Wordless Wednesday: Use Nature to Decorate for FAll

November 19th, 2014 by Terri James

This fall think out of the box for any of your fall decorations – look in your backyard to find some inspiration.


ornamental grasses

Ornamental grass seed heads can be added to containers for a neutral filler

pine cones

Find pine cones and wire them into your fall decorations – you can even paint them to match your color scheme


Use the colors of nature to find a color scheme


Did you do a little pruning this fall? Use the trimming from that to add structure to your designs

Terri James, Extension Horticulturist
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

November15, 2014 is America Recycles Day!

November 15th, 2014 by Connie Schultz

 America Recycles Day November 15th!

America Recycles Day gives us an opportunity to talk about reducing, reusing, and recycling to keep America beautiful! We can “recycle” our food waste too by keeping it from becoming trash at the landfill or dump! A Washington Post article talks about how: Americans throw out more food than plastic, paper, metal, and glass. Our food waste is our biggest “waste” problem.

Food: don't waste it! (poster courtesy USDA)

Food: don’t waste it! (poster courtesy USDA)

Food Waste and Hunger in America:

  • According to figures provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, roughly 70 billion pounds of food is lost in the United States each year.
  • It is estimated that 25 – 40% of food grown, processed and transported in the US will never be consumed.
  • 1 in 6 people in America faces hunger, that’s nearly 49 million people that need the food we haven’t used

Feed People, Not Landfills

As the poster below shows, there are several ways we can stop food waste but one item not on the list is “recycling” our leftover food that would go into the trash by composting it instead. For Master Gardeners, this is a natural and we have lots of places to put that black-gold compost to replenish the soil but, if you haven’t tried composting before, you might want to learn a little more about how to do it by visiting the EPA’s site on composting at home.

A natural way to recycle food waste - give it to the chickens (photo courtesy Connie Schultz)

A natural way to recycle food waste if you’re lucky enough to have chickens (photo courtesy Connie Schultz)


The graphic below contains data presented by Sustainable America and gleaned from the Natural Resources Defense Council report on food waste.

Food Waste America 40% (infographic courtesy of Sustainable America)

Food Waste America 40% (infographic courtesy of Sustainable America)


Cutting food waste is a win, win, win! We can save money on the food we don’t waste. We could save enough food to potentially feed 25 million hungry Americans. We can also save the water & energy used to grow the food we waste. So this Thanksgiving, let’s save money, food, and resources and share our plenty with others!

Submitted by Connie Schultz, Master Gardener/Composter (’95 Cornell Extension) now volunteering in Johnston County, NC

Wordless Wednesday: November15, 2014 is America Recycles Day!

November 12th, 2014 by Connie Schultz

November15, 2014 is America Recycles Day!

There are many ways to recycle but, because Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, I thought food waste might be the best topic to talk about because, while we feast, someone else is going hungry. Can we help to stop that? Look at the infographics below and let me know what YOU think!


America Recycles Day 11/15/2014 (logo courtesy America Recycles)

America Recycles Day 11/15/2014 (logo courtesy America Recycles)



Pie chart of Food Waste in the U.S. (photo courtesy of National Resources Defense Council)

Pie chart of Food Waste in the U.S. (photo courtesy of National Resources Defense Council)



Americans waste approx. 245 lbs. of food per person per year (infographic courtesy of Tufts University)

Americans waste approx. 245 lbs. of food per person per year (infographic courtesy of Tufts University)



25 million people could be fed if we reduced food waste by 15% (Infographic courtesy National Resources Defense Council)

25 million people could be fed if we reduced food waste by 15% (Infographic courtesy National Resources Defense Council)


Let’s it do better! Recycle your food waste or better yet, compost it yourself and use it in your garden!


Submitted by Connie Schultz Extension Master Gardener/Composter (’95 Cornell Extension) now volunteering in Johnston County, NC

Search for Excellence Award First Place – Workshop or Presentation (2013)

November 7th, 2014 by Terri James

“In Your Own Back Yard”, Rutgers Master Gardener of Ocean County, New Jersey, USA

Leading the Way for Master Gardener Interns

Towards the end of our interns’ 2012 training period, Rutgers Master Gardeners of Ocean County guided the interns in presenting a program, Fall Garden Day, to the residents of our community. The program informed the residents of good horticultural practices for their home gardens through three PowerPoint presentations and several mini-demonstrations.

Getting the Interns On-Board

A group of master gardeners met with the interns and offered basic ideas of how an outreach program is usually put together by our MG group. They described the various committees needed and asked for two volunteers to act as chairpersons for the project. Enthusiasm built as we put together plans, decided on a title and theme for the program, discussed our modest budget and set a timetable. We encouraged all interns to participate in some way.

Spreading the Word about a Free Horticultural Program for Residents

An intern volunteered to create a flyer advertising the program. Interns and MG’s posted or distributed flyers to community groups, garden clubs, libraries, friends, neighbors, etc.

Attendees at the Demonstrations

Attendees at the Demonstrations

 Selecting Speakers and Demonstrators

The intern co-chairpersons of Fall Garden Day contacted our MG speakers’ bureau and asked for speakers on the topics the interns selected. The co-chairs also asked for volunteers to do mini-demonstrations during a break-out session at the end of the program.

Creating a Feedback Form

A Master Gardener helped the intern who volunteered to put together a feedback form. She offered samples of forms that were used in the past and explained that we need to know if we are meeting our goals and how we might improve the program in the future.

Plants for Attendees

Plants for Attendees

 An Incentive for Participants to fill out our Feedback Form

A committee of interns worked on growing plants for Fall Garden Day participants who handed in feedback forms. The MG’s who work in our hoop house guided this group of interns on the planting and care of about 90 small plants. A separate group of interns was in charge of putting together several baskets for door prizes.

Making it all look Welcoming

Interns on the decoration committee did an amazing job decorating the auditorium and entrance hall with a fall theme. They used some of our stored decorations, added some of their own, and borrowed some more. It looked great and cost very little

Decorations and Exhibits

Decorations and Exhibits

Greeters and Hospitality

Some interns chose to be greeters, welcoming guests, directing them to the auditorium, and ushering them to seats as the auditorium began to get crowded. Interns on the hospitality committee solicited “finger foods” from the Master Gardeners to go along with coffee and tea. They set up a wonderful spread, all from the volunteers.

For Interns who wanted to participate but could not come on Fall Garden Day

These interns put together a folder with a program of the day’s events, informational materials about the Master Gardeners, gardening information and our feedback form. They scheduled their committee to meet at a time convenient for them.

And so it went…

The people came. Our MG presenters were great. The interns did their jobs. Master Gardeners and our MG Coordinator, Linda Schoch, approved all plans and oversaw the event. We had a cleanup committee, but everyone just pitched in and talked about how well the day went. Guided by the Master Gardeners, our interns had their first experience putting together a program for the public. Next year, it will be their turn to help guide the next group of interns to present Fall Garden Day.

Submitted by: Kerren Vallone, Rutgers Master Gardener of Ocean County, New Jersey, USA


Wordless Wednesday – Korean International Master Gardener Conference

November 5th, 2014 by Terri James

Thanks to Candice Miller, Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator for this great video of the trip we took to South Korea!

Celebrating Food Day Oct. 24th, 2014

October 24th, 2014 by Connie Schultz

It’s Food Day! Visit a farmer’s market today or a community garden or go gleaning in a field for a local food pantry. Today it’s all about food – what we eat, how we grow it, prepare it, preserve it and eat it and how that relates to our overall health  – ours and our children’s.

 Food Day Focus on Children’s Diets

One of the important focuses of Food Day is children’s diets. Many of us volunteer at school gardens and know how important it is to teach children how to make healthy choices and for them to know where their food actually comes from – not from the store but from the dirt! On average, kids get over a quarter of their calories from snacks daily.  That wouldn’t be so bad if the snacks were more healthful, but cookies, cakes, chips, candy, and sugary drinks top the list of popular choices. You can check out an informative infographic to learn more about children’s diets in the US and to how it’s related to illnesses in their lives today.

The American Diet: Prescription for Ill Health

What adults are consuming is important too because they do the shopping and plan the meals for their families and set the stage for a life time of food habits. CSPI, the sponsor of Food Day, prepared a brief analysis of the average American adult diet and its relationship to their health. If you’re volunteering in a community garden teaching people to grow, harvest, cook and preserve food, you’re helping them attain a healthier happier life style. Master Gardeners are changing the world they live in by creating healthier futures for everyone.

Onion Flowering (photo submitted by Connie Schultz)

Onion Flowering (photo submitted by Connie Schultz)


To celebrate Food Day today, I thought it might be fun to take a quick food quiz. Just click on the link below and see how you do!


14 Questions that Could
Save Your Life and the Planet


Submitted by Connie Schultz, Master Gardener/Composter (’95 Cornell Extension) now volunteering in Johnston County, NC

Food Day Oct. 24th, Preparation Day!

October 23rd, 2014 by Connie Schultz

Getting ready for Food Day? Take the Food Literacy quiz to get ready!

Food Literacy •  noun •  füd ˈli-t(ə-)rə-sē
Understanding the story of one’s food, from farm to table and back to the soil; the knowledge and ability to make informed choices that support one’s health, community, and the environment.

8,000 Events Being Held Across the Country

Food Day was created to inspire people to change their diets for the better. This year over 8,000 events are being held across the country to support issues like health, nutrition, and sustainability:

  • National Geographic will host a Food Day Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 25.
  • In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick is inviting consumers, farmers and ranchers, fishermen, social justice advocates, and other stakeholders to the State House on Food Day to learn more about a new Massachusetts Food Systems Plan. “Our communities are healthier when families have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy, whole foods,” said Governor Patrick.
  • New York City is getting ready for its third annual Big Apple Crunch.  They’re hoping to break last year’s record of 1 million people taking part.  All the kids in NYC schools will get an apple on Food Day!

These are only a few of the thousands of events going on tomorrow. Hopefully, as an Extension Master Gardener, you’ll play an important part by helping someone learn to grow, harvest, prepare or preserve vegetables this week!

Arcimboldovertemnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo,

Arcimboldovertemnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo,
c. 1590-1591 (from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository)


Submitted by Connie Schultz, Master Gardener/Composter (’95 Cornell Extension) now volunteering in Johnston County, NC


Almost Wordless Wednesday: Food Day October 24th!

October 22nd, 2014 by Connie Schultz

This Friday, October 24, we’re celebrating Food Day. Started by the Center for Science in the Public Interest in 2011, Food Day aims to inspire people to change their diets for the better and address issues like health, nutrition, and sustainability. As Extension Master Gardeners, if you volunteer in a community garden, a school garden or at a farmer’s market, you’re helping to promote access to healthy food and learning how to grow it yourself! Master Gardeners are an awesome force for good in helping people become more physically active, learn more about vegetables and how to preserve or prepare them, for helping to grow and donate food for the hungry and, in so many ways, providing access to wholesome food for everyone. Master Gardeners are helping to celebrate Food Day every day everywhere around the country!

Food Day October 24th, 2014 (logo courtesy CSPI)

Food Day October 24th, 2014 (logo courtesy CSPI)

Submitted by Connie Schultz, Master Gardener/Composter (’95 Cornell Extension) now volunteering in Johnston County, NC


Wordless Wednesday – Korea Master Gardener International Conference

October 15th, 2014 by Terri James

Welcome Banner at the GARES (Gyeonggido Agricultural Research and Extension Services) Facility

Hello from South Korea! Well we are back but the memories are still fresh!

The South Korean Master Gardener Program hosted its first Korea master gardener international conference – a small group of Extension Master Gardeners and Coordinators from the United States attended this conference we were welcomed with open arms and had a wonderful experience – this is a Wordless Wednesday post (almost) with pictures from the conference!



A group of Korean Master Gardeners gave us a demonstration on how to make Kimchi and Bibimbap


Getting instructions on how to make Bibimbap

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The ingredients for Kimchi

Many participants spoke about their projects at workshops and in a poster session


Haru and Toshi Hikicha speaking at the Conference

We were able to visit many gardens maintained by Master Gardeners

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Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at GARES

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Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at GARES


The whole experience was amazing – we meet a fantastic group of people, saw great gardens, and made many new friends!

Terri James, Horticultural Extension Assistant-Urban Gardening
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

Search for Excellence Award First Place – Innovative Project (2013)

October 7th, 2014 by Terri James

2013 Search for Excellence: Innovative Programs Award Winner 1st Place, Douglas County Master Gardener Plant Training Program, Roseburg, OR USA

The challenges that lead us to the development of our Master Gardener Plant Clinic Training Program were two fold. The first was retention of students after their mandatory hours and keeping Veterans involved. The second was ensuring that office protocols and procedures were being followed on a consistent basis.
In making phone calls to students and veterans I found that they felt uncomfortable working in the Clinic. They didn’t feel that they were competent. We clearly needed to do a better job in our Clinic training.
At that time our training consisted of an orientation, two training sessions with whoever was working in the clinic and working in the Clinic for the remainder of their hours. There was no consistency in the training.

Advanced Diagnostics Class

Advanced Diagnostics Class

The most vital element of our new program is the Teaching Core. This group of 5 Veterans make the commitment to train the students from February through May, with two training sessions with their mentors. Next we developed a curriculum for them to follow. The students have a corresponding check list on file in the office. Both students and trainers refer to this list to see what has been covered. The students can also use the list to ask the trainer to repeat things that they are unsure of. Both trainers and students receive an updated copy of clinic Protocol and Procedures.

An important part of the skill set required is diagnostic. Our Agent, Steve Renquist, stepped up to the plate and instituted our Monthly Diagnostic classes. They are focused on the Clinic workers but all Master Gardners are welcome. In the classes we learn about plant, insect and disease identification. Steve updates us on the latest pest alerts and resources. This increased knowledge gives us the confidence that we are giving our clients the latest information.
With this program we have improved the quality of the work done in the Clinic and our volunteer calendar is usually booked two months out. We do an annual review with the trainees and mentors. The number one comment is that both now feel qualified to work in the Plant Clinic. We also follow-up with our Plant Clinic clients; one of the questions asked is “Do you feel the Master Gardners helped you resolve you issues?” In 2008 we had an 86% satisfaction rate / 2009 90%/ 2010 93% and in 2011 we were at 95%.

Our teaching core receiving certificates of appreciation

Our teaching core receiving certificates of appreciation

We have already shared our program with other chapters and have received very positive feedback on their results.

If you would like further information go to our site http://extension.oregonstate.edu/douglas/mg/search-excellence-2013

Submitted by: Judy Mercer, Douglas County Oregon Master Gardener

2015 SFE Awards Application