Going Green, Up On the Roof

This article is written by Barbara and Wolf Skacel, Rutgers Master Gardeners of Burlington County since 2014 and active volunteers and gardeners in their community… What is a green roof? It’s not a roof covered with moss, although it could be, if that is what you planned. A green roof is essentially a roof where plants are being grown… Technically, it is the creation of a naturally functioning meadow of plants grown on a rooftop. Did you know Moorestown has a green roof? It is one of the best-kept secrets in town, and was created by Sustainable Moorestown’s Green Team under a Water Resources Grant from Rutgers University (more info from Rutgers Fact Sheet FS1197)… A green roof will reduce the stormwater runoff. The soil on a green roof acts like a sponge and absorbs excess rainwater, slowly releasing it over days rather than letting it immediately discharge to the street below.

Read the entire article at www.burlingtoncountytimes.com »

Rutgers Helps Friends School Students Get a Taste of Gardening

Students were skeptical at Friends School Mullica Hill, an independent PreK to 8th grade school in Harrison Township, when Luanne Hughes passed around tiny cups of a green frothy brew at her lunchtime demonstration. Hughes, a registered dietician and professor at Rutgers University Cooperative Extension of Gloucester County, was visiting as part of a partnership to help the school develop its on-campus gardening project… Using fresh spinach the students at Friends School grew and collected in their own raised bed garden, Hughes blended together a shake that also included bananas, orange juice and fresh kiwi. Watching the ingredients whipped together into a bright green shake elicited a few groans of disapproval from some of the middle schoolers. The kids were encouraged to "be brave" and "try something new" by Hughes as she passed around the sample cups… "Having our garden supported by Luanne and Rutgers University has been invaluable," said Reaves. "They are helping us to teach kids the importance of fresh farm produce."

Read the entire article at www.mycentraljersey.com »

Harvest Your Own Pepper Event Grows into Annual Tradition

Participants in HYOP 2015 were invited to evaluate peppers based on appearance.

Participants in HYOP 2015 were invited to evaluate peppers based on appearance.

The 2015 Harvest Your Own Pepper (HYOP) event took place on October 26 at Rutgers Horticultural Research Farm III on Cook Campus in New Brunswick where the Rutgers community is invited to pick their own hot peppers left over from research variety trials. Over sixty faculty, staff and alumni visited the research plots to pick many types of peppers, ranging from heat-free/sweet mini bells to >250,000 Scoville heat unit-habaneros. The pepper spectrum covers African birdeye/Thai hot, African poblano (“Tatashe”), baccatum, cayenne and jalapenos.

This is a continuation of the exotic pepper research project at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Albert Ayeni, ethnic crop specialist, Tom Orton, extension specialist in vegetable breeding and colleagues, are conducting the hot pepper trials for selecting varieties that grow well in New Jersey. In addition, they are investigating the peppers’ potential use as ornamental plants and medicinal foods. From the selections of peppers in the research trials, several will eventually be released to New Jersey growers to expand the state’s ethnic food basket.

The additions to the 2015 HYOP event included access of guest pickers to the African eggplant (garden eggs) plot adjacent to the pepper plots and evaluation of habanero selections based on appearance.

The positive feedback from the guest pickers has enabled HYOP to become a growing annual event since it started in 2012. A HYOP guest who participated for the first time commented, “This was my first time participating in HYOP. What a nice tradition!”

Ayeni stated, “We are encouraged by the interest of our community in HYOP (33 participated in 2013, 45 in 2014 and 62 in 2015). We plan to continue the “tradition” of adding some spice to life throughout the fall, winter and spring seasons that follow the harvest. “A soul that eats no hot pepper, is a weak soul” —- an African adage! We look forward to 2016 HYOP and hope you can join us!”

Somerset County Teens to Attend National 4-H Congress

Somerset County 4-H member James Meier has been selected to attend National 4-H Congress scheduled for Nov. 27-Dec. 1 in Atlanta… James will be part of the New Jersey delegation of 17 teen 4-H members from nine counties (Atlantic, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic and Somerset)… National 4-H Congress is the premiere national educational and recognition event for the 4-H youth development program. For over 90 years, youth from the United States and its territories have participated in this youth leadership development conference… The theme for 2015 event is "Excite, Spark, Ignite." The conference will focus on the Cooperative Extension System’s belief that young people can be significant partners in addressing the issues that face our nation, especially those affecting youth. The educational programs were developed for National Congress by a design team of youth and adults from around the country… The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Read the entire article at www.nj.com »

Flemington Resident a Member of New Jersey Team to Attend National 4-H Avian Bowl Contest

Two 4-H members will represent New Jersey at the National 4-H Avian Bowl Contest to be held at the National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference scheduled for Nov. 18-19, in Louisville, Kentucky. Approximately 250 individuals will be attending this national conference… The 4-H Avian Bowl is a double elimination contest for teams patterned after other knowledge bowls. Teams consist of 2-4 members per team. Avian Bowl is an educational project, in which 4-H contestants must have a comprehensive knowledge of subject matter for several species of poultry, food safety, physiology, nutrition, eggs and other related subjects. The National 4-H Avian Bowl is sponsored by the Poultry Science Association… "This the first time in the history of the National 4-H Avian Bowl competition that New Jersey has had a team participate. Avian Bowl offers 4-H’ers an excellent opportunity to work as a team to advance their knowledge in poultry related topics. We are proud of our team and look forward to participating in future years!" says Jeannette Rea-Keywood, State 4-H Agent and New Jersey 4-H Youth Development Program – Small Animal Project Advisory Council liaison.

Read the entire article at www.nj.com »