Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss Gardening During COVID-19 Crisis

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 7, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Michelle Infante-Casella and other Rutgers faculty and staff are available for interviews on home gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In each county in New Jersey, the Agriculture and Natural Resource Department in Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station has staff who do public outreach and answer gardening and other horticultural questions. Many counties also host Rutgers Master Gardener programs for formal gardening education and outreach.

“The main things to know are when to plant and plant spacing, since some plants grow large and should not be planted close together,” said Infante-Casella, a professor and agricultural agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Gloucester County, which is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. “Not overwatering the garden is also important, along with pulling weeds and keeping the garden weed free and using fencing to keep wildlife and pets out.”

Vegetables to avoid since they’re hard to grow, have too many pest problems or need too much space include sweet corn and pumpkins. Instead of pumpkins, gardeners could grow winter squash, butternut squash and acorn squash, according to Infante-Casella.

“For seasoned veteran gardeners, it may be time to help your neighbors (from a least 6 feet away to promote social distancing) with tips and share the abundance of vegetables from your garden,” Infante-Casella said. “If your garden is unsuccessful or not producing enough for your household, local farm markets will soon be open. We need to support local farmers so we keep a domestic food supply in the future.”

Here’s an article by Infante-Casella on the importance of gardening during the pandemic: https://sebsnjaesnews.rutgers.edu/2020/04/the-importance-of-gardening-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Here’s an article by Infante-Casella on how to choose the right spot for a vegetable garden: https://sebsnjaesnews.rutgers.edu/2020/04/choosing-the-right-location-for-your-vegetable-garden/

For more tips and training on gardening, including training videos and fact sheets for gardeners, see an online curriculum at https://njaes.rutgers.edu/community-garden/.

For an interview with Professor Infante-Casella, contact Todd Bates at [email protected]

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Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at [email protected]

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