GARDENER STATE: Jersey Fresh: Loud and proud!

Jersey Fresh. Now, you might be thinking this may be more about that stray salad item that landed on your lap or the food fight tomato or pie in the face? While those may be embarrassing or even a bit funny, this is really about promoting NJ agriculture long before your backyard garden is ready for harvest… Now that the onion grass has started poking through your lawn and thoughts of gardeners everywhere turn to tilling the great outdoors, Rutgers Master Gardener programs across the state have opened their Garden Helplines. With weekday hours available for calls, emails, and of course walk-in gardening and landscape questions, these trained volunteers of Rutgers Cooperative Extension will research and assist in finding the solution to insect, disease, soil health, and many other seasonal questions.

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RCE Water Resources Program Develops Green Program to Aid Coastal Communities in New Jersey

RCE Water Resources Program logo.

RCE Water Resources Program logo.

Flooding, even from small storm events, has been damaging the quality of life of New Jersey’s residents. Based upon a preliminary land cover analysis of New Jersey, 12.1% of the state is covered with impervious surfaces. This translates into 1,055 square miles or 675,200 acres of impervious cover in the state. It’s estimated that during a one-inch rainfall event, 18.3 billion gallons of stormwater drains from these surfaces. Many of these impervious surfaces are directly connected to local waterways, meaning that every drop of rain that lands on these surfaces drains directly to a stream, river, lake, or bay without any treatment or having the opportunity to infiltrate into the soil. Pollutants accumulate on these impervious surfaces and are washed directly into waterways during storm events. In addition, these impervious surfaces prevent rainfall from infiltrating into the ground to replenish the state’s aquifers. Limited infiltration of rainwater results in reduced base flow to the local streams that rely on groundwater during the dry summer months. [Read more…]

4-H youth from 13 N.J. counties learn about leadership

A group of 41 4-H members from 13 counties will be participating in the Discover the Leader in You! 4-H Leadership Conference being held Saturday on the George H. Cook Campus at Rutgers University in New Brunswick in Middlesex County. The conference provides an opportunity for middle school age youth to learn about and develop leadership knowledge and skills through large and small group interactive workshops and hands-on activities, according to Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

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4-H Members Represent New Jersey at National Healthy Living Summit

4-H Healthy Living Summit delegation included Michael Newton, Jr. (Burlington Co.), Victoria Matt (Cape May Co.), Amanda Erbe (Ocean Co.) and McKayla Tyrrell (Monmouth Co.).

4-H Healthy Living Summit delegates: Michael Newton, Jr. (Burlington Co.), Victoria Matt (Cape May Co.), Amanda Erbe (Ocean Co.) and McKayla Tyrrell (Monmouth Co.). Photo: Kenny Faillace.

Four 4-H members represented New Jersey at the National Youth Summit on Healthy Living held Feb. 12-15 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The purpose of the summit was to provide high school youth with an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills to address issues like nutrition education, physical fitness, wellness and emotional wellbeing. Delegates discussed how they would share what they learned at the Healthy Living Youth Summit and created action plans to implement in their home communities.

New Jersey delegates attending the summit included Michael Newton, Jr. (Burlington County), Victoria Matt (Cape May County), Amanda Erbe (Ocean County) and McKayla Tyrrell (Monmouth County). The delegation was chaperoned by Kenny Faillace, Passaic County 4-H community assistant and Kalin Axelsson, a 4-H volunteer from Cape May County.

The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers Cooperative extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades K-13 (one year out of high school), on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status and any other category protected by law.

For more information, visit the New Jersey 4-H Program website.

Tree-Killing Emerald Ash Borer Found in Six New Jersey Counties

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

New Jersey Department of Agriculture officials reported the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees, is active in 14 towns in six counties.

A trapping program in 82 towns over the summer and reporting from homeowners has resulted in the discovery to date of the beetle in Hillsdale, Bergen County; Edgewater Park and Westampton, Burlington County;  Ewing, Hamilton Township, Hopewell, Princeton, West Windsor., Mercer County; Monroe and South Brunswick, Middlesex County; Bridgewater, Franklin Township and Hillsborough, Somerset County; and Allentown, Monmouth County.

“Just as emerald ash borer has swiftly spread through other states in the nation, it has now moved to New Jersey and we must prepare for the impact of this highly destructive invasive pest, which could lead to the death of ash trees,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.  “We ask that towns and counties act now to put plans in place to respond to the beetle.” [Read more…]