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NMSU's Extension Service will bring Plant Clinics to farmers' markets

New Mexico State University's Extension Plant Sciences department will host a Plant Clinic at several farmers' markets this summer, beginning July 13 in Las Cruces, to help educate the community about horticultural practices and pest management, including identification of insect, weed, and disease problems.

Carol Sutherland, Extension entomologist in NMSU's Department of Extension Plant Sciences, discusses insect pests that threaten onions during NMSU's 2011 onion field day. (NMSU photo by Jay A. Rodman)

"We encourage anyone who is interested in gardening and has a question that they have not been able to get answered, to come out and visit with us," said Natalie Goldberg, department head of NMSU's Extension Plant Sciences. "If they have problem plants or pests that they would like to identify,¬ they are encouraged to bring us a sample of the plant or pest."

The question-and-answer sessions will be hosted by three specialists: Carol Sutherland, entomologist; Jason French, an expert on plant disease and diagnostics; and Goldberg, who is an expert on plant diseases and disorders. In addition, the county Extension agent will be available to help answer questions about horticulture.

"Some problems people bring to the clinic might be resolved on the spot, but others might need more background information to complete an answer, so we'll make sure we have the client's contact information and specific question written down so we can contact them later," said Sutherland, who will have a collection of insects on display for additional questions.

Goldberg added they hope to answer most questions but if they can't, they will either take back samples for further research or connect clients with other experts.

"Plant Clinics are a great way to interact with people not familiar with the great variety of information available through the Cooperative Extension Service," Sutherland said.

Plant Clinic schedule:

July 13, Las Cruces, Las Cruces Farmers' Market, 8 to 10 a.m.
July 24, Deming, Copper Street Farmers' Market, 8 to 10 a.m.
July 24, Alamogordo, Alameda Park Farmers' Market, 5 to 7 p.m.
July 31, Taos, Taos Pueblo Red Willow Farmers' Market, 10 to noon
July 31, Albuquerque, Cedar Crest Farmers' Market, 3 to 5 p.m.
Aug. 1, Los Alamos, Los Alamos Farmers' Market, 7 to 9 a.m.