EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping March 2012

 

[Editors note: Extension Master Gardeners involved on our national social media team and through this blog said they'd like to learn and connect more with each other.  In that spirit, we thought it might be helpful to wrap up each month with what we've learned from interacting with Extension Master Gardeners and the public through Facebook, Twitter, and what we have observed in the news. We know we will be missing a lot in this wrap up, so please add your monthly observations , if you'd like, in the comments section below.]

March blog posts were Plant Inspired

Desert Lupine at Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County Arizona

Desert Lupine at Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County Arizona

This March was a new experiment in highlighting different plants across the country.

Our first Facebook poll lent us a blog post on native plants across the country…well most of the plants were native selections anyway.  We did get a request for Hellebores (non-native), which we could have thrown out, but it was a good learning opportunity to contrast native and non-native plants.  This experience also helped us learn more about asking question on Facebook (next time we will try and be more concise!).

Weird and Wonderful! This month we highlighted two Weird and Wonderful Plants, velvet cactusStapelia gigantea and skunk cabbageSymplocarpus foetidus. Both were fascinating plants and and informative posts. I encourage you to read about these plants with personality,

In the future, we hope we can highlight more Weird and Wonderful posts contributed by other Master Gardeners, as well. If you are an active MG and would like to contribute what you’ve learned about a plant that you think is Weird and Wonderful, contact me, karen.jeannette@extension.org.

Looking for blog posts about what other Extension Master Gardeners are doing? Check out the February EMG Blog Archive, where we covered new invasive species resources, local foods, citizen science, search for excellence award winners, and garden shows in the Pacific Northwest.

National Weather and Gardening Notes for March 2012

Knock Out Rose in Austin Texas

Knock Out Rose Blooming in Austin Texas

On a mid-March, Monday morning on Facebook,  we asked: Did you accomplish what you wanted to for your gardening activities this weekend (planning, planting, weeding, harvesting)?

While we had a number of responses, it was interesting to hear reports of how the weather was affecting gardening routines in different regions of the country. Here is a brief overview of what we heard back:

  • Gardeners in Alabama, Texas, and New Mexico were in the garden planting or performing garden chores.
  • Oregon State Extension Master Gardener Coordinator, Gail Langellotto mentioned they were Under the Weather (and behind schedule) in Oregon due to soggy conditions.
  • Gardeners in the Northeast and North Central regions were enjoying the early warm up this spring, but were also concerned about spring freezes damaging plants (particularly fruit set on early flowering fruit trees) that had begun to grow earlier in the season than normal.

A Look at the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Map

We got the inside scoop of this map of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug during the 7th International Integrated Pest Management Symposium by following the #IPM2012 conference stream on Twitter.  @SouthernSARE shared this particular photo of the map.

Not all states have a problem with this pest, as noted in the map. However, last year, we noticed that our colleagues in the Northeast and Southeast were sharing ways to manage this pest, as the USDA describes this invasive pest as A New Threat for Agriculture, A Nusisance for Homeowners.

Mike Raupp, “The Bug Guy” for the University of Maryland Extension has produced this fascinating Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Control: Think Before You Stink! YouTube video that demonstrates effective and environmentally friendly ways to keep the infamous brown marmorated stink bug from invading your home.  You may wish to check it out!

Educational Resources

In the past month or two we’ve highlighted some educational resources on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter that have been well-received.   Just in case you missed them, we would encourage you to take another look.  Here are just few great resources and why you may find them useful:

Invasive Species website just launched on eXtension. The New Invasive Species Website was Developed with Extension Master Gardeners in Mind . You can find materials, such as educational resources for kids or get answers to common questions, such as How does a plant become invasive?

Let’s Color Some Insects, from NMSU.  This was a free and fun coloring guide that was shared by the New Mexico State University Extension Facebook page. Some of the insects found here are also found in my state (MN),  while others were unique to New Mexico or the southwest. Comparing where insects are found or not found across the country is interesting to do with young children.  I tested these color sheets with some 6 years olds who had a fun time coloring in the pictures and listening to the insect description on each coloring sheet.

School Gardening Resources, is a curated collection of web-based school gardening resources by Ron Wolford, University of Illinois Extension Extension Educator.  If you work in urban, school, or community gardens, I bet you’ll find some useful information in this collection.

Creating A Water Efficient Garden was shared by the Connecticut Master Gardener association.  Master Gardeners from So. California, Tennessee, and New Mexico also found this information helpful, and voiced their interests, ideas, and insights on water efficiency where they garden.

Now, it’s your turn…

  • What did you learn this month that helped you understand the world of gardening or volunteering better?
  • What was particularly interesting to you?
  • What’s coming up that you’d like other Extension Master Gardeners to know about?

-Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator

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