All posts by Mannering, Christy

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:  http://www.udel.edu/005245  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 www.delawarelivablelawns.org

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:

https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/global-warming-impacts/sea-level-rise-chronic-floods-and-us-coastal-real-estate-implications

 

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.

At the Grocery Store Fill Your Cart Like MyPlate

Grocery cart with several grocery items in it including milk, vegetables, eggs and bread.As we go into the grocery store we are bombarded by thousands of wonderful, tempting sights and smells, some healthy and some more flavorful than healthy. We’ve all heard that we should use a list when shopping to keep our grocery budget in check but in our fast-paced lives today, it’s hard to take the time to make that list. So when faced with preparing meals at home we may not have the best ingredients on hand because we have been tempted by options that might not have been the healthiest. Filling your shopping cart to mimic the USDA MyPlate icon can be a quick way to insure that you have the supplies on hand for tasty, healthy meals.

MyPlate is a visual that shows proportionally how much should be eaten from each of the food groups in order to consume enough nutrients to maintain good health.  Unlike the Food Guide Pyramid that Americans found confusing, this simple visual seems to click with consumers.  The cart in the picture is MyPlate with real food to mimic the proportions needed.  The website choosemyplate.gov is full of great information including more specifics of how much should be eaten from the different groups based on gender and age. There are also great tools, tips and recipes on that site.

Doing a little math can assure you have enough of the right foods in the house to eat according to MyPlate. If you shop once a week you can calculate the amount of food from each group needed based on how much is needed daily.

Choose My Plate LogoOne of the most eye opening parts of MyPlate relates to the protein group.  You will notice that it takes up a very small portion of the cart.  When we think about what’s for dinner we always think about the main dish-hamburgers, chicken, fish and then side dishes are a second thought.  Americans need much less food from the protein group than most of us consume. When the comment is made “it costs too much to eat healthy”, it’s always good to remember that we can save by spending less on the protein group.  Not only buying less meat but also using non-meat sources of protein like eggs and beans can be easier on the budget.  For a family of four with mom, dad and two teenage girls, a total of 7 pounds of meat products need to be purchased for a week.  If non-meat sources are used like beans, peanut butter and eggs, you can find the conversions on choosemyplate.gov.  Only buying 7 pounds of meat each week can be easy on the food budget.

You will notice in the grains group of the shopping cart you see plenty of whole grains.  The grains group is an important source of complex carbohydrates for energy, B vitamins, minerals and fiber.  By consuming half of your grains in whole grains, you will be starting to meet your fiber goals for the day.  For that same family of four, 133 grain equivalents are needed at the store of which 67 should be whole grains.  This may sound like a lot but ½ cup of pasta is one grain equivalent.  Check choosemyplate.gov for what counts as a grain equivalent.

The largest portion of MyPlate is the vegetable group.  Many Americans feel they need to eat fresh vegetables in order to get the nutrients they need from this group.  That is not true as frozen and canned are nutrient packed and much more economical. Keeping the freezer and cabinets full of vegetables provides options that are ready to eat with little or no preparation.  Mom, Dad and two teenage girls would need 56 cups of canned, frozen or fresh vegetables per week.

Biting into a fresh apple can help you meet the nutrient needs supplied by the fruit group but just like the vegetable group, canned and frozen fruits are great to have on hand.  Select canned fruit in their own juice and fruit that is frozen without added sugar.  The family of four would need 35 cups of fruit each week.

In addition, don’t forget about the dairy group.  Although it is off to the side, it’s important to consume dairy products every day to meet your daily calcium and vitamin D needs.  Although some foods like broccoli contain calcium, you would need to consume 4 cups of broccoli to get as much calcium in a cup of fat free milk. Purchase fat free or low fat dairy products to keep the calories and fat in check. The family that is mentioned would need 63 cups of milk each week if that were the only source of their dairy foods.  In the dairy section of choosemyplate.gov you will find other products besides milk that count towards your dairy consumption.

Planning ahead and shopping like MyPlate will assure less trips to the store, which can save money, and also assure that the right amounts of healthy foods are on hand for the week.  Of course, there is always room for the occasional treat that doesn’t really fall into any part of MyPlate.   Everything in moderation-Happy Shopping!

Written by Kathleen Splane May, 2018

What’s in Your Lunchbox?

Closeup photo of a ham sandich with tomatoes and lettuce.Recently in the News Journal there have been articles about the closure of several popular Delaware eateries as a result of poor food handling and unsanitary conditions.  But did you know that these same problems exist in people’s homes and can lead to the same outcome of food-borne illness?  This time of year when more lunches are being packed it’s important to keep food safety in mind. And coincidentally September is National Food Safety month.  Here’s some things to keep in mind to pack a safe lunch.

Separate: Don’t Cross Contaminate:

  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a different one for meat and poultry
  • Discard all food packaging and food bags after use.
  • Perishable leftovers should be discarded after lunch.
  • Clean the lunch box after each use with warm soapy water

Wash All Produce:

  • Rinse fresh fruit and vegetables under running tap water prior to packing them for lunch
  • All fresh fruit and vegetables need to be rinsed prior to use or consumption including all organic produce and those with skin and rinds that are not eaten
  • Blot dry with a single use paper towel or a clean towel

Keep Everything Clean:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds with warm, soapy water before packing a lunch and before eating lunch.
  • Wash utensils and countertops before and after preparing each food item
  • Encourage children to wash their hands prior to eating lunch at school but pack a moist towelette or hand sanitizer to be safe.

If Packing Cold Food-Keep Lunches Cold:

  • Keeping food cold slows bacterial growth
  • Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in temperature danger zone (between 40 and 140° F)
  • Keep perishable food items refrigerated until time to leave home
  • Include a frozen gel pack or frozen juice box
  • Use an insulated lunch bag or lunch box
  • Do not let lunch sit in a warm place such as the car or in the sun

If Packing Hot Food-Keep Lunches Hot:

  • Use an insulated container to keep food like soup and stew hot
  • Fill container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then fill with piping hot food.
  • Keep container closed tight until lunch time
  • Keep hot food at or above 140° F
  • Perishable food items will stay safe for only 2 hours at room temperature.

There is great consumer food safety information at this site http://www.fightbac.org/ or feel free to contact me, Kathleen Splane with questions

Separate: Don’t Cross Contaminate:

  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a different one for meat and poultry
  • Discard all food packaging and food bags after use.
  • Perishable leftovers should be discarded after lunch.
  • Clean the lunch box after each use with warm soapy water

Wash All Produce:

  • Rinse fresh fruit and vegetables under running tap water prior to packing them for lunch
  • All fresh fruit and vegetables need to be rinsed prior to use or consumption including all organic produce and those with skin and rinds that are not eaten
  • Blot dry with a single use paper towel or a clean towel

Keep Everything Clean:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds with warm, soapy water before packing a lunch and before eating lunch.
  • Wash utensils and countertops before and after preparing each food item
  • Encourage children to wash their hands prior to eating lunch at school but pack a moist towelette or hand sanitizer to be safe.

If Packing Cold Food-Keep Lunches Cold:

  • Keeping food cold slows bacterial growth
  • Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in temperature danger zone (between 40 and 140° F)
  • Keep perishable food items refrigerated until time to leave home
  • Include a frozen gel pack or frozen juice box
  • Use an insulated lunch bag or lunch box
  • Do not let lunch sit in a warm place such as the car or in the sun

If Packing Hot Food-Keep Lunches Hot:

  • Use an insulated container to keep food like soup and stew hot
  • Fill container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then fill with piping hot food.
  • Keep container closed tight until lunch time
  • Keep hot food at or above 140° F
  • Perishable food items will stay safe for only 2 hours at room temperature.

There is great consumer food safety information at this site http://www.fightbac.org/ or feel free to contact me, Kathleen Splane with questions ksplane@udel.edu

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Season salt tolerant plants

Fleecy flowers of groundsel bush
Fleecy flowers of groundsel bush – a great native plant with excellent salt tolerance that blooms in fall.
Photo credit – Rick Darke

Salt tolerant plants are important for fall plantings.  Why are we talking about salt injury in August? This seems more like a winter problem, right? Think about selecting tolerant plants for landscape situations prone to high salts because it’s the best method of preventing injury and we are coming up to the best planting time of the year—fall. Fall is good for planting because we normally get adequate rainfall (certainly not an issue this year, but…); plants tend to grow roots in the fall, so they become established more quickly; and the weather gets cooler throughout the fall providing great conditions for growth. For more information on salt injury and salt tolerance see the Landscape and Horticulture blog (https://sites.udel.edu/suebarton/)