Master Gardener Advanced Training -Vegetable Diagnostic

University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener Volunteers from all over the Eastern Shore attended a one day advanced training work shop on Monday, July 26th on Vegetable Diagnostics at Pot Pie Farm located in Wittman, Md.  This hands on workshop, taught by Jon Traunfeld, University of Maryland Extension Specialist in Fruits and Vegetables; State Master Gardener Coordinator; and Director, Home & Garden Information Center, focused on identifying summer pests, diseases and abiotic problems, prevention, deterrence and cures.

Master Gardeners learned how to identify summer garden pests, such as the harlequin bug, squash bugs, and cucumber beetle.  Master Gardeners had the opportunity to identify three stages of the harlequin bug life cycle, which were voraciously consuming Brussels sprouts.  Harlequin bugs usually attack brassica vegetables which include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.  Eggs of the harlequin bug resemble tiny white kegs standing on end in a double row.  There are five or six nymphal instars that feed and grow for four to nine weeks before they are capable of mating and laying eggs, which is temperature dependent.  The adults are gaudy red-and-black-spotted stink bugs about 3/8 in. (9.5 mm) long, flat and shield-shaped.  At rest, the front pair of wings overlap and the insect’s back appears to be marked with a distinct “X.”

Additionally, diseases and abiotic problems such as early and late blight and wilt of tomatoes were discussed and seen.  Discussions included the prevention and deterrence of these diseases and pests that are often found in a vegetable garden.  Also, Master Gardeners were instructed on new techniques to extend the gardening season into the fall by using a floating row cover.  Floating row covers allow for protection of the crop during periods of frost and allow for protection against pests.  Lastly, a demonstration was held on the various ways to irrigate your plants more efficiently using drip irrigation.

If you have a floundering vegetable garden or an unidentifiable garden pest, you can bring a sample or pictures to one of the many Ask a Master Gardener Plant Clinics held in Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties.  Ask a Master Gardener Plant Clinics are programs where University of Maryland Extension-Master Gardener Volunteers provide information to home gardeners. Master Gardeners look at samples of ailing plants to make diagnoses, give recommendations, answer questions, and provide printed   information on a variety of gardening subjects.

Master Gardeners will be present at the Centreville Farmers Market located on Lawyers Row in Centreville on Wednesday, August 4th, Wednesday, August 18th, Wednesday, September 1st, and Wednesday, September 15th from 9am to 12pm.  Additionally, Master Gardeners will be present at the Chestertown Farmers Market located at Fountain Park in Chestertown on Saturday, August 7th, Saturday, August 21st, Saturday, September 4th, and Saturday, September 18th from 8am to 12pm.  All Ask a Master Gardener Plant Clinics are free and open to the public.

For information contact: Rachel Melvin, (410) 758-0166 or; or visit Queen Anne’s County Extension, 505 Railroad Avenue, Suite 4,Centreville, MD 21617; our booth at the Queen Anne’s County Fair at the 4H Park, August 4-11; or

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, gender, disability, religion, age, or national origin.