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Greenhouse staff plow on through nor’easter

Greenhouse grower Julie Blaha relishes the springtime color March 15, as she waters flowers at the Post Labs in the middle of a snowstorm. (Photo: Blaine Friedlander/Cornell Chronicle)

Greenhouse grower Julie Blaha relishes the springtime color March 15, as she waters flowers at the Post Labs in the middle of a snowstorm. (Photo: Blaine Friedlander/Cornell Chronicle)

Excerpted from the Cornell Chronicle [2017-03-16]:

For the first time since February 2014, Cornell closed the Ithaca campus due to snow, halting all but essential services from noon March 14 until 4:30 p.m. March 15.

Although officially closed, the work of Cornell continued. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) greenhouse grower Julie Blaha braved the roads from her home in Odessa, New York, to tend plants in the Kenneth Post Laboratories and Greenhouses, while grower Laurence Walsh patched several broken windowpanes when melted snow and ice fell through the roof.

Walsh, born and raised in Hawaii, moved to Ithaca six months ago. “I have discovered that I love the cold,” he said. “It’s so refreshing.”

United Parcel Service suspended Ithaca operations due to the snow, but Andy Leed, CUAES greenhouse manager, picked up his weekly shipment of beneficial insects – cucumeris mites that control greenhouse thrips and persimilis that control spider mites. “UPS unloaded their 18-wheeler truck to sort through it to find my box,” said Leed. “These are biocontrols; they’re tropical insects. If they freeze, they’re gone.”

Read the whole article.

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