ELIZABETH, NJ - Remote gardening assistance is just a green thumb away, as Union County residents can get helpful hints on improving their yards and raising backyard vegetable gardens while protecting the environment by calling the free Garden Helpline at 908-654-9852 or by visiting mastergardeners@ucnj.org.

The Garden Helpline is a service of the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County, run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County and supported in part by the Freeholder Board.

Other Rutgers Cooperative Extension remote learning services are also available to gardeners during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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'Earth Day at Home' is a new interactive webinar series about eco-friendly yard and garden care, and related topics, continuing through May and into June. New gardeners can learn how to start vegetable seeds indoors, and how to find an appropriate location to start a backyard garden.

The 'Plant This, Not That' guide assists residents in selecting native plants for the garden. 'Plant This, Not That' was created by a local Girl Scout with assistance from the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation, to show how to use colorful native plants instead of invasive species.

The Master Gardeners program is run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. The Extension offices are located in the County’s Colleen Fraser Building in Westfield, and the Demonstration Garden is located in the County’s Watchung Reservation near the Trailside Nature and Science Center.