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Online organic gardening, garden design courses start March 12

Registration is now open for two online courses offered by the Horticulture Section in Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science:

Raised bed vegetable gardenOrganic Gardening is designed to help new gardeners get started and help experienced gardeners broaden their understanding of organic techniques for all kinds of gardens.

Starting with a strong foundation in soil health and its impact on plant health, the course then explores tried-and-true and cutting-edge techniques for all different kinds of garden plants including food plants, trees and shrubs and lawn.

Participants read assigned essays and book excerpts, participate in online group discussions with other students, complete reflective writing/design work and take part in some hands-on activities. 
Most students spend about 5 hours each week with the content, though there are always ample resources and opportunity to do more.

View more information and full course syllabus for Organic Gardening.

garden_designx300Introduction to Garden Design will help you apply basic garden design techniques to your own garden. We teach an approach to gardening that is based on the principle of right plant, right place. In other words, we will consider the needs of the plant in addition to the needs of the gardener.

You’ll learn garden site analysis and apply the concepts to your personal space, gain proficiency in garden design principles and lay out a rough site plan overview of your garden design.

You will write and reflect on the process as you learn with the instructor taking an active role in this creative endeavor by providing feedback on your assignments and journal entries.

View more information and full course syllabus for Introduction to Garden Design.

Questions about either course? Please contact, Fiona Doherty: fcd9@cornell.edu.

Save the date: Garden educator symposium in Ithaca, N.Y. July 11-14

symposium logoMark your calendar. Cornell University’s Garden-Based Learning Program will host the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) 26th annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in Ithaca, N.Y. July 11 to 14, 2018.

This professional development event will bring together hundreds of educators, garden designers, community leaders, youth program coordinators, and others from across the country who are dedicated to connecting children and youth to the natural world. Attendees will:

  • Explore topics ranging from curriculum to program management to garden design and maintenance during four dynamic days of educational sessions, field trips, and expert keynote presentations.
  • Experience Central New York’s abundant natural beauty and the world-renowned facilities of Cornell University. Visit the award-winning Ithaca Children’s Garden, Cornell Botanic Gardens, Finger Lakes parks and wineries, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Johnson Museum’s botanical art collection and more.
  • Share ideas, success stories, and inspiration with like-minded colleagues from across the nation.

“Attending my first NCYGS in 2013 was a pivotal point in my career,” says Fiona Doherty, Cornell University Extension Support Specialist. “The symposium expanded my network, provided me with fresh perspectives and fueled my passion for youth engagement and garden-based education. Each symposium I have attended since has continued to inspire and energize me and provide me with new skills and ideas.”

Online registration will open in April and includes discounts for AHS members, students and presenters. Contact organizers for volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.

More program details and online registration will be available at: www.AHSgardening.org/NCYGS

E-mail: education@ahsgardening.org

Call: (703) 768-5700

Follow AHS on Twitter: @AHS_NCYGS (#ncygs18)

Tour California Spring Trials April 13-17

From Mark Bridgen, Professor and Director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center:

We’re organizing a tour of several of the main stops along the Spring Trial route in California from April 13-17, 2018. This one-of-a-kind guided excursion is an intense, educational, and very entertaining way to visit several of the key Spring Trial locations with fellow horticulturists. The itinerary is jam-packed with three full days of tours with the days beginning early and continuing at a fast pace late into the evening. Guests will be able to visit the major horticultural companies that distribute plant materials and supplies and get a first-hand look at the products and new varieties that are available to the floriculture industry. This excursion is designed specifically for members of the greenhouse, nursery, and landscape industries, other horticulture professionals, and academics.

Deadline to register is February 9, 2018. More information and registration form.

If you have questions about details of the trip, contact me at mpb27@cornell.edu or at 631-727-3595.

Mark Bridgen and Neil Mattson on tour of 2014 California Spring Trials.

Mark Bridgen and Neil Mattson on tour of 2014 California Spring Trials.

Join Nature Rx club for Conservatory tour

CUAES greenhouse grower Paul Cooper leads tour for the Nature Rx Club at the Conservatory Dec. 7.

CUAES greenhouse grower Paul Cooper leads tour for the Nature Rx Club at the Conservatory Dec. 7.

Feeling stressed? The Nature Rx @ Cornell Club is hosting a tour of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory December 14 from noon to 1 p.m.

Kick back in the warm confines of the Conservatory and learn about some of the fascinating plants there from CUAES greenhouse greenhouse grower Paul Cooper.

If you can’t make it then, feel free to come on your own when the Conservatory is open to the public, most weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Reminder: Hortus Forum Poinsettia Sale Friday through Sunday

hofo crew with poinsettias
More than 20 cultivars to choose from at the Hortus Forum Poinsettia Sale!

  • December 1 – 1 to 5 p.m.
  • December 2 – 12 to 4 p.m.
  • December 3 – 1 to 4 p.m.

Location:

  • The Livestock Pavilion on the Cornell Campus. [Map]

Prices:

  • 6-inch pots $10 each
  • 10% off 5
  • 15% off 10

More information or to pre-order or to arrange delivery, email hortusforum@gmail.com

Download order form.

 

Download poster

Dec. 5 global soil painting competition illustrates soil’s vital role

By mixing soils with water and clear gesso, a liquid binder, Kirsten Kurtz creates unique paints similar to acrylic that retain the quality and texture of the soil. Here she touches up a painting she made with soils in Bradfield Hall. Photo by Matt Hayes / College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The finished painting from 2015 World Soil Day community soil painting project organized by Kurtz.

The finished painting from 2015 World Soil Day community soil painting project organized by Kurtz.

Reposted from CALS news [2017-11-28]:

The soil under our feet may not be top of mind, but it provides the foundation for everything we need to live – and it’s disappearing. Kirsten Kurtz is on a mission to save this essential resource by turning our attention to its natural beauty.

Kurtz, manager of Cornell’s Soil Health Testing Laboratory and a graduate student in the field of natural resources, does this in a profound way: by painting with it.

“You can see how I became inspired,” she says, pulling out soil samples ranging in hue from reddish brown to tan to yellow ochre. “It was being in the lab and seeing all the colors come in.”

By mixing soils with water and clear gesso, a liquid binder, she creates unique paints similar to acrylic that retain the quality and texture of the soil. Kurtz, who first started experimenting with soil painting in 2014, says it’s an effective tool for communicating with the public about the importance of soil.

And thanks to her creativity, the whole world will get the message on World Soil Day, which will feature a global soil painting competition Dec. 5 organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The competition, inspired by an event Kurtz and the Soil Health Lab hosted in 2015 for World Soil Day, aims to showcase creativity in illustrating soil’s crucial role in sustaining life.

Read the whole article.

Dreer Award Seminar December 4: Raquel Kallas

Kallas measuring midday water potential during a 40-degree C (104 F) heatwave last week.

Kallas measuring midday water potential during a 40-degree C (104 F) heatwave.

Dreer Award Seminar:
Active Canopy Cooling Strategies to Mitigate the Negative Effects of Heatwaves on Grapevines

Raquel Kallas, MPS Horticulture ’16
Monday, December 4, 2017
12:20 to 1:10 p.m.
Plant Science Building, 404

Kallas traveled to Australia to work with Vinay Pagay (PhD ’14 Horticulture). Hear about her travels and her research. “His lab is on the cutting-edge of vineyard technologies that will allow us to better understand and manage the effects of climate change on vines and wine quality,” says Kallas. While a student at Cornell, Pagay helped develop a microfluidic water sensor within a fingertip-sized silicon chip that is a hundred times more sensitive than current devices.

Visit Kallas’s Dreer Award blog Grapes of Raq detailing her travels.

Administered by the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, the Frederick Dreer Award provides a wonderful opportunity each year for one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad to pursue interests related to horticulture. Read more about the Dreer Award.

Cornell group explores future of indoor farming

Reposted from CALS News and the Cornell Chronicle [2017-11-21]

Doctoral student Jonathan Allred, center, leads a tour of Cornell greenhouses in November. Photo by R.J. Anderson / Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Horticulture doctoral student Jonathan Allred, center, leads a tour of Cornell greenhouses in November. Photo by R.J. Anderson / Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Indoor farming entrepreneurs and experts came to Cornell in early November with a goal: leverage the innovation at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to create viable businesses for local vegetables and produce grown indoors.

Known as controlled environment agriculture (CEA), the systems combine greenhouse environmental controls such as heating and lighting with hydroponic and soilless production, enabling year-round production of fresh vegetables. The process extends the growing season through a range of low-tech solutions – such as row covers and plastic-covered tunnels – to such high-tech solutions as fully automated glass greenhouses with computer controls and LED lights.

Neil Mattson, director of Cornell CEA and associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, at left, explains lighting trials during a tour of Cornell greenhouses in November. Photo by R.J. Anderson / CCE

Neil Mattson, director of Cornell CEA and associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, at left, explains lighting trials during a tour of Cornell greenhouses in November. Photo by R.J. Anderson / CCE

Led by Neil Mattson, director of Cornell CEA and associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell has become a world leader in CEA research. In early November, the Cornell CEA Advisory Council, which was formed in 2015 to expand the retail and food service markets for products grown using CEA, hosted on campus more than 80 entrepreneurs and stakeholders from across the Northeast to discuss the state of the indoor farming industry, urban agriculture, supermarket trends and new technology.

Read the whole article.

Cover crop meeting draws big crowd

SIPS director Chris Smart welcomes the cover crop crowd to Cornell

SIPS director Chris Smart welcomes the cover crop crowd to Cornell

More than 170 researchers, educators, farmers, and agricultural service providers attended the Northeast Cover Crops Council’s (NECCC) Annual Meeting at The Statler Hotel on November 8 for a day-long program featuring more than 40 speakers and an evening poster session.

Speakers reported on the latest research and farmer-proven practices on a wide range of topics including techniques for establishing and terminating cover crops, their benefits, and how to get more farmers interested in cover cropping. Bianca Moebius-Clune (MS ’06, PhD ’09), Director of the USDA-NRCS Soil Health Divisiondelivered the opening keynote address. Moebius-Clune was formerly a Senior Extension Associate in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section.

“The great turnout we had is more evidence of the growing interest in using cover crops to prevent erosion, manage nutrients, suppress weeds, and increase both soil health and farm profits,” says Matt Ryan, assistant professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section and head of the Cornell Sustainable Cropping Systems Lab, who helped organize and hosted the meeting.

The second day of the meeting featured a field tour of the cover crop demonstrations at the USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center, Big Flats, N.Y.

The meeting was the first for the NECCC, whose mission is to support the successful implementation of cover crops to maximize economic, environmental, and social benefits.  The group facilitates regional collaboration between farmers, researchers and the public to foster the exchange of information, inspiration, and outcome-based research, and serves as a central clearinghouse for cover crop research in the Northeast.

Big Flats field tour at the NECCC Annual Meeting

Big Flats field tour at the NECCC Annual Meeting

Thinking about graduate school in Plant Sciences?

From Patty Chan, Pi Alpha Xi horticulture honor society:

Here’s your chance to learn the ropes.

Pi Alpha Xi horticulture honor society will host a Plant Sciences Grad School Panel for all CALS students on Wednesday, November 8th, 5:00-6:30 p.m. in 404 Plant Science.

The program is specifically tailored to students currently applying, or considering applying to grad school for programs related to plant sciences.  This panel will feature members of faculty and staff involved with graduate programs and admissions in the field as well as current graduate students studying in plant sciences.

This will be a great opportunity for anyone with questions about the application process or wondering whether graduate school would be a good fit for them.

Refreshments will be served. Come join us.

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