If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Push-pull intercropping systems in sub-Saharan Africa: A prime example of successful ecological intensification with Laurie Drinkwater, Professor, Horticulture Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, it is available online.
If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, The WVU Organic Farm – 15 years of research and education with Sven Verlinden, Associate Professor, Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, West Virginia University, it is available online.
Strawberry fans, rejoice. The newest Cornell strawberry variety concentrates intense flavor in a berry big enough to fill the palm of your hand.
Topping out at over 50 grams, Archer, the latest creation from Cornell berry breeder Courtney Weber, is comparable in size to a plum or small peach. But this behemoth stands out in ways beyond just its proportions: the flavor and aroma exceed what you’d expect from a strawberry of such unusual size.
“Archer is an extraordinarily high-flavored berry,” said Weber, associate professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. “It has an intense aroma, so when you bite into it you get a strong strawberry smell, and it’s very sweet, so you get a strong strawberry flavor that really makes an impact.”
Weber says the combination of large fruit and strong flavor hits the sweet spot for local growers who sell in farmers markets, u-pick sites and roadside stands. Archer ripens in June and holds its large size through multiple harvests for two to three weeks.
In September 12 Horticulture Section seminar, Weber explains the long road he had to take to bring ‘Archer’ to market:
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.
More than 100 greenhouse growers and retailers, florists, educators and others from around New York and the Northeast attended the annual Cornell Floriculture Field Day August 9.
The morning program at Stocking Hall featured presentations including (click links for video):
- Garden Retail is Changing: It’s Time to Adapt and Prosper – Carol Miller, Editor, Greenhouse Grower Retailing and American Farm Marketer
- Bees, Bugs, Blooms: Creating Pollinator Friendly Landscapes – Constance Schmotzer, Consumer Horiculture Educator, Penn State University
- Methods for Managing Deer Damage to Plants and Associated Impacts – Paul Curtis, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
- Plants Deer Do Not Eat – Mark Bridgen, Director, Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center
Attendees also applauded entomology professor John Sanderson who was awarded an Excellence in IPM award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM). In his 25 years at Cornell, Sanderson has enthusiastically helped greenhouse growers identify pest problems, reduce pesticide use and increase profits.
The afternoon program at the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility featured tours of annual flower trials, mixed container plantings of vegetables, herbs and flowers, pollinator-friendly plants, alternatives to invasive plants and more. Attendees also applauded winners of the 13th annual Kathy Pufahl Container Competition, which since 2003 has raised more than $10,000 for IBD research at Mt. Sinai Hospital. View 2016 winners.
Attendees view annual flower trials.
Betsy Lamb (with clipboard), New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, leads pollinator-friendly plant walkabout.
Lamb (right) and attendees observe pollinators swarming on Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s root).
Sue and Mark Adams, of Mark Adams Greenhouses, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who sponsored this pollinator plant bed, pose with research technician Kendra Hutchins, who manages the annual flower trials.
Bee visiting blooms in the pollinator bed.
Cheni Filios (MS ’14), Vegetable Product Line Manager, PanAmerican Seed Company at Ball Horticultural, explains strategies for mixing vegetables, herbs and flowers in containers.
Donald Horowitz ’77 (Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture), Wittendale’s Florist & Greenhouses, East Hampton, N.Y. took first place in the Edibles Division in the 2016 Kathy Pufahl Memorial Container Design Competition. He fashioned the planter from a container used to ship pots to his business. View other winners.
Getting a closer look at the annual trials.
A production-scale high tunnel is rising at Dilmun Hill Student Farm. Once complete, it will not only extend the growing season for the farm, but also serve as an educational resource for the many classes that visit the farm. A high tunnel production workshop series is being planned in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension that will draw on the knowledge and experience of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates across many different departments.
Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) staff, along with members of the Dilmun Hill Steering Committee, have been laying the groundwork at the high tunnel site since early spring, grading the land, spreading and incorporating compost, and installing the foundation. This past Wednesday afternoon, they made short work of installing the frame. (See time-lapse video.)
The high tunnel was made possible by the Toward Sustainability Foundation grant program. Undergraduate Steering Committee member and former Dilmun Hill Farm Manager Alena Hutchinson (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, ’18) secured funding for the tunnel, and worked with builder Howard Hoover of Penn Yan, N.Y., to design a custom tunnel to meet the specialized needs of small- and medium-sized growers in Upstate New York.
The tunnel will feature a solar-powered, automated sidewall system designed by Hutchinson and fellow undergraduate engineering students to make ventilating the structure easier.
Another innovative feature of the high tunnel: It is mounted on rails, so that the tunnel can be easily moved between two different growing areas. Along with increasing production capacity, this design has environmental benefits, such as making crop rotation possible and allowing rain to leach salt from soil, avoiding the salt build up that can be a problem with stationary high tunnels.
Detailed design plans and assembly manuals for all aspects of the tunnel will be available upon the tunnel’s completion. For questions and/or if you want to be involved in the project, contact Alena Hutchinson (email@example.com).
On June 28, while still under construction, the tunnel took it’s first trip, traveling from a fallow area to an area newly planted with tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.
If you missed Friday’s minisymposium in honor of Peter Davies’ 46 years of research and teaching in the Plant Sciences at Cornell highlighting the changes that have taken place in plant hormone biology over the last 40 years and how Davies contributed to progress in the field, it’s available online.
The symposium featured three talks:
- Hormones and Plant Development – Jim Reid, Distinguished Professor, University of Tasmania
- Global Aspects of Plant Biotechnology – Sarah Evanega, Director, Cornell Alliance for Science
- Plant Politics – Ron Herring, Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University
The lecture and panel discussion, in honor of professor emeritus Steve Tanksley, winner of the 2016 Japan Prize, featured three former lab members — Greg Martin, Jim Giovannoni, and Susan McCouch — introduced and moderated by Kathryn J. Boor, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They celebrated Tanksley’s contributions to plant breeding and genetics and the spirit of genomic discovery in the School of Integrative Plant Science with a panel discussion on genomics and the future of agriculture.
If you missed last month’s Mann Library ‘Chats in the Stacks’ panel discussion on Liberty Hyde Bailey’s book, The Holy Earth, it’s available online.
The panel features Scott Peters (Department of Development Sociology), Jim Tantillo (Department of Natural Resources), and John Linstrom (Department of Engish, New York University and the former curator and director of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum in South Haven, Michigan).
For more audio and video of book talks and special lectures visit the Mann Library event podcast page.