URI MGP Newsletter: Celebrating 40 years of gardening and still growing 1 Attachment

Happy 40th Anniversary!

01051Happy New Year to you!  This year we are thrilled to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the URI Master Gardener Program.  Founded in 1977, this program consistently makes an positive impact in Rhode Island.  In 2016 we taught over 16,000 adults and youth how to care for their patch of earth and grow their own food, launched a successful new “Project Open House” event and launched 4 new high quality demonstration projects.  In 2017 we will receive international recognition with a “Search for Excellence Award” for the Desourdy School Garden Mentor Program.  

01052This is always a fun time of year as we reflect on our success, gear up to train a new crop of interns (a.k.a. sprouts) and ramp up the continuing education classes open to all URI Master Gardeners.   A few exciting 2017 plans to look forward to:

  • A new focus area for the program…learn more at the January MG Meeting!
  • Core Training classes on Tuesday evenings from 1/21-4/25
  • A full lineup of continuing education classes and MG meetings including:
    • 1/21 January MG Meeting: EcoBeneficial Gardening, Pin Awards and More!
    • 2/1 at 6pm, School Garden Mentors: Assembling a School Garden Team
    • 2/23 at 6pm Plant Diagnostics Skill Building (Public Ed Kickoff!)

In next week’s newsletter, the URIMGP Council looks forward to sharing our accomplishments by region and as a whole.   This week, read on for what’s ahead in 2017.

Thank you for your contribution as a URI Master Gardener.

Vanessa Venturini, State Program Leader

You’re Invited - Core Training

01053URI Master Gardener Program Core Training Schedule
(Topics subject to change)

Time:  Classes are held from 6-8:30 pm
Location: URI Kingston Campus, Pharmacy auditorium 170; park in any available spot

1/31/2017Basic Botany
2/7/2017Insects 101
2/14/2017     Plant Disorders and Diseases
2/21/2017Soil Health and Plant Nutrition
2/23/2017      Thursday Evening Session: Plant Diagnostics (OPEN TO ALL MGs)
2/28/2017Organic Gardening / Agroecology
3/7/2017Food Safety in the Garden / Compost Fundamentals
3/14/2017Volunteer Opportunity Fair + Volunteerism Class
3/21/2017Site Assessment / Regenerative Landscape Design
3/28/2017      Establishment and Maintenance of Home Lawns  / Lawn Insect Pest Management
4/4/2017Edible Gardening: Vegetables
4/11/2017Invasive Plants / Native Plants
4/18/2017Ornamentals: Woody Plants and Perennials
4/25/2017Final Class: Diagnostics/ Group Challenge / Congratulations, Class of 2017!

Tools to plan your garden

Pick A Carrot is a customized search engine dedicated to improving your seed-buying experience. This simple search tool helps you easily find varieties and compare dozens of seed catalogs at one time. You can also limit your search to organic varieties.

And once you’ve purchased those seeds, we know you want to plant them, but check out this handy guide from the URI Outreach Center so you don’t plant too early.

You may also want to use the Rhode Island Native Plant Guide, the URI Cooperative Extension resource developed in collaboration with the Rhode Island Natural History Survey and their Rhody Native Initiative.

The free seed order form will be available the second week of January, and is due 2/10/2017.

2017 Master Gardener Meeting Schedule

meetingscheduleWe are pleased to announce that our first URI Master Gardener meeting of the new year will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 9am – 12pm, with the snow date of January 28.  The Master Gardener meeting (formerly called “membership meeting”) will be held in Pharmacy 170 from 9:00 to noon.  

Our speaker will be Kim Eirman, who will present “EcoBeneficial Gardening 101: Boosting Ecosystem in Your Own Yard.” This is a very hot topic these days as we learn ways to improve the “goings on” in our gardens so we can pass our knowledge on to others.  Join us as we discuss our plans for 2017, award pins, sell Symposium tickets and merchandise and much more! Click here to sign up in Volgistics.

Future Master Gardener Meeting Dates to Save:

Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Swan Hall from 6:00 – 8:30pm
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Swan Hall from 6:00 – 8:30pm

2017 International MG Conference - Early Registration Deadline

10074Registration for the 2017 International Master Gardener Conference is now open. The conference will be held in Portland, OR, July 10 – 14. There are 44 concurrent session classes and 16 tours to choose from and extra events such as the opening reception and 3 movies in a film festival. Come celebrate with us as we are awarded the International Search for Excellence Award for the Desourdy School Garden Mentor Program!!!  Early bird registration ends January 13 .

Hot Topics from the URI Consumer Horticulture Educator

rosanneThe following science-based articles may help you answer questions from the community.  Rosanne Sherry, URI Consumer Horticulture Educator, recommends you read them to help sharpen your own gardening and educator skills!

Horticultural Myths
Looking for the newest myth-information? Check out our blog The Garden Professors. You’ll find science-based information from four horticultural professors from around the country. This site is maintained by Washington State University

From RI Wild Plant Society December newsletter
Jumping Worms: The Creepy, Damaging Invasive You Don’t Know
“The jumping worm is not yet established in much of the northern United States. The time is now to keep it from becoming the next invasive species horror story.” Read about this non-native species on Cool Green Science

From Inside Grower  December 5, 2016
A Better Kale Plant? Yes, Please.
Everyone knows kale is very healthy for you. And we’ve all desperately tried to like kale for that reason (kale chips, anyone?). But some people just can’t get past the bitter taste that often accompanies the leafy greens. Now, a new program at Cornell University is trying to align kale plants more with what consumers might like. Cornell vegetable breeder Phillip Griffiths, a professor at the School of Integrative Plant Science in the horticulture section, and doctoral student Hannah Swegarden, are trying to identify some of the characteristics that consumers would prefer and breed those into kale plants.

“We have been able to identify and generate diversity through natural cross-breeding, enabling selection of unique types that may be important, not just for international and emerging markets, but also for supporting the production of a crop that’s highly nutritious and can promote new markets in the U.S.,” Phillip says.

The characteristic changes include color, texture, plant shapes and leaf style. Hannah has been gathering feedback from seed producers, growers, supermarket managers and consumers to formulate the strategy for breeding. She’s also partnering with Cornell’s Sensory Evaluation Center to do consumer trials to “develop a consumer kale lexicon and establish a trait hierarchy that can be used to guide the breeding program.”

The research is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

From Eco-RI Dec. 1, 2016
Deer are a more immediate threat to forests than climate change

From Eco-RI Dec. 8, 2016
URI Researchers explore Eastern Hemlock Conservation.