Across the Fence

Friday, May 8th Research and Education on the Vermont Honeybee and other Pollinators –Sid Bosworth, UVM Extension Agronomist, and Chas Mraz, Champlain Valley Apiaries   Tune in to WCAX Channel 3 at 12:10 pm. Watch shows online shortly after they air, at:   http://www.uvm.edu/extension/atfence/?page_id=22

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Vermont Recognizes National Garden Month

From the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared April to be “National Gardening Month,” and Vermont has much to celebrate. Although garden season gets a later start in Vermont, our state has a vibrant, active, gardening culture.

“Vermonters care very deeply about where their food comes from,” said Vermont’s Ag Secretary, Chuck Ross. “So it is no surprise that gardens play an important role here in our state.”

According to the Vermont Community Garden Network (VCGN), our state has more than 400 community gardens. Located at schools, parks, and shared spaces across the state, these community gardens provide many benefits. VCGN notes that community gardens help neighbors develop friendships and support systems, allow children to try (and like!) new foods, build awareness of environmental issues, and help transform neglected land into productive space that provides fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables. http://vcgn.org/

Vermont also has a robust network of Master Gardeners. Since the University of Vermont Extension founded the Master Gardener program in 1991, more than 3,000 Vermonters have completed the course, which includes 45 hours of instruction in plant and soil science. Students are also required to complete a 40 hour internship, focused on garden projects that benefit the community. Currently, there are more than 900 certified Extension Master Gardeners in the state, who are actively servicing their communities by performing outreach and education activities (minimum of 20 hours annual service to their communities). http://www.uvm.edu/mastergardener/

Vermont also has one of the nation’s most robust Farm-to-School programs – 89% of Vermont schools report that they participate in Farm-to-School programming. Gardens are an important part of the curriculum for many of these schools.

This is the first year National Gardening Month has been recognized by the USDA.  Secretary Tom Vilsack signed the official declaration earlier this month. However, the National Gardening Association (NGA), headquartered right here in Vermont (Williston), has been promoting National Gardening Month as an awareness-building opportunity for many years. Founded in 1972, The NGA is a Vermont-based national non-profit that advocates for garden-based education. To date, The NGA has supported more than 10,000 school and youth garden programs across the globe. https://assoc.garden.org/

Despite the relatively short growing season, garden culture is thriving in Vermont. And with more daylight and warmer weather ahead, Vermonters will have many opportunities to get outside and get gardening this season.

About the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets: VAAFM facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment.  www.Agriculture.Vermont.Gov

 

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2015 International Master Gardener Conference

Registration is now open for the 2015 International Master Gardener Conference inNebraska!  The conference is September 22 to 25, 2015 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It is co-sponsored by the University of Nebraska and Iowa State University.  Come look at all we have to offer on the IMGC web site.

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Making Paper from Invasive Plants

If you’re preparing to weed your garden this spring, then you might consider making an art project from the invasive plants that you remove, just like Detroit-based artist Megan Heeres did with The Invasive Paper Project.
Click here to read more.

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Across the Fence

Wednesday, April 29th The Eden Project of Cornwall, England –Leonard Perry, UVM Extension Horticulturist, and Jane Knight, Project Eden Landscape Designer
Tune in to WCAX Channel 3 at 12:10 pm. Watch shows online shortly after they air, at:   http://www.uvm.edu/extension/atfence/?page_id=22
 

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Gardening in the Age of Pinterest: Dubious Online Garden Tips

Originally posted on WV Garden Guru:

Social media have made it easy to share information the world around. It has made it easy for people to connect and interact more than humans ever have before.

Gardening is a common theme on Facebook, Twitter and, especially, Pinterest. Ideas are easily shared through these sites. It’s great to see such interest in gardening.

Sometimes, however, these ideas should be taken with a grain of salt. It turns out that you can’t believe everything you read online (surprise, surprise).

Ideas coming from anecdotal observations that haven’t been confirmed or tested through research make their rounds on the Internet, causing frustration — and even danger — for unassuming gardeners. I like to call it “gardening in the age of Pinterest.”

Finding accurate information

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Starting a VT EMG Project and Obtaining Approval for it

Projects are endeavors that generally continue year to year and have an open invitation for EMGs to join in the work. There needs to be a project leader with the option of having a co-leader. Any certified EMG or 2nd year intern may propose a new project. New interns are encouraged to join projects already in place not only to gain experience in learning exactly what we do, but also our approved projects deserve continued support from our community. A lot of time and effort has gone into starting and keeping these projects viable. Under special circumstances a first year intern may propose a project, but only if they already know a seasoned EMG who will guide them as co-leader until they become certified.

Chapter 4 of the Volunteer Handbook thoroughly explains the criteria for projects and the process for how they get approved. Please read it. Here’s a small excerpt:

Volunteer projects are approved only when they meet all three Vermont EMG criteria. Every EMG Project must: 1. be educational 2. Reflect the current outreach focus areas 3. Strengthen or support the UVM Extension Master Gardener program. Our goal is to help Vermonters with their gardening problems, not to do the gardening for them.

Our focus is educating the home gardener. We cannot support businesses or simply do garden maintenance. Many of our projects take place at schools, libraries, non-profits, or other places where the public gathers. If you volunteer for other organizations, it’s not the same as volunteering for Master Gardener.

Please also refer to the “How-To” section of our website for further information on starting a project. A project proposal form must be sent into the office. It will then be shared with the Steering Team who will make the final approval decision based on these factors: number of available volunteers in the area, overall chapter interest in and support for the project, pre-existing projects in the area, and ability to carry out the commitment.

One-time volunteer opportunities do not need a project proposal form and the ensuing process. It’s always OK to staff an EMG info table, give a presentation, or teach a group about home gardening or be a facilitator in making arrangements for someone else to do it. Since you are representing UVM Extension, the information you provide must be science-based. PLEASE wear your badge! You can send an email to your listserv if you’d like to invite other EMGs to join you or attend. Many chapters host their own presentations and are always open to new ideas.

If you have any further questions, please email Trish, Member Support, at Trish.Kargman@uvm.edu.

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Across the Fence

Friday, April 24th UVM Research: Supporting Vermont Apple Growers and Cider Producers –Terry Bradshaw, UVM Plant and Soil Science Department
Tune in to WCAX Channel 3 at 12:10 pm. Watch shows online shortly after they air, at:   http://www.uvm.edu/extension/atfence/?page_id=22

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BEA’S BUZZ By Bea Cole

Bea Cole is a certified UVM Extension Master Gardener volunteer and writes a gardening column for the Herald of Randolph newspaper.

Dear Bea:

I have this great salmon recipe that calls for fennel but when I went to the local grocery store I couldn’t find it. I also went to a co-op store and was able to find fennel seeds but no fennel bulb. I’m assuming it’s an herb of some kind but I’m not even sure what it looks like. Any idea where I might find fennel and is it something that I could grow in my garden this year? – Diane

Dear Diane:

Fennel is a hardy aromatic perennial herb that when grown has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It looks similar to a dill plant but the leaves are a little thinner. It is the sole species in the Foeniculum genus. Every part of the plant from the bulb to the seed can be used for culinary purposes. The fennel seed has the strongest flavor and is often used in breads, cakes, pies and sauces to name a few.

In most stores, you will find fennel in the produce department and it is usually marked as “anise”. Although anise is in the same family (Umbelliferae) as fennel they are not the same plant. They both have a “licorice-like” flavor but that is where the similarities end.

Although Fennel is technically a perennial, it is grown as an annual in our zone. Like dill, it is possible that it will self-sow. The plant grows best in full sun with a good draining soil and does not like clay. Look for “Florance fennel” seeds if you are growing the plant for the swollen bulb-like base. Sow the seeds 12” apart and cover with 1/8 to 1/4” of soil. It takes 12-18 days for the seeds to germinate and then 80-100 days for the plant to reach maturity so it makes sense to get the seeds in the ground early.

Plant your fennel away from other plants especially dill as it will cross-pollinate. Each fennel plant will produce seeds and bulb but you can’t harvest both from the same plant. The bulb is harvested before the plant goes to seed. So if you want bulbs and seeds, you need more than one plant. The bulb, which is at the base of the plant, also needs to be “hilled” with dirt to keep the sun from turning it green. Fennel plants are not suitable for container growing as they have a very long tap root.

Cut the stalk one inch above the bulb at harvest time. Remove and discard any wilted leaves on the outer layer of the bulb. Cut off the root end and discard, then wash and pat the bulb dry. To use the bulb in cooking, stand it upright on root end and cut it in half lengthwise. Then cut into quarters, discarding the tough core portion from each quarter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Montreal Botanic Gardens and Jean-Talon Market Tour 9/14-15

 FYI only, does not count for EMG hours

Montreal Gardens Tour Registration—Sept. 14-15, 2015

Due by August 7, 2015Register sooner and save $$! See below; space is limited.

Early Registration through April 30   $229     (double occupancy)

More info and registration at:   http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/mbg915an.pdf

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