Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Morris County is proud to announce that the Rutgers Master Gardener Community Garden Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Team has won 1st Place in the 2021 David Gibby International Master Gardener Conference Search for Excellence (IMGCSFE), Innovative Projects Category.
This team of volunteers regularly inspects plots in Morris County community gardens to identify insects, diseases, environmental and cultural problems. Any issues found are thoroughly researched by the team, using science-based university or Cooperative Extension sources, and reviewed by RCE of Morris County faculty and staff. The team prepares bi-weekly reports throughout the growing season to provide community gardeners with alerts of potential issues. These reports feature photos to help the gardeners recognize the problems and offer research-based prevention and management techniques.
In addition to the reports, the team also tracks each year’s first observations of insects and diseases by date and location. Now in its fourth year, the project’s database of first observations and summary chart serve as key resources, allowing gardeners to anticipate possible problems during the growing season.
When the project first started in 2018, the audience for the reports was initially community gardeners in two community gardens in Morris County. Through partnerships with other community garden managers, the New Jersey Community Garden Association, the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Northeast Organic Farming Assocation of NJ, the reports are now disseminated to more than 8,500 gardeners throughout New Jersey.
The members of the award winning IPM Team are Mary Albright, Mary Olin, Margot Sample, Jennifer Basile, Diane DuBrule, Brian Monaghan, Sue Wiedaseck, Jill Williams, and Cheri Wilczek. RCE of Morris County faculty and staff overseeing and supporting the project include agriculture and natural resource agent Peter Nitzsche, Master Gardener coordinator Dave Los and agriculture & natural resources secretary Cynthia Triolo.
The 2021 International Master Gardener Conference was held virtually Sept. 12 – 17. To read more and view a video on the project, go to: David Gibby International Master Gardener Search For Excellence Award (imgcsfe.com)