Backyard gardeners hoping for a bountiful harvest can be stymied by undesirable insects and intrusive diseases. Fortunately, help is on the way. Union County residents can learn how to keep destructive pests at bay, by attending the free “Keep Pests Out of the Garden” program at the Trailside Nature and Science Center, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening, July 31.

Beginning gardeners and experts alike are welcome to attend. The program is free but pre-registration is required online at tinyurl.com/Rutgers-Vegetable-Series-2019.

“We encourage gardeners to take an informed approach to pest management, to help reduce the use of pesticides,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “This community education program will provide reliable guidance that gardeners can use in their own gardens and share with friends and family.”

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The program includes a lecture session on how to take an integrated approach for dealing with common garden pests, conducted by Rutgers County Agent Madeline Flahive DiNardo. Ms. DiNardo will also lead participants in a walking tour of the nearby Union County Demonstration Garden.

During the tour, participants will learn how to inspect vegetable plants for common problems including as aphids, cabbage moths and tomato hornworms. 

The Demonstration Garden is tended by volunteers with the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County program. Among many other community service activities, the volunteers grow thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables at the Demonstration Garden annually, for donation to local food pantries.

“Keep Pests Out of the Garden” is the second program in a three-part Vegetable Gardening series at Trailside. All three sessions take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and include a tour of the garden.

The two other programs are “Keys to Successful Composting” and “Harvesting and Food Safety.” All sessions are free. To register for one, two, or all three programs visit at tinyurl.com/Rutgers-Vegetable-Series-2019.

The Rutgers Master Gardener program in Union County is supported by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Rutgers, the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station with offices at the Union County Complex in Westfield, at 300 North Avenue East.

New volunteers are welcome each year, and no experience is needed to join. All Master Gardeners are trained and certified by experts from Rutgers. For more information about the Master Gardeners program contact the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County at 908-654-9854 (ext. 2) or visit ucnj.org/rce

Trailside is located in Union County’s Watchung Reservation at 452 New Providence Road, in Mountainside. Ample free parking is available in the main parking lot, adjacent to the building (please do not park at the entrance to the building).

For directions and more information about all programs at the Trailside Nature and Science Center, visit ucnj.org/parks-recreation

Quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities are available at The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.