Equine Health Short Course scheduled for November

October 17, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension will offer a three-evening educational series on topics in horse health. All sessions will be held at the Kent County Extension Office, located at the Paradee Center in Dover, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The short course can be attended face-to-face, or through distance technology. A registration fee and advanced registration is required.

The following topics will be covered during the course:

Wednesday, Nov. 6 – Foundations of Equine Health

▪    Basics of anatomy and physiology (cardiovascular, respiratory, and skeletal systems)

▪    Physical examination of the horse and vital signs

Thursday, Nov. 14 – Economical Veterinary Care and Lameness in Horses

▪   Special guest speaker, Michael Fugaro, VMD, professor of Equine Studies and Staff Veterinarian, Centenary College

Wednesday, Nov. 20 – Digestive Health

▪    Digestive system basics

▪    Colic in horses and gastric ulcers in horses

For more information please contact Dr. Carissa Wickens at cwickens@udel.edu or Susan Garey at (302)730-4000 or truehart@udel.edu

Click here to download the registration form.


UD Cooperative Extension offers workshops on preparing food

October 8, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

With cooking shows all over the television, interest in food preparation has increased, but there are still many individuals who don’t feel confident when making food choices and preparing their own foods.

To remedy this, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension will offer Clueless in the Kitchen? workshops throughout the fall. More than just watching how to, participants will practice cooking skills and prepare recipes under the guidance of Master Food Educators.

Clueless in the Kitchen? will be offered from 6:30-9 p.m., Wednesdays, Oct. 23, Oct. 30, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13, at the New Castle County Extension Office, 461 Wyoming Rd., Newark. Cost is $70.

UD Cooperative Extension Master Food Educator volunteers have developed a four-part series for those who need answers to their cooking problems. Through hands‐on learning and guidance by the Master Food Educator volunteers, participants will have the opportunity to learn about cooking tools and methods, kitchen and food safety, and terminology so they can begin to gain experience in preparing quick, easy and convenient recipes.

The sessions will focus on the following themes:

Session I — Just the Basics: Learn how to read recipes and determine if a recipe would be easy or complicated to prepare; learn the standard measurements and terminology used in recipes; understand the concept of a pantry and what items should be considered standard “pantry” items; understand knives as tools and practice cutting with various types of knives; and learn about food safety.

Session II — Stir fry: Using the knife skills practiced in the first session, participants will prepare vegetables for stir fry and prepare grains to serve with them. Participants will better understand stir-frying as a cooking technique and gain experience about preparing simple foods quickly.

Session III — Pasta and Sauces: This session will include recipes, concepts and basic cooking methods for Italian style pasta and sauces. Types of pasta, herbs, oils, canned tomatoes and Parmesan cheeses will be discussed. Various types of pasta and some quick, simple and tasty basic sauces will be prepared.

Session IV — Let’s Cook with Meats: Basic information on selecting, safely storing, and preparation methods for beef. Participants will practice knife skills when working with beef and will learn which cooking techniques work with which cuts of meat and prepare healthy, easy beef recipes.

The registration deadline is Oct. 17. To register for the class, download and mail in the registration form, which can be found here.


UD graduate students share agronomic research at open house

October 1, 2013 under CANR News

9514522621_20bfdc783f_hUniversity of Delaware graduate students at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources were featured speakers at a recent fruit and vegetable open house held at the Elbert N. & Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown.

Held on August 14, 2013, the tour was co-sponsored Delaware Cooperative Extension and the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware (FVGAD).   Research stemming from grants obtained by the University of Delaware – a five-year, $1.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant on lima beans, and two USDA Specialty Block Grants, which seek to find alternative fruit crops for the First State – provided an opportunity for local growers to observe the research in progress, listen to updates on both the challenges and progress of fruit and vegetable crops that are grown in Delaware, and what crops, such as wine and table grapes, are being considered as a future agronomic crop in the First State.

Gordon Johnson, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences and Extension fruit and vegetable specialist serves as graduate adviser to Philip Sylvester, Kristina Smith, Harwinder Singh Sidhu, Andrew Kness and Donald Seifrit. Each participated in the tour and provided details of their current research to invited growers and industry professionals.

“Our graduate students provide the means by which more industry research can be conducted while they pursue their education,” Johnson said. Together, Extension researchers and graduate students will research critical pest and disease issues in lima beans and produce tools to help the industry further manage these issues, Johnson said. The graduate students are assisted by Heather Baker, research associate with the college.

Phil Sylvester
The objective of Sylvester’s current project is to evaluate alternative control measures for root knot nematodes in lima beans.  Root-knot nematodes are microscopic roundworms that can cause significant damage to the root system resulting in yield loss.   Alternative controls in the project include biological control organisms, compost amendments, and the use of biofumigant mustard and sorghum species incorporated immediately

ahead of planting.  Microplots were established in Georgetown at the University of Delaware Research and Education Center to evaluate biological control organisms and an alternative chemical treatment.  Small scale field plots were established in Salisbury at the University of Maryland Lower Eastern Shore Research and Education Center to evaluate compost amendments and the biofumigants species. Sylvester is  the agriculture Extension agent in Kent County and is editor of the Kent County Agricultural Extension Blog.

Kristina Smith
Kristina Smith is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware. Smith’s studies are aimed at better understanding the spread of, and early detection of the Root-knot nematode within the lima bean fields of southern Delaware. The Root-knot nematode is a microscopic round worm capable of causing significant yield reductions within a variety of economically important crops. Smith’s research is conducted on eight different farms, at approximately 40 acres per farm. Smith’s focus is on the epidemiology of the Root-knot nematodes, how and why it presents itself in the lima bean crop.

Harwinder Singh Sidhu
Harwinder Singh Sidhu is a Ph.D. candidate whose work focuses on pod blight of lima beans caused by Phytophthora capsici. There are three primary objectives of his research. First, fields of lima beans, watermelons, cucumbers, and other host crops will be scouted  for isolates ofP. capsici. Secondly the surface water irrigation sources such as ponds, and streams will be baited for P. capsici. All the isolates collected from crops, and irrigation water sources will be characterized on the basis of mating types, mefenoxam (fungicide) sensitivity, and molecular markers. Third objective of the research is to study disease epidemiology. This will include  various field abiotic parameters (weather and topography) that might influence pathogen outbreak and disease progress. These observations will be used to develop a model which will be tested for predicting future disease outbreaks.

Andrew Kness
Phytophthora capsici is a fungus-like pathogen of over 50 crop species worldwide, one of them being the lima bean. P. capsici was first discovered as a pathogen of lima bean in Delaware in 2000.  Since then, it has spread throughout the state and the Delmarva Peninsula.  The pathogen is particularly aggressive during years of heavy rainfall as soil moisture and plant wetness facilitate infection.  Mefenoxam, a class of synthetic fungicides, is the only fungicide currently registered for use against P. capsici on lima bean, and has been routinely applied for protection against infection.  Repeated applications of mefanoxam fungicides over the years has led to the development of resistant populations of P. capsici to this fungicide.

Kness’s research seeks to identify new classes of fungicides with efficacy towards P. capsici in an attempt to get new fungicides registered for use against P. capsici on lima beans in Delaware.  This will allow farmers to rotate fungicides, significantly retarding the development of resistant populations.  In addition to fungicides, he hopes to identify alternative control practices through cultural and biological control agents.  The former includes testing the affect of a no-till cropping system on P. capsici disease development, and the latter includes various biological soil inoculants which have the potential to parasitizeP. capsici spores in the soil and biofumigation crops such as mustard and sorghum which have soil fumigation properties. Kness was a 2012 Extension Scholar at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources along with classmate Donald Seifrit.

Donald Seifrit
Like his classmate Andy Kness, Donald Seifrit, is pursuing his master’s degree after graduating from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2012.  He works closely with Johnson under the USDA Specialty Block Grants. Seifrit’s focus is on improving the fruit set and crown set in watermelons. Seifrit analyzes  the pollen production of different pollenizers and collects pollen by hand, distributing the pollen, also by hand to other watermelons in the trial. According to the Delaware Department of Agriculture, Delaware produces 100 million pounds per year, and local growers shipped $13.6 million worth of watermelon, grown on approximately 2, 800 acres.  “A healthy, full sized triploid watermelon plant will normally carry 2-3 fruits at a time.” Johnson wrote in a recent issue for UD’s Weekly Crop Update. A healthy watermelon will produce more flowers than will set as fruit. Johnson writes that failure to set fruit is directly related to pollen issues caused by weather, and lack of honeybee activity. In 2013, watermelons fields lost significant pollenizer plants, resulting in reduced fruit set or fruit size. Seifrit’s research continues to look at alternative methods of pollenation.

The open house also highlighted productivity results of commercially growing crops and specialty fruits and vegetables not currently in widespread production, such as table and wine grapes, blueberries, onions, and brambles such as blackberries.

On Aug. 21, a second open house tour was held at the Bridgeville location of T.S. Smith and Sons, UD’s  Specialty Block Grant partner.  In their joint effort,  Charlie Smith and Johnson discussed ways to extend the growing season for crops like strawberries and evaluate fruits not normally grown as a  production crop in Delaware- sweet cherries, quince, pawpaws, and figs.

Over two years, Johnson will have six acres as his research canvas on Smith’s farm, with UD’s portion of the grant centering on figs, cherries and strawberries. Two California strawberry varieties, Albion and San Andreas show promise in Delaware beyond the traditional April to June growing season. At this six-acre site, 2,000 pounds of strawberries were harvested by June.  By mid to late summer, local strawberry production shuts down. To extend the growing season beyond June, strawberries must be protected once temperatures remain at 84 degrees or above.  As growers watched, Johnson quickly placed aluminum stakes along the row and effortlessly rolled the protective covers along the strawberry beds, creating a low tunnel. Johnson will closely look at the reflective and protective properties of  the white, dark grey, silver and red plastic mesh.  Johnson is interested in the effect the covers will have on fruit growth and their overall value  as a tool to extend the growing season. “We are looking for what we can do to complement the tourist trade,” Johnson said. “The market is there, we just need the berries.”

Throughout the growing season, UD researchers and Cooperative Extension experts schedule a variety of field tours for growers, colleagues and industry professionals at various locations. Topics such as organic farming, weed control, crop rotation, agronomic crop trials, and ornamental horticulture, provide a valuable opportunity for UD experts to engage with stakeholders in Delaware agriculture.

Click here for additional photos of the August 14 Fruit and Vegetable Open House andAugust 21 tour of UD’s partnership with T.S.Smith and Sons.

Photos by Michele Walfred


UD Cooperative Extension offers cooking program for people with diabetes

September 30, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

Diabetes is a serious, common and costly disease affecting 25 million people nationwide. In Delaware, the prevalence rate is slightly higher than that of the nation, with an estimated 66,000 Delawareans over the age of 18 currently diagnosed with diabetes, or roughly 9.7 percent of the population.

Because of this, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has developed a Dining with Diabetes workshop to help teach those afflicted with the disease how to reduce sugar, salt and fat in foods without giving up good taste.

The program is a series of three class sessions and it includes diabetes education, cooking demonstrations and tasting of healthy foods. After each lesson, participants will take home recipes and knowledge about how to manage diabetes in their daily lives.

The classes this year will be offered from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays throughout October, starting on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

The classes will take place in the New Castle County Cooperative Extension office, 461 Wyoming Road, Newark, and the cost for the three-class session is $45.

There will also be classes offered in Sussex County on Nov. 7, 14, and 21 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. These classes will take place in the Harbeson United Methodist Church Hall, 18636 Harbeson Road, and the cost for these three sessions is also $45.

Attendance is limited to the first 50 people to register.

For more information on the New Castle County sessions, call 302-831-1239 or visit the Dining with Diabetes website.

For more information on the Sussex County sessions, call 302-730-4000 or visit the Dining with Diabetes website.


New Castle County 4-H to hold second annual 5K run

August 30, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

quest_clover_logoThe New Castle County 4-H program will hold the second annual Quest for the Clover 5K run and walk at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, in Wilmington.

This year, the race will be held at Dead President’s Restaurant, which will offer brunch specials and will have 4-H booths for children.

All proceeds will benefit the New Castle County 4-H program on both the county and club levels. 4-H is a youth development organization serving children ages 5-19 that covers hundreds of project areas and strives to reach youth in three national mission mandates — healthy living, citizenship and science.

Registration prior to Sept. 25 is $20. After Sept. 25, the price is $25 per person.

To register on-line, visit this website.

For more information, contact Katie Jones or Mallory Vogl.

For 4-H volunteer opportunities, contact the 4-H office at 302-831-8965.


Cooperative Extension to offer classes explaining health insurance

August 19, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

Cooperative Extension to offer Health Insurance Literacy classes The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension will hold workshops titled “You and Health Insurance: Making a Smart Choice” throughout the state this fall.

The workshops are aimed at helping Delawareans make health insurance choices that meet their needs and fit their budgets given the new health insurance changes that will be implemented.

The two-hour programs will be presented by Extension personnel and volunteers who have received training concerning health insurance and making good financial decisions about insurance coverage.

The programs will help participants analyze their health care needs, compare insurance plans and apply knowledge learned to make smart health insurance choices based on what they can afford.

A consumer workbook to help participants feel more confident in making health insurance selections will be presented and reviewed. There also will be information about accessing the new federal Health Insurance Marketplace options.

The following is a list of session locations, dates and times for all three counties:

New Castle County

  • New Castle County Cooperative Extension, 461 Wyoming Rd. Newark, 302-831-1239. Sessions Sept. 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Sept. 13, 10 a.m.-noon; and Dec. 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Wilmington Library, 10 East 10th St., Wilmington, 302-571-7400. Session Sept. 26, noon-1:30 p.m.
  • Bear Library, 101 Governors Place, Bear, 302-838-3300. Session Oct. 2, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Woodlawn Library, 2020 West 9th St., Wilmington, 302-571-7425. Session Nov. 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library, 115 High St., Odessa, 302-378-8838. Session Nov. 20, 6:15-8 p.m.

Kent County

  • Kent County Extension Office, 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, 302-730-4000. Sessions Oct. 24, 3-5 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Sussex County

  • Sussex County Extension Office, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, 302-856-7303. Sessions Oct. 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m., and Oct. 8, 10 a.m.-noon.

4-H, EFNEP combine exercise with healthy habits at youth programs

July 30, 2013 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Up for the Challenge teaches kids about healthy livingAs the result of a $2 million donation from the Walmart Foundation to expand the Walmart 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice program in Delaware and 20 other states, 4-H and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Cooperative Extension personnel and volunteers have teamed up to prove that they are “Up for the Challenge” when it comes to teaching healthy living habits to young Delawareans.

In Delaware, 3,000 youths will receive six hours of the Up for the Challenge: Lifetime Fitness, Healthy Decision curriculum delivered by Cooperative Extension staff and a cadre of teenagers. They have been trained to deliver the curriculum in afterschool programs, community centers, 4-H clubs and other sites.

The program, geared toward young people ages 8-12, will be implemented at all Delaware 4-H afterschool sites, including the seven Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) sites, all of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and EFNEP sites and Dover Air Force Base sites. These sites reach 2,000-plus youths.

Delaware has had a strong nutritional education presence through 4-H, EFNEP and SNAP-Ed but one of the things that makes Up for the Challenge unique is that it will be taught by both adult instructors and teen educators.

Sue Snider, coordinator of EFNEP, Cooperative Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor of animal and food sciences in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said of the program, “EFNEP nutrition assistants have conducted hands-on educational programs for low-income youth for years. What makes this summer’s classes awesome and special are the teens.”

“This particular topic is awesome because it’s the nutrition and the fitness,” said Karen Johnston, a UD Cooperative Extension agent of Up for the Challenge. “We’ve been doing a great job of using youth and adult educators in tobacco drug and alcohol prevention — we’ve done that throughout the state for a few years now and reached thousands of people. This is nice because now we have the nutrition and the fitness components, so that’s a really great collaboration.”

At Kirk Middle School in Newark, Del. — one of the New Castle County locations where the Up for the Challenge curriculum was being taught — EFNEP nutrition assistant Carmella Johnson was teaching participants about grains while also taking time to inform them about yoga. “It’s healthy eating incorporated with exercise,” said Johnson. “It’s a mixture of both throughout the day.”

Johnson said that the young people are taught about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate, which is the new food pyramid, while also learning about things like portion control and reading labels on foods and drinks that they consume.

“A lot of them don’t really think about soda and sugary drinks as being calories,” said Johnson. “They’re drinking a lot of calories but they don’t see that, so we talked about reading labels. If you start reading your labels, you’ll see how many calories you drink and they do add up.”

Johnson added, “Many children just don’t know all the aspects of good nutrition or food preparation and that’s what’s nice about Up for the Challenge — it’s very hands on so the young person has an opportunity to not just learn the plate but also they actually make food in the class.”

Snider said that a 2011 Youth Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 43 percent of Delaware youth reported that they did not get 60 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week.

Johnston added that having instructors who are closer in age to the children — who teach the classes in conjunction with the adult instructors — helps the young people get excited about learning about healthy living practices. “That’s just so pivotal, having that experiential learning, and it’s memorable,” she said. “The kids are really responding to the youth presence as well as the adult presence in this hands-on activity.”

To learn more about Up for the Challenge, visit the website.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.


UD Cooperative Extension offers class on pickles

July 25, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

Let's Make Pickles class set for Aug. 22 in DoverAfter conducting food preservation classes on topics like salsas and jams, Kathleen Splane decided to change it up a bit and tackle a new topic — pickles.

“Let’s Make Pickles” is offered through the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences unit and will take place from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Paradee Center at 69 Transportation Circle in Dover. The class is open to the public and the cost is $15 and includes all the materials participants need to make their pickles.

For the class, Splane has partnered with the Master Gardeners and the Master Food Educators.

When it comes to canning foods, Splane, Cooperative Extension’s family and consumer science educator for Kent County, said that one of the most important aspects is “encouraging people to know the latest techniques. Sometimes things that grandma did back in 1930 might not be the safest options, so we are really trying to get people on board with the most recent techniques.”

Those techniques are taught in the class, in which Splane discusses all of the sanitation instructions before getting started on the actual process of making pickles.

“We want to be hands-on with them to actually go through the steps of preparing the product from beginning to end,” Splane said. “In the beginning, I teach the principles of canning, the importance of the sanitary conditions and sterilizing the jars and surfaces, and also we go through the differences between hot water bath canning and pressure canning and what products need to be done in what kind of process.”

Once the students learn about the background information, it is on to the pickling. The participants roll up their sleeves and get started, cutting cucumbers, preparing the brine and going through the process of water bath canning for the pickles.

The pickles take a fairly short time to make but Splane explained that participants will have to wait 24 hours to pick up their pickles to make sure that their jars are totally sealed.

The canning itself is not very hard, Splane said, but it can be difficult to wait out the process. “Sometimes, it just takes patience. Patience and waiting for the finished product versus going to buy it at the store.”

To access a registration form for this class or to check out other classes offered by Cooperative Extension, visit the website.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley


UD’s Cooperative Extension unveils a new way to connect with experts

July 16, 2013 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

havequestion-ask-expertDelaware residents with questions related to family and health, community development, food and agriculture, programs for young people and gardening will now have a new way to connect with experts on those topics thanks to the University of Delaware and Delaware State Cooperative Extension’s Ask an Expert website, which will be unveiled this week at the State Fair.

Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of UD’s Cooperative Extension, said that Delaware Cooperative Extension is “excited to bring our areas of expertise to Delawareans through a simple request on your web browser.”

Rodgers added, “The unique aspect of Extension’s Ask an Expert is that all of our responses are based in university research, and if we don’t have the research experts here, the system has the capacity to connect with Extension experts across the country. It is information you can trust through a simple question entry on your browser.”

Ask an Expert is as simple as clicking on the Cooperative Extension website and asking a question about a problem related to the topics above. The people with questions will then be connected with a Cooperative Extension, university staff member or volunteer expert who will be able to provide them with a timely and regionally specific response electronically. The goal is to have a response within 48 hours.

Images can be attached to the question to help further explain questions, such as attaching a photo of an insect or a spot on a plant.

Questions and answers can be made publicly or privately, depending on preference.

To check out the Ask an Expert page, visit the following link.


Sussex County Master Gardener Open House set

July 2, 2013 under Cooperative Extension

Master Gardeners volunteer time to spruce up the demonstration garden at the Carvel Center in Georgetown before the annual Open House July 13.The Master Gardeners of Sussex County will host their annual Open House in the demonstration gardens behind the Carvel Center at 16483 County Seat Highway (Route 9) in Georgetown on Saturday, July 13, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

There will be activities for children, including a Peter Rabbit puppet show, as well as demonstrations on gardening and related topics. Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions and to provide information about the various sections of the garden that exhibit trees, shrub, perennials, annuals, and vegetables that do well in Delaware. Visit the popular plant sale located in the picnic grove.

The public is invited to stroll through the paths that link special areas — a children’s garden, a sensory garden, an annual/perennial border, a native plant garden, a shade garden and more — or to sit on one of the benches and watch the insects and wildlife interact with the setting.

For children, this year’s highlights include:

  • Insect Safari (come hunting with us for the creatures that live in the back yard). Bring your camera!
  • Meet Mr. and Mrs. Turtle, courtesy of the Delaware Council of Wildlife Rehabilitators and Educators.
  • Participate in a scavenger hunt
  • Scheduled performances of Peter Rabbit and Farmer McGregor

Educational workshop topics include:

  • 10 a.m.  Accessible Gardening. Learn how to Garden Smart, Garden Easy
  • 11 a.m.  What are Invasive Plants and how do you control them?
  • Noon  Insect Safari – children and adults – bring your camera!
  • 1 p.m.  Hostas!

Master Gardeners will also raffle some exciting items! Currently on the list are:

  • Garden gift basket with miscellaneous items
  • Coffee table book donated by Kent County
  • Hypertufa planted with succulents
  • Garden kneeler

Master Gardeners are members of the community who have received extensive training in order to extend the home garden outreach of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Information also is available online. Visit: http://extension.udel.edu/lawngarden/.

It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age or national origin.