Crazy Bug Guy, other gardening experts share pointers

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 10 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Kristina Gabalski – David Russell, Genesee County Master Gardener, discusses native pollinators with participants at the 2016 “Spring into Gardening” Education Day held Saturday.

KNOWLESVILLE – Gardeners and those interested in learning more about gardening and related topics gathered Saturday at the Education Center on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds for “Spring into Gardening” Education Day.

Workshops were held a number of topics including Cut Flower Gardens, Native Pollinators, Butterfly Gardening, Herbs, Local Foods, Composting with Worms, and a Make-it/Take-it project.

David Russell, a Genesee County Master Gardener who is better known as “David the Crazy Bug Guy,” presented an introduction to native pollinators of western New York and the Northeast. His talk included how to create “housing” to attract beneficial bees to your landscape.

Russell advised gardeners to avoid using pesticides as both bad bugs and good bugs are destroyed, including bees. “I’m all for pollinators,” Russell said.

A slide from Genesee County Master Gardener David Russell’s presentation on native pollinators. It shows an intricate “house” made for solitary bees. Russell said the bee houses do not have to be this detailed and noted tongue-in-cheek, that the houses are, ” so easy to make, even a man can make them.”

Amy Guptill, associate professor of sociology at the College at Brockport, discussed what defines “local” when talking about local food as well as how local foods get from the producer to the consumer. Guptill said many farmers and growers are struggling and losing money.

“It’s hard to make it work,” she said about farming. “There is room for innovation to make it easier for people who want to farm.”

Additional topics included planning a cut flower garden, butterfly gardening with Master Gardener Gail Culver, and the wondrous world of herbs with Bonnie Heck of Herbalty Cottage.

Participants in the 2016 Orleans County Master Gardener’s Spring into Gardening Education Day use curly willow and other natural materials to make rustic trellises for garden containers during the Make-it/Take-it workshop led by Master Gardener Alex Greene.

Jena Buckwell, master gardener, spoke on composting with worms, which allows gardeners to compost kitchen scraps inside, year-round. Buckwell said vermicomposting produces an organic soil amendment with 5-10 times more nutrients that traditional composting.

Additionally, participants were able to make rustic container garden trellises with wild grapevine, curly willow and other branches in a workshop held by Master Gardener Alex Greene.