Classes and Seminars

The WSU Extension, Island County HIGHER EDUCATION CENTER provides Island County residents with educational opportunities through the WSU Distance Learning Program.

Upcoming Classes and Seminars

These distance learning classes and seminars are free and open to the public.  If you would like to participate in one of the listed events, come in to the WSU Extension office at 406 N. Main Street in Coupeville  approximately 15 minutes before it is scheduled to begin.

Crop and Soil Science Seminar

Monday, November 27, 1:10pm

James Chen, Ph.D. Candidate, Crop Science (proposal seminar) TBA

Wilson Craine, Ph.D. Candidate, Crop Science (proposal seminar) TBA


Plant Pathology Seminar

Monday, November 27, 4:10pm

Joey DeShields, Graduate Student, MS TBA

Horticulture Seminar

Thursday, November 30, 2:50pm

Ben-Min Chang, Ph.D. Candidate (Prosser)

“Analysis of splitting mechanisms in grape berry”

Entomology Colloquium

Monday, November 27, 2:10pm

Rose Zhu (WSU Entomology faculty) TBA

Institute of Biological Chemistry Seminar

Wednesday, November 29, 12:10pm

Yan Liu, MPS PhD Candidate, School of Biological Sciences TBA





2017 Master Gardener Plant Clinics

Need answers to your gardening questions? Want to chat with fellow gardening enthusiasts? The Island County Master Gardener plant clinics provide opportunities for members of the public to get help and information for solving gardening problems. Whether it’s an insect pest infestation or an unknown pathogen destroying your beloved plants, certified Master Gardeners will be available to answer your questions or provide advice. Gardeners may bring plant, insect samples or photographs to any of the clinics.

Specimen Delivery

Master Gardeners can only make an accurate assessment of your issue with a fresh specimen. For plant problem diagnosis we recommend a representative sample that clearly shows the demarcation between damaged and healthy tissue. Pick a fresh plant specimen, put the cut end of the stem in a moist paper towel, bag it and then come to a Plant Clinic. If cut plants are left in sunny or hot location they will wilt excessively thus making diagnosis very difficult. For plant identification we need a representative sample that includes the vegetative portion of the plant (leaves, branches, stems), a portion of the fruiting or flowering structure, and a representative portion of the stem or bark. For insect identification we need an intact specimen brought into us in a small container soon after capture. For further information on sample submission consult the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory.

2016 Schedule & Locations


Ace Hardware
1609 E. Main Street
Freeland, WA 98249
Plant Nursery Section
10:00am – 1:00pm


Coupeville Farmers Market
(Located between the Post Office and the library)
Coupeville, WA 98239
10:00am – 2:00pm




08 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)
22 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)
29 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)


06 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)
14 – South End (Special clinic held at the Greenbank Farm Master Gardener Plant Sale 9AM – 1PM)
20 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)
27 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)


03 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware) | Central (Coupeville Farmers Market) | North End (Oak Harbor Home Depot)
10 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)
17 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)
24 – South End (Freeland Ace Hardware)

Coastal Volunteer of the Year Award Nominations Now Being Accepted


The Island County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), Sound Water Stewards (SWS), and Washington State University (WSU) Extension Island County are pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2017 Jan Holmes Island County Coastal Volunteer of the Year Award. This award is open to all volunteers, regardless of membership to any one organization or institution, participating in or supporting science and outreach efforts related to protecting or restoring the coastal resources of Island County.

The purpose of this award is to recognize the achievement(s) of the many volunteers engaged in efforts to protect and/or restore the marine waters and coastal resources of Island County and the surrounding marine areas.

Nominations are requested for any and all individuals who have demonstrated their dedication and involvement in the many services, science and outreach efforts relating to the health of Island County’s marine environment. The objective of this award is to recognize volunteer efforts by selecting and publicly recognizing one who best demonstrates the contribution of all. Any and all volunteer efforts, whether as an individual or as part of a team should be recognized as adding to the collective wellness of the marine environment and the knowledge base of our marine area.

Start now by looking at the individuals with whom you volunteer. Take note of the contributions that they make to the total effort. Are they volunteers you enjoy working with? Are they dedicated, helpful and consistent in their approach and efforts to get the job done?

If so, fill out the Nomination Form and nominate them for this prestigious award.

Nomination forms must be received by 4:30 PM Wednesday, January 11, 2017. Nomination forms and details for submission are available on the following websites:

Island County MRC website:

Sound Waters Stewards website:

WSU Island County Extension website:

Thank you for your participation.

For more information, contact: Anna Toledo: 360-678-2349,

Hardening/Drying out Latex Paint

Dumped illegally, liquid latex paint can be a hazard by plugging or damaging septic fields, overloading sewage treatment plants and creating environmental hazards on the ground.

Residents should dry out latex paint and stains and put it in the garbage with the lid off, using one of several methods:

  • Air:
    • Remove the lid and let the paint dry out in the can
    • Protect from freezing and rain as well as curious children and animals
    • This only works when an inch or less of paint is left in the can and is most effective in the warmer months.
  • Cat litter:
    • Mix latex paint with an equal amount of clay-based cat litter
    • Stir in completely and let the paint dry. It takes about 10 minutes for the cat litter to harden.
    • Add more cat litter if the paint is soft or runny after 10 minutes. Repeat until the material is very thick.
    • Sawdust, dirt, and shredded paper can be tried as alternatives to cat litter.
    • If there is not enough room in the paint can to stir in enough cat litter to dry it all out, pour off paint into any plastic or cardboard container that is large enough to hold the material, including a yogurt container, plastic tub, shoebox, or other convenient container.
  • Paint hardener:
    • Mix latex paint or stain with commercial paint hardener according to the directions.
    • At the end of that time, paint will have a tacky, oatmeal-like consistency that will not spill out.
  • Other ideas of using up latex paint or stains:
    • Use the paint when painting a garage, dog house or use as a primer coat for another painting project.
    • Donate excess paint to a school, theater group or non-profit agency.

Be sure it’s latex paint or stain! Look on the label for the word “latex,” or for directions to clean up or thin with water. Oil-based paints should be brought to a hazardous waste facility for proper disposal. Once the latex paint has hardened or solidified, place the can with the lid off in your garbage container. The garbage hauler needs to see that the paint has been solidified.

Lace Bug Pest Alert

Adult on Underside of LeafLace Wing

The Meerkerk Garden Staff recently observed an outbreak of lace bug at the garden. This significant pest of Rhododendrons and Azaleas becomes active in May. As the insect feeds on the underside of the leaves, the upper side of the leaves become yellow and stippled. The business end of things happens on the underside of the leaves where the insect feeds and lays its eggs in dark brown tar-like excrement.
The eggs and nymph stages are protected by the tar-like substance making it difficult to see the extent of the infestation. Infestation is worse in on water-stressed plants and on those exposed to the sun.
Lace bug has been a major problem on Rhododendron and Azalea on the mainland for some time where control has proved difficult, especially in larger landscapes.

Lace Bug Damage to Rhododendron Leaf

Lace Bug Damage to Rhodie Leaf

Adults and Nymphs on Underside of Leaf

Adults and Nymphs on Underside of Leaf


For more information on recognizing and controlling this pest, visit WSU Hortsense

or contact the WSU Extension office in Island County
(360) 240-5558

Island County Farm Land

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Terrible 10 – Thistles

Bull thistle, Canada thistle (Cirsium vulgare, C. avense)

  • Found in open areas, pastures, roadsides.
  • Bull thistle is a biennial, tap-rooted, spreads by seed. First year appears as a rosette and in spring of 2nd year puts up erect, spiny, sparsely haired stems 2-5 ft tall. Leaves are 3-6 in long, pinnate, and hairy on top with cottony white below; leaf lobes tips have stout, sharp needles. Fragrant purple/pink flowers are supported by a bulbous, spine-covered bract.
  • Canada thistle is a perennial, spreads by rhizome and seed; it does not have hairy leaves and the bract below the flower of Canada thistle lacks spines. Canada thistle is not tap-rooted, has spreading rhizomes.
  • Bull thistle is Eurasian, arrived in contaminated seed.
  • The sharp spines on these thistles deter animals from grazing; when established in hay fields they have a serious economic impact on value of the hay.

Janet Stein
Program Coordinator
(360) 678-7992 Office
(360) 969-3988 Cell