Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention

Master Gardeners in the region have been asked once again, to help out as volunteers at the annual Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable convention in Hershey February 2-4, 2010. Volunteers are needed at the publication booth, and to help as roaming survey takers throughout the convention. As a reward for covering a four hour shift, volunteers get a free pass to the convention for the day, and a lunch ticket for a meal there. In addition to your volunteer hours, attendance at any of the workshops counts as advanced training hours. There is also a trade show exhibit hall with suppliers showing off their products and services. Franklin County volunteers can contact Linda S. at the office at 263-9226 Ext. 234 to sign up for a time slot to help out. You can read more about the convention by clicking on the link above. From their website:
The Convention has been jointly sponsored by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, the Maryland State Horticultural Society and the New Jersey State Horticultural Society for the past 32 years, making the 2010 Convention the 33rd meeting. The National Peach Council will meet at the Convention for their annual meeting as well. The Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland and Rutgers University Cooperative Extensions all assist in organizing the three days of educational sessions. The Convention has become one of the premier grower meetings in the Northeast.

You’ll also have an opportunity to taste and provide consumer input to judge cider and the best value-added fruit and vegetable products from farm markets across the region. Details on the contests are also provided at the site.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Managing Deer Damage in the Landscape

George H., the Environmental Educator here at the Extension Office, alerts us to a free webinar sponsored by the University of Maryland. It is scheduled for January 14, 2010 - 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Space for this webinar is limited; please make your reservation at least two hours prior to the start of the webinar by calling Pam Thomas at 301-432-2767 x315 or by email - You will receive instructions on signing in when you register.

This webinar will look realistically at lethal and non-lethal management options available to individuals and communities such as vegetation management, fencing, repellents and scare techniques, as well as population management using hunting. Many communities have worked together to educate citizens, stakeholders, and government officials to build consensus and develop strategies to manage overabundant deer populations using non-lethal techniques as well as managed hunts, sharpshooters, and more widespread use of legal hunting. After many decades of dealing with deer problems in Maryland this webinar will look at what works, what doesn't, and the types of strategies are needed to implement effective community deer management in a developing landscape.

The speakers for the webinar will be Jonathan Kays, Extension Natural Resources Specialist and George Timko, Deer Biologist with the MD DNR Wildlife Division. Much of the information covered is found in the extension publication, Managing Deer Damage in Maryland.

More from the IPM site at the University of Connecticut here and here.

By the way, George has also started a blog, Franklin County Environmental Education which I added to the sidebar.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beginning BeeKeeping

The Franklin County Beekeepers Association (FCBA) is offering a beginners beekeeping course. The Thursday evening classroom sessions will be on March 4, 11, 18, & 25, 2010, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Franklin County Extension Office. There will also be a field day at a local apiary on Saturday, March 27. Cost for the short course is $35.00 per family or $30.00 for FCBA members and their families. Subjects that will be covered include an introduction to beekeeping, bee biology, beekeeping equipment; maintaining healthy bees, installing packages and apiary colony management. Registration is required and is limited to the first 50. You do not have to be a member to register. Registration includes a beekeeping manual, disposable gloves, refreshments and membership in the FCBA. For additional information, contact the Extension Office at 717/263-9226.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Garden Photography Workshop

This Saturday, January 9th – Garden Photography. We currently have 14 people registered and can take up to 30, so there’s room for more. This is a hands-on workshop to learn better use of your digital camera for close-up photos of flowers and insects. Laurie C. will discuss how to compose pictures, lighting, and naming techniques. Call the office at 263-9226 to register. Some examples of Laurie’s work can be seen elsewhere on the blog:

Shelob in the Lavender
Monarch Caterpillar
Bumblebee, Monarch, and Dragon Fly
Landisville Gardens (terrific hummingbird shot)
Swallowtail Caterpillar on Dill
Eyed Click Beetle

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Mulch Queen

Angela W. sends this link to a 2004 Mother Earth News article reprinting the work of Ruth Stout, the Mulch Queen. Here’s the introduction:
'Mulch Queen’ Ruth Stout claimed to have smashed saloons with Carry Nation in Prohibition-era Kansas and worked au natural in her roadside Connecticut garden, but her labor-saving, soil-improving, permanent garden mulching technique is what earned her lasting fame. Stout was born in 1884 and lived to be 96; by the1950s, she was writing lively gardening books, including How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back and Gardening Without Work. Both are out of print, but Stout's technique remains consistent with the "no-till" gardening methods soil experts recommend today (see Building Fertile Soil). We thought you might enjoy meeting Stout through this excerpt from Gardening Without Work, which was reprinted most recently by The Lyons Press. — Mother

Lasagna gardening is similar to the process described in the article. Here's a fact sheet from Oregon State University.

The Master Gardeners of Adams County, PA and Frederick, MD profiled Ruth Stout at their blog here.

UPDATE: 6/12/2010 - Recent research shows that sheet mulching and lasagna gardening are not good practices, I've recently learned, because they interfere in the water and air interaction with the soil.  (Here's a better way).  It turns out that Ruth Stout's methods were way ahead of her time.