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UW-Extension System

Like the other Master Gardener groups in other states, in Wisconsin our organization is supported by the publicly funded University Extension system. While our group is made up entirely of volunteers, without the underpaid and overworked employees of the UWEX system, we would struggle to accomplish all we do for our community. A nod, then, to the UWEX system and all it does is the basis for today’s post.

When the land-grant college system was set up, back in 1862, one of the things it was set up to do was to make sure farmers had access to the latest research. In 1887 the colleges were awarded funds for agricultural experiment stations, to broaden the knowledge base. And in 1914, Congress authorized the creation of the Cooperative Extension Service, an educational outreach effort jointly run by the land-grant colleges, the experiment stations, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Almost immediately, state and local governments also got into the act.

Now, over a century later, this publicly funded information machine has offices in every county in every state. And every office has an expert available to answer — at no charge — any question about growing things that you might care to ask. (The extension service offers information on many other subjects as well — including food and water safety, nutrition, and natural resources).

The service is unexcelled at pinpoint diagnosis: testing your soil, putting a name on the disease that’s killing your apple tree, suggesting the varieties of turf grass that will do well in your particular yard. The only fly in this all-purpose ointment is the fact that these offices are PUBLICLY FUNDED and, therefore, funded within the state budget. As a result, at least in Wisconsin, we’re seeing a severe reduction in the funding and, by extension, the staffing of our local UWEX office, and considerably more pressure on the remaining staff members to take on more responsibility. For those of us that live in Wisconsin, it’s important to contact the county board and state representatives to make sure they understand the importance of maintaining a well-staffed and viable UWEX office.

For gardeners in Outagamie County in Wisconsin, you can reach out to the UWEX office at any time to get answers to your gardening questions. For more information, visit the website here.

 

 

 

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myGardenAnswers App

Recently I visited my daughter in Kentucky and was enjoying the beautiful spring-flowering trees. She asMyGardenAnswersk me the name of a tree and although it looked familiar (it was a Redbud), I was disappointed that I couldn’t answer her question.  When I returned home I found and downloaded an awesome, free app called myGardenAnswers.  It is so simple to use.  This is what the main screen looks like.  You use the camera on your phone and press “Take a photo of your plant”.  It displays the plants name, a photo and a brief description of it.  You can also ask questions and search for additional information.

 

When I was in Florida last week I put my app to work.  Outside my hotel, in the landscape was this shrub.  I took the picture below and the corresponding screen shows the results.

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If the app displays multiple pictures you can pick the correct one.

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This app provides me with on the spot plant identification and information when I want it. If you are one of those people who “needs to know now” I suggest you give this app a go!

Written by Bev Kindschy

A Seedy Character

Written by Master Gardener Bev Kindschy

Crabgrass is one of the most common weed problems in lawns. Its gets its name because the leaves form a crab-shaped design.  Crabgrass seems to appear in close-mowed lawns and bare spots and in the fall it turns a brownish red color.  Seed heads show up in the summer and fall and stems will continue to spread unless they are stopped.  The best prevention is dense, healthy, thick turf, which prevents it from invading because crabgrass seeds need light to germinate.

Crabgrass

However if you haven’t had that success with your lawn, you may need to go on the offensive by treating your lawn with a preemergent herbicide in the spring, to prevent the crabgrass from germinating and spreading You will want to do this in mid to late April when the ground temperature is about 52 degrees.

To check the ground temperature in this area, you can reference www.greencastonine.com.  Click on Agronomic Tools, Soil Temperature Maps.  You’ll see the date in the upper left corner.  Click on Wisconsin, and zoom in to see the temperatures.  soil map

If you don’t get your preemergent down before the warm temperatures are here, you’ll need to wait until next spring.  FYI…One crabgrass plant is capable of giving off 100,000 crabgrass seeds.  All the more reason to get rid of this weed.

Say what? Latin Plant Name Pronunciation Guide:

Get ready to impress your gardening friends!  Be prepared to wow everyone at your next Master Gardener presentation!  Study this page to finally learn how to pronounce all of the Latin names of your favorite plants! Or, as the page on finegardening.com says, “If you can’t remember the preferred pronunciation of a plant name, just do your best—and say it with conviction!”

Fine Gardening Pronunciation Guide

Favorite Blogs and Sites

We asked our fellow Outagamie County Master Gardeners to come up with a list of favorite gardening websites and blogs. This is what we’ve come up with so far. Do you see some familiar sites? Do you have suggestions for others that cover gardening topics you love?  Please share in comments if you do! We are constantly searching for great resources!  Some of these are commercial sites, some are blogs and others are public gardens…tell us where else you look for inspiration!

  • pinterest.com
  • yougrowgirl.com
  • uwex.edu
  • gbbg.org
  • carexdesign.com
  • twowomenandahoe.com
  • luriegarden.org
  • solarisfarms.org
  • olbrich.org
  • wimastergardener.org
  • boernerbotanicalgarden.org
  • monchesfarm.com
  • organicgardening.org (although the site is currently under some redesign/not accessible)
  • rodalesorganiclife.com
  • wattersgardencenter.com
  • hostalibrary.org
  • seedsaversalliance.org
  • seedsavers.org
  • thewisconsinvegetablegardener.com
  • obsessedmidwestgardener.org
  • birdsandblooms.com
  • stonethegardener.com
  • motherearthnews.com
  • gardenwriters.org
  • finegardening.com

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