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Extension and outreach

Online organic gardening course starts October 8

Registration is now open for Organic Gardening one of the online courses offered by the Horticulture Section in Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science.

Raised bed vegetable gardenOrganic Gardening is designed to help new gardeners get started and help experienced gardeners broaden their understanding of organic techniques for all kinds of gardens.

Starting with a strong foundation in soil health and its impact on plant health, the course then explores tried-and-true and cutting-edge techniques for all different kinds of garden plants including food plants, trees and shrubs and lawn.

Participants read assigned essays and book excerpts, participate in online group discussions with other students, complete reflective writing/design work and take part in some hands-on activities. Most students spend about 5 hours each week with the content, though there are always ample resources and opportunity to do more.

View more information and full course syllabus for Organic Gardening.

Questions about either course? View FAQ or contact, Chrys Gardener: cab69@cornell.edu

2020 annual flower trials: The show must go on!

2020  was quite a year.  We had to cancel our annual Floriculture Field Day. But the annual flower and foliage plant trials located near the Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Nevins Center are looking good.

More information:

 

Rakow recognized for Nature Rx efforts

rakow flanked by two students walking through garden

Rakow strolls through Minns Garden outside Plant Science Building last year with Public Garden Leadership MPS students Trey Ramsey and Jessica Brey.

Associate professor Don Rakow was recognized for his innovative research with a 2020 SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow) Award by the nonprofit Center for Jackson Hole.  The SHIFT Awards recognize individuals, initiatives, or organizations that make innovative, impactful and replicable contributions to the advancement of the health benefits of time outside.

Award organizers write that Rakow “has been one of the primary driving forces behind integrating Campus Nature Rx programs for universities and colleges in the US and Canada. He started the Campus Nature Rx network and has been collaborating with several researchers to look at how Nature Rx programs impact students’ mental and physical health. Through his research, Dr. Rakow highlights the significance of public gardens and parks as environmental, cultural, and social organizations. This focus bridges consideration of how campus landscapes can be leveraged for health and wellbeing of students, staff and faculty. He is committed to facilitating mental and physical health on university and college campuses through nature engagement that is inclusive of individuals of all ethnicities, abilities, and age groups.”

To learn more about Rakow’s work, see the Cornell Research article Nature, Our Intrinsic Healer.

NYS sanitizer, Cornell’s U-pick guide boost farm success

Cornell Chronicle [2020-07-21]:

Shed at you pick farm with two employees, flats and hand sanitizer

Two employees of Hand Melon Farms in Greenwich, New York, provide flats and pints for picking blueberries – and offer NYS sanitizer for safety.

Even in the coronavirus era, New York’s pick-your-own farms are flourishing.

“After months of enduring lockdowns, especially in New York, the pick-your-own berry farms around the state are booming this year,” said Marvin Pritts, professor of horticulture in the School of Integrative Plant Science, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Most of the pick-your-own farms are using our Cornell-developed guidelines that are very broad – they’re having an impact.”

The “Best Management Practices for U-Pick Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic” guidebook offers detail on adjusting farm practices to reduce risk, and provides clarity on getting consumers safely through the farm and keeping farm employees healthy.

“Consumers are cooperating,” said Anu Rangarajan, director of Cornell’s Small Farms Program. “The pick-your-own farm customers are using masks and following rules, washing hands and using hand sanitizer. People are confident about being on these farms.”

Read the whole article.

Online garden design course start July 9

garden_designx300Registration is now open for Introduction to Garden Design a distance learning course offered by the Horticulture Section in Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science.

The course will help you apply basic garden design techniques to your own garden. We teach an approach to gardening that is based on the principle of right plant, right place. In other words, we will consider the needs of the plant in addition to the needs of the gardener.

You’ll learn garden site analysis and apply the concepts to your personal space, gain proficiency in garden design principles and lay out a rough site plan overview of your garden design.

You will write and reflect on the process as you learn with the instructor taking an active role in this creative endeavor by providing feedback on your assignments and journal entries.

View more information and full course syllabus for Introduction to Garden Design.

Questions about the course? View FAQ or contact Chrys Gardener: cab69@cornell.edu

Research and teaching efforts lauded in CALS Magazine

multicolored chili pepper tomatoes

Phillip Griffiths, associate professor of horticulture, has been developing chili pepper tomatoes that come in seven different colors. His other edible inventions include a Galaxy Suite of heirloom tomatoes and new varieties of cabbage, kale and radishes. Photo: Isabel Branstrom.

In case you missed it, the Spring 2020 issue of CALS Magazine (.pdf version) is loaded with articles featuring innovative and impactful research and teaching efforts by faculty in the Horticulture Section and other faculty in the School of Integrative Plant Science:

Genetic ingenuity: What does it take to put produce on your plate? details how Phillip Griffiths, associate professor of horticulture, has been developing chili pepper tomatoes that come in seven different colors. His other edible inventions include a Galaxy Suite of heirloom tomatoes and new varieties of cabbage, kale and radishes. The story also tells how associate professor of plant breeding Michael Mazourek broke through the anonymity barrier to forge a new model for how unique vegetable varieties can gain more visibility by partnering with Manhattan chef Dan Barber and grower Matthew Goldfarb to co-found Row 7 Seed Company. Mazourek’s specialties include squash, peppers, cucumbers and snow peas. It also describes the successful releases of SnapDragon and RubyFrost apples from the breeding program of  Susan Brown through Crunch Time Apple Growers, a cooperative open to all growers in New York state.

‘Just Food’ course broadens students’ perspectives of food systems tells how Rachel Bezner Kerr, professor in the Department of Global Development, and Frank Rossi, associate professor of horticulture teamed up to create a course designed to challenge students’ perspectives of controversial and nuanced issues, such as meat production, genetically modified crops and prevailing malnutrition. The class regularly takes students to spaces where they can witness parts of the food production pipeline first-hand. “The excursions provided a tangible example of the global food system in diversity and scale,” says Rossi.

CALS strengthens NYC connections with new grant projects describes how Jenny Kao-Kniffin, associate professor of horticulture and Jonathan Russell-Anelli, senior lecturer and senior extension associate in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section built a team to create applied solutions to current challenges in urban agriculture, including food availability, individual and community health, environmental contamination and economic opportunity.

New specializations accelerate growth of MPS programs tells how Charles Gagne, MPS ’19 decided to switch career paths and found the CALS Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program to be the perfect catalyst. He graduated with a degree in horticulture and a specialization in controlled environment agriculture and recently landed an apprentice grower position at BrightFarms, a company based in the Hudson Valley.

Researchers develop market for East Coast broccoli updates the effort started in 2010 with the goal of growing a $100 million broccoli industry in the eastern United States in 10 years. Currently valued at around $90 million, researchers say they are on schedule to make their mission happen. One of the challenges stems from the fact that broccoli was originally cultivated for Mediterranean climates, so growing it in the Eastern U.S. confuses the plant’s developmental cues.  But over the years, Thomas Björkman, professor of horticulture and project director and his collaborators identified the genetic markers needed to grow a more uniform-looking plant in the Eastern climate.

Digital agriculture workshop highlights radical collaborations tells how associate professor of horticulture, Justine Vanden Heuvel and collaborators are developing soft robots armed with high-resolution sensors that perform ultrasounds on the growing grapes that can detect things like differences in sugar content, berry firmness and fungal spores of such dreaded pathogens downy mildew and powdery mildew.

Among the many answers to the question How can we protect New York state’s berry industry?,  professor of horticulture Marvin Pritts has been researching how to grow strawberries under low tunnels with stunning results, including extending the harvest season through November. He has also developed systems for growing delicate raspberries and blackberries in high tunnels. Associate professor of horticulture Courtney Weber  is working to develop varieties with the best combination of traits for New York and Northeast growers. “Cornell’s varieties are grown all over the world,” says Pritts. “The work we’re able to do for New York is significant, but it’s only part of the picture. People from all over come to us for information. The impact we’re able to have is really broad and wide and deep. ”

 

An inside look at LIHREC’s impatiens breeding program

CALS spotlight [2020-05-15]:

Horticulture Professor Mark Bridgen serves as the director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Riverhead, NY. There, the 68-acre facility is dedicated to providing research and extension services that support Long Island’s horticulture industries. In this video, Bridgen talks about his breeding work with the popular garden plant, impatiens, and discusses how plant tissue culture helps him develop new varieties—including ones resistant to downy mildew disease.

Mann Library virtual exhibit celebrates campus trees

students outside mann library with fall foliage in the backgroundIn honor of Arbor Day and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this week, Mann Library launched an online exhibit celebrating Cornell’s trees.

It’s a family-friendly virtual tour that includes tree descriptions, an interactive map, information from Nina Bassuk about the specific benefits that individual trees provide to campus (from carbon sequestration to reduced expenses for air conditioning), and coloring sheets drawn from the special collections illustrations for each featured tree.

Our campus trees stand always ready to greet–students new and old, faculty and staff, returning alumni, and visitors from all corners of the world. This spring many of us are unable to visit our favorite campus trees, rest beneath their canopies, or relish the sweet delight of their blossoms. Cornell’s trees are at the core of the beauty of this university’s campus, but of course they are also so much more.

As we observe Earth Day and Arbor Day from home this year, visit the exhibition to enjoy the Library’s rare and distinctive collections in the historical life sciences and bring something of Cornell’s trees to you, wherever you may find yourself.

 

 

Mass flower bulb plantings blooming soon

Visitors to these plantings must strictly observe social distancing by maintaining six feet from others, no groups of any size, refrain from interacting with staff and exercise all necessary precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19.

daffodils along bioswale

Dominant bulbs in the planting along the bioswale near the Nevins Center shifts from daffodils in late April …

alliums in bioswale planting

to alliums in late May.

From Bill Miller, director of Cornell’s Flower Bulb Research Program, and Professor Horticulture Section, School of Integrative Plant Science.

There’s nothing like blooming flower bulbs to lift your spirits during trying times.

Since 2017, Cornell’s Flower Bulb Research Program has installed numerous mass plantings of spring-flowering bulbs around Ithaca that will be blooming soon. We made these plantings as a way of generating interest in a novel machine that makes it easy to plant thousands of bulbs directly into turfgrass.  You can see the machine in action in these videos from 2017 (Bulb planting made easy) and 2018 (8,000 bulbs planted in 11 minutes).

The backbone of most of these plantings are deer-resistant daffodils, which are great perennials and will last for many years. We selected other species to provide foraging opportunities for pollinators.

The plantings also reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they cannot be mowed until early June after the bulb foliage has withered.

We’ve installed other, much larger plantings with public and private partners on Long Island, and increasingly, throughout the state.

Plantings in Ithaca include:

Several locations in Cornell Botanical Gardens:

  • A one-meter wide strip along the edge of the bioswale near Nevin Center parking lot off Arboretum Road. Mixed bulbs from Crocus to Allium.
  • R. Newmann Arboretum. From Caldwell Road, turn into the arboretum, park in area to the left.  Planting is a double row going up the rise into the meadow.  Allium and Nectaroscordum bulbs flower in June, attracting an amazing density of bees and other pollinators).
  • A strip in front of the McClintock Shed on Arboretum Road includes later-flowering Camassia

Other locations:

  • In front of the Foundation Seed Barn near the intersection of Rt. 366 and Game Farm Road. Five strips each featuring a different mix.
  • Along the north side of Rt. 366 between Guterman Greenhouses and Triticum Drive. Mixed planting of tulips, daffodils, Crocus and others.
  • Newman Golf Course along Pier Road and the walking path. A very long strip with mixed planting of daffodils, Crocus, Scilla, Muscari, and Alliums.

Weekly turf webinars in response to COVID-19

In response to COVID-19 emergency, the Cornell turfgrass team is taking its outreach online with webinars via Zoom for turfgrass professionals:

The topic for all 3 webinars this week will be: “Best Management Practices for COVID-19, and what lies ahead in the essential care of plants.” We are hoping to keep these relatively short, around 15 mins, and then open up for questions at the end. The link will stay the same every week. No need to register, and of course no registration fee. We are recording and posting webinar videos to YouTube after the live session as we understand many people won’t be able to attend the live webinar every week.

Find links to these recordings on the Cornell Turfgrass Webinars page.

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