Award winners Olberg, Pritts and Hanna Rosner-Kats.

Award winners Olberg, Pritts and Rosner-Kats.

Horticulture chair Marvin Pritts and two Plant Sciences majors — Maddy Olberg and Hanna Rosner-Kats  – will be recognized for their accomplishments at the Dean’s Awards Reception Monday, April 21, 2014, 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Carrier Ballroom, Statler Hotel.

Pritts will receive the Faculty Service award. Olberg and Rosner-Kats will be recognized for Academic Excellence in the Plant Sciences. Rosner-Kats has also been selected as one of three Class of 2014 Banner Bearers.

A pasta dinner buffet will be open at the reception from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (The program begins at 5:45 p.m.) RSVP is required for attendance. (RSVP here by Friday, April 11.)

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HoFo Nicaragua posterMembers of Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, traveled to Nicaragua in January.

Come see their pictures and hear their stories during an informal lunch-time travelogue:

  • Thursday April 10
  • 12 noon to 1 p.m.
  • 22 Plant Science

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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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Student artist Justin Kondrat and faculty advisor Marcia Eames-Sheavly.

Student artist Justin Kondrat and faculty advisor Marcia Eames-Sheavly.

ROOTED is a living community art installation coming mid-April 2014. (The installation is tentatively scheduled for April 14 with ribbon-cutting on April 16.)

Preparations began in December when volunteers planted 13,000 flower bulbs in 350 pots and moved them into a cooler to simulate winter chilling.

On March 25, student artist Justin Kondrat and faculty advisor Marcia Eames-Sheavly moved the pots to the greenhouse to speed up growth.

When the bulbs are in full bloom in mid-April, volunteers will move the pots to Libe Slope below McGraw clock tower and spell out ROOTED in 10-foot-tall letters.

ROOTED celebrates the diversity of ways people on campus stay rooted in their lives and in our community.

Get involved. Find more info at

View the ROOTED preview video.

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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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Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo) spent a chilly but not totally unpleasant Tuesday afternoon pruning apple trees at Cornell Orchards. The Cornell Orchards retail store remains open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

SoHo pruning at Cornell Orchards

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If you missed Ted DeJong’s seminar on Monday, Peach tree scion vigor is physiologically linked to the xylem anatomy of the rootstock, it’s available online.

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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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Matthew BondPlants are Matthew Bond’s passion. And at Cornell, this senior and Plant Science major has found plenty of opportunities to pursue his passion.

“I’ve always known since middle school and even younger that I wanted to work with plants,” said Matthew. “I think some of it came from my grandmother, who loved plants, and from my father, too, who didn’t have the chance to explore that part of himself when he was younger. He liked to take me to gardens when I was growing up and was eager to encourage me when he saw that we shared an interest in plants.”

Although he was accepted to Cornell as a freshman, Matthew decided to spend his first two years as an undergraduate at SUNY Potsdam, closer to his home in Ogdensburg, NY. As a Biology major there, he had the opportunity to pursue independent research related to plants and plant chemistry, which deepened his interest in the work and solidified his conviction that Cornell was where he belonged.

“Academically, I feel much more at home here. Cornell is what I’d always hoped it would be – a place filled with others who share my focus on plants and plant research.”

Read the whole feature at CALS Notes.

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