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New tool gives apple farms hope in fight against spring freezes

Apple blossoms killed by a spring frost in 2012, after a long stretch of warm days. (Photo: Gregory M. Peck)

Apple blossoms killed by a spring frost in 2012, after a long stretch of warm days. (Photo: Gregory M. Peck)

Cornell Chronicle [2017-02-24] :

This February’s warm weather is nice in the Northeast, but apple farmers may pay a price if winter roars back. To help growers assess precarious temperatures in turbulent springs, the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions has developed a new Apple Freeze Risk decision tool.

“I think the warm weather we’re seeing this week may push the apple trees into vulnerable stages,” said Art DeGaetano, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and director of Cornell’s Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Read the whole article.

Reminder: Huge houseplant sale today

Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club is holding their blowout sale today (February 25) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kenneth Post Lab Greenhouses (map).  They’re selling a huge variety of houseplants from 4″ to fully grown.

Patty watering plants

Patty Chan ’18 waters plants in preparation for the sale.

Update [10 a.m.]: Early sales are brisk. But there are still tons of interesting and unique plants to be had.

hofo plant sale

Signs of spring: First flowers in Minns Garden

Record-breaking temperatures this week fueled early flowering of spring ephemerals in Minns Garden, including winter aconites (Eranthus hyemalis) and snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis).

winter aconite

Eranthus hyemalis

snowdrops

Galanthus nivalis

If you visit the garden (located between Plant Science Building and Tower Road), you’ll also notice that Cornell Grounds Staff used the exceptional weather to remove much of the failing 80-year-old yew hedge that enclosed the garden, foretelling some major changes for the garden this summer.

Hortus Forum giant greenhouse houseplant sale February 25

From Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club:

Greenhouse Sale
Saturday, February 25
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Kenneth Post Lab (map)

Selling a huge variety of houseplants from 4″ to fully grown.

More information, email: hortusforum@gmail.com

flyer

Hortus Forum: cultivating a positive community which fosters a passion for plants and teaches the value of horticulture

SoHo art opening February 22, Big Red Barn

From Hannah Swegarden:

The Society of Horticulture Grad Students (SoHo) is proud to present their horticultural research through an artistic lens at the Big Red Barn.

From the flowers above ground to the mycorrhizae systems deep below ground, the beauty of horticulture is everywhere. This collection of pieces showcases the diversity of horticultural research at Cornell University and seeks to highlight SoHo’s deep appreciation for the intricate connection between people and plants. We hope you’re able to join us for the show’s opening at the Big Red Barn, opening February 22, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM!

Free wine and cheese will be served.

fkyer

Seminar video: Growing berries in northern Europe

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar Growing berries in northern Europe  with Pauliina Palonen, University of Helsinki, it  is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Rossi receives lifetime achievement award

Reid award for RossiThe Metropolitan Golf Course Superintendents Association (MetGCSA) presented its John Reid Lifetime Achievement Award to Frank Rossi, turf specialist and associate professor in the Horticulture Section, at its January 18 Winter Seminar. The award recognizes individuals or organizations that, through continuing commitment, show exemplary support to the game of golf and golf course superintendents.

The group recognized Rossi’s contributions to the game through his “unending environmental leadership and research, his high regard for and support of our fellow superintendents, and his ability to captivate an audience.”

Read more in Tee to Green.

 

Student team works with Colombian coffee growers

 

From Juana Muñoz Ucros and Marie Zwetsloot, Graduate Field of Horticulture, Bauerle Lab

Tucked away in the western arm of the mighty Colombian Andes lies the Cauca coffee-growing region. A stunning mixture of Afrocolombians, indigenous people and Spanish descendants fuses together around the culture of artisanal coffee growing.

Without machinery and with very few inputs — but enormous amounts of creativity — these farmers optimize yield in plots usually less than 2 acres. And even in the face of unpredictable weather, they manage to put children through college, pay off their loans, and experiment with organic farming.

In January, we led a student learning and research trip to Cauca as part of the Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team (SMART) program of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD). We made use of a previously established relationship with a cooperative of coffee farmers, Federación Campesina de Cauca (FCC), by Miguel Gomez and his graduate students in Applied Economics and Management.

Our group consisted of students from different disciplines and included Shanti Kumar and Jenny Lee from International Agriculture and Rural Development, Sam Bosco from Horticulture, Lizzy Sweitzer Cornell Institute of Public Affairs, and Whit Knickerbocker from Agronomy and Agribusiness Management.

During our visit, the team visited both organic and conventional coffee farms with the aim to better understand the economic, social and environmental challenges and opportunities that households from these different food production systems face. We interviewed the farmers about their management practices and took soil samples to evaluate pH and active carbon content of the soil. As an outcome, we left the FCC with a low-cost alternative to expensive lab soil tests that can inform them of soil health status and better direct their limited resources.

Full of pride and also of knowledge, the coffee producers showed the team around their farms and explained their philosophy and techniques. Even though communicating in Spanish wasn’t always easy, the producers were very patient in explaining their perspectives and sharing their experiences. Coffee farming is a tough living; stories of fluctuating coffee prices, health issues due to pesticide exposure and climate change were part of almost every conversation. The prospect of a peace deal finally put into action brings a smile to the farmer’s faces, but their reality is still one of political turmoil, government neglect, and ever present coffee leaf rust.

Besides the remarkable views of the endless mountains, one of the things that stood out was the hospitality and openness of the farmers. We were not allowed to leave the farm without having had at least one cup of sugary coffee, and a sampler of the tropical fruits grown by the family.

Seeing all of this with your own eyes makes you think hard about the coffee we drink every day.

To visit the project’s blog, follow this link: https://smartcolombia2017.wordpress.com/

Björkman in American Vegetable Grower

Thomas Björkman

Thomas Björkman

American Vegetable Grower magazine turned to Thomas Bjorkman, associate professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Intergrative Plant Science,  to answer questions about Cornell Soil Health Laboratory’s Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health and the importance of knowing more than just your soil’s nutrient levels to produce healthy crops in two recent articles:

Seminar video: New vegetables for organic systems

If you missed Thursday’s Soil and Crop Sciences Section seminar New vegetables for organic systems  with Michael Mazourek, it is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

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