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Learn forest farming at MacDaniels Nut Grove work parties

Shiitake mushroom demo at MacDaniels nut grove

Shiitake mushroom demo at MacDaniels nut grove

Via Steve Gabriel, Extension Aide, Department of Horticulture

Learn about agroforestry and forest farming during fall semester work parties at Cornell’s MacDaniels Nut Grove

These Thursdays, 4:30 to 7 p.m.:

  • September 12
  • September 26
  • October 10
  • October 17
  • November 7

The MacDaniels Nut Grove is a forest farming and agroforestry research and education center located in the Cornell Plantations Upper Cascadilla Natural Area. The 5-acre site, just east of Cornell Orchards, was originally planted in the 1930s by pioneering horticulturist Dr. L.H. MacDaniels (1888-1986). Neglected for decades, researchers and students began renovating the site and establishing new research projects since 2002. The site currently boasts demonstrations of a wide range of crops that can be grown in the forest, including mushrooms, wild leeks, ginseng, ornamental plants, nuts, and fruits like Paw Paw.  Read more at:

Work Parties will engage participants in a range of infrastructure and site improvements. We will work on a variety of projects including trail work, planting, mulching, mushroom inoculation, and more.

The Nut Grove is maintained by Professor Ken Mudge and extension Aide Steve Gabriel along with student workers and volunteers. In addition to conducting agroforestry research at Cornell, Ken and Steve are co-authoring a book on the subject, see

The work parties are free and open to the public. We ask that you come prepared to work in the fall weather. Please wear close-toed shoes and bring water to drink.

Questions? Contact Steve Gabriel:

Visit the Nut Grove

The MacDaniels Nut Grove is located adjacent to the Cornell campus, just south of the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine and Cornell Orchards at the east end of campus.

To reach the grove, turn south at the intersection of Rt. 366 and Caldwell Rd on PALM Rd.. (See Google map below.) Take first right and park at end of road adjacent to Library Annex. (Do not block dumpsters or service area.)

Walk across field to the south of deer fencing surrounding Cornell Orchards to marked entrance into woods at southeast edge of field.

View Macdaniels Nut Grove in a larger map

Garden cover crop workshop Sept. 6

Cover crop mix in urban garden.

Cover crop mix in urban garden.

Calling all Gardeners! Would you like to: Improve your soil? Add nutrients for next year’s veggies? Start out with a weed-free plot next Spring?

Come learn how at the workshop led by Megan M. Gregory, Graduate Research Assistant, The Agroecology Lab, Cornell University:

Cover Cropping for Healthy Soils
Friday, September 6, 6:00-7:30 pm
Ithaca Community Gardens — West Garden Gazebo

At this workshop you will:

  • Learn cover crop basics, benefits, and how to select cover crops for different seasons & purposes (building organic matter, adding nitrogen through the use of legumes, suppressing weeds, etc.)
  • Participate in a planting demonstration
  • Get free seeds for your garden!

Directions: Turn north from Route 13 onto 3rd Street (toward the Farmers’ Market). Turn left onto Carpenter Circle (BEFORE the railroad tracks). Come through the gate on your right to enter the West side of the garden.

Please see this flier for more information and spread the word to your fellow gardeners!

For more information please contact Megan at: or 847-287-7794.

Learn more about garden cover cropping at Megan’s Garden Ecology Project website/blog. (Also available in Spanish: Proyecto Ecología de los Huertos.)

Organic Cover Crop Workshop and Tour Oct. 17

Organic Cover Crop Workshop and Tour

October 17, 2013
USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center, Corning, NY

This workshop will feature speakers from Cornell University presenting in depth information on cover cropping and reduced tillage for vegetable growers with an emphasis on organic systems. There will be a tour of the time of seeding cover crop demonstration with single and multiple species of cover crops, reduced tillage tools and a row crop interseeder.

Laurie Drinkwater, Thomas Bjorkman, Anu Rangarajan, and Brian Caldwell are among the presenters at this event, sponsored by Sponsored by the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Northeast Farming Association of New York (NOFA) Upper Susquehanna Coalition and NY State Department of Ag. and Markets. Lunch available for $12.00.

Directions, registration form and more information.

Jordan receives NESARE grad student grant

Lindsay Jordan

Lindsay Jordan

MS candidate Lindsay Jordan received $14,876 for her project Investigating annual under-vine cover crops as a sustainable alternative to herbicides in Northeast vineyards from the Northeast Region of the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. Jordan’s faculty advisor is Justine Vanden Heuvel.

Among the other 2013 recipients is James Keach, Graduate Field of Plant Breeding, who is working with Mark Bridgen on Integrating resistance from wild relatives against downy mildew in Impatiens.

2012 NESARE grad student grantees included Emily Reiss and Bryan Sobel.

‘Fountain of youth’ for leaves discovered

Su-Sheng Gan

Horticulture professor Su-Sheng Gan examines seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana. Photo: Craig Cramer

Article by Amanda Garris in the Cornell Chronicle 2013-08-22:

What plant scientists call senescence, consumers experience as wilted produce and overripe fruit. A team led by Cornell horticulture professor Su-Sheng Gan has identified an enzymatic fountain of youth that slows the process of leaf death, a discovery that lays the foundation for the genetics of freshness.

In a series of experiments using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, Gan and colleagues discovered a key regulator – S3H – that acts as a brake on the process of leaf death. When its levels are low, leaves senesce early; when it is present in high levels, it results in longer leaf longevity.

The study was published in the Aug. 19 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, with former Cornell postdoctoral associate Kewei Zhang (now at Brookhaven National Laboratory) as first author.

Read the whole article.

Cornell Plantations lecture series kicks off August 28

Cornell Plantations lecture seriesFrom Sonja Skelly, Director of Education, Cornell Plantations:

Our annual Fall Lecture Series begins on Wednesday, August 28 and will run every other Wednesday until November 6, 2013. Cornell University English Professor Thomas Hill kicks off the series with a lecture entitled Pagan and Christian Trees: From Ambrose to “Juniper Tree.”  Professor Hill’s lecture will focus on the importance of trees in Christian thought and will be a literary history of some spiritual, cosmological and real trees in the literature of medieval and early modern Europe. This lecture will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Call Alumni Auditorium in Kennedy Hall and will be followed by a garden party in the botanical gardens of Cornell Plantations. All remaining lectures will take place in Statler Hall Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

Cornell students can enroll in the Lecture Series for one-credit, pass/fail: HORT 4800.

Also featured in this fall’s series:

  • New and Trendy Plants for Today’s Gardens, Bill Hendricks, President Klyn Nurseries
  • Conserving Species in a Changing World, Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
  • My Weedless Garden, Lee Reich, Ph.D. Author
  • Nature Wars: the Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds, Jim Sterba, Journalist & Author
  • The Search for Botanical Gold, Manuel Aregullin, Senior Research Associate, Departments of Plant Biology & Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University

More information at the Cornell Plantations website.

Gardening in a Warmer World Conference October 4-5

Gardening in a Warmer World Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators and Volunteers ConferenceGardening in a Warmer World
Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators and Volunteers Conference
October 4-5, 2013
Cornell University, Ithaca NY

This gathering of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) educators, volunteers and key partners will provide in-depth information on climate change impacts on gardening and adaptive and innovative methods to help meet this challenge. Sessions will be presented in a variety of formats to ensure participants’ time at the conference will benefit both themselves and their communities in positive and productive ways.

We look forward to seeing CCE volunteers and educators from all program areas including CCE Master Gardener Volunteers, 4-H youth development, natural resources, program advisory boards, board of directors…

Registration fee is $75. Space is limited.

For more information and registration, visit the conference website.

Cornell Orchards open Aug. 20 & 21

Fresh-picked peaches.  Yummy!

Fresh-picked peaches. Yummy!

From Kristina Engel-Ross, Product Sales, Cornell Orchards, or 607-255-4542:

We are expecting an excellent crop this year on our fruit!!! For the first time this season we will be open:

  • Wednesday 8/21/13
  • Thursday 8/22/13

Hours: 8:30 am till 4 pm

We will have:

  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Blackberries
  • Cornell Dairy pudding and yogurt
  • Cornell Cheese Curds
  • Cornell Orchards Peach and Plum Jam (Buy 1 get one free)
  • Cornell sweet corn from our Freeville farm

Come in and get your share of freshly picked fruit and corn!

We are tentatively scheduled to be open August 28 and 29, then resume our regular schedule after Labor Day. Check our website or Facebook page for the latest information.



Looking for courses this fall?

Study arboriculture

Learn ‘Applied Tree Care’ this semester

There are a whole bunch of exciting ‘Special Topics in Horticulture’ (HORT 4940) courses being offered this semester, including:

Forests, Fields and Swamps (1 credit)
Instructor: Tom Whitlow
This seven-week course that starts on 09/09 is held on Monday afternoons and is a series of field trips to different local ecosystems. Course is intended to introduce students to regional flora and fauna they might not otherwise see as a Cornell student.
More info.

Applied Tree Care (2 credits)
Instructors:  Taryn Bauerle, Don Rakow
Course will prepare you to take International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) certification exam.  You’ll get hands-on experience with tree establishment, assessing plant health, worker safety, pruning techniques, and urban forestry.
More info

Growing Diversity with Plants (1 credit)
Instructor: Marcia Eames-Sheavly
Discover how plant-centered activities can enhance personal well-being.  Work in diverse teams to develop and lead workshops that help diverse Cornell students experience the benefits of greater awareness of and interaction with plants.
More info.

Organic Vegetable Gardening (2 credits)
Instructor: Steve Reiners
Topics include:  Preparing and improving soil, planning for a full season of production,  extending the harvest season, efficient watering, tricks for saving space, companion and succession planting, managing pests safely, storing the bounty, tips for growing specific vegetables.

Permaculture Design Certification (2 credits)
Instructor: Ken Mudge

Physiology of Fruit Crops (2 credits)
Instructor:  Michela Centinari

Sustainable Housing in Lansing (3 credits)
Instructor: Marvin Pritts

What Should Students Learn? (3 credits)
Instructor: Bryan Duff

Advice to my Teachers (1 credit)
Instructor: Bryan Duff

See Course and Time Roster or contact the instructors for more information.

In the news

Juneberries are rich in iron,  calcium, manganese, protein and fiber. Jim Ochterski photo.

Juneberries are rich in iron, calcium, manganese, protein and fiber. Jim Ochterski photo.

Floriculture Field Day 2013 [CALS Notes 2013-08-17] – In his welcome, CALS senior associate dean Jan Nyrop told the gathered floriculture professionals about a Scottish study that showed walking in green spaces and parks simulated rest and mediation and relieve “decision fatigue.” “Plants reduce fatigue,” Nyrop said. “Therefore, all of you in the audience contribute great service to society.”

New Super Fruit for Northern New York? Willsboro Research Farm Establishing Juneberry Nursery [NNYADP news release 2013-08-15] – Northern New York is getting on the Juneberry super fruit bandwagon. With funding from the farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, one of the largest Juneberry research nurseries will be established at the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro, NY.

Turning tired land into energizing liquid gold [Cornell Chronicle 2013-08-05] – Regional growers, corporate processors, agency personnel and academics gathered for the Perennial Biofeedstock Energy Tour July 31 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service facility in Big Flats. Six Cornell experts — including horticulture grad student Eric Fabio and horticulture professor Alan Taylor — provided field presentations that detailed current efficiencies in bioenergy grasses, explained sustainable development of marginal soils, clarified differences between seed and treated seed, illuminated projects for breeding shrub willows for biofuels and provided updates on managing potential pathogen pressures in grasses.

A rare vintage [VISIONS Across America 2013-07-26] – Iowa State University Alumni Association profiles Bedell Cellars CEO Trent Preszler (Ph.D. ’12).

GMOs May Feed the World Using Fewer Pesticides [NOVAnext 2013-07-26] – Potato breeder Walter De Jong, associate professor, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, develops varieties to stay a step ahead of devastating insect infestations and disease.

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