Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 65)

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Gourmet Cookie Decorating

Camaryn Byrum, 4-H Agent

Chowan County 4-H kicked off Summer Fun with a gourmet cookie decorating workshop. The workshop was offered at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Chowan County office. Emma Boyce, owner and cookie decorator at Collections Gourmet Cookies, taught the workshop. Twelve youth attended.

Mrs. Emma and her daughter, Lilly, taught proper cookie decorating techniques. Each participant was given a box of sugar cookies and the necessary tools to decorate. Youth learned how to outline the cookie with icing and then “flood” the cookie. Mrs. Emma led the group through decorating the cookies in stages. Youth practiced their skills on several different shaped cookies. Youth made cookies to resemble a piece of pizza, a 4-leaf clover, a star, a slice of watermelon, a rectangle, and a circle.

For more information on Chowan County 4-H, contact the 4-H Agent at cibyrum@ncsu.edu or 252-482-6585. Follow us on Facebook.

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Managing Pests Organically

Submitted by: Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent

Organic gardeners rely on methods other than synthetic pesticides to manage weed, insect, and disease pests. Organic gardening, however, is more than simply substituting a naturally derived pesticide for a synthetic one. Organic gardeners must take a holistic approach to pest management and focus on using all available methods to support plant health. This approach requires the extensive use of (the following) integrated pest management strategies.

Cultural management. Emphasize plant health. This includes choosing well-adapted cultivars with insect and disease resistance, choosing the proper planting location, planting seeds or transplants during the weak point of a pest’s life cycle, and practicing good garden sanitation. Other cultural management strategies include managing soil fertility, cultivating and hand-pulling to manage weeds, and mulching to reduce pests.

Biological management. Blend natural defenses into your management plan. One example is parasitic wasps, which seek host insects for larval development. It is possible to enhance the habitat for beneficial insects so they do much of the pest management for you. Learn more about the beneficial insects you want to attract, the plants they prefer, and their life-cycle needs as they emerge and scout for prey. Be aware that microbial sprays also negatively affect some beneficial insects.

Physical management. Physical management strategies include basic handpicking, water sprays, floating row covers, tree bands, cutworm collars, and diatomaceous earth. Copper strips, sticky traps, wrapping fruit in cloth or paper bags, wrapping stems in fabric or foil, covering fruit in kaolin clay, and pheromone traps are other types of physical barriers. Pheromone traps are not effective at significantly reducing larval populations but may be helpful in monitoring movements of adult insects. Place pheromone traps far away from the garden to avoid luring pests into the garden.

Chemical management. All pesticides are chemical (whether they are categorized as botanical, inorganic, microbial, or petroleum-based). Chemical controls can be integrated into a management plan if garden pests are out of balance and overwhelming other management options. Organic pesticides are not necessarily safer than synthetic insecticides, either to the user or the environment. Read the label carefully and use the product only as directed.

For more organic pest management strategies, contact the Ask A Master Gardener Helpline at (252) 482-6585. The information in this article is taken from the NC State Extension Gardener Handbook – Organic Gardening Chapter.


A strong spray of water can dislodge many plant pests.