Garden & Farm Briefs Summer 2020

June 15, 2020

Cover crop air seeder cost share program applications due July 31

Applications for Sussex Conservation District’s cover crop and air seeder cost share program will be accepted through Friday, July 31. “One of the best soil health practices is keeping the ground covered year-round,” said David Baird, conservation district coordinator. “Planting cover crops early means they can take advantage of the longer growing degree days. When the cash crop is harvested, the cover crop is already well established.” The conservation district offers three air seeder-approved cover crop mixes to suit a variety of needs. Participants can purchase seed mix through the conservation district with no additional fees, while seed purchased from other suppliers is subject to additional fees. The current cost share rate for new air seeder participants is $60 per acre; it is $50 for returning participants. The application fee is $11 per acre within Sussex County and $12 per acre for locations within 10 miles of the Sussex County border. Farms outside Sussex County are not eligible for cost share. For more information or to apply, call 302-259-7445, email or go to

Free soil test for corn growers

The Sussex Conservation District  is now offering free pre-sidedress soil nitrogen testing to corn growers. SCD recommends performing a pre-sidedress soil nitrogen in the spring to determine the nitrogen requirements of an expected corn crop yield. Fields that have received applications of animal manure are ideally suited for the test. It measures the amount of available nitrogen in the soil to determine if additional fertilizer nitrogen is needed. The test also eliminates the uncertainty associated with utilizing manure nitrogen. Limited numbers of tests are available. To schedule a pre-sidedress soil nitrogen test when plants reach four to six inches in height or growth stage V2, call 302-856-3990, Ext. 3, or email

Home gardeners can donate produce to make a difference

Donating homegrown produce to help feed the community is as critical as ever. In normal times, one out of six Americans faces food insecurity, meaning they lack adequate food at some point during each year. That’s about 41 million people, including 13 million children. And these are certainly not normal times. With so many people reeling from unexpected loss of income, it’s likely that many in the community are facing food insecurity. Food pantries are experiencing unprecedented demand right now. Donations of food and funds are down, and volunteers are in short supply. The community of gardeners can help ease hunger in several ways. If possible, donate dollars to hunger-relief organizations to help meet immediate demands. Volunteer time if it’s possible and safe to do so. Plan to donate extra bounty or grow a few extra rows. Sow seeds of fast-maturing crops like spinach, lettuce and other greens. Plant cool-season crops as soon as possible. Use cold frames or other shelters to plant warm-season crops like tomatoes a few weeks earlier. Grow a giving garden of keeper crops such as carrots and winter squash. For more information, go to and

Local students earn Delaware FFA proficiency awards

At the 90th Delaware State FFA Convention in Dover in March, Delaware FFA members from across the state earned state proficiency awards. Local students recognized include William "Jacob" Smith of Milford, Specialty Animal Production; and Delaney Zolper of Cape Henlopen, Swine Production-Placement. Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers. Proficiency awards provide recognition to members who are exploring and becoming established in agricultural career pathways.

Lewes in Bloom list of plants available online

On the Lewes in Bloom website, there is a list of plants that names all the annuals Lewes in Bloom has planted throughout the city, by location. For the free list and information on membership and support, go to or find Lewes in Bloom on Facebook.

Lewes in Bloom is a volunteer organization. It promotes the beautification and maintenance of historic Lewes and the community at large. It is dedicated to helping Lewes boost its attractiveness through efforts including historical preservation, environmental awareness, a children’s garden, floral displays and more.

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