing education credits pending.

Registration Information:

Registration fee: $45 / $15 Students
Optional lunch: $15 / Rockfall Members $5

Registration for lunch must be received by March 24.

To register, visit: https://www.rockfallfoundation.org/event/2020-symposium/

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.

Still Time to Apply to Become a UConn Extension Master Gardener

STILL TIME TO APPLY TO BECOME A UCONN EXTENSION MASTER GARDENER –

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18.

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

The deadline to apply for the 2020 Master Gardener program is this Friday, October 18. There are still some seats available. Go to https://mastergardener.uconn.edu/2019-uconn-extension-mast…/ to either apply online or download a paper version. This session we’ll be offering a Saturday class, to be held in Vernon, along with weekday classes in Torrington, New Haven, Norwich and Stamford. Classes begin in January!

UConn Extension Master Gardeners have an interest in plants, gardening, people and the environment.  Specifically, they are willing to share their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm with their communities, providing research-based information to homeowners, students, gardening communities and others. They receive horticultural training from UConn, and then share that knowledge with the public through community volunteering and educational outreach efforts. UConn Master Gardeners help with community and museum gardens, school gardens, backyard projects, houseplant questions and more.

“The Master Gardener Program opened my eyes to the wonderful world of horticulture, gardening, and the fragile ecosystem we Master Gardener logoshare with animals and insects,” says Pat Sabosik of Hamden, who completed the program in 2017.

The program is presented in a hybrid class format with three to four hours of online work before each of the 16 weekly classes, followed by a half-day classroom session. Classes run from 9 AM to 1 PM. New this year is a weekend session which will be held in Vernon on Saturdays.

“The combination of in-depth classroom learning with subject matter experts, extensive reading materials, and hands-on projects and outreach experiences is a good balance of learning experiences”, says Anne Farnum who also took the class in 2017.

Classes begin the week of January 6, 2020. Subject matter includes basic botany, plant pathology, soils, entomology and lectures on other aspects of gardening, plant groups, and pest management. Lectures and reading are combined with hands-on classroom experience. After the classroom portion, students complete 60 hours of outreach experience during the summer.

The program fee is $450.00, and includes all needed course materials. Partial scholarships may be available, based on demonstrated financial need.

For more information, call the UConn Extension Master Gardener office at 860-409-9053 or visit the UConn Extension Master Gardener website at: www.mastergardener.uconn.edu , where both the on-line and paper application can be found.

Pesticide Law Primer Developed for Schools

school athletic fieldPesticide Law Primer Developed by UConn Extension for Connecticut School Grounds Managers, Superintendents, Teachers, and Members of the School Community

UConn Extension, with the CT Department of Energy and Environment (CT DEEP), has developed a series that explains and clarifies Connecticut’s pesticide restrictions on school grounds.

In 2010, Connecticut state legislation banned the application of all pesticides registered with EPA, and labeled for use on lawn, garden, and ornamental sites, on the grounds of public or private daycares and schools with grades K-8. The law was amended in 2015 to allow the use of horticultural oils and microbial and biochemical pesticides.

Since enactment of this legislation, weed control on school ground properties has been a significant challenge for school grounds managers. Although the law is nearly 10 years old, widespread understanding and awareness of the law remains elusive. UConn Extension’s primers aim to break down the most essential details of the law for grounds managers, administrators, parents, guardians, teachers, and other members of the school community.

Vickie Wallace and Alyssa Siegel-Miles, of UConn Extension, with the assistance of Diane Jorsey, of CT DEEP, created three string trimming on school groundsversions of the primer: a brochure for the school community; a more detailed primer for school administrators, and longer primer that includes management information for school grounds managers.

The primers answer the most frequently asked questions, such as:

  • Which school locations are affected by this law?
  • Which pesticides are banned?
  • Who can apply minimum risk pesticides on school properties?
  • Are exemptions to the law permitted for emergencies?
  • Are there pesticide products that are permitted for use on K-8 school properties?
  • How must a school notify the school community, including parents, of pesticide applications, whether minimum risk or emergency?
  • Can playing fields, grounds, and lawns be managed without the use of pesticides?

 

Read and download the primers:

A Superintendents’ Primer on Connecticut’s School Grounds Pesticide Regulations:

http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/view.php?id=1451

A School Grounds Manager’s Primer on Connecticut’s School Grounds Pesticide Regulations: http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/view.php?id=1450

School Grounds Pesticide Regulations for the School Community (brochure):

http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/view.php?id=1452

UConn Offers Master Composter Program and Worm Day

Enroll Now in the UConn 2019 Master Composter Program

Almost 25% of household waste can be recycled through composting. The purpose of the UConn Master Composter program is to educate and train residents about the basics of small-scale composting and in exchange for the training, volunteers will pass on their knowledge to others through outreach activitiessuch as talks, demonstrations, tabling at events, providing promotional activities, working with schools or community gardens etc. Master Composter classes will be held at the New London County Extension Center in Norwich. There will be four weeknight lectures (October 15, 17, 22 & 24), Worm Day (Oct 19) and two Saturday field trips with only one being mandatory. The cost of the program is $100. The Master Composter brochure with registration information is available at www.ladybug.uconn.edu or www.soiltest.uconn.edu or call (860) 486-4274 for more information.

 

worm in the soilWORM DAY

Saturday, October 19, 2019 at the Middlesex County Extension Center from 10 am to 2 pm.

Want to learn more about invasive earthworms in Connecticut? Ever thought about making a worm bin to recycle kitchen scraps into rich vermicompost? Join us for Worm Day! It is free and open to the public. Following presentations on beneficial and invasive earthworms, and how to make and care for a worm bin, folks are invited to make their own worm bins. Attendees supply the materials and we will supply the worms. A $5 donation is suggested to cover the cost of the worms. Go to www.ladybug.uconn.edu orwww.soiltest.uconn.edu for more information. Please RSVP to Dawn.Pettinelli@uconn.edu as we need to know how many worms to bring! Limited to 40 participants.

10 Tips for the August Gardener

Ten Tips for the August Gardener

flowersClick on highlighted links for additional information.

  • Fertilize perennials with a 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 product to encourage continued blooming.
  • Scout for C-shaped notches on the edges of the leaves of your perennials such as dahlias, roses, basil or coleus that are caused by Asiatic beetle feeding.
  • Houseplants can dry out quicker in the heat and extra sunlight of summer. Check them frequently to evaluate their moisture needs.
  • Keep an eye out for insect, slug, and snail damage throughout the garden. Use the controls in our fact sheet Snails and Slugs.
  • Remove old plants that have stopped producing to eliminate a shelter for insects and disease organisms. Replant sites with chard, quick maturing beans or cucumbers, leafy greens etc.
  • Even though tomatoes continue to ripen after picking, fruits develop greatest flavor when allowed to ripen on plants. The exception is cherry tomatoes since many varieties are prone to splitting. Pick any almost ripe ones before a heavy rain.
  • Pick up, bag, and trash (do not compost) any dropped apples that show signs of apple maggot.
  • Think about what fruits trees you might like to add to your yard this fall. Some suggestions for native plants may be found at Trees and Shrubs: Suggested Native Species for Pollinators.
  • Reseeding the lawn in late August gives the new grass two growing periods (fall and spring) before the heat of summer. Be sure to keep the seed moist until germination.
  • Fruiting plants such as winterberry, holly, and firethorn need regular watering during dry spells to ensure that berries mature and don’t drop off.

For more information visit the UConn Home and Garden Education Center or email ladybug@uconn.edu.

10 Tips for the July Gardener

Ten Tips for the July Gardener

Click on highlighted links for additional information.

  • Container and hanging plants may need to be watered in the morning and again later in the day if hot and windy conditions prevail. Check plants again at day’s end to see if the soil is dry.
  • Hummingbirds are attracted to red salvia, coral bells and bee balm.
  • Check out the UConn Extension Bug Week for events, activities, and programs.
  • Tomato hornworms are large green caterpillars that feed on the leaves of tomatoes and related plants. Hand-pick or control with Bacillus thuringiensis. Do not remove caterpillars that are covered in white pupae as they have been parasitized by beneficial wasps.
  • Check brassicas for cabbageworm, diamond-back moth caterpillars, cross-striped caterpillars, and cabbage loopers. Use row covers or Bacillus thuringiensis to control them.
  • Pick up, bag, and trash (do not compost) any dropped apples that show signs of apple maggot.
  • Check roses, Mugo pine, hibiscus, and dogwood for sawfly larvae. Insecticidal soap, Horticultural oil, and pyrethrins are among the low-toxicity insecticides recommended for control.
  • Apply grub control no later than July 15th so that it is systemically in place in grass roots when the grubs hatch in early August.
  • Check family members and pets for ticks after being outside, especially when in tall grass or wooded areas.
  • Leaky garden hoses and fittings can waste water. Check hoses while they are under full pressure and make repairs

Article by UConn Home & Garden Education Center

Join us for a Garden Party

Garden party invite graphic with logo

Please join the UConn Extension Master Gardener Program for an exclusive Garden Party, hosted by Master Gardener Susan Saint James.

Saturday, June 15, 2019
11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Susan Saint James Home*
Litchfield, CT

Speaking program includes:

Susan Saint James
Dean Indrajeet Chaubey of UConn CAHNR
Amy Chesmer, CAHNR ‘94

Tickets:
Individual – $100 
($60 tax-deductible)

Table of 10 – $1,000 
($600 tax-deductible)

Register now: http://bit.ly/UConnGardenParty

Horticultural Opportunities

 

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

The UConn Extension Master Gardener program is a program that offers many different opportunities through the horticulture world. There are many qualities that are vital to becoming a Master Gardener, such as being eager to educate your community, participating in training programs, and wanting to learn more about plant care and gardening. It is never too late to become a Master Gardener. Applications are available now at MasterGardener.UConn.edu and due October 9th.

Once you have enrolled to be a Master Gardener, you will start working on your certification to become an official Master Gardener. Some things that you need to do to achieve this certification is completing a 16-week course that meets once a week, and complete a 60 hour internship that includes working in one of 9 UConn Extension offices statewide for hands on training, and working on a community outreach program. Rebecca Foss, one of the class of 2015 Master Gardeners talks about her experience in the Master Gardner’s office in the Tolland County Extension office, and how she was always eager to help out with anyone that had questions about plants.

“One of the most rewarding experiences was in the Tolland Master Gardner office. I had approached my office hours with an open mind but some underlying (but mild) trepidation as I wondered whether or not I would be able to actually make a correct diagnosis.” Rebecca later found a piece of pine that had some sort of disease on it and the owner of the pine wanted to figure it out so he could try and treat it. Rebecca and her co-worker went underway to try and figure out what they were dealing with. “We quickly ruled out some causes (we hadn’t had a drought last year) and focused on others. Soon, diplodia tip blight (Sphaeropsis sapinea), which my partner found in a book, began to look like the potential culprit.” Rebecca states. Once Rebecca and her partner got the specimen under the microscope, “I looked under the papery leaf sheaths as recommended and… Bingo! There they were!”

The Master Gardener Program is full of many different opportunities for you to learn new things about plants, but to also fulfill a lifelong hobby you may never have thought pursuing. Learn more at MasterGardener.UConn.edu

Article by Katy Davis