2014 Workshops for the Gardener

Posted: June 18, 2014

Penn State Extension Lehigh and Northampton counties Master Gardeners offered a Workshop for the Gardener program to nurture the gardening interests of Lehigh Valley home gardeners.
"Red Lightning" is a great tasting tomato.

"Red Lightning" is a great tasting tomato.

According to the National Gardening Association, the average family spent $449 on their lawn and garden in 2013. This investment results in many benefits.

Home gardens improve the quality of life of Lehigh Valley residents. Families work and learn together while growing nutritious food, keeping their landscapes attractive and well cared for, and everyone benefits from outdoor exercise.

To be successful, home gardeners need information about horticultural practices, pest management and safety. To meet this need, the Penn State Extension Lehigh and Northampton counties Master Gardeners organized an event for individuals interested in gardening. The event was made possible through a generous donation of meeting space by PPL at its Walbert Training Center. Seventy people attended.

Steven Bogash, a Penn State Extension horticulture educator, kicked off Workshops for the Gardener by addressing the best tasting tomato varieties. He discussed many varieties, including BrandyBoy, Mortgage Lifter, Arkansas Traveler, Pineapple, Marianna’s Peace, Bushsteak, Bush Early Girl, Patio, Maglia Rosa, Stupice and Amish Paste.

Attendees left enthusiastic to try the varieties of tomatoes that have performed the best over the many years of Steve's research trials.

The program attendees then designed the remainder of the day based on their interests. They chose from topics such as growing cut flowers, year round garden maintenance, mosquitoes and ticks, 10 plants that changed the world, African violets, shade gardening, tabletop herb gardens, building rain barrels and photography.

Local green industry businesses participated in the trade show to advertise and sell their products and services. Penn State soil test kits were also available to help gardeners get their soil off to a good start this season.

Penn State Extension in Lehigh and Northampton counties successfully impacted the lives of the program attendees. The participants indicated they were going to change an average of three of their gardening practices toward being more sustainable, select plants appropriate for local conditions, identify and manage pests more effectively, fertilize properly to minimize water contamination, select the least toxic pest control method, use pesticides safely and plant diverse landscapes to encourage biological diversity, including pollinating insects.