Cornell Cooperative Extension Monthly Vegetable Growers Walk & Talk

August 13, 2014, 6:00 PM at Simon Girod’s Farm 11101 Fitch Farm Rd, Freedom, NY 14065

This month’s crop walk will highlight pest and disease controls, with an emphasis on pro-active management. Cultural practices, as well as topics of interest to the group, will be discussed.

The Discussion Group is made up of new/beginning farmers and experienced grower-mentors located in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties.  This group is free to join, open to new members, and meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. For more information please contact Elizabeth Buck, Cornell Vegetable Program Technician at 607-425-3494 email: emb273@cornell.edu or Lynn Bliven, Agriculture Issue Leader 585-268-7644 ext. 18 email lao3@cornell.edu.  Cornell Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be request by calling the Belmont Office at (585) 268-7644 or Ellicottville Office at (716) 699-2377.

Vegetable Pest and Cultural Management Field Meeting – Allegany County

August 6, 2014, 6-8 PM at Danny Miller’s Farm: 11331 Hodnett Rd Fillmore, NY 14735

This course will demonstrate pest management in fresh market vegetables in both field and greenhouse (high tunnel) vegetables; primarily for those growing for wholesale auction. vegetable pestsThis will include a hands-on demonstration of weed, insect and disease identification in vegetables.  Management options such as inter-row cover crops, grafting and where appropriate, spray options will be used to educate growers. Judson Reid, Senior Extension Associate with the Cornell Vegetable Program will instruct participants and facilitate peer-based learning.

Need pesticide recertification credits? 1.5 DEC credits in categories 1a, 10, and 23 will be available to participants.

Wednesdays in the Arboretum for July 23, 2014

Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners in Cattaraugus County will offer two back-to-back programs on “Understanding Your Soil and Using Compost to Improve It” and “Low Maintenance Turf Care” on Wednesday, July 23 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at the Nannen Arboretum, 28 Parkside Drive, Ellicottville, NY 14731.  The programs will be hosted by Cornell University Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Lyn Chimera.

The programs are part of the Wednesdays in the Arboretum series, this year running on Wednesday nights from July 9-August 20.  The programs will be held rain or shine, and they are free and open to the public.  No pre-registration is required.

For more information on this or other programs in the Wednesdays in the Arboretum series, please contact the Master Gardener Helpline by telephone at (716) 699-2377 x127 or by e-mail at cattaraugusmg@cornell.edu

Let’s Be Safe This Gardening Season

Carol Sitarski, Master Gardener, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Wow, another gardening season will soon be here and none too soon after this year’s freezing cold and snow. If you are like me the last thing on your mind is safety in the garden. It is much more fun to be planning our gardens and eagerly going through the seed catalogs. Do you think about being safe in the garden? I rarely do, so now would be a good time to talk about it, before something happens and you have a boo-boo that hurts or heaven forbid puts you out of commission!

After a long period of little activity outside, we go into the garden and without thinking about our muscles, start in gardening. That night or the next day we have sore muscles we never knew existed. A lot of time is spent planning our gardens; let’s use the same principle to plan easy stretching exercises to get ready for the gardening season. It doesn’t have to be for a long period of time, maybe five to ten minutes each day and when spring arrives each time right before you start gardening. Stretching helps to get the blood flowing and loosen up stiff muscles.

  • Arms:  Take your arm and stretch it across your chest to the opposite side as far as you can, use your other hand to hold it in place for several seconds. Do this, alternating with the other arm for about 4 times. This will loosen up shoulder and arm muscles.
  • Neck:  Make half circles with your head slowly from one shoulder to the other, stopping at your chest and pressing your chin down to the chest and then continuing to the other shoulder for a total of 4 times. Next, bend your head slowly from one side to the next for a total of 4 times. This will loosen the neck muscles and it feels great. This is also a good way to help relieve tension in the neck and back area.
  • Sides:  Let’s do the twist! Standing in place, twist your upper body from side to side, keeping the bottom half in place. Do this around 4 or 5 times. Now, standing straight, bend your upper body to the side as far as you can. Alternate sides 4 to 5 times each side. This will loosen up your side muscles.
  • Legs:  Squats are great to loosen up those calves, ham strings and quads. Standing in place, just squat down slowly half way, hold in place several seconds and straighten up your body slowly. Repeat this about 4 to 5 times. Lunges are also a great exercise. Keeping one leg firmly in place, take the other leg and place it about 1 foot in front of you and hold in place several seconds, then repeat with the other leg; do approximately 4 or 5 times for each leg.
  • Back:  Standing firmly in place, bend forward to your toes. You don’t have to touch them if you can’t; just bending forward will help those muscles. Do this for 4 to 5 repetitions.
  • Proper body alignment:  Be sure not to lift heavy objects using your back, bend at your knees and hips. To avoid painful arm pulls, work below shoulder level when possible, keeping your elbows partially bent.

If you completed all of these you did great! Now your muscles are ready for all your gardening chores and I bet you feel better too!

Some other tips that will keep you safe this coming season include:

  • Clothing:  You want something that is loose and comfortable. Be sure to include a hat to protect you from the sun and a good pair of gloves to protect your hands.
  • Sunscreen:  Protects you from the UV rays of the sun, even on a cloudy day. It should be at least an SPF45.
  • Water:  Carry a water bottle of some sort to keep you hydrated during your outside activities.
  • Timer:  Use some kind of timer, like a watch or cell phone. You can easily lose track of the time you have been working and overdo it. Try to limit your outdoor time at the start of the season to protect yourself from over tiring. A cell phone is great because you can set the alarm clock as a reminder and also, if you are alone you can call for help if an accident does occur.
  • Organize:  Your tools before you start. I like to put the small tools that are going to be needed in a cat litter bucket. It is light to carry and you can place your water, gloves, cellphone, seeds and a snack in it. Be sure to have your garden tools sharpened ahead of time to help make your work easier.
  • A Garden Cart:  Of some kind makes it easier to lug around those larger tools and other materials. Personally, I prefer a child’s wagon. It is lighter and easier to pull and it is also very manageable.
  • Power Tools:  Always use caution when using electric or gas powered trimmers, mowers, etc. Make sure you have on safety googles and ear protection for the noise. Keep children and pets safely out of the way. When finished, be sure to disconnect electric tools right away and stay away from any water.
  • Shovels, Rakes, Hoes, Etc.:  When finished with hand tools, they should be placed in the garden wagon or safely out of walking area to avoid a tripping accident.
  • Choose The Best Time Of Day:  To do your work. Early in the day or later in the afternoon allows you to avoid the hottest period of the day.
  • List:  Make a list of what you want to accomplish that day either mentally or, even better, on paper. This way you can keep track of your chores.
  • Rest:  Make sure to take a little rest in the shade, have a snack and something to drink. This will rejuvenate you, and gives you time to look over what you have accomplished thus far. Remember to pace yourself and not run all over like a chicken without a head. It was the tortoise that won out over the rabbit!

I hope these tips will help you enjoy your gardening experience and have a safer one also. Now if we could only accelerate the calendar to mid-March! Have a safe and happy gardening season.