Archive for December, 2012

Larry Smart answers questions from attendees inside the willow chip drying barn. It takes about 70 to 100 tons of willow for the boiler to produce enough heat for the winter season. Sarah Thompson photo.

Larry Smart answers questions from attendees inside the willow chip drying barn. It takes about 70 to 100 tons of willow for the boiler to produce enough heat for the winter season. Sarah Thompson photo.

From the Cornell Chronicle [12/21/2012]:

Nearly 60 participants representing every corner of the emerging biomass energy market — from potential growers to manufacturers of harvesting and biomass heating equipment — attended a willow biomass heating and biofuels workshop December 18 at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, N.Y.

The program covered all aspects of growing, harvesting and using shrub willow and other perennial woody crops as a renewable fuel for heating.

“It’s important to close the loop and connect researchers with end users,” said Larry Smart, associate professor of horticulture, head of Cornell’s willow breeding program. “I’m always impressed by innovative facilities managers who stick out their necks to adopt new energy systems. Their persistence and dedication are often what’s most important to a project’s success.”

Read the whole article.

See also 10/23/2012 Associated Press story, Energy from willows comes of age in upstate NY,

For more shrub willow biofuel information from Cornell, visit Willowpedia.

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Funded projects include evaluating risks and management strategies to combat spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest that threatens fruit and other crops.  Photo: Bev Gerdman, Washington State University.

Funded projects include evaluating risks and management strategies to combat spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest that threatens fruit and other crops. Photo: Bev Gerdman, Washington State University.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on December 12 announced$1 million in federal funding to enhance the competitiveness of New York’s agricultural products. The funding will support the research, development and promotion of specialty crops including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops, and includes $200,000 to help support the growth of the state’s wine, beer, and spirits industry.

“As part of being an entrepreneurial government, New York is partnering with the private sector to establish our state as a leader in the production of a wide array of goods, from Greek yogurt to craft beer,” Governor Cuomo said. “With a robust, diverse agriculture sector, these awards will help our state join together with these rapidly growing industries to create new jobs and spur economic development in all corners of New York.”

The 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant awards are to:

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County: $95,931 to help increase the amount of NY hops being used by brewers by helping hop growers grow and process hops of the quality required by brewers.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology: $98,428 to help increase the number of disease-tested vines planted in New York vineyards.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology/Plant Microbe Biology: $100,000 for risk assessment and management of new challenges in Phytophthora Blight for New York vegetables.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology: $98,095 to enhance disease management by exploring and exploiting a novel suppression of powdery mildew in plants without the use of fungicides.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, Agricultural Stewardship Program: $63,359 to adopt a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that addresses the pest issues specific to the tree fruit grown in Long Island’s maritime climate.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County: $57,988 to develop best management practices to enhance yield, extend the growing season, protect crops from weather extremes, and manage pests and diseases.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology: $98,225 to survey Fire Blight in New York improve control options for growers.
  • Cornell University, Department of Entomology: $99,694 For Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) management, including an evaluation of risk factors associated with SWD.
  • Cornell University, School of Applied Economics and Management: $96,759 to examine current labor options and policies on specialty crop farms in New York State.
  • Cornell University, Department of Horticulture: $88,684 to develop weed-suppressive turf for organic landscape management.
  • Cornell University, Departments of Entomology & Horticulture: $55,000 to increase the profitability and competitiveness of fresh-market vegetable farms by capitalizing on the pollination services provided by bumble bees.
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc. (NOFA-NY): $50,522 For intermediate and advanced organic and sustainable specialty crop grower education to increase competitiveness in the marketplace.

More information:

 

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Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health.

Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health.

Three new permaculture design courses will be offered this winter and spring through the Department of Horticulture’s distance learning program:

The study of permaculture helps gardeners, landowners, and farmers combine a knowledge of ecology combined with it’s application to supporting healthy soil, water conservation, and biodiversity.

Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health. Common practices include no-till gardening, rainwater catchment, forest gardening, and agroforestry.

Each course is 6.5 weeks long and provides an opportunity for you to build your knowledge about permaculture and ecological design. Participants will explore the content through videos, readings, and
activities and complete portions of design for a site of their choosing.

While the course is online, the format is designed for consistent interaction between facilitators and students through forums and live ideo conferences. Readings and presentations will be directly applied through hands-on activities students will engage with at home.

Completion of a single class gives students a certificate of completion from the Department of Horticulture and continuing education credits. Completion of all three courses gives students the portfolio necessary to apply for an internationally recognized certification in Permaculture Design though the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute.

Steve Gabriel

Steve Gabriel


Classes are best taken in order but each can be taken as a stand-alone course as well. Tuition for each class is $600. Sign up for all three at once and tuition is $1500. You save $300.

View the full syllabus for each course and find registration information at the Department of Horticulture’s distance learning program website.

The instructor, Steve Gabriel, is an ecologist, extension educator, and forest farmer living and working in the Finger Lakes Region of central New York. He currently spends his time working for the Department of Horticulture’s Garden-Based Learning program and coordinating the Northeast Mushroom Growers Network. He also teaches for the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute and serves on the Board of Directors for the Permaculture Institute of the Northeast. He is currently co-authoring a book on forest farming with Cornell professor Ken Mudge, which is expected to be published in 2014.

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What varieties will perform best in your garden?

What varieties will perform best in your garden?

Just in time for arrival of this year’s crop of seed catalogs, the 2013 edition of Selected List of Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners in New York State is now available online.

The varieties listed in this report should be well adapted for most home gardens in New York State, offer relatively high quality, be dependable, possess disease and insect resistance when
possible, and have a relatively long harvest period. Field of Horticulture MS candidate Sarah Hulick coordinated this year’s update.

There may be varieties not listed in the report that will perform satisfactorily in your garden, or even better under certain conditions. If you’d like to dive into a larger pool of varieties as you plan you garden, visit our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website for detailed descriptions and seed sources of more than 6,100 varieties. At the site, you can compare varieties, read ratings and reviews by fellow gardeners, and offer your own observations of which varieties perform best in your garden.

And if you’re looking for growing tips, check out our vegetable growing guides.

Enjoy the holiday season — and especially those seed catalog.

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Students lounge on the lawn in the lobby of Mann Library.

Students lounge on the lawn in the lobby of Mann Library.

Indoor lawns help students handle stress [UPI 12/5/2012] – Grass lawns brought indoors are helping Cornell students at University in New York deal with the stress of final exams. Marcia Eames-Sheavly, director of the Garden-Based Learning program, said she understands the calming allure of grass. “We know from research that time spent in nature fosters diverse facets of our well-being, from cognitive function, to lower stress levels. [Indoor lawns] are easy to create, and do not require elaborate materials.” See also Concrete Oases at The Essentials.

Sandy uprooted trees by the thousands in NY, NJ [AP 11/17/2012] – “When trees go down that have lived a long life and been so beneficial, it’s terrible when they cause injury to people and property,” said Nina Bassuk, program leader at the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University. “We have to replant better and do it smarter.” Bassuk suggests shorter trees like hawthorns and crabapples below electric wires and using CUsoil to help trees extend their roots beneath pavement to improve their balance in high winds.

Northeast sees second-driest November since 1895 [Cornell Chronicle 12/11/2012] – With an average of 1.04 inches of precipitation, the region received only 27 percent of its normal level making it the driest November was in 1917, according to Cornell’s Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Are Some Red Wines Healthier Than Others? [Prevention 12/2012] – Leroy Creasy, professor emeritus, Department of Horticulture, consistently found the highest concentrations of resveratrol in pinot noirs that had been grown in cool, rainy climates. His advice to health conscious imbibers: “Stay away from huge wineries, because their wine is made by chemists and they tend to mellow the wine out to save aging time, which reduces resveratrol. Stick to boutique wineries or traditional old-fashioned wineries, where the winemaker is not a chemical engineer.”

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From Betsy Leonard, CUAES organic farming coordinator bai1@cornell.edu:

Have you ever wanted to grow vegetables, have an awesome summer job, and take on a leading role at Dilmun Hill, Cornell University’s student organic farm? This is your opportunity! We are now accepting applicants for market garden managers for the 2013 season.

The market garden managers are part of the team of students that will run the farm during the summer and fall.

Market garden managers are full-time paid positions over the summer and and part time into the fall semester. They also coordinate a wonderful group of volunteers. All Cornell undergraduates, who will still be enrolled next year are eligible for the position. To apply, please complete the written application and the questionnaire below and send them to Betsy Leonard by January 30.

Manager application (docx)

Manager application questionnaire (docx)

Don't miss the bus!  Apply for student market garden manager today.

Don’t miss the bus! Apply for student market garden manager today.

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Travis Park (center) accepts the Outstanding Cooperation Award from Ken Couture, 2011-2012 NAAE President, and Mike Williams, Association Sales Director for Forrest T. Jones, the sponsor of the Outstanding Cooperation Award, November 30 at the NAAE annual convention in Atlanta.

Travis Park (center) accepts the Outstanding Cooperation Award from Ken Couture, 2011-2012 NAAE President, and Mike Williams, Association Sales Director for Forrest T. Jones, the sponsor of the Outstanding Cooperation Award, November 30 at the NAAE annual convention in Atlanta.

From the National Association of Agricultural Educators:

ATLANTA – The Agricultural Education Outreach program, part of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Ithaca, N.Y. is one of only six programs nationwide who received the National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Cooperation Award on November 30 at the NAAE annual convention in Atlanta. Dr. Travis Park is the director.

The Agricultural Education Outreach program at Cornell was created 15 years ago to provide appreciation and understanding of agriculture to students in New York. The AEO primarily connects with students through participation in schools, and helping teachers in their professional development to challenge learners to achieve their greatest potential.

In order to support new agriculture teachers, the AEO coordinates a mentoring program that pairs new teachers with more seasoned agriculture teachers as mentors. This support supplies teachers with curriculum and lesson plans, classroom instruction techniques, and ideas to promote FFA and student leadership. Through the National FFA Organization and USDA, AEO was able to secure $47,500 in grants for alternative energy education at 14 schools, giving teachers, new and old an opportunity to keep abreast of current agriculture topics.

The AEO has also provided nearly 18,000 hours in leadership training for students, reaching nearly 6,000 individuals annually. One of these training events is the Fall Leaders Conference in October. Agricultural educators and their FFA chapter presidents and vice presidents are invited to network with each other, share ideas and collaborate. The conference includes current agricultural education issue discussions and facilitated networking sessions for students.

“Without the Cornell Agricultural Education Outreach, agricultural education in the state of New York would not be what it is today, especially the professional development of agriculture teachers,” said Tara Berescik, an agriculture instructor in New York and nominator of the Cornell Agricultural Education Outreach.

Each of the six regional Outstanding Cooperation Award winners received a plaque. NAAE is the professional association for agricultural educators. Its mission is “professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service.” The NAAE office is located in Lexington, Ky.

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The nearly foot-long nectaries (or floral tubes) found on Angraecum sesquipedale led Charles Darwin to predict the existence of a moth with a tongue long enough to pollinate it. Click image for larger view.

The nearly foot-long nectaries (or floral tubes) found on Angraecum sesquipedale led Charles Darwin to predict the existence of a moth with a tongue long enough to pollinate it. Click image for larger view.

Orchid with link to Charles Darwin blooms on campus [Cornell Chronicle 12/5/2012] – A star orchid is blooming on campus this week, but its story began 150 years earlier when Charles Darwin first observed the flower’s foot-long nectary and famously wondered: “Good Heavens, what insect can suck it?” The Darwin’s orchid is located in the Green Greenhouse 114 on campus, attached to Kenneth Post Lab on Tower Road. The greenhouse will be open to the public Dec. 5-7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors to the greenhouse can also see ‘Wee Stinky,’ the rare titan arum plant that bloomed this spring, in its fruiting stage.

Remote sensing, microbiology used to trace foodborne pathogens [Cornell Chronicle 12/4/2012] – Cornell researchers have created a method that uses geospatial algorithms, foodborne pathogen ecology and Geographic Information System (GIS) tools to predict hot spots where pathogens may be present and spread on farms prior to harvest.

Industry evaluates vegetables at NYSAES trials [Cornell Chronicle 12/3/2012] – 20 representatives from vegetable processing and seed companies visited the the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., to evaluate 160 veggie varieties grown in research trials there. “There’s an assumption that fresh is more nutritious,” says Steve Reiners, vegetable specialist in the Department of Horticulture. “But when you consider that fresh in the grocery story might mean it was harvested days or even weeks beforehand, a product that is picked and frozen within hours may actually be fresher.”

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‘Double Gold’ and ‘Crimson Night’ are the fourth and fifth new berry varieties introduced by Associate Professor of Horticulture Courtney Weber in the past year. Other recent releases include Purple Wonder™, the darkest strawberry variety available, and the ‘Crimson Giant’ raspberry, suitable for high tunnel cropping systems with harvest into November. Photo: Robin Wishna

‘Double Gold’ and ‘Crimson Night’ are the fourth and fifth new berry varieties introduced by Associate Professor of Horticulture Courtney Weber in the past year. Other recent releases include Purple Wonder™, the darkest strawberry variety available, and the ‘Crimson Giant’ raspberry, suitable for high tunnel cropping systems with harvest into November. Photo: Robin Wishna

Berry Different: Growers turn to new Cornell raspberries for better flavor, disease-resistance and a colorful fall crop

By Kate Frazer

Two new raspberry varieties developed at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences —‘Double Gold’ and ‘Crimson Night’—were licensed this fall by two nurseries seeking flavorful, vigorous and disease-resistant raspberry varieties that can thrive in cold and unpredictable climates.

Designed for pick-your-own farms, farm stands and home gardeners by Associate Professor of Horticulture Courtney Weber at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), the berries have attracted interest from nurseries seeking varieties with intense flavor and a different look.

“I have been told by vendors at farmers markets that having several colors on display is a good way to draw in customers and distinguish yourself from other sellers,” said Weber. “I’m hoping these berries fit that niche.”

Read the whole story.

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Horticulture projects slated for 2013 scholars program.  Click image for more info.

Horticulture projects slated for 2013 scholars program. Click image for more info.

Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York offers a Summer Research Scholars Program where undergraduate students can participate in exciting research projects in one of four disciplines including; Entomology, Food Science, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology/Plant-Microbe Biology.

The student interns will have the opportunity to work with faculty, their graduate students, postdocs, and staff on research projects that can be laboratory or field-based.

The submission deadline for all application related material is February 1, 2013.

More information and application instructions.

View 2013 horticulture research projects.

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