Tag Archives: Master Gardeners

THERAPEUTIC HORITCULTURE

Feb 10 – THERAPEUTIC HORTICULTURE w/master gardener Mikaela Boley. 10am. Must pre-register. St. Michaels branch, Talbot County Free Library. 410-745-5877 or www.tcfl.org.

STARTING SEEDS

Feb 6 – STARTING SEEDS presented by Master Gardener, Christine Little. 7pm. Galilee Luthern Church, 1934 Harbor Dr, Chester.

Master Gardeners Certify Bay-Friendly Landscape

image001 (207 x 400)The Master Gardeners of Queen Anne’s County announce that the property of Merle Rockwell and Ed Modell, located in Queenstown, has been certified as an official Bay-Wise Landscape.

Ms. Rockwell and Mr. Modell are “Bay-friendly” homeowners, since they live along the upper reaches of the Wye River. They welcomed the Master Gardeners to come tour their yard and advise them on whether they were doing enough to make their landscape Bay-wise.

The Bay-Wise representatives were impressed with what these homeowners have done in their landscape. They have installed a septic system with state-of-the-art nitrogen-reducing technology, which is a great improvement for waterfront properties such as these. Merle and Ed do not mow near the waterfront, allowing deep-rooted trees and native plants to absorb runoff from the land before it reaches the water. They have native trees which provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, while cooling the house in the summer and protecting it from buffeting winds in the winter.

Due to the many beneficial practices used throughout the property, their landscape passed the Bay-Wise certification process with flying colors.

Master Gardener Stephanie Simpson, who helped certify the property, noted that most homeowners can easily adopt Bay-Wise landscaping. “We let homeowners know that there are plenty of little things they can do that make a difference. Since all of Queen Anne’s County is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it’s important, plus it’s fun. Bay-Wise landscaping can reduce the time and money you spend on your yard, while improving the health of your plants as well as the Bay.”

The Bay-Wise committee is part of the Master Gardener program, which is sponsored by University of Maryland Extension. Volunteers are trained to educate homeowners about landscaping practices that will improve surface and groundwater quality. And there is no cost to the homeowners.

The statewide program began in 1996 in Howard County. Currently, Queen Anne’s and Talbot County Master Gardeners offer Bay-Wise consultations in the mid-Shore counties on the eastern shore, including Kent and Caroline.

When called to assess a yard, committee members use the Bay-Wise Maryland Yardstick, a checklist of landscape management practices such as fertilization, wise plant use, mulching, stormwater management and lawn care. Items on the list are worth points, or “inches” on the yardstick. For certification, a homeowner gets 36 or higher out of 72 possible points. Once the landscape is certified, the homeowners get a certificate and a 6” x 7” blue sign for their yard.

Ms. Simpson noted that homeowners may seek advice from the Bay-Wise committee without a certification. “If a homeowner just wants us to come out and advise them on how to maintain their landscape in a Bay-friendly way, we are happy to do that,” she said.

The Master Gardeners also assess and certify public gardens as Bay-Wise, such as the rain garden at the Queen Anne’s County Free Library in Centreville.

Wanda MacLachlan, state coordinator of the Bay-Wise program, said the program is unique in that the volunteers work one-on-one with the homeowners on solving landscape problems and promoting bay-friendly landscapes.

“The Bay-Wise program promotes plants, native or not, as long as they are not invasive, and are drought tolerant, and are relatively pest-free,” she said.

Regarding lawns, Ms. MacLachlan added, Bay-Wise promotes reducing the area of your lawn and encourages the use of slow-release fertilizers.

Now that the gardening season is getting underway, the Master Gardeners encourage county residents to take advantage of the free Bay-Wise consultation service.

To schedule a visit or for more information on the Bay-Wise program, call 410-758-0166.

Lend A Hand:Meet Linda Doub, Master Gardener

gardners (200 x 142)In 1998 Linda Doub agreed to help a group start a Master Gardeners Club. With very little knowledge of gardening, Linda jumped in helping to teach and develop classes for individuals interested in a variety of gardening topics. Now, the Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Club sees an average of 17 new members every year and organizes classes and lectures throughout our area. Two years ago they initiated the Grow It Eat It program, which led to planting a vegetable garden at the White House.

Linda says many people are interested in beginning a garden, particularly a vegetable garden, as a way to save money on groceries as well as to eat healthier and avoid the chemicals used on fruits and vegetables found at the supermarket. However many of these people aren’t sure how to get started. The Master Gardeners Club has become an invaluable resource for those people providing literature, advice, best practices and even hands-on help to get started.

The Master Gardeners partner with schools, community groups, farmer’s markets and government agencies to teach people about safe and effective horticultural practices. One of Linda’s favorite experiences was working with schoolchildren in Centreville, helping them to begin their own gardens. “If we can teach them now at a young age, they can carry it on and pass it down to their children,” says Linda.

Linda enjoys volunteering with the Master Gardeners because she enjoys people and she believes in the importance of what the club is doing. “There is such a joy in working with people and watching them learn.” Linda’s husband Jack also participates in the Master Gardeners Club, and together they will be teaching many of the upcoming free classes offered at the Kent Island and Centreville libraries. Linda also volunteers as a swim instructor for the Queen Anne’s County recreation. Both Linda and her husband Jack are avid equestrians and members of the Rough Riders group, which participates in area parades and community events.

Master Gardener Program Graduates New Class

By: Rachel Melvin, Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener Coordinator with University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County

After nine grueling weeks of intense training the University of Maryland Extension-Master Gardener Program is proud to announce the class of 2011. 15 residents from throughout the Upper Shore took the Master Gardener training program offered by the University of Maryland Extension- Talbot & Queen Anne’s Counties. The Maryland Master Gardner training program is a rigorous 40+ hour course that is designed to give participants basic horticultural and environmental information in preparation for volunteering as a Master Gardener representative of the University of Maryland Extension. Topics included ecology, botany, soils, propagation, diseases, insect pests and control measures, among others. This program emphasizes community involvement and outreach as well as environmental stewardship. The University of Maryland Master Gardener vision is a healthier world through environmental stewardship. In keeping with this vision, University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners volunteers work on a variety of projects in cooperation with local schools such as Kennard Elementary in Centreville, Chapel District Elementary in Cordova; help maintain various public gardens such as the rain garden at the Centreville and St. Michaels Libraries and at the Talbot Ag Center, volunteer at local Senior Centers and Assisted Living facilities working with therapeutic gardens and hands-on gardening programs, host an annual community Garden Affair on the grounds of the library in Centreville and Historic Wright’s Chance, provide community education through free workshops and classes open to local residents, visit home and public gardens as part of our Bay-Wise certification program…and more. University of Master Gardener volunteers for Queen Anne’s and Talbot County provide more than 8,000 hours annually in services that help save taxpayer dollars.

For more information contact Rachel Melvin, Horticulture Educator with University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County at (410)758-0166 or at rmelvin1@umd.edu or Heather Buritsch, with University of Maryland Extension- Talbot County at (410) 822-1244 or buritsch@umd.edu

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to everyone without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or disability

Picture Attached:
2011 Intern Class- Back Row (Left to Right): Richard Doughty, George Yurek, Dave Brooks, Lawrie Dudley, and Pete Gerdom
Front Row: Rachel Melvin (Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator), Katrina Kern, Jane De Briyn, Sarah Bradham, Pat Gannon, Connie Metcalf, Kathleen Lash, Carol Sargeant, Madeline Berger and Heather Buritsch (Talbot County Master Gardener Coordinator)

Centreville Library Rain Garden

By: Rachel Melvin, Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener Coordinator with University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County

A wet fall helps the Queen Anne’s County Centreville Branch Library rain garden grow.  The University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Volunteers help take care of the rain garden on the third Thursday every month from March to November.  This rain garden plays an important role in diverting rain water from impervious surfaces such as the parking lot and roof into the rain garden insuring that the rain water is used in the best possible way.  As storm water runoff passes through the rain garden physical and biological process let the native plants in the rain garden use the water for growth and absorption to soil particles remove pollutants and nutrients from the storm water runoff.  These processes are vital to protecting our water supply by diverting potentially harmful nutrients from entering the Corsica River Watershed.  Plants native to the North Eastern United States are used in the rain garden because they are better adapted to our environment, they can tolerate heavy rain storms and the unforgiving summer droughts that can often be found in Maryland.  Additionally, many of our wildlife depend on these plants for various life stages.  The University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Volunteers have partnered with the Queen Anne’s County Department of Public Works and the Queen Anne’s County Centreville Branch Library, to maintain the garden by lending a hand to keep the garden blooming and worry free throughout those hot summer months for library goers.

For more information contact Rachel Melvin, Horticulture Educator with University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County at (410)758-0166 or at rmelvin1@umd.edu .  Also check out the University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County website at http://queenannes.umd.edu, for more tips on growing great gardens.

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to everyone without regard to race, color,     religion, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or disability

In photo: Master Gardeners:
University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Volunteers –are volunteers trained by the University of Maryland who provide horticultural education services to individuals, groups and communities.  Annually, Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners volunteer over 3,000 hours of service to Queen Anne’s County citizens.
Back row left to right: Kit Foster, David Taylor, Debbie Pusey, Judy Geggis, and Susan Seth
Front row left to right: Jackie Kelly, Judy Conley and Carol Jelich
*Master Gardener not pictured Jim Persels

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs and More Bugs in the Veggie Garden

By: Rachel Melvin, University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County Horticulture Educator

Do you remember the saying “when the cats away the mice will play?” Well I believe the saying should go “When the gardeners away the bugs will have a party?” Not only will they party, play and invite friends but they will devour a garden in just a few days, as I have learned in taking a mini vacation. With few days away I have come home to find squash vine borers abundant, tomato hornworms to boot and stink bugs making themselves at home. So the lingering question on everyone’s mind is “What is she going to do to destroy them?” Personally, although not everyone’s preferred method, I choose to use nature or physical means to combat garden pests without Agent-Orangeing my entire garden. In order to use these methods you must first become skilled at identifying their favorite ways to gain access in to your veggie garden oasis. The more you know about your enemy the better you are in combat and let’s face it, this is combat.

Enemy #1: Squash Vine Borers-The squash vine borer, Melitta curcurbitae, is a common clearwing moth that can cause devastating results in home gardens. It is a serious pest of vine crops, commonly attacking summer squash, zucchini, winter squash, and pumpkins. Cucumbers and melons are less frequently affected. Beginning in late June or early July, squash vine borer adults emerge from cocoons in the ground. (This season I noticed the adults in early June). These moths are unusual because they fly during the day while nearly all other moths fly at night. They are about 1/2 inch long with a bright orange abdomen with black dots. The first pair of wings is metallic green while the back pair of wings is clear, although that may be hard to see as the wings are folded behind them when they at rest. There are two methods for detecting squash vine borer adults. The first is actual observation of adult activity in the garden. These moths are conspicuous insects when flying and easy to detect; watch for them when you’re in your garden. They are definitely a moth that will make you step back and take notice. In addition, the adults make a very noticeable buzzing sound when flying that is easy to detect while in the garden. If in despite of your diligent garden monitoring skills and you miss the adult moth fluttering around your squash plants it will quickly lay its eggs singly at the base of susceptible plants. Approximately one week after they are laid, the eggs hatch and the resulting larvae bore into stems to feed. The larvae then feed for four to six weeks. You will start to notice a squash plant looking a little “off.” From its sudden wilted appearance you will begin to think that it hasn’t had enough water, when in actuality it’s the larvae feeding through the center of the stems, blocking the flow of water to the rest of the plant. Closer observation of the wilting plant often will reveal holes near the base of the plant filled with moist greenish or orange sawdust-like material called frass. Over time, the base may become mushy or rot away altogether. After the larvae finish feeding they will exit stems and burrow about one to two inches into the soil to pupate. They remain there until the following summer. There is one generation per year. Squash vine borers are challenging to prevent or manage because many larvae can attack one plant. Most management options are limited to controling the hatching larvae before they enter the plant. Once the larvae invade the stem, it is difficult to treat squash vine borers. The best way to break the life cycle of the squash vine borer once it has entered the stem of the plant is to promptly pull and destroy effected plants. This can be easily done by placing pulled plants in a black plastic bag and dispose of them from your property. After this plant a second planting of summer squash in early July and they will mature after adult borers have finished laying eggs.

Enemy #2: Tobacco Hornworm-Manduca sexta is native to the United States and is the larvae form of the “sphinx”, “hawk”, or “hummingbird” moth. The adult moth of this caterpillar is a large, heavy-bodied moth with narrow front wings. The moth is a mottled gray-brown color with yellow spots on the sides of the abdomen and a wing spread of 4 to 5 inches. The moth deposits its eggs on the lower bottom leaves of the tomato plant and the eggs will hatch in six to eight days depending on weather conditions. The caterpillar will reach maturity in three to four weeks. This insect does not usually cause extensive economic damage in commercial operations. However, large numbers of larvae can cause significant damage in home gardens. Tobacco hornworms have hearty appetites and are most commonly seen feeding on tomato plants. But they do not discriminate and will feed on eggplant, pepper and potato plants. Tobacco hornworms are voracious eaters and they will consume leaves, stems and pieces of immature fruit. Commonly the first signs of an issue are the partially defoliated stems of the tomato plant. They are masters at camouflaging themselves because the plant foliage makes them difficult to spot. After spotting, they can be tossed in a bowl of soapy water. It is a common misconception that the horns located on the back of the hornworm will sting you however, they will not hurt you. They may try to nibble on your finger, but this will not hurt either. If you see a hornworm covered with white egg sacs, leave it be. The egg sacs are those of a parasitic wasp called the Braconid wasp. Let the eggs hatch and you’ll have an army of wasps ready to defend your garden against all types of pests. These wasps will not sting you and they are so small that you probably will not even notice them. If fully grown larvae are left on the plant and are not infected by the Braconid wasp then they will drop off the plant and burrow into the soil surrounding the tomato plant to pupate. During the summer months moths will emerge from the pupae in about two weeks. After emerging from the soil the cycle begins again. By early fall, the pupae will overwinter in the soil and will emerge the following spring as a moth.

Enemy #3: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) – Halyomorpha halys an insect native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania in the late 1990’s. It was first collected in September of 1998 in Allentown, but probably arrived several years earlier. As of September 2010, Halyomorpha halys has been recorded as a severe agricultural and nuisance pest problem in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. As many Marylanders may recall this insect was a huge nuisance pest in the fall of 2010 and this has continued into the present growing season. The adult BMSB measures at 5/8” and are dark mottled brown. The last 2 antennal segments have alternating light and dark bands. The exposed edges of the abdomen also have light and dark banding. Females lay clusters of 27 to 28 light green, barrel-shaped eggs on the undersides of leaves from June to August. The young bugs (nymphs) are yellowish and mottled with black and red. Older nymphs more closely resemble the adults. There are 5 stages or instars. In Maryland we can have over 2 or more generations a year depending on environmental conditions (Temperature, rain, humidity). BMSB can feed on more than 300 different plant hosts, but their prime choices are plants with high nutritional values such as crops, fruits and vegetables. Unlike the squash vine borer and the tobacco hornworm the BMSB have a sucking mouth part which makes them particulary devastating to agriculture crops and home gardens. They inject their sucking mouth part into many areas on fruits and vegetables. The nymphs or young stink bugs tend to feed shallowly, while the adults feed deeply into plant tissue causing more damage. On leaves it can appear as small stippled areas and/or necrotic areas. On fruit there may be water-soaked lesions, pitting, dimples, catfacing, and/or depressed areas. Adult stink bugs can cause deep feeding injury in fruit such as apples making them unsalable. Damage on vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes appears as cloudy whitish areas in the fruit. On beans and okra there will be wart-like growths and deformation or shriveling of the pods. Early stink bug feeding on corn results in incomplete kernel formation, while later feeding causes kernel collapse and brown discoloration. Since this is a recently introduced insect pest it is not recommended to use a pesticide. Most are ineffective in causing mortality and can actually harm other beneficial insects. The best methods currently shown to reduce the BMSB populations in the garden are knocking them off into a cup of soapy water or squishing them. Additionally, there is an all natural product called Surround or Kaolin Clay, which can be sprayed onto the entire plant to help reduce BMSB damage.

If you have a floundering vegetable garden or an unidentifiable garden pest, you can bring a sample or pictures to the University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener booth at the Queen Anne’s County 4-H fair starting on Monday, August 8, 2011 to August 13, 211. At this Booth University of Maryland Extension-Master Gardener Volunteers provide information to home gardeners. Master Gardeners will be available to look at samples of ailing plants to make diagnoses, give recommendations, answer questions, and provide printed information on a variety of gardening subjects. All information at Master Gardener booths are free and open to the public. Also check out the Maryland Food Gardening Network-Grow It Eat It program at http://growit.umd.edu , for more tips on growing great gardens.

For information contact: Rachel Melvin, (410) 758-0166 or rmelvin1@umd.edu; or visit Queen Anne’s County Extension, 505 Railroad Avenue, Suite 4,Centreville, MD 21617; our booth at the Queen Anne’s County Fair at the 4H Park, August 8-13; or http://queenannes.umd.edu/QACMG/index.cfm
University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, gender, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

Grow It Eat It- July & August Tips
July
• Sow seeds of broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, beets and other fall crops in late July.
• Sow seeds of squash, beans and cucumbers through the end of July.
• Harvest onions when tops die back; let them dry in the garden after digging them up, or tie the stems together and hang them up in a garage or attic with good air circulation. Store onions in a cool, dry place.
• Hand-pick pest insects and their egg masses.
• Remove badly diseased leaves or plants.

August.
• Plant a late crop of basil, cilantro, and dill.
• Plant a last crop of snap beans the first week of August.
• Plant cool season crops, including spinach, lettuce, carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, turnips, kale and mustard. Keep seedlings moist and mulched.
• Order garlic, walking onions, and shallots for fall planting.
• Harvest leaves of herbs before they flower. Pick individually, and dry indoors, or hang the stems a dry, semi-shady room. Store dry leaves in air-tight jars. Fresh basil leaves freeze well in plastic bags that can be sealed.
• Keep weeding and watering

Queen Anne’s and Talbot County Extension in Cooperation With Chesapeake College Announce Their 2011 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program

Queen Anne’s and Talbot County Extension are taking registration for the Fall 2011 Master Gardener volunteer training program to be held at Chesapeake College in Queenstown beginning Friday, September 9 and running through November 4, 2011. Classes will meet Fridays from 9 am to 3:00 pm. The deadline for registration is Thursday, August 11, 2011.

This well-rounded 40+ hour course is designed to give you basic information in preparation for volunteering as a Master Gardener representative of the University of Maryland Extension. Topics include: ecology, botany, soils, plant diseases, insects – both pests and beneficial, weeds, and much more. This program emphasizes community involvement and outreach as well as environmental stewardship. A $225.00 fee is charged to cover all costs including the Maryland Master Gardener Handbook. Space will be limited to 25 participants, so registration will be taken on a first come first serve basis. This University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener volunteer training program is open to the public, 18 years of age and older and payment assistance is available based on need.

The University of Maryland Master Gardener vision is a healthier world through environmental stewardship. In keeping with this vision, University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners volunteers work on a variety of projects in cooperation with local schools such as Kennard Elementary in Centreville, Chapel District Elementary in Cordova; help maintain various public gardens such as the rain garden at the Centreville Library, St. Michaels Library and at the Talbot Ag Center, volunteer at local Senior Centers and Assisted Living facilities working with therapeutic gardens and hands-on gardening programs, host an annual community Garden Affair on the grounds of the library in Centreville and Wright’s Chance, provide community education through free workshops and classes open to local residents, visit home and public gardens as part of our Bay-Wise certification program…and much more. University of Master Gardener volunteers for Queen Anne and Talbot County provide more than 8,000 hours annually in volunteer services that help save taxpayer dollars.

For information contact: Rachel Melvin, (410) 758-0166 or rmelvin1@umd.edu; or Heather Buritsch, (410) 822-1244 or buritsch@umd.edu;

If You Need Special Assistance to Participate In The Master Gardener Training Please Contact Rachel Melvin, University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County At (410) 758-0166 or Heather Burtisch, Talbot County at (410) 822-1244 by Wednesday, August 18, 2010.

May Garden Affair

By: Rachel Melvin, Horticulture Educator with University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County

Anyone who loves the renewal of spring has a once-a-year opportunity in the Garden Affair in Centreville on Saturday May 21, 10AM-2PM. Sponsored and staffed by Certified University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners Volunteers, the event offers anyone — novice and experienced gardeners, parents, kids, residents of house or apartment, trailer or estate — a fun and educational time held in a shady green space behind Wright’s Chance in Centreville.

Learn about bees, pollination, honey production and collection with beekeeper & University of Maryland Extension Apiary Specialist, Mike Embrey.  Or introduce kids to the pleasures and rewards of gardening with a Master Gardeners Linda & Jack Doub at the Grow It Eat It display.  Let the kiddies “plant a seed & watch it grow.”

From 10-2, get your plant disease and pest problems diagnosed with “Ask a Master Gardener’ with Master Gardeners Sabine Harvey and Dick Crane.  Don’t let the little ones miss 10:30 story-time inside the Centreville library.

At 11AM, join Master Gardener & Master Composter, John Ittu, for a seminar on composting theory and practice.  There will also be a demonstration of Vermicomposting, an easy way to compost vegetative kitchen waste, even in an apartment, and a special treat for boys since it consists of boxes of wiggly squiggly worms. Also, the Martha the “Turtle Lady,” will be at the Garden Affair from 11am to 1pm to introduce kids to the wonderful world of turtles that live in Maryland.  Learn about where box turtles like to roam and why terrapins are important to the Bay.

At 12:30, kids will enjoy the Scavenger Hunt with Youth Coordinator Master Gardener, Pat Bowell and Master Gardener, Annie Ittu.

At 1pm, join Master Gardener John Ittu again he discusses rain barrels.  Homemade or bought, rain barrels are a boon to gardeners; in addition to being Bay-wise and purse-savvy, using rain water produces better results than chlorinated water.

There will face painting, a craft table, a plant table (very reasonably-priced), and a booths on container gardening, herb gardening, beneficial bugs, shoreline plantings, and much more. Members of the Kennard Elementary Ecology Club will be there ready to discuss the native-plant swale they planted by the school.

For more information contact Rachel Melvin, Horticulture Educator with University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County at (410)758-0166 or at rmelvin1@umd.edu .  Also check out the Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener website at http://www.agnr.umd.edu/Extension/local/QueenAnnes/QACMG/ for more information.

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to everyone without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or disability

April Grow It Eat It Classes

By: Rachel Melvin, Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator & Horticulture Educator

The earthy aromatic smell of freshly tilled soil takes me back to a time when my only worries were chores and staying out of trouble. I can still remember the old blue ford tractor my uncle would use to get the ground ready for spring planting. Our garden usually consisted of the basics: tomatoes, squash, beans, zucchini, and cantaloupe. We grew enough to feed the family and a few neighbors. As an adult, I’ve packed up my things and moved away from this quite country setting. Yet the yearning for simpler times and an expansive garden become an ever present dream. For these things, I know I am not alone. Suburban life creates many challenges in the food gardening initiative. Our lots are big enough for a swing set and patio furniture but not much more. And an “in ground” garden seems more like a fantasy and less like reality. These challenges can be frustrating but they can also lend us to some great palate pleasing possibilities. Becoming an innovative gardener is simple and easy; by using these small spaces to your advantage. Create a square foot garden, grow herbs in containers, or train cucumbers and melons to grow up a trellis. The possibilities are endless.

The University of Maryland Extension – Queen Anne’s Master Gardener Volunteers will be holding several Grow It Eat It classes throughout Queen Anne’s in April that will focus on container gardening and edible landscapes. The Grow It Eat It campaign is collaboration between the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and the Home and Garden Information Center. This venture addresses the growing need of Marylanders to learn how to start and maintain successful food gardens. As part of Maryland’s Food Gardening Network, Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Volunteers offer Beginner Vegetable Garden classes and workshops. All classes and workshops are free and open to the public and will be given by Master Gardener Volunteers across Queen Anne’s County at community locations and to groups upon request. Our vision is one million gardeners in the state producing their own affordable, healthy food.

April Grow It Eat It Classes:
• Tuesday, April 12th Unusual Fruits for the Backyard at the Chestertown Extension Office from 7 to 8 pm
• Wednesday, April 13th Container Gardens & Raised Beds at the Stevensville Library from 6:30 to 7:30 pm
• Wednesday, April 13th Container Gardens & Raised Beds at the Centreville Library from 6:30 to 7:30 pm
• Thursday, April 14th Herbs and Planting an Edible Landscape at the Sudlersville Memorial Library from 6:30 to 7:30 pm

For more information contact Rachel Melvin, Horticulture Educator with University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County at (410)758-0166 or at rmelvin1@umd.edu . Also check out the Maryland Food Gardening Network-Grow It Eat It program at http://growit.umd.edu , for more tips on growing great gardens.

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to everyone without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or disability

April Grow It Eat It Tips

• Continue to sow lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, beets and other favorite salad vegetables.
• Thin seedlings of leafy greens, to a few inches apart and eat the ones you pull. Check planting chart for final spacing between mature plants.
• Plant seeds of carrots, turnips and parsnips in deeply worked, well-drained soil.
• Start Brussels sprouts indoors, under lights, to be planted in late May, for fall harvest.
• Start tomato seeds indoors under lights, to be ready for transplanting outdoors in six to eight weeks.
• Don’t jump the gun with warm season crops; plant outside only after all danger of frost is past. (Night temperatures below 45º F. can damage plants and later fruiting.)
• Optional: lay down black plastic mulch to warm the soil, two to three weeks before planting warm season crops, like tomato, pepper, eggplant, and melon. Plas¬tic mulch also keeps down weeds. (Biodegradable non-plastic mulch, made out of corn, is now avail¬able; www.highmowingseeds.com is one source.)
• Sow beans and corn outdoors late this month or early May, when soil temperatures are above 50º F. (Or pre-start them indoors to get them off to a faster start.)
• Start squash, melon and cucumbers indoors to be transplanted in the garden, in two to three weeks. (These plants also benefit from black plastic or biodegradable mulch.) Or, plant them directly in the garden, in late May through mid-June.

*** For more information visit www.growit.umd.edu