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Kale Is About To Have An Identity Crisis

Photos: Hannah Swegarden

Photos: Hannah Swegarden

NPR’s The Salt [2016-11-28]:

Kale is getting a makeover, and the very essence of kaliness may hang in the balance.

To develop a new variety of kale tailored to American palates, horticulture professor Philip Griffiths of Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science and graduate student Hannah Swegarden are soliciting consumers’ kale reflections — the good, the bad, and the ugly. The scientists face a philosophic question for the ages. Asks Swegarden:

“How far can you push a consumer’s concept of what kale is, before it’s not kale anymore?”

Kale, like many other vegetables, has been bred with agricultural practicality in mind, selected for virtues like drought- and disease-resistance. But Swegarden says those traits don’t necessarily translate into a better taste and appearance, qualities that matter more to consumers. Griffiths has been working with kale for years, so he and Swegarden decided to see if they could develop strains to seduce farmers and consumers alike.

Read the whole post.

 

Reminder: Dilmun Hill’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Saturday

dilmun 20th banner

From the Dilmun Hill Student Farm farm managers:

Join us on the Farm to help celebrate Dilmun Hill Cornell Student Organic Farm’s 20th year in existence!

Activities, demonstrations, farm tours, food, drinks, live music & more!

We will be joined by a vareity of other on-campus organizations including Beekeeping Club, Fantastic Fungi Fanatics, Snodwigs, and many more. Stay tuned to here about all our special guests.

This event is FREE, open to the public, and kid-friendly.

Parking is available at the Cornell Print Services Parking lot on the SE corner of Pine Tree Rd and Dryden Rd; at the Oxley parking lot across Dryden Rd from the Humphrey Facilities Plant; and at the O lot on Campus Rd near the intersection of Judd Falls and Campus Rd. All three lots have pedestrian paths that lead to the four way stop intersection of Dryden Rd and Pine Tree Rd. Please cross in the marked pedestrian cross walks and follow the pedestrian path across the new bridge over Pine Tree Rd. The entrance to Dilmun is on the left side of the Recreation Path just over the bridge. If you need accommodations to park in the designated handicap space in the driveway, please contact Mandy Economos @ (607) 255-3332 or email mse55@cornell.edu prior to the event this Saturday, 10/29.

More information.

Toward Sustainability Foundation grant deadline is Dec. 5

For more than 15 years, CALS has bolstered its sustainability research with a steady stream of gifts from the Toward Sustainability Foundation (TSF), a Massachusetts-based organization founded by an anonymous, eco-minded Cornell alumna.

Since 1999, TSF provided more than $1.2 million in funding for more than 100 faculty and student projects that examine the technological, social, political, and economic elements of sustainable agriculture.

The deadline for proposals for the 2017 round of funding is December 5, 2016

Read more about TSF grants, download the full Request for Proposals, and view titles and contacts of recent projects.

A 2016 Toward Sustainability Foundation grant helped fuel construction of a moveable high tunnell at Dilmun Hill Student Farm featuring an innovative design by Alena Hutchinson '18.

A 2016 Toward Sustainability Foundation grant helped fuel construction of a movable high tunnel at Dilmun Hill Student Farm featuring an innovative design by Alena Hutchinson ’18.

In the news: Picking the perfect pumpkin and more

Steve Reiners

Steve Reiners

Tricks for perfect pumpkin picking [Cornell Media Relations tip sheet 2016-10-10] – Horticulture Section professor and pumpkin expert Steve Reiners shares some tips on how to pick the perfect pumpkin for the Halloween season. See also this video from 2012:

Other recent news of horticultural interest from the Cornell Chronicle:

Celebrate Dilmun Hill’s 20th Anniversary October 29

Happy 20th banner

Via Betsy Leonard ‘81, Organic Farm Coordinator, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES):

Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm is pleased to invite you to our 20th Anniversary Celebration!

Please join us on the Farm on Saturday, October 29th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm for food & drink, activities, and live music.

We will be hosting an array of other student-lead Cornell organizations, faculty, and community members as we come together to celebrate twenty years of student farming at Dilmun.

This event is kid-friendly and open to the public, so please bring along any family and friends.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Questions? Comments? Contact Isabel at ig234@cornell.edu

Please RSVP on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1395083610519474/

Bigger than ever, Cornell corpse flower poised to bloom

Paul Cooper, head grower for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, measures Wee Stinky with the help of Bill Crepet, professor and chair in the Plant Biology Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. The Titan arum is one of hundreds of plants in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium managed by the Plant Biology Section.

Paul Cooper, head grower for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, measures Wee Stinky with the help of Bill Crepet, professor and chair in the Plant Biology Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. The Titan arum is one of hundreds of plants in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium managed by the Plant Biology Section.

Cornell Chronicle [2016-10-10]:

One of Cornell’s famous corpse flowers is getting ready once again to unfurl its fetid bloom.

The plant nicknamed Wee Stinky, one of two flowering-sized titan arums in the living collection of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory, is prepping for a dazzling reproductive effort to make itself big, hot and smelly.

Called a corpse flower for the putrid aroma unleashed when it flowers, the titan arum has evolved a reproductive strategy to lure pollinators with pungent signals akin to rotting flesh. Dark purple coloring, a sickly scent, blasts of heat and plumes of carbon dioxide are all deployed to resemble carrion favored by certain pollinator insects. It takes years for the plant to build up the necessary energy to put on such a macabre display, only to burn it all off in a few days before wilting back to a vegetative state.

Read the whole article.

Dilmun Hill Student Farm celebrates 20 years

Alena Hutchinson ’18 works in a high-tunnel she designed and helped construct over the summer at Dilmun Hill.

Alena Hutchinson ’18 works in a high-tunnel she designed and helped construct over the summer at Dilmun Hill.

Cornell Chronicle [2016-10-06]

It started as a simple idea: Cornell students learning about farming should have someplace to actually farm. Thus was born Dilmun Hill.

In the 20 years since students tilled those first three acres, the farm has expanded and improved, provided opportunities for research and experimentation, started students on a path toward agricultural careers and fostered lifelong friendships. Today, Dilmun Hill Student Farm encompasses 12 acres of land, and it produces organically grown vegetables for its community-supported agriculture program and on-campus restaurants.

To celebrate the anniversary of the farm’s founding in 1996, students will welcome the community to a farm tour Oct. 29, 1-4 p.m., at 705 Dryden Road (Route 366), Ithaca. There will be booths and exhibits plus activities from many agriculture-related clubs on campus, such as the Bee Club and the Cornell Fantastic Fungi Fanatics. The party is a chance to learn more about agriculture, the joys and challenges of growing food, and the dedication it takes to be a student farmer.

Read the whole article.

Picture Cornell

Among the images in the latest collection at Picture Cornell are these by  Lindsay France, Cornell Marketing Group:

Dilmun Hill Student Farm's pepper bounty, Sept. 1.

Dilmun Hill Student Farm’s pepper bounty, Sept. 1.

Graduate students and their families enjoy a breakfast at the Big Red Barn hosted by the Graduate School, Sept. 10. Pictured: Graduate Field of Horticulture student Ali Al Farqani.

Graduate students and their families enjoy a breakfast at the Big Red Barn hosted by the Graduate School, Sept. 10. Pictured: Graduate Field of Horticulture student Ali Al Farqani.

Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, stops by the Dilmun Hill farm stand during the Ag Quad Farmers Market, Sept. 1.

Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, stops by the Dilmun Hill farm stand during the Ag Quad Farmers Market, Sept. 1.

Tomato production in high tunnels workshop Sept. 10

high stakes banner

High stakes: Tomato production in hoop houses

Hosted by Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Saturday September 10 at 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Extending the New York growing season with unheated greenhouses (also called high tunnels or hoop houses) is a growing technology with organic vegetable farmers. At this workshop led by one of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s vegetable specialists, we will discuss the production of tomatoes in high tunnels, strategies to manage soil and plant nutrient levels, tomato disease management, and other topics in Dilmun Hill’s new moveable high tunnel. All knowledge and experience levels are welcome.

More info.

Time lapse video: Victoria lily flowering

Reposted from the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory blog:

The bloom begins turning purple the afternoon after opening. Click image for larger view.

The bloom begins turning purple the afternoon after opening. Click image for larger view.

It figures. The Victoria lily (Victoria x ‘Longwood Hybrid’) began its dramatic two-day flower display — its first since being moved to the new water feature in the Palm House this summer — just as the Conservatory was closing for the holiday weekend. Fortunately, we were able to capture the event on video.

The plant was started from seed by horticulture graduate student Miles Schwartz Sax in spring of 2015. It has much in common with the Conservatory’s titan arums (Amorphophallus titanum), even though the two species are not at all closely related,

  • It’s a large plant. The cultivar we’re growing is a cross between South American natives V. cruziana and V. amazonica. The latter is the larger of the two parents, and under the right conditions it can produce pads nearly 10 feet in diameter. People often photograph small children supported by the pads to demonstrate their strength. (Obey the signage and do not try it here. It’s dangerous and you’ll injure our smaller plant.)
  • The bloom time is short. Victoria lilies bloom at dusk and the blooms last only about 48 hours or so.
  • The flowers use fragrance and heat to attract pollinators. The first evening, the flower is white and releases a pineapple-like scent and generates heat to attract beetles. It’s a lot more pleasant than the foul odor titan arums use to attract pollinators in search of rotting flesh.
  • The flower goes to great lengths to assure cross-pollination. During the first evening, the flower’s female parts are ready to receive pollen the beetles might be carrying from another Victoria lily. The flower then closes, trapping the beetles inside.  During the next day, the anthers mature and start releasing pollen that the beetles carry from the flower when it opens in the evening. The flower changes to a purplish red, signaling to beetles that their pollination services are no longer needed.

One important difference: If you missed flowering this time, you won’t need to wait as long to have another chance to view this phenomena in person. Our specimen already has another flower bud poised to open soon. Subscribe to our email updates and we’ll let you know when it’s happening.

victoria-cu-landscape1078x640

Another flower bud to the rear of the bloom is poised to open soon. Click image for larger view.

 

 

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