Gardening instruction moves to social media

Jaydee Gunnell, the county extension director, is videoed for a segment on planting vegetables in a garden. His wife, Allison, videos while their dog Thunder watches.

LOGAN – Digging in the dirt and planting seeds is in vogue again as people in and out of Cache Valley are renewing their interest in gardening. Utah State University Extension is where those digging in the dirt can get questions answered.

Jaydee Gunnell, the county Extension Director and Horticulture Professor at Utah State University, sets out seed packets to use in a video about how to plant vegetables last Friday.

COVID-19 has given the Extension office new avenues to reach people. They are using social media to share their expertise with horticulturists (gardeners) seeking solutions.

JayDee Gunnell, the county Extension Director and Horticulture Professor at Utah State University, said he has seen a renewed interest in gardening.

“After some catastrophic events, people (often) pause and begin to look at where their food comes from,” he said. “They decide to plant a garden because of the increased interest in local food movements.”

The USU Extension office generally has face-to-face classes and workshops. With the need to social distance, they decided to try social media to reach out to people during the pandemic.

“We have had to refocus our energy and time into online content,” he said. “There are webinars people can watch for free,” Gunnell said. “We have been using our ‘Garden Guys and Gal’ Facebook and Instagram pages as places people can go for help.”

Jaydee Gunnell, the County Extension Director and Horticulture Professor at Utah State University, soaks his pea seeds before planting them in his garden.

The guys part of the production is Gunnel and Jerry Goodspeed, Director of the USU Botanical Gardens in Kaysville, and the Gal part of the trio is Sheriden Hansen, a horticulture faculty member of the Davis County Extension office.

On the Facebook page, some gardeners have questions, some have issues with their soil and others want to show how they have come up with a solution to a particular pest or issue.

“It has been working out well and people seem to like it. I recently did a presentation on pruning fruit trees. We usually get 70 to 100 people in class, but using an online platform, we had 4,000 views.”

The posts are frequent and timely, he said.

Last Friday, Gunnell did a quick video on what type of vegetable seeds people can plant in their garden now, and how to do so.

The production was simple, his wife Allison used his phone and he gave the instructions.

Jaydee Gunnell, the county extension director and horticulture professor at Utah State University, makes a video to help people plant their gardens last Friday.

“I have all kinds of nice cameras, but the phone works well and she does a great job,” he said. “Most of the work is done in editing the video.”

Gunnell has been with Utah State University Extension for 15 years and has worked in Davis and Salt Lake counties. He has worked in Logan for past three years.

You can follow the Gardening Guys and Gal at: https://www.facebook.com/Garden-Guys-and-Gal-110203010658554/.

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