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‘Weeding Wednesdays’ are back

  • Wednesdays June 23 through August 11
  • Meet in front of Mann Library at 12 noon
  • Special tours July 7 and August 4

weeding_wednesdays Minns gardeners Addy Smith-Reiman and Pat MacRae warmly invite gardening enthusiasts from across Cornell to spend their Wednesday lunch hours checking out what’s blooming on the Ag Quad.

Starting Wednesday, June 23, Addy and Pat bring back a tradition launched in summer 2009 as they host weekly hands-on gardening sessions that feature pruning, weeding, & watering alongside the swapping of gardening tips and trade secrets. Activity venues will span a wide range of garden settings, from deeply shaded corners to sun-drenched roof top garden terraces, lush “hidden” gardens & wishing wells to budding new green spaces planted with principles of sustainable gardening ecosystems at top of mind.

Two special tours will take place as part of the series: A tour of select garden sites, hand-picked by tour hosts Addy and Pat on July 7 and an introduction to the Sustainable Sites Initiative (with contributions by horticultural professor Nina Bassuk) on August 4.

Weeding Wednesdays will continue through August 11. At the start of each session, participants will meet at 12pm in front of Mann Library. Come dressed in comfortable clothes, bring your garden gloves, and be prepared for an hour of active gardening fun and expertise with gardening masters and kindred spirits. As the days are likely to be warm, ice cream will be provided to keep things cool! For more information, please contact Addy Smith-Reiman ( or Pat MacRae (

Allan Armitage to lead flower walks

Allan Armitage leads perennial flower walkabout at 2005 Cornell Floriculture Field Day.

Allan Armitage leads perennial flower walkabout at 2005 Cornell Floriculture Field Day.

Dr. Allan Armitage prolific writer, researcher and speaker, will lead the perennial flower walkabout at the Cornell Floriculture Field Day, July 20. At the University of Georgia, Armitage runs the research gardens where he evaluates new plant material from most of the flower breeders in the world.

The field day each year attracts floriculture professionals from around New York State and beyond to hear morning presentations from Cornell researchers and industry leaders, followed by an afternoon at Bluegrass Lane Landscape Research Center visiting flower trials, viewing entries in the Kathy Pufahl Memorial Container Contest, and more. Read more about — and register for — the field day.

Bluegrass Lane is not open to the public. But there are flower open houses scheduled for the public on Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18, 2010 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. More information.

Students produce first wines at campus teaching winery

Wine testing at the Viticulture and Enology program's teaching winery at Cornell Orchards.

Wine testing at the Viticulture and Enology program's teaching winery at Cornell Orchards.

From a June 16 Cornell Chronicle article:

“For the first time, Cornell students have produced wines — big reds and whites — at the Viticulture and Enology program’s new, state-of-the-art million-dollar teaching winery on campus, the only university facility of its kind in the eastern United States.

“‘The beauty of the teaching winery is that we get more hands-on experience,’ said Mari Rossi ’11, a student in the program. ‘It’s almost like our labs that we do in the teaching winery are mini internships, because everything that we learn with hands-on experience helps us realize which parts of the industry we are most passionate about.'”

Read the whole article.

Grants fuel organic farming research

Buckwheat is a warm-season cover crop.

Buckwheat is a warm-season cover crop.

From a June 10 Cornell Chronicle article:

Cornell researchers will study the use of cover crops in organic farming and how different organic farming practices affect yields, both with new funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic Research and Extension Initiative (USDA-OREI).

“Organic agriculture research has taken a long time to be taken seriously in the scientific community, though there are a great number of interesting scientific questions well-suited for study, and now we are getting real money to do that research,” said Thomas Bjorkman, associate professor of vegetable crop physiology, who is project director for an $894,000 four-year grant from the USDA-OREI to study how summer cover crops such as buckwheat, sorghum-sudangrass and mustard can improve the biological processes underlying organic agriculture and how to transfer such knowledge to farmers. …

The research will determine appropriate production procedure, seeding and planting dates, and expected benefits to farmers from cover cropping. The researchers also will work with farmers to find the easiest methods for integrating such crops into their production systems.

“We want people to have success from the get-go,” said Bjorkman. …

Charles Mohler, a senior research associate in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, also received a four-year USDA-OREI grant for $1.4 million to continue two experiments, one for grains and the other for vegetables, that began in 2005 to compare various organic growing strategies.

“We are mimicking what four different farmers would do, for both experiments,” to see which methods maximize net profits, effectively cycle nutrients and build healthy soil, said Mohler. …

Read the whole article.

Mann Library landscape chosen for sustainability test

Students installing Mann Library landscapeFrom the Cornell Chronicle, June 2, 2010.

“The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) has selected the Mann Library entrance landscape, which was designed by students, as one of the first landscapes to participate in an international pilot project program to test the nation’s first rating system for green landscape design, construction and maintenance. …

“‘The site’s sustainability features include the use of pest-resistant and noninvasive plants adapted to the site conditions, soil remediation to enhance soil productivity and incorporating spaces for people to gather and enjoy the site, among others,’ says Nina Bassuk, professor of horticulture.”

Read the whole article.

Congratulations graduates

Read short profiles about these 2010 Horticulture Ph.D., Masters and MPS graduates, as well as under undergrads in Agricultural Sciences, Plant Sciences, Viticulture and Enology, and Interdisciplinary Studies in ALS.

Richard Adams
Chris Cerveny
Barbara Conolly
Jinwook Lee
Michelle Leinfelder
Erin Marteal
Fatemeh Mastouri
Chad Miller
Mark Slavens
Jennifer Thomas

They said it

“The most problematic issue, bar none, is soil compaction.”

Nina Bassuk, Department of Horticulture, in a May 26 New York Times article about planting so-called “hell strips” between sidewalks and streets.

Nina Bassuk
“Growing things upside down seems like a fad to me, but I’m glad people are fooling around with it and hope they will let us traditionalist gardening snobs know what we’ve been missing.”

Chris Wien, Department of Horticulture, in the May 19 New York Times article Growing Vegetables Upside Down.

Chris Wien
“Anybody doing urban agriculture today should thank him personally.”

–Michael Hurwitz, director of of the New York City Greenmarket, on John Ameroso, who retired in March from Cornell Cooperative Extension-NYC after a nearly 35-year career establishing urban food gardens and mini-farms. Read more in the May 18 New York Times article An Urban Farming Pioneer Sows His Own Legacy.

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