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The EARTH Center's vegetable display garden is an outdoor classroom for Middlesex County Master Gardeners and residents that spans over 1000 square feet. You can view pictures of Our EARTH Center’s gardens by visiting the Master Gardeners Shutterfly page http://rce2009vegetablegarden.shutterfly.com/



EARTH Center Demonstration Gardens Brochure (Adobe PDF)

Master Gardener Program & Helpline

Pesticide Applicator Training

Diagnostic Services

Agriculture History


Agriculture and Resource Management Department

The Agriculture and Resource Management Department of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCRE) of Middlesex County is committed to providing practical educational programs and research that benefits county residents, especially the 35 million-dollar agricultural industry and the 45 million-dollar landscape industry. There are over 19,000 acres of land devoted to agricultural crop production in the county. This is approximately 10% of the total land in the county.

The department provides horticultural and environmental information and services to numerous Middlesex County residents annually. Our office processes thousands of phone calls, e-mails, letters and one on one contacts regarding the following issues:

  • identification and control of pest problems of landscape and agricultural plants;
  • nuisance animal control;
  • proper selection and care of horticultural plants;
  • procedure for testing soils for nutrition and / or contamination problems; procedures for testing drinking and surface water for contamination;
  • tick identification
  • and prevention of Lyme Disease.

The department works with commodity groups, government agencies and agribusiness to conserve and manage natural resources, to promote agriculture, and to maintain a healthy environment for county residents.

 

The AG DEPARTMENT'S EARTH CENTER EDUCATIONAL TOURS
Middlesex County's EARTH Center invites you to learn about local agriculture and the environment. Now your school group, Scout Troop or senior's club, can take a guided tour at the Middlesex County EARTH Center to learn about these topics and more. Please call us for scheduling availability.

Alternative Energy & Bio-fuels: Solar panels, hybrid cars and alternative fuels, are all becoming   
increasingly common. Learn more about them, to see if they’ve a place in your   greening efforts.

Composting-  Our large compost display showcases the variety of bins available on the market, as well as techniques for reducing household and backyard contributions to the landfill.

Rain Gardens- Experience how a simple addition to your landscape can help to replenish our state’s clean groundwater supplies.

Pond Restoration- Many of New Jerseys ponds are suffering from polluted overland flow.
We’ll share some of the techniques we are researching to improve the health of these freshwater sources.

Low Maintenance Turf-grass Trial Area-   Homeowners and landscapers can keep
unnecessary fertilizers and pesticides out of our environment by using the best turf varieties for their conditions. Visiting our trial area will inform you of your options.
                               

The EARTH Center demonstration areas include a 1000 square foot vegetable garden, a 13-bed herb garden, Native Plant displays, Wildflower area and arboretum.

These demonstrations are used to spark conversation about local agriculture, basics of horticulture, Integrated Pest Management, earth-friendly gardening techniques and many topics that are the focus of the Extension Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Department.

 

LOWER RARITAN WATERSHED MANAGEMENT AREA
The Department of Environmental Protection has designated 20 Watershed Management areas throughout New Jersey.  The Lower Raritan Basin (WMA-9) developed a watershed management plan in cooperation with many agencies, local officials, environmental organizations and individuals within the watershed management area.  It discusses objectives, strategies, goals and tasks to manage the watershed in a manner that maintains or improves the quality and quantity of water in the Lower Raritan.  The Ag Department was actively involved in the overall plan which was completed in 2004.  For information on the Raritan Basin visit the website at www.raritanbasin.org or contact the New Jersey Water Supply Authority at 908-685-0315.

 

IF PLANTS COULD TALK
The television program series "If Plants Could Talk" is designed to accomplish the following:
1) encourage the adoption of Integrated Pest Management;
2) encourage proper pesticide use and safety;
3) encourage proper plant use and culture to attain healthy garden and landscape plants;
4) promote proper nutrition and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables for good health;
5) promote the local agricultural industry;
6) significantly increase the number and diversity of the extension audience.

An educational web site www.ifplantscouldtalk.rutgers.edu was maintained to accompany the "If Plants Could Talk" television series. The web site provides more detailed information on all topics discussed on the television episodes. This cutting edge web site includes educational fact sheets, slide shows and videos on horticultural and environmental topics.

 

Special Program Focus

Compost Demonstration
Extension staff and volunteers conduct composting/recycling demonstrations and educational programs. There are over 15 types of compost bins on display at the EARTH Center which help us to promote composting and recycling of organic materials. The extension office has received support since 1994 from the Middlesex County Department of Solid Waste Management in order to conduct solid waste/natural resource programs and activities.

Services
The extension service provided important gardening resources for the residents of the county. Available at our office are Soil Test Kits, Pesticide Manuals for the state pesticide program and information on upcoming extension seminars, short courses and meetings. In addition, we perform general diagnostic work on various problems including insects, plant diseases, tick identification, and plant identification. The Rutgers Plant Diagnostic Lab (fee service) can do a more extensive analysis of the problem if necessary.