Weather Alert-Carvel Center in Georgetown

October 26, 2012 under CANR News

Due to the possibility of weather effects from Hurricane Sandy, we post the following information from the Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown:

If events or programs have been cancelled, it is the policy of the Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgeown’s policy to notify local news outlets (WBOC-TV, WMDT-TV).

In addition, if the Carvel REC facility experiences a weather related delay or closing, it will be recorded on their main phone number (302) 856-7303. Please be mindful that telephone service may be interrupted.

Cancellations referring to Carvel facility will specifically state “Research and Education Center.”

We do not necessarily follow closing schedules of UD’s Asscociate of Arts program or other UD locations.

Please check with the following news organizations regarding any weather-related closures. There will be no classes at Carvel on Tuesday, October 30.
Master Gardener Demonstration Garden Cleanup scheduled for Tuesday, October 30 is cancelled.

For other University of Delaware storm information, please visit the University’s main website.

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Delaware Nature Society Names Burr Monroe Downstate Backyard Wildlife Habitat Coordinator

April 12, 2012 under CANR News

The Delaware Nature Society has named Burr Monroe its new backyard wildlife habitat coordinator for Kent and Sussex counties. He will be based at Abbott’s Mill Nature Center in Milford.

Monroe graduated from the University of Delaware in 2005, where he majored in wildlife conservation and received a minor in landscape horticulture.

Monroe has nine years experience managing natural resources for residences, municipalities and non-profits.  He has worked on ecological restoration, environmental assessments, stormwater management projects, landscape design, native plant propagation, educational outreach and more.

In addition to his new position at the Delaware Nature Society, Monroe is a restoration ecologist with Tributaries, an ecological consulting firm in Georgetown.  He also has worked for firms in Harbeson, Rehoboth Beach and Santa Barbara, California.

“I am pleased to strengthen our successful Backyard Wildlife Habitat program in Sussex and Kent counties,” says Brian Winslow, executive director of the Delaware Nature Society. “Habitat stewards previously had to travel from New Castle County to serve the needs of downstate residents who wished to certify their properties as backyard habitats.”

“With Burr’s knowledge of native plants and stormwater issues, we will be able to more effectively work with downstate homeowners, businesses and schools to improve habitat for wildlife on their properties. By creating these wildlife habitats we also are improving water quality in the Delaware and Chesapeake bays and their tributaries,” adds Winslow.

A resident of Georgetown, Monroe is an active community volunteer for Delaware Adopt-A-Wetland. When he is able to find the time, he enjoys surfing at the Delaware beaches.

For more information about the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program, downstate residents should contact Monroe at 422-0847 or burr@delawarenaturesociety.org. New Castle County residents should contact Greg Gagliano, 239-2334, ext. 142 or greg@delawarenaturesociety.org.

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Hurricane Irene: Carvel REC in Georgetown

August 26, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

The Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown will be closed from 2pm on Friday, August 26th through Monday, August 29th.  Due to possible power outages, updates to this schedule will be made available via their main phone line at 302-856-7303.

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Sweet watermelons

July 15, 2011 under CANR News

Delaware watermelon connoisseurs are enjoying the moment – local watermelons are now ripe and ready to enjoy. Local watermelons are sweeter and tastier than the out-of-state melons available earlier in the summer, claim their aficionados.

“Local watermelons do taste pretty sweet. And buying local produce when it’s in season helps to support our local growers,” notes Phillip Sylvester, agriculture agent for Kent County Cooperative Extension.

The state’s watermelon crop typically ripens by July 10 and continues through Sept. 25, with the most active harvest period in mid-August.  Delaware’s watermelon industry has declined slightly in recent years but is still strong.  There are more than 2,700 acres of watermelon in Delaware, down from 3,000 acres five years ago. Crop production is currently valued at $11 million annually.

Sylvester always plants watermelons in his home garden in Felton but the bulk of commercial growing takes place further south, in and around Laurel. The well-drained, sandy soils in western Sussex County are excellent for watermelon growing.

This area has been the seat of Delaware’s commercial melon industry since the 1850s, when schooners loaded with watermelon traveled the Nanticoke River to Baltimore and points beyond. More recently, the Laurel Farmers’ Auction Market opened in 1940 to bring wholesale watermelon buyers and sellers together. At one time the price of virtually every Delaware watermelon was negotiated at the Laurel Market. Today, supermarket chains send brokers directly to growers but the market is still used by small- and medium-sized buyers.

Sylvester grows “Crimson Sweet” watermelons because he says they have an exceptionally sweet taste. But this striped heirloom melon will never win any popularity contests, tasty as it might be, because of what some view as an unforgivable downfall – its seeds.

“I don’t care if a watermelon has seeds,” says Sylvester, “but most people do.”

In the 1990s, less than 1 percent of watermelons were seedless. Today, about 75 percent of the watermelons sold in the U.S. are seedless varieties. A seedless watermelon plant contains three sets of chromosomes and is sterile so it must be pollinated by a second plant to set fruit. As a result, growers must pay strict attention to the pollination needs of their seedless watermelon crops. Most growers rent or own honeybee hives but some have started to use bumblebees. UD bee researcher Debbie Delaney and Cooperative Extension fruit and vegetable specialist Gordon Johnson are working with watermelon growers this summer to see if bumblebees improve crop productivity.

Kate Everts also is conducting watermelon research but her projects focus on combating Fusarium wilt. This pestilent pathogen causes one of the most economically significant watermelon diseases worldwide. It causes wilt and plant death early in the season and again when the plant is in fruit. Once a field exhibits severe Fusarium wilt, it’s off limits for watermelon growing for 15 or more years.

Everts, who holds a joint appointment at the University of Delaware and the University of Delaware, collaborates closely with Extension specialists Emmalea Earnest and Gordon Johnson. Her research team focuses on several areas: they’re developing plants resistant to Fusarium wilt, exploring chemical disease measures, and looking at how cover crops can suppress this nasty fungus.

Sylvester is diligent about helping commercial growers obtain maximum yields but when it comes to his own watermelon plot, he adopts a laidback attitude. Though the ag agent know his way around a garden, sometimes pests or weather get the best of his watermelons. Every spring he tells himself “maybe we’ll have watermelons, maybe we won’t.”

However, this summer he hopes for a bumper crop because his 1 1/2-year-old son, Henry, shows a liking for watermelon. What could be better than a “Crimson Sweet,” grown in the backyard by Dad?

Article by Margo McDonough

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Sussex MGs offer garden walk

June 13, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

The Sussex County Master Gardeners are pleased to invite the public to a Garden Walk at the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden on, Thursday, June 16, 2011, 5 – 7 p.m. The garden is located behind the county Extension office, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown. The event is free.

Master Gardeners will feature a look at a June garden filled with flowers. In addition to enjoying the garden, a number of Master Gardeners will be available to provide information and help on a wide variety of gardening topics including an exhibit of Accessible Gardening Tips and Tools.

Following the Garden Walk, Master Gardener Vicki Thompson will be presenting a workshop on ‘Hostas’ at 7 p.m. in Conference Room 3 of the Extension Office. Pre-register for this workshop by contacting Tammy Schirmer at (302) 856-2585 ext. 542 or tammys@udel.edu

Master Gardeners are working volunteers and are supported by Delaware Cooperative Extension through the University of Delaware and Delaware State University Extension offices. It is Delaware Cooperative Extension’s policy that that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, creed, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran or handicap status. If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact the office two weeks prior to the event.

Article submitted by Michele Walfred.

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4-H, Hopkins Family Celebrate 25 years of Farm Tours

May 19, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Each May in Lewes, Sussex County Cooperative Extension, 4-H and the Hopkins family (owners of Green Acres Farm, Delaware’s largest dairy operation) swing open the farm gates and welcome busloads of young students eager to discover what really goes on at authentic dairy farm.

Two gorgeous days provided the backdrop to an estimated 1900 youth, teachers and parents.

Unaccustomed to farm aromas, many young students arrived pinching their noses, but soon little hands relaxed and began to explore – holding chirping, yellow poultry puffballs, petting a young, well-behaved Holstein cow and peeking through a slatted fence to watch pigs snort, and sometimes sleep, in their pens.

It is an agricultural classroom without exams or textbooks. The experiential learning component of 4-H allowed students and adults to explore the many ways a family farm brings food to the table. Under the blue and gold tents, Extension staff offered entertaining and educational interactive displays, helping the young visitors make the agricultural connection to nutrition, safety and fitness. Sussex Master Gardeners provided a theatrical show and Extension staff directed bus traffic, assisted in the tractor rides and kept the lines to the popular milking tour moooving!

In addition to the herd of Holsteins and 4-H project pigs that are kept full time at the farm, 4-H volunteers brought in other animals that one might typically see around the farm grounds. Goats, small horses, rabbits, barn kittens, and a few ducks, delighted the students. Volunteers were assigned stations and filled curious minds with fun facts about the display animals.

In recent years the Hopkins family has added new playground features to their pasture to coincide with the opening of their Hopkins Creamery in 2009. Many climbed aboard a wooden train, milked a display cow the old fashioned way, savored complimentary cones at one of the picnic tables and poked their head through a farm photo prop.

The farm tour has been conducted at the Hopkins’ location for 25 years and Sussex County 4-H Educator Mary Argo has coordinated the last 16 of them. Argo feels at home with the hustle and bustle of the two-day event. “The weather was great, animals were perfect,” Argo says. “We are always delighted to partner with the Hopkins family for this unique educational opportunity for Sussex students. This was a picture perfect farm tour.”

Visit the Sussex County 4-H Flickr page for more photos of the event.

Article by Michele Walfred

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Master Gardeners offer vegetable garden workshops

February 24, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Vegetable gardening continues to surge in popularity. An estimated one in every three American households grows some type of veggies, whether it’s a solitary tomato plant on a deck or a showcase of raised beds with wrought-iron garden stakes, irrigation systems and obelisks for climbing vines.

With all this interest in growing edibles, it was a no-brainer for New Castle County Master Gardeners to choose a program focus this spring. Two thirds of the workshops are dedicated to edibles.

“Our vegetable workshops fill up right away so we decided to offer even more vegetable classes this year,” says Carrie Murphy, horticultural agent for New Castle County Cooperative Extension. “For the second year in a row we’ll have separate classes for novice and experienced gardeners. We’ll also present specialized sessions, such as a workshop devoted exclusively to growing berries and another on starting vegetables from seed.”

Classes get underway in less than two weeks and continue through May. The majority of the sessions are in March, when gardeners are finalizing their plans, and in the case of some crops, starting to plant.

In Delaware, commercial and home growers typically put seed potatoes in the ground on or around St. Patrick’s Day. The Master Gardeners’ potato planting demo, on March 19, details the best methods for success, including mounding techniques and container growing.

The demo appears to fill a need, says Gail Hermenau, a Master Gardener and head of the committee that develops the workshop schedule. “Last year, we offered a tour of our demonstration vegetable garden,” says Hermenau. “When we arrived at the mounded potato beds, a number of people said they didn’t know potatoes grew like that and wanted more information.”

A new tomato class also was created because of popular demand. “A lot of feedback came my way about holding a workshop specifically on tomatoes,” says Hermenau.

Tomatoes top the list of the most commonly homegrown vegetables (even though technically they’re a fruit). Now that more backyard gardeners are growing heirloom varieties, they’re combating new challenges. Heirlooms aren’t disease-resistant, like most hybrids, and they’re more susceptible to cracking and bruising. The March 31 workshop will focus on the pros and cons of heirlooms and other varieties, as well as site selection, seed sources, transplanting, fertilizing and more.

Programming for advanced gardeners includes a workshop on maximizing yields through succession planting, companion planting, crop spacing and other techniques.

Another way to learn about veggie growing is at a Garden Day, held in the Master Gardeners’ Native Teaching Garden on the second and fourth Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to noon, April through September.

On these days, Master Gardeners work in the garden, all the while explaining what they’re doing – from scouting for pests to the right way to weed. They’re happy to answer specific gardening questions, too.

Sussex Master Gardeners also will offer vegetable-oriented programs this spring, including a March 10 session that covers the basics of site location, soil, fertilizing and watering.

“New Gardener in Delaware?,” on May 12, will be useful for vegetable gardeners, as well as those primarily interested in ornamental gardens. This workshop focuses on how to overcome the challenges of growing plants in Sussex’s sand, salt, humidity and heat.

“People move here from Connecticut or the D.C. metro area and think that they can garden the same way they did in their old hometown,” notes Tracy Wootten, Extension horticultural agent for Sussex County. “But Sussex is unique. We teach you how to succeed as a gardener here.”

Check out the spring Master Gardener workshops online. New Castle County classes are at this website and Sussex County classes are at this website.

Register by calling 302-831-COOP in New Castle County. In Sussex, call 302-856-7303.

Article by Margo McDonough
Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed online on UDaily by clicking here.

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Sussex County Master Gardeners Announce “A Day in the Garden”

July 6, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Sussex County Master Gardeners, of Delaware Cooperative Extension for both Delaware State University and University of Delaware, invite you to their Open House on Saturday, July 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sussex County Extension Office in Georgetown. Admission is FREE. Visitors are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the event and join Master Gardeners in supporting the Delaware Does More Program – growing food and funds for neighbors in need.

The Sussex County Extension Office is located at 16483 County Seat Highway, Route 9, west of Georgetown (west of Sussex Tech High School and on the same side of the road).  Look for the blue and gold tent in the Sussex County Demonstration Garden, immediately behind the office building. Ample parking is available.

A Day in the Garden Highlights – 2010

Accessible Gardening: Tour our gardens to get ideas for quick & easy ways to make gardening enjoyable for all. See tools and gardening aids, raised beds, containers and much more. Receive tips from a visiting physical therapist for staying fit and working in the garden at any age.

New for 2010! Plant Sale!

Children’s Garden: Enjoy story time in our Peter Rabbit’s Garden. New for 2010 – Meet Mr. McGregor and Peter at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Go on a scavenger hunt or enjoy our butterflies, frogs and goldfish. Bring your camera for great photo opportunities. Come enjoy all our children’s activities – from learning about insects, to potting your own plant and more.

New to Vegetable Gardening? Learn from years of Master Gardener experience and tour our vegetable garden. Learn about the Plant A Row Program to help those in need enjoy fresh produce.

Rain barrels are great ways to catch rainwater for use in the garden.  Learn how to make your own.

Love Trains? Love Gardening? Enjoy watching our train in the garden. Learn how to add interest and greater enjoyment with both hobbies.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. Visit our native plant, herb, shade, bog, annual, perennial, pond, butterfly and children’s gardens. Get ideas for gardening with limited space using raised beds and containers. What varieties grow well in Sussex County? Tour our azalea, hydrangea and annual trial gardens to find out.

Have a plant problem? Bring it to our Plant Clinic for identification and recommendations.

Door Prizes will be awarded to visitors. No rain date is set for this event.

Bring a brown bag lunch and eat in our shaded picnic grove!

Just added! What’s wrong with my plants? – A garden walk focusing on pests will immediately follow the Open House event. This free workshop runs from 2 to 4 p.m. and does require pre-registration. Learn about the most common landscape pests in Sussex County. Learn how to use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) to spray less and save money. Learn how to identify beneficial insects that help keep the “bad” insects in check. What makes your garden attractive to beneficial insects. For more information, contact Karen Adams or visit the Master Gardener workshop page.

For More Information: Contact Tracy Wootten at 302-856-2585, ext. 538, wootten@udel.edu or Karen Adams at ext. 540, adams@udel.edu.  Please visit our website for detailed directions, photo gallery and more information: www.rec.udel.edu.

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Carvel Research and Education Center beats the heat with UDairy Ice Cream

June 30, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Making a three hour trip just to get ice cream may seem a bit over the top, but after hearing and reading great reviews about the delicious ice cream from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ UDairy Creamery, Barbara Stephens didn’t mind the round trip from Georgetown to Newark to share the best of Townsend’s sweet cuisine with her colleagues. Stephens works at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center, home of Sussex County Cooperative Extension and satellite agriculture research campus.

And the Carvel staff, many of whom work outside in the research fields, were very happy she did!

Stephens suggested to Carvel Director Dr. Mark Isaacs that an Ice Cream Social might be a nice alternative to their recent practice of getting together each summer for a staff – family picnic. The change to tradition couldn’t have been timed better, considering the persistent heat wave.

“Barbara’s idea of an ice cream social was excellent!” said Isaacs. “It gave our staff an opportunity to sample the delicious UD ice cream from our college, and provided a much welcomed treat from the heat and humidity.”

All three flavors featured at the ice cream social – chocolate marshmallow, strawberry, and traditional vanilla, were a big hit. Several people tried a three scoop sampler – most took advantage of the wide variety of toppings – but some enjoyed their ice cream in its pure, delicious state.

The creamy, cool delights, made from UD’s 100 Holstein cows, were a welcome respite to those who have been working outside in temperatures nearing 100 degrees in the past week. Thursday, June 24, the day of the social, was the hottest day of the week.

UD alumna Corryn Barnes, currently a science teacher in Harrington, is working her second summer with Extension IPM Specialist Joanne Whalen. Barnes enjoyed the break in her outside duties and for the opportunity to relax.

“This was the perfect day for a nice summer treat,” Barnes said. “It’s very nice to get together with the different departments and meet people you normally don’t get to meet. Are they going to have it again?”

That seemed to be the question on everyone’s mind. The general consensus among the 60 or so in attendance was the hope that the ice cream social would be repeated often during the summer. Some even suggested once a week would be ideal.

“I’ll take that into serious consideration,” Isaacs said, with a wink.

For photos of the ice cream social visit the REC’s Flickr page by clicking here.

Article by Michele Walfred

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Sussex County Master Gardeners invite the public to their garden

May 10, 2010 under CANR News

The Sussex County Master Gardeners are pleased to announce the dates of several events to be held in their Demonstration Garden this spring and summer.  The garden is located behind the county Extension office, 16483 County Seat Highway (Route 9), Georgetown, Del., approximately ¼ miles west of Sussex Tech High School. All events are free to the public.

Garden Walks will be held on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 7 p.m. and on Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 7p.m.    In addition to enjoying the garden, a number of Master Gardeners will be available to provide information and help on a wide variety of gardening topics including:  lawns, vegetable gardens, perennial gardens, shrubs and insects. 

The Master Gardeners Annual Open House will be held on Saturday, July 17, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  This ‘Day in the Garden’ event features, in addition to the garden, information stations on a number of gardening subjects, a plant clinic, activities in the Children’s Garden, and a plant sale.  Details of this event will be available on the website in June.            

The Sussex County Master Gardeners are the volunteer arm of Delaware Cooperative Extension for both the University of Delaware and Delaware State University. 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. Delaware Cooperative Extension welcomes and encourages participation of all individuals.  If a member of the public has special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact the office two weeks prior to the event at 302-856-7303.

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