Archive for the “Extension and outreach” Category

Hellebore watercolor by Marcia Eames-Sheavly

Learn botanical illustration online.  Three courses taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly start January 26, 2014:

You can view works by students in previous classes on display in the cases in the west wing of the first floor of Plant Science Building. The course webpages also have links to previous students who have posted their works online.

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Brian Eshenaur and Elizabeth Lamb

Brian Eshenaur and Elizabeth Lamb

From Melissa Osgood, Cornell University Media Relations Office:

Still in the market for a holiday tree? Not to worry, two Cornell University experts share their tips and tricks to pick and preserve the perfect pine tree. 

Brian Eshenaur is a plant pathologist, a certified New York State nursery professional and a Western New York-based educator with NYS IPM. Elizabeth Lamb has a Ph.D. in plant breeding and is a senior extension associate with the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s New York State Integrated Pest Management program. 

Eshenaur says:

“Despite the subzero temperatures that occurred early in the year and some subsequent winter burn on certain trees, the 2014 growing season was a good one for New York Christmas tree growers.  Moderate summer temperatures and regular rainfall helped the trees at Christmas tree farms put on a healthy layer of growth.

“The mix of trees being grown and available to consumers continues to evolve.  We notice more Fraser firs than ever that are available this year and a nice mix of other firs and in some locations even spruce trees as well.

“The best way to preserve the tree’s freshness is to keep plenty of fresh water in the tree stand. If possible, when you bring it home make a new cut from the bottom of the trunk if you think the tree has spent some time on the tree lot and the cut stump looks weathered and dirty. That way you’re sure to have open ‘pipework’ to keep the water flowing to the needles.”  

Lamb says:

“The fresher the tree the better, which is a good reason to buy local. The branches should be springy and smell good. A few loose needles aren’t a problem but you shouldn’t get handfuls when you brush the branches.” 

Tips for selecting the best Christmas tree: 

  • Firs and pines have the best needle retention and can last for a month or more indoors. However if buying a spruce tree, plan to have it in the house for just a week to 10 days.
  • Look for a tree with a good solid-green color. Needle yellowing or a slight brown speckled color could indicate there was a pest problem and could lead to early needle drop.
  • Don’t be afraid to handle and bend the branches and shoots. Green needles should not come off in your hands. Also, the shoots should be flexible. Avoid a tree if the needles are shed or if the shoots crack or snap with handling.
  • Christmas trees should smell good. If there isn’t much fragrance when you flex the needles, it may mean that the tree was cut too long ago.
  • If possible, make a fresh cut on the bottom so the tree’s vascular tissue (pipe work) is not plugged and so the tree can easily take up water. Then, if you’re not bringing it into the house right away, get the tree in a bucket of water outside.
  • Once your tree gets moved to inside the house, don’t locate it next to a radiator or furnace vent. And always remember to keep water in the tree stand topped off, so it never goes below the bottom of the trunk.

 

County Cooperative Extension offices often have lists of local Christmas tree growers. You can also check the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York website at www.christmastreesny.org/new-york-state.html.

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From Thomas Björkman:

Hundreds of Cornell alumni gathered at the Astor Center in Greenwich Village for Furrows to Boroughs: A Taste of New York State in New York City, a regional sesquicentennial celebration October 22 hosted by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  The event highlighted the link between tri-state agriculture and Cornell. The culinary work and products of local farmers, agricultural businesses and chefs were on display and available to taste.

Horticultural products featured prominently. Many wines of course, a tremendous pastry designed around Susan Brown’s new SnapDragon apple, and fall berries and vegetables raised with techniques and varieties developed at Cornell. The alumni were not only excited by the great food, but also proud to be part of the institution that helps make it all possible.

I collaborated with chef and native Ithacan Tyler Kord, who has been making a big splash in the New York City restaurant scene by highlighting broccoli in new contexts. He operates the No. 7 restaurant in Fort Greene Brooklyn and has two high-profile sub shops at the Plaza Hotel by Central Park and the Ace Hotel in the financial district where he has popularized both the broccoli sub sandwich and the broccoli taco. This year Short Stack published his cookbook  Broccoli.

At Furrows to Boroughs, Tyler served tacos using broccoli provided by Windflower Farm, operated by former Cornell Cooperative Extension educator Ted Blomgren, who continues to be an avid cooperator on Cornell Horticulture research and extension projects as well as a pioneer for providing fresh produce to the food deserts in the outer boroughs through an active CSA.

As part of the Eastern Broccoli Project, I’m leading a team to develop varieties as well as the production and marketing infrastructure to supply New York City with Northeast broccoli for three months of the year, and have other Eastern regions supply the same buyers for the balance of the year.

Our goal is not to supply all of the Big Apple’s broccoli, but enough to provide regional growers with a profitable alternative enterprise and consumers with a fresher, more flavorful and nutritious product.

The project is funded by the USDA’s  Specialty Crop Research Initiative, and is a collaboration with six other universities, the Agricultural Research Service, seed companies,  distributors and growers.

Tyler Kord prepares broccoli tacos at Furrows to Boroughs.

Tyler Kord prepares broccoli tacos at Furrows to Boroughs.

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Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health.

Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health.

From Lori Brewer:

Registration is now open for the online course Permaculture Design: Ecosystem Mimicry, offered Jan. 5 through Feb. 19., 2015 through the Horticulture section’s distance learning program. Space is limited to 25 participants. Registration closes when limit is reached. Registration fee is $600 and to be paid via credit card at registration. See registration link at course info website.

The study of permaculture helps gardeners, landowners, and farmers combine knowledge of ecology combined with its application to supporting healthy soil, water conservation, and biodiversity. Permaculture systems meet human needs while restoring ecosystem health. Common practices include no-till gardening, rainwater catchment, forest gardening, and agroforestry.

View the full syllabus for the course and find registration information at the course info website.

Horticulture’s distance learning program offers two other online permaculture design courses:

Completion of a single class gives students a certificate of completion from the Horticulture and continuing education units*. 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. Registration opens about six weeks before  courses begins.

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'Wee Stinky' at dawn November 14.

‘Wee Stinky’ at dawn November 14.

While it is difficult to predict exactly when, the Cornell University Titan Arum (dubbed ‘Wee Stinky’ when it flowered for the first time in March 2012) is poised to flower again.

Visiting Hours

Visiting Hours: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Hours will be extended once the plant blooms. For updates watch our Twitter and Facebook feeds.

You can also view the titan arum on a live webcamtrack its growth in numbers and images, and read updates on our blog.

Cornell Daily Sun science editor Kathleen Bitter previews the impending bloom in ‘Wee Stinky’ to Bloom For First Time Since 2012.

To learn more about Titan Arums, you can also view the Titan Arum YouTube playlist. Here’s a sample:

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Processor and seed company representatives sample frozen peas at NYSAES ‘cuttng’.

Processor and seed company representatives sample frozen peas at NYSAES ‘cuttng’.

More than 40 people attended the annual fall processing vegetable ‘cutting’ November 6 to sample and compare canned and frozen peas, sweet corn, and snap beans trialed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y.

“It was the best turnout we’ve ever had,” says Jim Ballerstein, the research support specialist who manages the processing vegetable trials.

Attendees included representatives from processing and seed companies, including the top three vegetable seed companies in the world, adds Ballerstein.

The cutting included samples of 50 pea cultivars, 55 snap beans (canned and frozen), and 63 sweet corns (frozen kernel and whole ear).

Learn more about processing vegetable trials at NYSAES.

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Old barn foundation at the Bassuk-Trowbridge garden.

Old barn foundation at the Bassuk-Trowbridge garden.

If you’ve ever visited Nina Bassuk and Peter Trowbridge‘s garden during their annual Daffodil Day open house and wondered what went into its design and construction, don’t miss Behind the Scenes in the Bassuk-Trowbridge Landscape in Taking Root, the newsletter and blog of the New York State Urban Forestry Council.

“What I love about the gardens is that there’s a powerful overall scheme integrated with small gardens that surprise and delight,” says landscape architect Dan Krall, a colleague of Peter’s at Cornell and a close family friend. “There are wonderful elements of contrast. As you move farther away from the house, things get a little wilder. You start with gardens that are highly maintained, and you are led to a meadow that feels like a big open English park.”

The article also details Nina and Peter’s bulb-planting practices, focus on foliage, and — of course — matching plants to challenging soil and environmental conditions.

Read the whole article.

In other recent posts, Nina discusses the early history of the New York State Urban Forestry Council and extolled the virtues of ‘White Shield’ Osage orange (Maclura pomifera).

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sports turf management homepageThe new Cornell Sports Field Management website provides sports turf managers with the latest best management practices and resources they need to maintain  safe and functional school and community sports fields.

The site includes information about soils, grass varieties, routine care (mowing, fertilizing, watering, etc.), integrated pest management and more. Interactive schedules for different levels of management and seasons that fields are in use make it easier for managers to time their field operations.

Recognizing that sports turf managers don’t work in isolation, the site also provides information for coaches, athletic directors, administrators, community members and others to help them understand how their decisions can affect turf quality and field safety.

The site was developed by the Cornell Turfgrass team with input from Cornell Cooperative Extension colleagues and sports turf grounds managers from across New York State. Funding was provided by the Community IPM Initiative of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program to support New York State schools in implementing the Child Safe Fields Playing Act.

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From Tim MartinsonNorthern Grapes Project Director,  tem2@cornell.edu:

Northern Grapes Project Director Dr. Timothy Martinson speaks about the training system trials during a field day at Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton, N.Y.

Northern Grapes Project Director Tim Martinson speaks about the training system trials during a field day at Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton, N.Y.

The Northern Grapes Project received an additional $2.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crops Research Initiative to complete the final two years of the multistate effort, which began in 2011.

The project focuses on growing extremely cold-hardy wine grape varieties that are new to both growers and consumers, creating a rapidly-expanding industry of small vineyard and winery enterprises.  Dr. Tim Martinson, Senior Extension Associate at Cornell University, leads the project team, which includes research and Extension personnel from ten institutions in the Upper Midwest and Northeast.

“New producers are spread across twelve states, most without an established wine industry,” said Martinson. “By working together, the Northern Grapes Project team provides more resources to producers than would be available if each state had its own effort.”

The new varieties have growth habits and flavor profiles that are quite different from well-known varieties. So the project’s researchers have been working to determine the best ways to grow them, turn them into flavorful wines, and market those wines in local and regional markets.

In the first three years of the project, team members invested heavily in field and laboratory trials, conducted consumer surveys and a baseline survey of the industry, and provided outreach programming to an aggregate audience of more than 7,000.

“The continued success of this project in obtaining funding is testament to the team’s exceptional productivity and to how this project has impacted grape production in northern regions across the Northeast and upper Midwest,” said Dr. Thomas Burr, Director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

“As a producer, having scientists involved is especially valuable to us as they are conducting rigorous tests to back up our hunches and our theories,” said Dave Greenlee, a project advisory council member and co-owner of Tucker’s Walk Vineyard in Garretson, S.D. Greenlee cites trials of various trellising systems in vineyards and sensory evaluations of wines using different yeast strains in the lab. “These save us time and help us improve our products,” he points out.

The grant was funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crops Research Initiative, which supports multi-institution, interdisciplinary research on crops including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and ornamentals.  The project includes personnel from Cornell University, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska, the University of Vermont, and the University of Wisconsin.

For more information, visit the Northern Grapes Project website at http://northerngrapesproject.org.

High resolution image.

The Northern Grape Project’s webinar series starts November 20, 2014 Steve Lerch, Cornell University and Mike White, Iowa State University on Trellis Design and Construction and Pruning Fundamentals Prior to Your First Cut.

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If you missed yesterday’s horticulture seminar Targeting vegetable crop improvement in East Africa with Phillip Griffiths, it’s available online.

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