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Master Gardeners to teach vegetable gardening basics at Butler Farm Show

The Penn State Extension Butler County Master Gardeners will teach the basics of vegetable gardening at their booth this year during the Butler Farm Show, slated Aug. 7 to 12. Submitted photo

“Victory Garden Reinvented! Vegetable Gardening Basics for the Home Gardener” is the theme for this year’s Penn State Extension Butler County Master Gardener Farm Show education booth.

This theme was selected to showcase how anyone can start, grow and be “victorious” with vegetable gardening. Whether it is your first vegetable garden or whether you have been growing vegetables for 50 years, there are some basic principles that, if followed, will help make your garden a success.

In 1917, victory gardens first became popular when food production fell dramatically during World War I. President Woodrow Wilson stated, “Food will win the war.” To support the home garden effort, a United States School Garden Army was launched through the Bureau of Education.

The Penn State Extension Master Gardener Program took a fresh look at victory gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, home gardening continues to flourish.

This year’s education booth will explain the concept of a victory garden and how to plan your own.

At the farm show education booth, Master Gardeners will provide up-to-date, research-based information on best practices for growing vegetables in containers, raised beds and in-ground beds.

The correct soil to use for each type of garden, and how to care for and protect plants from pests will be illustrated. Choosing vegetable plants to grow and what other plants make good “companions” for vegetable plants will be discussed. There will be interactive activities where children can “design their own garden” and learn what parts of vegetables are edible.

Spotted lanternfly

In addition to focusing on pollinators and agriculture, the Master Gardener education booth will provide updated information on the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicaluta). This insect is considered a threat to Pennsylvania’s agricultural crops and trees.

The spotted lanternfly has been identified in Pennsylvania, including Butler, Beaver and Allegheny counties. Penn State Extension, including Master Gardeners, are working to keep this insect from spreading by educating the community on how to identify the spotted lanternfly, as well as its host plant, the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), and how to report your spotted lanternfly sightings.

About Penn State Extension

Today, Penn State Extension is a leading, modern educational organization dedicated to delivering science-based information to people, businesses, and communities. The Master Gardener volunteer program supports the outreach mission of Penn State Extension by utilizing unbiased research-based information to educate the public on best practices in sustainable horticulture and environmental stewardship.

Part of sustainable horticulture, or garden management, is educational outreach, such as partnering with the Butler Farm Show with an educational booth.

Master Gardeners will be in attendance to answer questions on garden-related topics throughout the duration of the farm show, slated Aug. 7 to 12. Information about becoming a Penn State Extension Master Gardener and the next Basic Training Certification class will be available.

For additional information about Penn State Extension and victory gardening, visit extension.psu.edu/victory-garden-reinvented-vegetable-gardening-basics-part-1.

The Master Gardeners look forward to meeting you there.

Terri Helfer

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