Archive for the “Extension and outreach” Category

Cornell University media advisory:

Hone your hugelkultur, savor shiitake at Cornell nut grove open house

May 10 open house at MacDaniels Nut Grove offers activities for the whole family

What: MacDaniels Nut Grove springtime open house
When: Saturday, May 10, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: MacDaniels Nut Grove, near Palm Road on the Cornell campus.
Note: The MacDaniels nut grove is located on steep terrain and requires a decent walk from parking to the forest. Those with limited mobility may have a hard time accessing the entrance and navigating the site. Please contact Steve at with questions regarding accessibility.

Shiitake mushroom demonstration at MacDaniels Nut Grove

Shiitake mushroom demonstration at MacDaniels Nut Grove

ITHACA, N.Y. – When most people think about farms, they think about fields. Today, sustainable forest-farming is taking root across the country ¬– and will be on display at the MacDaniels Nut Grove spring open house, just of the Cornell University campus.

The open house features a full demonstration of forest farming practices including mushroom cultivation, medicinal plants, an ornamental nursery, and fruit production of paw paw and elderberry, and water management techniques including swales and hugelkulture piles.

Try hands-on inoculation of mushroom logs and see grafting demonstrations. Taste nuts and enjoy an afternoon in the woods, which is adjacent to the East Hill Recreation Trail for longer hikes.

This 90-plus year-old grove, planted by Cornell Professor Lawrence MacDaniels, includes impressive hickory and walnut varieties, and is a wonder to see on its own.

Tours by Professor Ken Mudge, who re-discovered the nut grove in 2002, will be offered at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m.

For a map, directions and additional details about the MacDaniels Nut Grove, visit:

Media that wish to attend should RSVP to Joe Schwartz at the Cornell University Media Relations Office, 607-264-6235 or

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Cornell Turfgrass on iTunesFree ShortCUTT turfgrass podcasts are back for the 2014 growing season. In the podcasts, available via iTunes or the Cornell Turfgrass blog, ‘Turf Guy’ Frank Rossi, provides weekly news and advice for professionals in the lawn-, golf- and sports-turf industry in New York State and surrounding areas.

Each episode reviews the week’s weather and it’s implications on turf management, pest and disease alerts, and practical solutions to timely problems.

For more turfgrass management information, visit the Cornell Turfgrass Program website.


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Chris Watkins and others with Congressman Bill Owens, D-NY 21st District Reposted from CALS Notes:

Last week, new Cornell Cooperative Extension Director Chris Watkins led a group of extension volunteers, CCE executive directors, and 4-H and agricultural issue leaders on a trip to Washington, D.C. Taking a break from a national extension conference, the group met with various Congressional leaders to explain the importance of federal Smith-Lever dollars in fostering strong partnerships between county, state, and federal governments.

Smith-Lever funds are the foundation of the U.S. cooperative extension system. Passed in 1914, the Smith-Lever Act provides federal dollars to the states for extension activities, with the proviso that the states must fully match these funds from non-federal sources. The money is then used to support the cooperative extension networks in each state, which are administered through the state’s Land-grant institution. Without these resources, numerous CCE-sponsored programs in New York would not exist.

In this photo, Watkins (far left) visits with Congressman Bill Owens, D-NY 21st District (center), along with several members of the CCE delegation. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Owens (who recently announced he will not seek re-election) has been an advocate for the important contributions higher education and research make to the economic development of New York’s agricultural and rural communities.

(Photo and text provided by Julie Suarez. Pictured L-R: Watkins; Kevin Acres, St. Lawrence County legislator; Patrick Ames, CCE Director of St. Lawrence County; Congressman Owens; Rick LeVitre, CCE Director of Franklin County; Julie Suarez, CALS Assistant Dean for Government and Community Relations; and Anita Deming, Natural Resource and Agriculture Team Leader from CCE of Essex County)

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Terence Robinson

Terence Robinson

Terence Robinson, professor, Department of Horticulture, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 American Society for Horticultural Science Outstanding Extension Educator Award. Robinson will receive the award at the ASHS Annual Conference at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida at the Opening Plenary Session, July 28.

The award “recognizes an educator who has made an outstanding and valuable contribution to horticultural science extension education for a period of 10 or more years”.

Congratulations Terence!

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Solar powered pumping system, Pultney, NY

Solar powered pump system, Pultney, NY

From the Cornell Small Farms Program:

Are you looking to stabilize rising fuel and energy costs on your farm or homestead?  Are you seeking more sustainable sources of energy?  In this upcoming four-part webinar series, you’ll meet an organic vegetable farmer, grape grower & winemaker, sunflower & biodiesel producer, and pastured livestock farmer who will lead you through a virtual tour of their sustainable farm energy systems and ecological production techniques.

  • April 4: Organic Vegetable Farm Cools with the Earth: Warms with the Sun
    Noon – 1:00pm with Jay Armour of Four Winds Farm, Gardiner, NY
  • April 11: Family Vineyard Shrinks Carbon Footprint by 40%
    Noon – 1:00pm with Art Hunt of Hunt Country Vineyards, Branchport, NY
  • April 18: Sunflowers & Canola to Fuel: Dairy Becomes Biodiesel Production Facility
    Noon – 1:00pm with Roger Rainville of Borderview Farm, Alburgh, Vermont
  • April 25: Thirsty Livestock? Use Sun or Wind to Power a Remote Watering System
    Noon – 1:00pm with Jonathan Barter of Barter Farm, Branchport NY

Preregistration required. More information, registration links.

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soil health test compositex400The Cornell Soil Health Testing Lab is open for business for 2014. The lab’s Soil Health Assessment Package includes two new tests this year: Soil respiration and soil protein.

The package is tecommended for conventional grain and forage crops, vegetable production, organic crop production, home gardens, and urban gardens. Non-agricultural applications include problem diagnosis in landscaped areas, site remediation, and other urban applications.

The full slate of tests costs $85 and includes:

  • Particle size distribution and texture
  • Wet aggregate stability
  • Available water capacity
  • Surface hardness
  • Subsurface hardness
  • Organic matter
  • Active carbon
  • Soil respiration
  • Soil protein
  • Root pathogen pressure
  • Standard fertility test (pH, Buffer pH (lime requirement), organic matter and Modified Morgan extractable phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, iron, zinc, and manganese.)

Additional tests offered include potentially mineralizable nitrogen, soluble salts, heavy metals, and boron. Tests can also be ordered ‘à la carte’.

For more information, visit the Cornell Soil Health website.

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Bill Miller explains flower bulb research to Oregon farmers.

Bill Miller explains flower bulb research to Oregon farmers.

Reposted from CALS Notes:

The Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) recently hosted over two-dozen farmers and producers from Oregon who visited Cornell as part of an agricultural education tour of New York State. The tour, sponsored by the AgriBuisness Management Program of Chemeketa Community College in Salem, OR, started with an overview of the energy efficient growth chambers in Weill Hall given by Nick Van Eck, growth chamber supervisor.

“Instead of using electric heat and refrigeration,” Van Eck explained, “the temperature of these chambers is regulated by utilizing campus chilled water and hot water that heats the building.”

The tour continued to the greenhouse complex, where Neil Mattson, associate professor of horticulture, showed off spring trials being conducted as part of his research comparing the efficacy of organic vs. conventional fertilizers in the production of bedding plants and vegetable transplants.

“We compared the performance of tomato and pepper seedlings to four different commercially available vermicompost materials. Not all materials are suitable for use as the sole fertility source, but we found excellent performance from Worm Power, a New York state company and one of our grant collaborators.”

Mattson also noted that controlled release fertilizers and slow release organic fertilizers can be an effective way to reduce nutrient leaching to the environment.

Elsewhere in the greenhouses, Bill Miller, professor of horticulture and research director of the Cornell Flower Bulb Research Program, demonstrated how the growth regulator ethephon helps to keep flowering plants like hyacinths and daffodils shorter and stockier so they hold up better during shipping and sale (pictured).

Other presenters included Department of Horticulture faculty members Ken Mudge and Marvin Pritts, CUAES Director of Operations Glenn Evans, and James Tanaka of theCornell Small Grains Breeding Project.

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A new study reports that children in schools with vegetable gardens got 10 minutes more of exercise than before their schools had gardens.

A new study reports that children in schools with vegetable gardens got 10 minutes more of exercise than before their schools had gardens.

To get schoolchildren moving, uproot them from classrooms into school gardens, concludes a two-year Cornell study of 12 elementary schools in five New York regions.

By experiment’s end, kids at schools with gardens were moderately physically active at school for 10 more minutes a week than before their schools had gardens. That was an increase of four times what peers experienced at gardenless schools. What’s more, children who gardened at school were substantially less sedentary at home and elsewhere than their counterparts.

With nearly one in three American children overweight or obese, school gardens could be a simple, low-cost way to get kids more active, said environmental psychologist Nancy Wells, associate professor of design and environmental analysis in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.

Read the whole article [Cornell Chronicle 2014-03-20]

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Strawberries in quart basket

New strawberry selection NY01-16 now available for testing

On behalf of Dale Ila M. Riggs, President, NYS Berry Growers Association and Dr. Courtney Weber, NYSAES Small Fruit Breeder via the Cornell fruit news and events blog.

Two years ago, the NYS Berry Growers Association and Dr. Courtney Weber from Cornell’s Small Fruit Breeding Program entered into an agreement where members of the Association will be able to “test drive” advanced selections from Courtney’s breeding program.  This is a phenomenal opportunity for all members of the Association and will make it possible for members to try potential raspberry and strawberry varieties before any other member of the grower community has the opportunity.  This is a huge competitive advantage!

The NYSBGA and Courtney are now seeking growers that want to evaluate and provide feedback regarding the second advanced selection from Courtney’s strawberry breeding program under this agreement.  The selection, NY01-16,is very large for the early mid-season. The largest fruit were 51 g (almost 2 ounces) without irrigation. Subsequent fruit hold their size well. The fruit have very aromatic flavor, are slightly dark red, firm, with an attractive conic shape.  In 2013 it started fruiting on June 4 (one week prior to Jewel) and fruited until about July 1.

If you would like to trial this selection, you must be signed up as a member of the NYSBGA by April 1.  If you are not a member, contact Paul Baker, Executive Secretary for the NYSBGA (716-807-6827) to get signed up.  You can also download a membership form from  After your membership has been confirmed, Paul will need your address, your shipping address, and your requested date for shipment.  As part of the evaluation process, a one page site report form and a one page fruit/plant evaluation form will be submitted to the Berry Growers Association and the data will be forwarded to the Small Fruit Breeding program.

This is a wonderful opportunity brought to you by the NYSBGA and Cornell.  Cornell is excited about being able to get data to see how advanced selections perform in commercial situations.  Members can get a minimum of 1000 plants to a maximum of 2000 plants to test on their farm.   Don’t miss out.  Contact Paul Baker today!

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Ornithogalum research at KPL greenhouses

Ornithogalum research at KPL greenhouses

From Neil Mattson and Bill Miller:

We invite you to attend a free, informal open house at the Cornell campus to highlight some of the greenhouse research being conducted there. Come visit our trials and talk with Bill Miller and Neil Mattson. The open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 12. noon on Tuesday March 18, 2014 at the Ken Post Lab Greenhouses. Come and go as you please!

In addition, the nearby East Ithaca high tunnel facility (about 1 mile from campus) will be open to tour with Chris Wien from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

Directions,  parking and more information.

Greenhouse trials in progress

  • Spring bedding plants growing with different rates of liquid, organic, and controlled release fertilizer
  • Comparing different vermicompost materials for vegetable seedlings and transplants
  • Cut flower callas and response to GA treatments and silicon
  • Testing PGRs for height control of daffodils, hyacinth, and tulips
  • Ornithogalum potted plants and response to temperature and PGRs
  • Hydroponic spinach and lettuce

High tunnel trials – not much green yet!

  • Anemone and ranunculus for early spring cut flowers
  • Overwintering trials with dahlia and eucomis (pineapple lily)
  • Check out the high tunnel structure where Mattson has conducted trials with finishing spring bedding plants with no heat

For more information, contact Neil Mattson at 607-255-0621 or

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