All posts by Mannering, Christy

Winterize Your Car

Be Smart, Take Part, Prepare, written on car windshield in the snow.If you use a car to get around and live in an area that experiences winter weather, it’s important to prepare your car for winter. Here’s what you should know if you drive during winter weather:

  • Stay off the road during and after a winter storm.
  • Install good winter tires. Make sure each tire has enough tread.
  • Keep your gas tank full. A full tank keeps the fuel line from freezing, and it’s also a good idea in case you lose power.
  • Build an emergency kit with winter essentials. Include weather clothes, a blanket, and an ice scraper.

For the full list of items to keep in your car emergency kit, visit:

Hurricane Reveals Extension’s Inner Strengths

Satellite image of Hurricane MichaelHurricane Michael strengthened rapidly from a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico to make landfall as the strongest hurricane to hit Florida’s Panhandle in a century.  Homes and UF/IFAS facilities suffered damage, including the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna. Nearly 1 million acres of agricultural crops were impacted for a loss of $158 million, while the Florida Forest Service estimated timber losses at $1.29 billion. Animal and livestock losses have not been tallied. Hurricane Michael taxed resources at UF/IFAS Extension, but the organization is strong and vital to the communities served. According to Nick Place, Dean for Extension for University of FL,”regardless of where we live, across the country Extension is a family of caring professionals who have always got each other’s backs”.

Housing and Urban Development’s Office Announcing New Healthy Homes Youth App

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Healthy Homes Partnership have released a new app to help middle-schoolers learn about potential household contaminants. These range from lead and mold to radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs, or pollutants in air at levels that threaten health). This App helps kids learn about their home’s indoor environment, focusing on actions they can take to have a heathy home. Learn about common hazards and what to do. Content is in a fun and easy to understand format. Parents, caregivers and teachers can also benefit from this app.

Content for this app was developed specifically for middle-schoolers and educates them on the principles of a healthy home in a preteen-friendly format. Navigation is simple and intuitive. Interactive features include Train the Brain and the ability to save a list of items found in the home.

New Healthy Homes App >>

Researchers say this technology could be the key to people taking hurricane warnings seriously

Thanks to immersive technology, it’s never been easier to set foot inside a hurricane without getting wet.

A growing number of simulations are helping audiences understand the consequences of ignoring hurricane evacuation warnings.

Read more on the Washington Post: Researchers say this technology could be the key to people taking hurricane warnings seriously

Fall Art in the Garden

Create a fall decoration for your garden.  Join master gardeners Tina Donofrio and Bunnie Williams as we paint pumpkins to take home to enhance your  garden.  This event is free for all ages.  Seating is limited to 30 people.

If you don’t want to paint, come stroll through the garden.   Visit us in the garden from 1 -3 p.m. to see what it looks like in the fall.  Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions. We are looking forward to seeing you!  To register for the painting activity:  or  contact Tammy Schirmer at 302-856-2585, Ext. 544.

Saturday, October 20, 2018,  1:00 PM

Carvel Research and Education Center

16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown

Fall is for Fertilizer

When the weather gets cooler (between 55 and 65 degrees), your lawn starts to concentrate on growing new roots and grass plants. Fall is the time to apply fertilizer so you’ll have strong roots and more shoots in spring.

Most homeowners make sure not to miss the traditional springtime fertilizer application. Early spring applications of nitrogen cause a surge of top growth in the plants. This makes the lawn look nice in the spring, but it actually depletes the plants’ energy reserves causing the grass to weaken and make it less apt to survive periods of stress in the summer. Plus, you are creating more work for yourself with increased mowing.

If you apply fertilizer in late August or early September, you will provide your lawn with adequate nutrition to overcome any summer stresses. In addition, an application of fertilizer in late October or early November will ensure earlier green-up in the spring without stimulating excessive shoot growth.

Make sure you know what you’ve purchased, how and when to apply it, and how long to wait before watering. To learn when to apply fertilizer throughout the course of the year, use the chart below. Lawn fertilizers should have clear instructions and warning labels.  If you don’t feel comfortable undertaking this on your own, hire a certified lawn care professional. They’re happy to help.

To calculate the amount of fertilizer to apply 1 lb N to 1,000 square feet follow these steps.

For more resources go to

Union of Concerned Scientists Report

Underwater Report June 2018 from Union of Concerned ScientistsThe June 2018 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists came from the Non-structural Floodproofing Committee of the Association of State Floodplain Managers.  It includes a discussion of residential, commercial and community impacts resulting from development, climate change, and floods.

The attached document is available from:


Announcing Master Gardener Junior Programs

The purpose of the Junior Gardener program is to engage young learners in grades K-3 with environmental science and horticultural programs designed to complement Delaware State Science Education standards.

Examples of program offerings:

  • The Buzz on Bees Gr. 1-2; indoors; September—November; 40-50 minute program.  Students will learn about the life cycle of honeybees, the pollination process, the many jobs bees perform in a beehive, and the importance of bees to the environment.
  • Insect Detectives Gr. 1-3; outdoors; September—November; 45-50 minute program.  Students will explore the school grounds in search of insects, spiders, and other tiny creatures.
  • Life Cycles of Butterflies Gr. 2-3; indoors; September—November; one-hour program.  Students will learn about the life stages of butterflies—and how structure and function differ with each stage.
  • The Living Tree House Gr. K-1; indoors; September—November; 30-40 minute program, Mon/Fri preferred.  Students will learn about the importance of trees for a healthy environment and for providing the food that we eat.

Learn more about the program and how to sign up, on the Master Gardener Junior Gardener Program page.

Using Abundance in the Garden to Help You Save Money

Yellow Squash and-Zucchini Ribbons SaladWhether you grow your own fruits and vegetables or frequent a local farmers market this time of year brings an abundance of tomatoes, corn, peaches and squash. Simple techniques can put some of this freshness on the table or in your freezer to save money.

This week at the Rt. 9 Farmers Market we highlighted a yummy recipe entitled Yellow Squash and-Zucchini Ribbons Salad (Click here for recipe). Using a simple peeler, it was easy to make ribbons out of the squash to present them in a fresh and tasteful way. Finding ways to use what’s in season for meals and snacks can help you save on your weekly food expenses.

Even better, many fruits and vegetables can be frozen. There is nothing like eating corn or corn chowder during the winter season. By purchasing a ½ dozen more ears each time you are preparing them for dinner, boiling these extra for about 4 minutes and then removing the kernels to freeze you’ll have about 3 cups of corn to pull out of the freezer over the winter.  Here’s a link to learn how to freeze corn and a Cool Southwestern Salad with Corn and Avocado (click here for recipe) recipe that you can use when you thaw it out.

Don’t forget that you can prepare many of your favorite dishes and put them in the freezer for later. I like to make extra and have it available for busy weeknight meals or for early in the year (January and February) summer time meals filled with produce that is more expensive to get during the winter months. My favorites are eggplant parmesan and my version of moussaka (using zucchini and eggplant) without the cream sauce because I add that when I’m ready to cook it. My trick is to prepare them in a bread baking pan (5 x 9 inches) and freeze it in the pan. Just thaw, add cream sauce and bake. Yum!

Tomatoes are very watery and freeze well if you’re going to use them in soups or stews. I often chop up my extras, put them in freezer safe containers that hold about 4 cups, label them and use them for stew or soup during the winter. I like to use containers that are easily stacked so my freezer stays orderly and I can find them easily.

Peaches can be frozen for use in smoothies, crisps or pies. I tend to freeze them in freezer bags in the amounts I’m going to need for a recipe – 9 cups for a pie or crisp, 2 cups for a smoothie. Think about how you might use them and package them in a way that will make it easy for you later. Here is the link to learn how to freeze peaches.

There are so many ways to enjoy the produce that is in season. It makes it even nicer when you can save some money too. Choosing foods and recipes that you know your family will enjoy now and later is the key.

Fall into the Garden

Close up of magenta flowers in a bunch, in a garden setting.Fall into the Garden with the Delaware Master Gardeners is BACK!  Our second annual Fall into the Garden is scheduled for Saturday, October 6 from 9 am to 1 pm in the NCC Extension Office and Demonstration Gardens.  This year’s program will feature a hands-on pruning demonstration, successful tree selection for our northern Delaware landscapes, and home gardener favorite, beginner backyard composting.  Continental breakfast will be served at registration, and we’ll be scooping farm fresh UDairy ice cream during the early afternoon break.

Register for the Fall into the Garden event at this link.