The crops at highest risk for infestation by Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) — an introduced pest from East Asia — include fall raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Cherries, both tart and sweet, elderberries, and peaches are also susceptible. Thin-skinned grapes can be infested directly, though cracked or damaged berries are more susceptible. Early season June-bearing strawberries may escape injury, but late summer fruit or day-neutral varieties may suffer damage.
Cornell researchers and extension educators have trap network covering some 30 counties around the state to keep tabs on the pest. (As of June 7, none have been reported.)
For more information:
How do I manage Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) in my garden?
Spotted Wing Drosophila blog
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The Cornell Farmworker Program (CFP) is dedicated to improving the living and working conditions of farmworkers and their families. We also seek recognition for farmworkers’ contributions to society and their acceptance and full participation in local communities. The 2013 Summer Internship program is accepting applications now until Feb 4. Check out the image or the CFP site for more details.
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Healthy soil is key to a healthy and productive garden. When soil is healthy it becomes home to worms, pill bugs, centipedes, bacteria, mycelia and many more beneficial macro and micro organisms. Healthy soil retains just the right amount of water so roots of the plant can soak it up but not get too moldy. Healthy soil also provides just enough support for roots to take a foot hold and grow big and tall. Whether you’re starting a garden new or have been gardening in the same place for years, maintaining healthy soil takes some time, energy and knowledge.
In the recent New York Times article about renown farmer Eliot Coleman, Coleman explains that the first thing he did after acquiring his farm land and building shelter was start building his soil. He used seaweed, horse manure, hay and compost. Land that started with 3-inches of topsoil now has over a foot of “black gold” that support intensive vegetable cultivation. Coleman is known for growing gorgeous produce all year-round in Maine.
Learning to compost productively will prove to be just as important for your gardens success as watering, sun exposure, and spacing between plants. Youth can be a great help with compost bin building and taking temperature and moisture recordings of the compost as its breaking down. You can find some compost resources through our web site and feel free to contact us if you have questions.
Another great way to build soil, and a method often overlooked in the home garden, is cover crops. Cover crops help to retain the soil, lessen erosion, and decrease the impact of precipitation on the garden by slowing the runoff of water. They also reduce mineral leaching and compaction, and suppress perennial and winter annual weed growth. The top growth adds organic matter when it is tilled into the garden soil. The cover crop’s root system also provides organic matter and opens passageways that help improve air and water movement in the soil.
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Claudia Hitt is our NYS state fair 4-H horticulture superintendent. She welcomes young people to get involved in 4-H, and adults to review their work at the Fair each year.
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