Archive of ‘Delaware Cooperative Extension’ category

Sussex towns selected to Engage Youth, Serve Communities

University of Delaware 4-H has received funding from National 4-H Council to help strengthen rural communities in Seaford, Laurel, Indian River, Kimmeytown and Milford in Kent County.   The multi-year Engaging Youth, Serving Communities (EYSC) program will help four communities in Sussex County and one in Kent County by providing leadership, service and educational opportunities and resources to rural youth.

The individual communities have been chosen because of the challenges surrounding the needs of rural youth.  Delaware Cooperative Extension and 4-H have received funding for EYSC programs since 2006 and successes include educational outreach on the topics of Internet safety, illegal drug use, and reducing violence in the schools in Lake Forest and Cape Henlopen, the building of a community trail and fitness course in Bridgeville, and increased healthy living education in Middletown and Georgetown.

Karen Johnston

“I love working on this project because of the youth and adult partnership,” says Karen Johnston, UD 4-H Extension educator who will administer EYSC in Sussex County. “By conducting the community issues forums together, we engage the talents and ideas of all generations to discuss and work on solutions for today’s problems.  I enjoy watching both youth and adults grow in their respect and knowledge of each other and diverse cultures and ideas, and seeing the action that results from all the ideas that are generated.”

Johnston will join other 4-H educators from throughout the state and will work with FFA advisors, other adult volunteers and high school aged youth to build on existing relationships and budding youth-adult partnerships.  Youth will learn valuable skills and will improve their communication and leadership as well as learning about the larger issues facing their communities.  Adults will learn to value the perspectives of youth and their methods of problem solving.

Delaware, along with a handful of other states has benefited from EYSC programs

A core team, who have been trained in Washington D.C., will help train local action teams how to select and frame a topic that they feel is an issue in their community, assess the needs and various solutions to the problem, and host an issues forum for other members of the community to garner input.  Once these processes are completed the team is awarded a $2,000 mini grant towards solving the issue discussed.

Possible outcomes of these action plans include improved health and fitness, engagement with the environment, increased involvement in science and technology activities and improved psychological health in the communities. EYSC programs also bring new opportunities for youth leadership to these communities, as each community will create an annual cycle that brings new youth and adults into the planning and action process each year.

EYSC is funded by the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2008-45201-04715, Amendment 2.  To learn how you can get involved or for more information contact Karen Johnston at

4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. 4-H is a part of the Cooperative Extension System. Delaware 4-H is supported by University of Delaware and Delaware State University. 4-H welcomes the participation of all individuals. No person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex. disability, age or national origin.  For more information about becoming a part of Delaware 4-H please visit their website:

UD Master Gardener’s “A Day in the Garden” and plant sale returns on Sat. July 16.

Where: Carvel Research and Education Center, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, Del. 19947. Look for the blue and gold tent behind the Carvel Center.  Carvel is one quarter mile west of Sussex Tech H.S. and on the same side of the road.
When: Saturday, July 16, 2011
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Parking: Ample and free
Website: For more details about A Day at the Garden

Sussex County Master Gardeners, of Delaware Cooperative Extension for both Delaware State University and University of Delaware, invite the public to their Open House on Saturday, July 16 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. Visit the Open House website here.

This year’s highlights include:

Plant Sale: Back by popular demand, Master Gardeners will have a plant sale with proceeds benefiting their educational outreach programs

Accessible Gardening.Tour our gardens to get ideas for quick and 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.

Farmer McGregor explains how he and Peter Rabbit get along. Showtimes are 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Back by popular demand! Sussex Master Gardeners will have annuals and perennials for sale!

Children’s Garden. Enjoy the garden drama “Peter Rabbit’s Adventures in Farmer McGregor’s Vegetable Garden.” Meet Farmer McGregor and Peter and hear their story.  Go on a scavenger hunt or enjoy our butterflies, frogs and goldfish. What’s it like being inside a teepee trellis? Come and find out! 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 about Square Foot Gardening, using raised beds and containers for growing vegetables.

Save your Harvest! Learn how to easily preserve what you have grown in your garden!  Demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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!

Tool Sharpening. Bring yours and learn how to sharpen them properly.

Sussex County Master Gardeners share gardening tips with participants. Master Gardeners donate fresh produce to the Plant A Row For the Hungry Program from their garden each year.

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.  Plus…container gardening, vertical gardening, square foot gardening, raised beds, native plants, backyard habitat, soil testing, composting, annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs!  Have a plant problem? Bring it to our plant clinic for identification and recommendations.

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

For More Information: Contact Tracy Wootten at 302-856-2585, ext. 538, or Tammy Schirmer at ext. 544, Please visit our website for detailed directions, photo gallery and more information:

Update: See photos from the 2011 A Day at the Garden!


UD demonstration and woodland gardens offer opportunities for little hands to explore

This past May, when Delaware’s flora and fauna were expanding and showing off their diverse vibrancy, the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension staff and volunteers invited pre-school and elementary students to explore their outdoor classrooms. Located on the Carvel Research & Education Center’s grounds in Georgetown, Dot Abbott, state extension agent in Renewable Natural Resources, and Tracy Wootten, Sussex County horticultural agent and liaison for the

Farmer McGregor explains how he and Peter Rabbit get along!

Sussex County Master Gardeners, hosted a variety of outdoor classrooms available to informally teach curious minds. Staffed by volunteer Master Gardeners, the Demonstration Garden and woodland outdoor classroom became a fresh-air venue for everything green and growing – a day of adventure, investigation and hands-on learning that included getting friendly with Delaware garden soil. There’s just no better way to get one’s hands dirty…er…we mean soily!  You can view all the pictures of May’s outdoor classroom activity here!

May is not the only opportunity to explore nature’s garden bounty! Although the Demonstration Garden is open throughout the growing season, Sussex Master Gardeners schedule and highlight specific days catering to parents, teachers, homeowners and students. On these occasions, Master Gardener volunteers and Extension staff are on hand to offer more detailed information, advice and insights into successful gardening in Delaware.  A very popular section of the garden has been especially designed for children to enjoy and participate in the rewards of gardening.

Who knew Delaware soil could be this interesting!

The Children’s Garden welcomes little hands to explore the soil, crawl under a teepee trellis, stick their heads through a blooming photo prop, watch butterflies land on a pink or purple petal and view  splashing goldfish and hear croaking frogs in a pond near the shade garden. Their annual open house,  A Day in the Garden, features opportunities to mix potting soil, plant flowers and vegetables, search for items in a scavenger hunt, and watch a command performance of “Peter Rabbit’s Adventures in Farmer McGregor’s Vegetable Garden,” featuring the voices, puppets and talents of many Sussex County volunteer Master Gardeners.

And while the children explore, learn and enjoy the colors of the garden, adults too, can have an opportunity to learn about what grows best in Delaware. An Accessible Garden area demonstrates that gardening can be enjoyed at any age – even with some physical limitations. Native plants, grown to encourage beneficial insects and songbirds, are clearly identified. Ornamental shrubs and trees, annual and perennial flowers, plants that thrive in shade or sun, are featured and marked with signs. Bring your camera! Back by popular demand, the Master Gardeners will again be holding a plant sale.

Sussex County Master Gardeners welcome the public to this very special, educational, family-friendly day. Let us demonstrate how rewarding any level of gardening can be!

Where: Carvel Research and Education Center, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, Del. 19947.  Look for the blue and gold tent behind the Carvel Center.
When: Saturday, July 16, 2011
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Parking: Ample and free
Website: For more details about A Day at the Garden

Article by Michele Walfred

UD researchers share weed, crop trial info at annual Weed Day in Georgetown

On Wednesday, June 22, Mark VanGessel, University of Delaware’s extension’s specialist and professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, his team of weed science researchers, Barbara Scott and Quintin Johnson, and Mark Isaacs, director of Carvel Research and Education Center, welcomed growers and those serving in the agricultural industry to tour their research plots at the Carvel Center in Georgetown. Weed Day has become an annual agriculture tradition at UD’s experimental station.

Mark VanGessel explains how a roller/crimper is used for mechanical weed control in organic crop production. Photo:M.Walfred

Throughout the year UD Extension and research staff conducts unbiased studies on more than 70 trials (which amount to more than 700 plots) most are devoted to key agronomic crops, and evaluate their effectiveness of weed management. Chemical, mechanical and cultural practices are evaluated. Their findings are published in an annual guide of trial results that is made available to attendees and the results serve as the basis for educational programs throughout the year and provide the experience to answer questions from farmers and the agricultural industry. More than 50 attended Wednesday’s weed session.

The goal of Weed Day is to deliver the latest research. Communication to the industry is a key component in Delaware’s continued agronomic success and is part of Cooperative Extension’s outreach mission. Many of the plots are identified by signage indicating the particular study and methodology.

The trial studies included a variety of herbicide programs for conventional tillage and no-till production.  Included in the 2011 Delaware Weed Field Day publication are studies in field corn and sweet corn, soybean, watermelon, cantaloupes, winter wheat, peppers, lima beans and snap beans. VanGessel also introduced the tour group to a trial on organic production of corn, soybean and winter wheat. Weed management relies on cover crops and mechanical weed control. A roller/crimper is used to kill the cover crops prior to planting corn or soybeans by crimping the plant stems and rolling it down on the ground so it dies. A high residue cultivator is being used to control weeds after the corn and soybeans have begun to grow.

Kevin Ryan, a planner with the Sussex Conservation District and also a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) attended the tour to keep informed and maintain his CCA accreditation. Ryan feels the tours provide a valuable visual experience. an important complement to what is shared in printed materials. “Book learning is one thing, but we learn a lot by seeing what does and doesn’t work in Delaware,” Ryan says.  Ryan appreciates the efforts and accessibility of UD Extension staff and researchers.  “They are always available to help any time, and what is learned here can be shared with our customers. It’s great,”  Ryan says of Weed Day.

According to a recent UD study, The Impact of Agriculture on Delaware’s Economy, agriculture in the First State contributes nearly $8 billion to the local economy.  As the study points out, production efficiency is vital keeping Delaware agriculture in the forefront of what is a very competitive sector.

Weed Day began inside Carvel’s meeting rooms with a brief overview of UD’s trials, what methods or herbicides have shown promising results, and weeds that remains challenging- morningglory, speedwell, annual ryegrass, herbicide-resistant pigweed and Palmer-aramanth. VanGessel also acknowledged the valuable contribution of student interns and the Carvel’s farm and administrative staff for the continued success and relevance of Weed Day. Later in the morning, Weed Day visitors were chauffeured on haystacks for a firsthand look at several field trials. View photos of Weed Day 2011 here.


Article and photos by Michele Walfred

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