Middlesex County Cooperative Extension Service


County to Host Workshop on Backyard Conservation Workshops

May 13, 2014 --The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County invites you to participate in a series of workshops about backyard conservation.

These free workshops are scheduled for Saturday, June 7, rain or shine at the EARTH Center located in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, 42 Riva Ave., South Brunswick.

New Jersey’s Invasive Species: 9:30 a.m. to noon
The presentation will discuss how homeowners can prevent foreign plant and insect species from crowding out desirable native species in their landscape. While some of the more nationally known invasive species include the snakehead fish, fire ants and kudzu, the Northeast is being impacted by 50 widespread species, such as Japanese knotweed, yellow iris and English ivy. The workshop will include a short hike in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park and a classroom presentation. The event is free, but registration is required. 

Grow Your Own Culinary Mushrooms: 12:30 p.m.
This hands-on workshop will demonstrate how to propagate Shiitake mushrooms as a hobby for use in the kitchen. Shiitake mushrooms are thought to boost the immune system, possess antibacterial properties and offer numerous nutritional benefits. They also taste great and work in a wide variety of dishes. The spores and logs used in the propagation process will be provided. Participants should dress appropriately for outside field time and are encouraged to bring some of the following equipment: rubber mallets, 5/16” drill bits, electric and/or battery powered drill, goggles and gloves. The event is free, but registration is required. 

To register, call 732-398-5262. Class size is limited, so register early to ensure a space.

“I encourage residents to attend these informative workshops,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the County’s Business Development and Education Committee. 

“The EARTH Center offers a host of environmental services to the County,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “Here, residents don’t only learn about greener approaches to gardening, but can also purchase soil test kits, pesticide application test manuals, or submit pest and disease samples for evaluation.”  

The County’s Extension Office is part of a nationwide network that brings the research of the State land-grant universities to local people. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offices throughout New Jersey are cooperatively funded by the County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Rutgers University-New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The EARTH Center is located in one of Middlesex County’s most beautiful parks, Davidson’s Mill Pond Park. The Center’s 300-plus acres feature ponds, wooded trails and open fields. Educational displays at the park include a demonstration vegetable garden, hard-scaped herb garden, and a water-conserving rain garden. These displays are used to spark conversation about earth-friendly gardening techniques, local agriculture, and topics that are the focus of Extension’s Agriculture & Natural Resource Management Department. 

Visitors can also find out more about the Center and its events by calling 732-398-5262.

Rutgers Cooperative Extension educational programs are offered to all without regard to race, religion, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.