University of Wyoming Extension News

Garden walk exhibits University of Wyoming’s All-America Selections Display Garden

The UW AAS Display Garden is located adjacent to the Williams Conservatory

Attendees of a garden walk at the University of Wyoming’s All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden will feast their eyes on 29 distinct cultivars of 18 species of plants.

The garden walk is 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, August 7 at South Ninth Street and East University Avenue adjacent to the Williams Conservatory on the UW campus. Complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and light snacks will be provided. Parking is available on South Ninth Street.

Karen Panter, UW Extension horticulture specialist, will host the garden walk.

“Some of the flowering annuals are totally awesome right now,” said Panter. “Three cultivars of zinnias are outstanding — Double Zahara Cherry, Double Zahara Fire and Zahara Starlight Rose; the latter is my favorite. And the four violas are also full of blooms. They are: Endurio Sky Blue Martien, Rain Blue and Purple, Skippy XL Plum, Gold and Shangri-La Marina.”

The AAS Display Garden, the only one in Wyoming, contains some of the latest and best introductions of annuals, a few perennials and some vegetables from various seed companies to observe how they respond to southeast Wyoming’s climate, according to Panter. The same cultivars are planted throughout the United States in nearly 200 other AAS Display Gardens for climate-comparison purposes.

This year the AAS selections are three herbaceous perennials, 15 flowering annuals and 11 vegetables.

“We have two cultivars of tomatoes, Lizzano and Terenzo, which are smaller bush plants,” said Panter. “They are both producing fruit at the moment. A few are starting to color up.”

Panter said that the three perennials are thriving although they probably will not bloom this summer. They are: Echinacea purpurea “Powwow Wild Berry,” Gaillardia aristata “Arizona Apricot,” and Gaillardia aristata “Mesa Yellow.”

The UW AAS Display Garden is a joint effort between Panter and Andy Smith, manager of UW landscaping and grounds, Cody Barry, coordinator of UW landscaping services, and the UW landscaping and grounds maintenance crew.

Panter said that the AAS national office contacted her last summer and expressed their interest in having her grow an AAS Display Garden in Laramie.

“So I talked to Andy Smith over in landscaping and we chose a site, submitted an application to AAS and were awarded Display Garden distinction,” said Panter.

Panter started sowing seeds in March and nurtured them to transplanting size at the UW Laramie Research and Extension Center Greenhouse Complex, a 20,000 square foot headhouse facility that includes 11,000 square feet of greenhouse space and 10 research laboratories. The garden was planted on June 6.

For more information, visit Panter’s website at http://karenpanter.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/cultivars-in-2012-aas-gardens-at-the-university-of-wyoming/; for information about Display Gardens visit the AAS website at http://www.all-americaselections.org/.

UW grad student Judith Odhiambo wins Schlumberger Foundation grant

Judith Odhiambo in the lab

University of Wyoming graduate student Judith Odhiambo has won a 2012 Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship grant of up to $50,000 per year to continue her Ph.D. studies in conservation agriculture practices.

“This was the happiest moment in my life,” Odhiambo said. “I was so excited and felt honored by this award, which provides me with great opportunity to invest in my career development.”

Odhiambo was one of 63 out of more than 600 applicants to receive the grant, which funds women from 28 developing and emerging countries for advanced graduate studies in science and engineering disciplines at top universities worldwide, according to the Schlumberger Foundation.

“This is a great opportunity for UW to host one of the awardees,” said Urszula Norton, assistant professor of agroecology in the Department of Plant Sciences. “The main mission of the Faculty for the Future empowers women from developing countries to obtain their education and expertise and bring it back to their home countries.”

Odhiambo attained an undergraduate degree in agricultural education and extension at Kenya’s Egerton University in 2004 then earned a master’s in agronomy at Egerton in 2009; she arrived at UW in spring 2011.

“I did not know the University of Wyoming at first, but in one of my Internet searches for possible sources of scholarships, I came across an ad that the university was looking for a dedicated student to carry out research in East Africa for a Ph.D. degree,” Odhiambo said. “I did apply and got the chance. I have found the University of Wyoming to be conducive for learning with good staff ready to mentor one to greater heights.”

Norton, Odhiambo and Jay Norton, associate professor in Ecosystem Science and Management, returned to UW in June from a trip to Kenya and Uganda where they conducted research with local farmers and assessed the importance of conservation agriculture practices on long-term sustainability of food production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“One of the main goals was to test the adaptability and acceptance of a variety of low intensity tillage practices in conjunction with using legumes as cover and relay crops,” Urszula Norton said. “We assessed the effect of these practices on soil fertility renewal and improved crop production.”

Odhiambo assessed the impact that the transition to these practices has on greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, which are climate-changing gases produced in response to soil management, according to Norton.

“She also evaluated a variety of other agronomic aspects of maize and beans production, such as crop performance, weed population and field residue decomposition,” Norton said.

After completing her graduate studies at UW, Odhiambo said she plans to return to Kenya to teach, mentor and continue her research.

“I have been promised a teaching position at one of our local universities, Egerton University,” she said.

More information about the Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship is available at http://www.facultyforthefuture.net/.

UW Extension workshops in Park County teach canning jams, jellies, vegetables and meats

Workshops in Cody and Powell this August will teach participants the most current methods of canning jams, jellies, vegetables and meats including water bath and pressure canning techniques. Jennifer Jacobsen and Kentz Willis, University of Wyoming Extension educators, will host the workshops.

“Canning is a simple and cost-effective way to allow you to eat food from your garden in the middle of the winter,” said Willis. “A lot of food would be wasted at the end of the growing season if we didn’t have a good way to preserve it.”

Each session costs $10 for canning materials which will be provided; pre-registration is requested by July 30 to ensure enough materials are available.

The workshop on Wednesday, August 1 in Cody will cover water bath canning, and the workshop on Wednesday, August 15 in Cody will cover pressure canning; both Cody workshops are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. in the EOC room in the basement of the Park County Courthouse.

“These hands-on workshops are a great way for inexperienced canners to become more comfortable with the process,” said Willis. “We also get more experienced canners that are looking for a refresher on the most up-to-date USDA recommendations. It’s always a lot of fun and participants will get to take home some of what we preserve.”

The workshop on Thursday, August 2 in Powell will cover water bath canning, and the workshop on Wednesday, August 16 will cover pressure canning; both Powell workshops are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room kitchen at the Park County Fairgrounds.

“Important concepts are water bath basics, the difference between water bath and pressure canning, altitude adjustments, food safety concerns with canning, and using tested recipes,” Jacobsen said.

According to Jacobsen, water bath canning is used for high-acid foods like jams and jellies, pickles, fruits and tomato products with added acids, and pressure canning is canning under high pressure — thus using higher temperatures than boiling water — for low-acid foods like plain vegetables, meats and beans.

“For quality it is recommended that canned foods be stored in a cool dark place and eaten within one year, but if stored properly products can often last two to three years,” said Jacobsen.

The canning workshops will also help those who are interested in entering canned goods in open or 4-H classes at county and state fairs since entries must meet specific requirements.

Judging standards use the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Complete Guide to Home Canning which includes seven guides and can be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website at http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html; or in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving available at retail outlets. Recipe sources must be documented.

More information about canning can be found at the UW Extension Eat Wyoming website at http://www.wyomingextension.org/eatwyoming/preserve.asp. To register, contact UW Extension Educator Sandra Frost in Powell at (307) 754-8836 or email her at sfrost1@uwyo.edu.

Carbon County 4-H welcomes new educator

Cathleen Craig

Cathleen Craig begins her new position as 4-H educator Monday, July 30, in Carbon County.

A Wyoming native, Craig participated in the Big Horn County 4-H program as a youth, received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wyoming in 1997 and has worked as the administrative assistant in the Carbon County UW Extension office since 2007.

“Cathy contributes strong experience to this position and has developed relationships with 4-H youth and volunteers in the county,” said Susan James, federal relations and staff development coordinator with UW Extension. “Her knowledge of the total extension program will be an asset to the youth development program in Carbon County.”

Saratoga, Laramie host drought management sessions for producers

Drought management options for livestock producers will be discussed in Saratoga Monday, July 16, and Laramie Thursday, July 19.

Both sessions are 7-9 p.m. The Saratoga session is in the Saratoga High School Multi-purpose Room. The Laramie session is at the Albany County Fairgrounds south of Laramie.

A Farm Service Agency and county drought disaster designation update and implications for producers start the sessions.

An economic and production system evaluation of alternative management practices and tax implications will be followed by an audience-panel discussion.

Panelists include University of Wyoming Extension educators Dallas Mount of Platte County and Mae Smith of Carbon County. Tax implications will be discussed by a representative from Mader Tschacher Peterson & Co. of Laramie. John Ritten, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wyoming, will join panelists at the Saratoga session.

No reservations are required. For more information, contact the Carbon County extension office at 307-328-2642.