- Connecting Connecticut
- On The Trail
- Walk With Me
- One Health
You can listen to all episodes on our Spotify channel at s.uconn.edu/extension-podcast.
You can listen to all episodes on our Spotify channel at s.uconn.edu/extension-podcast.
Asian jumping worms are a problem. Most efforts at this time are about reducing the spread. The eggs of these worms can travel on shoes and gardening tools and plant material, so proper sanitation is a big key. Avoid plant swaps. More tips and tricks: s.uconn.edu/jumpingworms
Joanna Woodward recently joined UConn Extension as the Master Gardener Coordinator for Tolland County. Prior to joining Extension, she spent 30 years in corporate IT working in training and help desk services, project management, library and information services, and then technology adoption and education. Joanna emigrated from the United Kingdom almost 20 years ago and earned her bachelor in science in Technical Management.
What is your area of interest?
Since retiring and completing the Master Gardeners program, I have an interest in native plants and landscape design with a view to supporting wildlife in our gardens. I maintain my interest in technology adoption and education which began in the early 90’s training secretaries how to use word processors. I was lucky to be around at a time when technology was being introduced into the workplace for the first time.
What excites you the most about working with UConn Extension?
I’m looking forward to engaging with each of the Tolland County Master Gardeners, with the team of Master Gardener Coordinators and looking to collaboration opportunities with other Extension programs. The 2024 program will be online in Tolland so I’m excited to use my previous experience as a technology educator to engage with the new interns.
What is one thing you hope people will learn from you and your work?
I hope the new Master Gardeners enjoy their gardening learning experience and become even more curious about the natural world through the program.
What is your favorite thing to do in Connecticut?
I enjoy walking with my dog in the Connecticut state parks.
What are some of your hobbies and other interests?
I am a Master Gardener volunteer at the Connecticut Audubon Society Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme and at Camp Harkness in Waterford. I belong to the local garden club and manage their website. I have recently purchased a Cannon DSLR camera and am learning about nature photography. I am a member of two book clubs, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. and listen to audio books and subscribe to gardening podcasts. I love watching British TV programs (Gardeners World included of course) which keep me connected to my family back at home. My family here consists of my husband, three grown up children, two moggy cats and a cockerpoo.
If the shrub blooms in spring, then prune immediately after bloom period next year. If you prune it now, flower buds will be lost. If it blooms in summer, prune now or in the spring. Endless Summer hydrangea macrophylla blooms on current season growth and old wood, pruning will still result in some flower loss, but pruning can be done now if you can’t wait.
Answered by the UConn Home & Garden Education Center
Registration is open for the 2023 UConn Master Composter Program! Classes consist of two Saturday in-person sessions, September 16 and 30, and two Thursday night virtual ones, September 21 and 28. There are also two field trips scheduled for October. Participants will learn about composting and share their knowledge with others in a variety of venues. UConn Master Composters make a difference! Learn more and register at https://homegarden.cahnr.uconn.edu/master-composter/.
We’re hiring an Extension Evaluation Specialist. Join our team and advance the field of program evaluation by designing and testing methods that lead to improved capacity to measure outcomes of UConn Extension programs. The Specialist designs and delivers education programs and non-credit courses for UConn Extension faculty, staff, and administrators to increase their capacity to evaluate programs aligned with the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources strategic vision and initiatives. Learn more and apply: https://s.uconn.edu/eval-specialist
Do you enjoy horticulture and want to expand your knowledge and also help others? Apply for the 2024 UConn Extension Master Gardener program. Applications are due October 13, 2023 and classes begin on January 8, 2024. Class locations for 2024 are Stamford, Norwich, Torrington, New Haven, and online.
Students enrolled in this program receive training in an extensive range of horticultural and environmental topics, including botany, plant pathology, entomology, integrated pest management (IPM), herbaceous and woody ornamentals, fruits, vegetables, turfgrass, invasive plants, and diagnostic techniques for the home gardener.
“I have to say that the quality of the instruction was exceptional. Many of the topics brought me back to my time at UConn as a plant science major, classes that took a semester condensed to a single class,” said Althea Langer, a program graduate. “My outlook on my own garden and those of others has definitely been impacted by this course. I’m much more aware of nature and that we need to be guardians of it by how we all treat our own small spaces.”
UConn Extension Master Gardeners 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 program provides the opportunity for beginner, intermediate or experienced gardeners to increase their personal knowledge of the practice of gardening … The program allows you to meet with like-minded people over a common interest – growing plants,” said Ken Sherrick, an Advanced Master Gardener.
The program fee is $495.00 and includes all needed course materials. Partial scholarships may be available, based on demonstrated financial need.
Full UConn Extension Master Gardener program course details and information and the application is available at s.uconn.edu/apply.
Join us on Friday, August 18th for the 2nd Annual UConn IPM Seminar Series. This event is free to the public, and will be held in the Wilfred B. Young Building on the Storrs Campus from 10:a.m.-2:30 p.m. Registration is required.
Dr. Nick Goltz- Disease Update and Plant Health Tips
Pamm Cooper- Good Bug- Bad Bug
Marie Woodward- Intro to IPM for Home Gardeners
Cathryn Chapman- Right Plant, Right Place: A Look into Turfgrass Selection
Evan Lentz- Small Fruit IPM in the Home Garden
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from early spring through fall, you can find dedicated groups of Master Gardeners lovingly cultivating an organic Demonstration Vegetable Garden at the Fairfield County Extension Center site in Bethel. By summer, the garden is a beautiful oasis teeming with butterflies, and pollinators as volunteers harvest tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and other organic vegetables to donate to area food pantries. In addition to vegetables, the bountiful harvests include a variety of fresh herbs, and gorgeous annual flowers. Recently, the Master Gardeners have collaborated with Extension’s Food and Nutrition EFNEP and SNAP-Ed programs to provide clients with nutritious recipes in both Spanish and English to accompany their produce. Harvests continue all season long and food pantry drop offs are rotated to share the bounty. Among the area organizations who benefit from the donations are the Brookfield Food Pantry, Faith Food Pantry in Newtown, Daily Bread in Danbury, and the Bethel Food Pantry.
The 3,000 square foot garden was started in 2013 by a group of Master Gardener interns excited to assist food insecure clients, and at the same time educate the public about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and best garden practices. Each year additional Master Gardeners have joined the group and added to the garden’s infrastructure. The garden now has numerous raised beds, an irrigation system, tunnels to protect brassica crops from cabbageworms, and a blueberry enclosure to keep hungry birds at bay.
Advanced Master Gardener, Andrea Sarnik, began working in the garden in 2018. In 2020, Andrea joined Barbara Stauder as a project co-captain. Andrea explains, “The garden’s primary mission is to serve as an educational tool. It does that in a multitude of ways. The garden itself is a showcase of many varieties of vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers. We receive many visitors on Saturdays when we open the garden during the Farmer’s Market. Visitors get ideas on things they might try and get answers to questions regarding gardening from the Master Gardener volunteers. The garden is marked with signs identifying the crops and informational signs such as companion planting and integrated pest management.”
In addition to the educational signage, a small rain garden display hugs the garden shed and a rain barrel system catches water from its roof. A three-bin compost system sits just outside the garden gate. This garden is definitely all about education, but clients are not the only ones who benefit. New interns join the group each year as they pursue their Master Gardener certification. As Andrea Sarnik adds, “Master Gardener interns obtain a broad array of information from the more senior Master Gardeners and even the seasoned gardeners continue to learn as they encounter issues and exchange information.”
Each winter the group of about 30 volunteers meet to plan for the new season. They work to extend the season by careful planning, incorporating more early and late blooming crops, seeking out pest and disease resistant varieties, and discussing other ways to increase harvests and productivity. The enthusiastic group weighs their harvests and tracks their crops with numerous spreadsheets, noting weather and pest issues. “Most years show an increase in total pounds of produce donated with our current top year total of 1365 pounds,” Andrea remarks. Clearly, the Master Gardener’s methods are successful.
This season, the group has already donated hundreds of pounds of produce, having started early harvesting garlic, onions, and cole crops. With the cool, rainy spring, the tomatoes are a bit behind with many green fruits waiting for more sunshine to sweeten and ripen them. This year, over five years after planting, the young native persimmon tree outside the garden will finally fruit. One of the young pawpaw trees also has a few potato shaped fruits for the first time. The Master Gardeners are excited by this development and are already envisioning another abundant harvest to share with their friends at the local food pantries.
To learn more about the Extension Master Gardener Program, which is offered in multiple locations throughout the state, visit our website at https://mastergardener.uconn.edu/. Applications will be available by the end of August for the 2024 program.
Article by Sandi Wilson, Fairfield County Master Gardener Coordinator
The Master Gardener program offers a Plant Clinic at the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford, one of our program locations. Pat Carroll, Coordinator for the Bartlett Arboretum location, wanted to extend their reach since we have Master Gardeners and clients who live in communities ranging from Greenwich to Fairfield and as far north as Ridgefield and Redding.
Pat met with Joanne Gabriel who is both a Master Gardener and a Darien Library employee. “Joanne shared my enthusiasm of offering Plant Clinic at the library. We decided to run a trial of eight sessions on consecutive Friday mornings in May and June,” she said.
They met with a small group of Master Gardeners to determine the necessary materials, a topic of the day for each session, and a plan for handing off cases that require further research.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm and positive outreach each Friday we were set up at Darien Library,” Joanne says. “Sometimes we had plant cases, sometimes we just talked gardening, garden design, or hot topics. Each week there was a different theme for patrons to learn something new about. Finally, it was a great way for Master Gardeners to socialize, talk and learn from each other, something I think that was lost a bit during COVID.”
During the spring 2023 plant clinics, nearly 200 people stopped in. They had a conversation with a Master Gardener, took the pamphlets being offered, asked a question, brought a sample, brought a donation of a native or rare species (happened a few times!), or listened to the mini-lecture being offered. While not all ended up being plant clinic cases, each interaction was valuable for both our volunteers and the people they interacted with.
Darien Library offered indoor space during inclement weather, and given the wet year we are having, that was appreciated by all! The library also provided tables and chairs, and assisted with weekly logistics.
The Plant Clinic provided information, pamphlets, live demonstrations, and samples. There are discussions to continue offering some programming for the community in conjunction with the Darien Library. Learn more about the program at s.uconn.edu/gardener.