Archive for the “Publications” Category

Research assistant Priscilla Thompson tends ornamental peppers.

Research assistant Priscilla Thompson tends ornamental peppers.

Chris Wien’s 2013 cut flower cultural practice studies and variety trials report is now available online. This year’s research includes:

  • Anemone/Ranunculus tunnel trial
  • Delphinium longevity trial
  • Larkspur planting date and pinching trial
  • Sunflower night interruption experiment
  • Sunflower topping methods trial

Wien also reports on variety trials of

  • Amaranthus
  • Celosia
  • Eucomis
  • Lisianthus
  • Marigold
  • Pumpkin-on-a-stick (Solanum integrifolium)
  • Snapdragon
  • Zinnia

To see previous years’ reports, visit Wien’s research page.

Cut flower trials

Below left to right, Eucomis ‘Reuben’, ‘Amadine Yellow Picotee’ ranunculus grown in high tunnel (April 29), ‘Garda Tricolor’ ornamental pepper.

Comments No Comments »

Screen shot 2014-01-17 at 10.57.21 AMVia the Northeast Forest Mushroom Growers Network:

Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation in the Northeastern United States is a new guide for growers published by Cornell Cooperative Extension in collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture and a team of farm advisors. The book and related publications are available for free download at:

Shiitakes are the second-most cultivated mushroom variety in the world, and the demand for locally produced, log-grown shiitakes is high among chefs and consumers alike. According to the guide, “Forest cultivation of shiitake mushrooms can generate income, diversify farm and forestry enterprises, add value to forestry by-products and create opportunities for timber stand improvement.”   At publication time, these mushrooms sell for $10-$18 per pound across the Northeast.

The guide is the culmination of a three-year research and education project funded by a grant from USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. The project was led by Ken Mudge, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, and included Ben Waterman  and Bridgett Jamison Hilshey  (University of Vermont) and Allen Matthews (Chatham University). The project was informed by the experiences of more than twenty shiitake growers producing for market in the Northeast, led by four farm advisors:  Steve Sierigk, Hawk Meadow Farm, Trumansburg, N.Y., Nick Laskovski, Dana Forest Farm, Waitsfield, Vt., Steve and Julie Rockcastle, of Green Heron Growers, Panama, N.Y. and Steve Gabriel, Wellspring Forest Farm, Mecklenburg, N.Y.

The Northeast Forest Mushroom Growers Network is a resource site for growers of all scales featuring factsheets, videos, a Northeast grower directory and listings of events and classes.

Comments No Comments »

What varieties will perform best in your garden?

What varieties will perform best in your garden?

Just in time for arrival of this year’s crop of seed catalogs, the 2014 edition of Selected List of Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners in New York State is now available online.

The varieties listed in this report should be well adapted for most home gardens in New York State, offer relatively high quality, be dependable, possess disease and insect resistance when possible, and have a relatively long harvest period.

There may be varieties not listed in the report that will perform satisfactorily in your garden, or even better under certain conditions. If you’d like to dive into a larger pool of varieties as you plan you garden, visit our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website for detailed descriptions and seed sources of more than 6,100 varieties. At the site, you can compare varieties, read ratings and reviews by fellow gardeners, and offer your own observations of which varieties perform best in your garden.

And if you’re looking for growing tips, check out our vegetable growing guides.

Best of luck with your 2014 growing season.

Comments No Comments »

Bioswale at Cornell Plantations filters water from nearby parking lot. (Photo: Ethan Dropkin)

Bioswale at Cornell Plantations filters water from nearby parking lot. (Photo: Ethan Dropkin)

Rain gardens, filter strips and bioswales are a great way to help reduce runoff, flooding and pollution while increasing groundwater infiltration and aquifer recharge – especially in urban areas.

These stormwater prevention practices are often planted with herbaceous plants such as swamp milkweed, soft rush and Joe-Pye weed that tolerate periodic flooding while also surviving dry periods between storms. But these plant need to be cut back annually after their leaves and stems die back to the ground.

Carefully chosen woody shrubs, on the other hand, can do the same job with less maintenance. Plus they can provide aesthetic benefits, year-round interest, shade and wildlife habitat all while removing and sequestering carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – from the atmosphere.

To help choose the right shrub for these uses, the Department of Horticulture’s Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI) has just released a 56-page guide, Woody Shrubs for Stormwater Retention Practices (Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions).  The guide details site assessment and design considerations for those practices and profiles more than 35 woody shrub species that can tolerate both dry and periodically saturated soil conditions typical of retention areas.

The guide is based in part on a study conducted in Ithaca, N.Y., by Master of Professional Studies student Ethan M. Dropkin guided by co-author and UHI director Nina Bassuk. The study tested the flood and drought tolerances of six of the shrub species included in the guide.

Free electronic versions of the guide are available through the outreach section of the UHI website:

Comments No Comments »

Site Assessment for Better Gardens and LandscapesEver wonder why some gardens and landscapes look dazzling year after year, while others decline? Or why a planting looks great at one location while the same plants looks skimpy and unattractive nearby?

Careful evaluation of your site before planting will help you make sure that your plants thrive. And a new publication, Site Assessment for Better Gardens and Landscapes, will lead you step-by-step through the process.

The 81-page spiral-bound book includes more than 30 hands-on activities and 50 color photos that will help novice gardeners, experienced gardeners and landscape professionals save time and money, avoid problems, and produce easy-to-care-for, sustainable gardens and landscapes.

The author, Charles P, Mazza, former statewide leader of New York’s Master Gardener Program, brought his years of gardening and landscaping experience to the project. The book is published by Plant and Life Sciences Publishing (PALS), a program of the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Cost is $19.90 plus shipping and handling. Quantity discounts are available. Visit the PALS website for ordering information.

Comments No Comments »

periodcals coverLook for some familiar hort faces in this special issue of periodiCALS, the magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. [.pdf | digital magazine]

For openers, there’s a two-page spread of students tending associate professor Phillip Griffiths research plots at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y.

Viticulture and enology major Marisa Sergi ’15 describes her new wine, ‘Redhead’ created on her summer internship.

And there’s news about Dilmun Hill’s successful online fundraiser, the installation of the Trillium Permaculture Garden by plant science majors Celine Jennison ’14 and Sarah Nechamen ’15, and agricultural science major Leigh Archer ’13 competing with the elite U.S. team in the World Rowing Under 23 championships.


Comments No Comments »

A message from Kathryn J. Boor, Ph.D., The Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of CALS Notes, the newest publication of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University! You’ll note that I called this new effort a “publication,” not a “blog.” While CALS Notes will function like any Tumblr blog, we intend it to be so much more. With original stories, fun features and college news updated daily, CALS Notes will be an exciting new source of information about the nation’s leading college of agriculture and life sciences.

Browsing CALS Notes is as simple as a mouse click. On the home page you’ll find the most recent stories in the chronological order in which they were posted. Looking for something specific? Try the search bar at the top of the page. Or, click the navigation tabs to browse stories categorized under specific themes.

For example, click “Study Notes,” and you’ll find stories about our students. “Lab Notes” brings you to news of our latest research discoveries. “Notables” contains stories on special landmarks in the lives of members of the CALS community. And “Marginalia” is the home of fun and interesting tidbits that illustrate the breadth and depth of ongoings in our college.

You can become a subscriber to CALS Notes in one of three ways: Follow us on Tumblr, subscribe to our RSS feed using your RSS reader, or sign up to join our email list, and receive monthly reminders to visit the site. I hope you enjoy CALS Notes and find it as informative, helpful and fun as we intend it to be.

Nina Bassuk’s Urban Eden class featured in recent post on CALS Notes:

New blog: CALS Notes

CALS also has a new Facebook page for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the college at We’re also on Twitter @CornellCALS

Comments No Comments »

The People's Colleges A History of the New York State Extension Service in Cornell University and the State, 1876-1948The People’s Colleges
A History of the New York State Extension Service in Cornell University and the State, 1876-1948

By Ruby Green Smith
Foreword by Helene R. Dillard
Preface by Scott J. Peters
Cornell University Press

Scott Peters, associate professor, Department of Horticulture, writes in the preface, “One of the most important lessons Smith teaches us in this book is that the satisfactions of democratic living are not experienced and achieved when experts, however well meaning, do things for people. Nor are they achieved through work that is coerced or scripted, that offers no real rewards, or is experienced as duty-bound drudgery. They’re achieved through hard work, for sure—gritty, difficult, and at times full of conflict and disagreement. But work that is also joyful, artistic, productive, improvisational, and spirited, the expression of a free people engaged in the pursuit of public and private happiness.”

The People’s Colleges, first published in 1949, records the story of Cornell University’s success in the field of extramural education. From four state colleges of the University—the New York State College of Agriculture, the New York State College of Home Economics, the New York State Veterinary College, and the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations—professors went out to the people of New York State with the best that the university had to offer. Ruby Green Smith tells the dramatic story of the growth of the Extension Service in scope, flexibility, and specialization through 1948, when it enrolled more than 200,000 students.

Comments No Comments »

Cutflower data.Chris Wien’s 2012 cut flower cultural practice studies and variety trials report is now available online. This year’s research include experiments on:

  • Aster Root Rot
  • Sunflower Photoperiod
  • Sunflower Pinching and Spacing
  • Sunflower Pollination
  • Sunflower Petal Pull

Wien also reports on variety trials of Carthamus(Safflower), Celosia, Chrysanthemum, Cynoglossum, Eucomis, Gomphrena (Globe Amaranth), Larkspur (Consolida), Lisianthus (Eustoma), Marigold, Pepper (Capsicum baccatum), Snapdragon (Antirrhinum), and Stock (Matthiola).

To see previous years’ reports, visit Wien’s research page.

Comments No Comments »

New urban farmng guide

New urban farmng guide

From Violet Stone, Cornell Small Farms Program (

Are you interested in or currently farming in a city?  Do you wonder how to access land, how to reclaim a contaminated site, how to maximize use of a small growing space, or how to most successfully target your urban market?

The Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to announce the release of our new Guide to URBAN Farming in New York State.  The Guide answers these and many other common questions about farming in urban environments, and can help you launch, continue, or expand your urban farm business.

The 105-page resource guide contains factsheets on a myriad of topics, including tips for:

  • Advocating for urban agriculture
  • Engaging communities
  • Dealing with contaminated soils
  • Intensive growing techniques
  • Urban composting
  • Site security
  • Urban livestock
  • Direct marking options
  • Accepting food stamps
  • Grant and financial opportunities
  • And many more!

Also included is an appendix listing services and resources available from several urban farming organizations throughout New York State.

Whether you’re looking to grow food on your roof top, keep chickens in your backyard, learn more about hydroponics or start an urban CSA, the Guide to URBAN Farming in New York State will provide or direct you to the information you need to know.

The Guide is available as a free .pdf download or you may view individual fact sheets online (good for dial-up or bandwidth restricted users).

For more small farm news and events, visit the Cornell Small Farms Program website.  For beginning farmer assistance, visit the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project website.

Comments No Comments »