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Gardener News 16 Mount Bethel Road #123 Warren, NJ 07059

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Gardener News Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping Communities

July, 2013

GARDENERNEWS.COM

TAKE ONE No. 123

Agricultural leaders gather in New Jersey

Tom Castronovo/Photo

2013 NEASDA Convention attendees from L to R: Chuck Ross, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture; Darrel J. Aubertine, New York Commissioner of Agriculture; Kenneth Ayers, Rhode Island Chief of Agriculture; Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture; Steven K. Reviczky, Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture; Leonard M. Blackham, Utah Commissioner of Agriculture; and Walter E. Whitcomb, Maine Commissioner of Agriculture. By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor Cape May is a city at the southern tip of Cape May County, New Jersey, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is

recognized as the country’s oldest seaside resort. The earliest inhabitants of the peninsula we now call Cape May were the Kechemeche Indians of the Lenni-Lenape tribe, who mainly hunted these grounds. In the 1630s colonists

purchased land from the Indians and developed a prosperous fishing and whaling industry. By the late 17th Century, a farming industry was also introduced to this area. Cape May has real agricultural roots in the

Garden State. Jersey Fresh and Jersey Seafood really do have a long history in New Jersey. On June 2-4, 2013, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher hosted the 2013 NEASDA Meeting in Cape May.

Secretary Fisher is President of NEASDA. What a great way to showcase this great city and county! NEASDA is the annual meeting of the Northeastern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NEASDA). Those states (Cont. on pg. 20)


2 July, 2013

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July, 2013 3 Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

A Consortium of New Jersey’s Public Gardens Back in 2005, a small group of dedicated folks decided to see how they could help promote the beautiful public gardens and arboreta that the great Garden State has to offer. These folks were all Gardener News columnists at the time. They were Jim Avens, then-superintendent of Leonard J. Buck Gardens, Somerset County Park Commission, now the manager of Horticulture for the Somerset County Park Commission; Bruce Crawford, director of the Rutgers Gardens; Lesley Parness, superintendent of Horticultural Education for the Morris County Park Commission; and myself. It was a great meeting of the minds. Following up in 2006, Lesley Parness put out a statewide invitation to all of the public gardens and arboreta throughout New Jersey to attend a meeting at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum. The ideas that we came up with in 2005 seemed to spark some interest. The group continued to meet until the Garden State Gardens Consortium name was chosen and incorporated in 2008. Bruce Crawford was chosen as the first president. In 2009, the Garden State Gardens Consortium received their tax exempt status. Since no agency gives legal accreditation to public gardens, anyone can call any garden a public garden. There are, however, some generally accepted criteria that the Garden State Gardens Consortium came up with for defining the term “public gardens” that they ask their members to follow: The garden is open to the public on a least a part-time basis; the garden functions as an aesthetic display, educational display and/or site research; the garden maintains plant records; horticulture is central to their mission; the garden has at least one professional staff member (paid or unpaid); garden visitors can identify plants through labels, guide maps or other interpretive materials; and that the organization is a non-profit entity. The goal of the Garden State Gardens Consortium members is to increase public awareness of and appreciation for New Jersey’s public gardens by promoting their horticultural, educational, historic and artistic value and to facilitate the collaboration of allied professionals in order to promote public garden visitation, stewardship and support. If you would like to discover these public gardens, they have a presentation that takes you on a tour, through information and pictures, of many of the premier and “secret” public gardens in our great Garden State. You might see one of your favorites and one that might become one of your favorites. The presentation is approximately 45 minutes in length. Additional promotional materials and events calendars are provided by member gardens. The cost: $100. Availability is dependent upon location and date. You can schedule a presentation by emailing: info@gardenstategardens.org. Would you like to learn where to have your outdoor wedding? Where to go on a garden tour or where to walk your leashed dog? To find answers to these and other public garden questions, you can visit the group’s website amenities page at www.GardenStateGardens.org. The following 21 public gardens and arboreta are members of the Garden State Gardens Consortium: Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center, 11 Longview Rd, Far Hills, NJ 07931; Lewis W. Barton Arboretum at Medford Leas, 1 Medford Leas Way, Medford, NJ 08055; Branch Brook Park, 226 Heller Pkwy, Newark, NJ 07107; Leonard J. Buck Garden, 11 Layton Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931; Sister Mary Grace Burns Arboretum at Georgian Court University, 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, NJ 08701; Colonial Park Gardens, 156 Mettlers Road, Somerset, NJ 08873; The Cross Estate Gardens, 66C Jockey Hollow Road, Bernardsville, NJ 07924; Richard W. DeKorte Park, One DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071; Duke Farms, 80 Route 206 South, Hillsborough, NJ 08844; The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, 353 East Hanover Avenue, Morristown, NJ 07092; Greater Newark Conservancy, 32 Prince Street, Newark, NJ 07103; Greenwood Gardens, 274 Old Short Hills Road, Short Hills, NJ 07076; Laurelwood Arboretum, 725 Pines Lake Drive West, Wayne, NJ 07470; Morven Museum and Garden, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540; New Jersey State Botanical Garden, 2 Morris Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456; Presby Iris Gardens, 474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043; Reeves-Reed Arboretum, 165 Hobart Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901; Rutgers Gardens, 112 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8519; Thielke Arboretum, 460 Doremus Road, Glen Rock NJ, 07452; Van Vleck House and Garden, 21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair, NJ 07042; and the Willowwood Arboretum, 300 Longview Rd, Far Hills, NJ 07931. Some of these wonderful places reflect our history. Some began life as a private oasis, while others have always been a part of our public lands. If you haven’t visited one lately, or at all, now is the time to plan a trip. As always, I hope you find the information in the Gardener News informative and enjoyable. Until next time…Keep the “garden” in the Garden State. -Tom Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com.

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4 July, 2013

Gardener News

The New Jersey county agricultural fair season is here and in the next few months people in every New Jersey county will be able to experience all that New Jersey agriculture has to offer nearby. While each fair has its accents and focus about the activities that are special for that county, they have a universal theme – to celebrate and support agriculture. At these events, families and neighbors come together for a time-honored tradition that has been going on, in some counties, for more than 100 years. The fairs allow us to celebrate the Garden State and the vibrant industry in which we grow so many different types of fruits, grains, vegetables and horticulture products, raise horses, livestock and poultry, and produce milk and wine and so much more. Every year, I have the honor to produce a greeting for county fairs to play for their visitors. Here is the 2013 version, something you might hear over the loudspeakers when visiting a fair this year: We all know, attending your county’s agricultural fair is a special experience. You are seeing the very best of

throughout most of the fairs, as well. As you leave these fairs, you are almost guaranteed to come away with a special glow. You will also know you played your special part to ensure that, in this day and age when so much is changing, your participation helps ensure agricultural fairs will endure. County agricultural fairs are like markers – placeholders from the past – that steadfastly hold on to traditions. The future of agriculture is bright but so was the luster of the past. Here you get both. To find out detailed information about New Jersey’s county agricultural fairs, go to www.njagfairs. com/fair_listings.html.

NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture

It’s Fair Time in New Jersey New Jersey agriculture, from demonstrations and competitions, to animals and informational displays. Meet our wonderful farmers, FFA members, and 4-Hers. Having you here today is so important to all of them. You help sustain our New Jersey agriculture industry, with more than 10,000 farms growing a variety of grains, plants, trees, shrubs and flowers, more than 100 types of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and raising horses and livestock. We have more than 40 wineries and take great pride in our fishing industry’s bountiful catch. But they can’t do it without YOU and your support of New Jersey agriculture. As you stroll these fairgrounds, think of our state’s rich agricultural heritage and enjoy the fact that you have a great part to play in keeping agriculture growing and thriving in the 21st century.

There is so much to see and do when you go to a fair. If you haven’t been before, don’t deny yourself the experience any longer. Where else can you, all in one visit, watch a tractor pull, participate in a watermelon-eating contest, learn about growing a rain garden, witness a 4-H judging, put your kids on a pony ride, eat a vast array of foods or see animal exhibits, from goats cows, pigs and horses to even iguanas? The agricultural fairs each offer unique experiences. To name just a few, Atlantic County’s 4-H Fair has a pet parade and a highlight of the event is the chicken barbecue and crab cake platter. Warren County has a hot air balloon festival in conjunction with its traditional horse show and animal exhibits. The Gloucester County 4-H Fair includes the New Jersey Peach

Look Who’s Reading the Gardener News!

It’s in the news

Tom Castronovo/Photo

New Jersey native and award-winning actor John Amos, best known for his role as James Evans, Sr. on the hit 1970s television series Good Times, and as Major Grant, the head of the U.S. Army Special Forces team in the 1990 film Die Hard 2, looks over the Gardener News after Tom Castronovo, the paper’s executive editor and publisher, autographed it for him. Amos’ television work includes roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the miniseries Roots, for which he received an Emmy nomination, and a recurring role in The West Wing. He also played the father of Will Smith’s character’s girlfriend, Lisa Wilkes, in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Amos also appeared as the recurring character, Ed, on Two and a Half Men.

Festival and a 5K “Mud Run.” At the Burlington County Farm Fair, you can compete in a scarecrow-building contest. The Bergen County 4-H and Master Gardener Fair includes a plant clinic and hands-on activities for children. And the Salem County Fair features a ladies’ skillet throw. The New Jersey State Fair Sussex County Farm and Horse Show will take place August 2-11 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta. On the fair’s website, some visitors shared their favorite fair memories – selling cotton candy for the Lions Club, being involved in 4-H, the quilts and crafts and seeing a giant tinfoil ball. Fireworks, entertainment, midways, various agricultural displays and competitions, youth organization presentations, games and rides are common themes

Editor’s Note: Douglas H. Fisher is New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture. He is the department’s executive officer, secretary to the State Board of Agriculture and a member of the Governor’s cabinet. Secretary Fisher fulfills executive, management and administrative duties prescribed by law, executive order or gubernatorial direction. He can be reached at 609.292.3976. For more info, please visit: http://www. state.nj.us/agriculture


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If I were to ask several different people the question of what technological advances in agriculture have had the greatest overall impact on the industry, I bet that I would get some very predictable answers. Probably the number one answer would be the invention of tractors, which allowed farmers to switch from “animal power” to more much more efficient mechanized equipment. These tractors also paved the way for all sorts of other motorized farm implements which were obviously much more efficient than their four-legged forebears. Other predictable answers might be the plow, electricity, and maybe even computers. And these are all excellent answers and have each, in their own way, done a great deal to improve the agricultural industry for farmers and society as a whole. I would have to choose something entirely different, however. At least for me, and for our operation, I believe that the cell phone has had the greatest impact on improving our efficiencies and productivity. When I

Gardener News

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

Instantly connected on the farm graduated from college in 1989 and started farming fulltime, cell or car phones were generally only seen in movies. All phone communication was made through land lines. Therefore, anyone who spent any significant time out in the field was really limited in being able to communicate with others. It always seemed as if I would play endless games of telephone tag with others (many of whom were in the same business and were working under similar circumstances.) Many times, information was passed through intermediaries using messages. It is true that we were still able to communicate, but it did take some real effort. But that all changed with the cell phone. Now, just about everyone has one. And any information that you might

possibly need is literally at your fingertips. No longer is four hours in the tractor time spent in a vacuum. We are able to communicate with others on an instantaneous basis. If I need to talk to someone, I call them. If someone needs to get a hold of me, I am available. If I need to check the weather, it is right there on my phone as well. It used to be that if I was working in a remote location and a piece of equipment broke down, I was on my own. More times than not, this would lead to a long walk home. Now help is only a phone call away. If a part breaks, I can take a picture of it with my phone, send it to the dealer, and have a new one on the way in a manner of hours. Also, if one of our employees has a problem, I can usually

talk them through it over the phone instead of having to find them an hour or two later with nothing getting done in the meantime. This has also allowed us to keep ourselves more current with news from around the industry. We used to get a weekly newsletter during the growing season from Rutgers Cooperative Extension concerning pest and disease alerts. This would usually arrive a couple of days after the fact. Now, we get e-mail alerts as the events are unfolding. If there is a case of late-blight on tomatoes in New Jersey, every grower in the State should know about it by the end of the day. The main plus for our operation has to be the amount of time that has been saved by using this technology. And from a management

standpoint, this time savings has allowed us to widen our span of control and grow our old crops more efficiently and then utilize that extra time on new endeavors. It used to be that a real crisis situation on the farm would be if a tractor broke down. Then, everything would stop and we would have to rush around trying to line up parts or possibly a replacement tractor. Now however, things are different. If a tractor breaks down, we just use another one. But if my cell phone stops working, then everything stops until I can get to the Verizon store! Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is a current member of the Tewksbury Township Committee, and a former Mayor of Tewksbury Township. He also served as a director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau and is a past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Peter has also been featured on NJN, News 12 New Jersey and on the Fox Business Network.


Gardener News

July, 2013 7 Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

Ninebark By my count, this is the 100th article I have written for the Gardener News. Having written about so many plants and their wonderful attributes, I thought, for this month, I would write about a plant that has flowers, fruit, outstanding foliage and interesting bark. A lesser-known plant, over the years, that is making headway, I believe, because compact and colorful cultivars seem to lend themselves well to the average home garden and to container gardening. A plant that has viburnum and rhododendron being replaced, at times, because many are just so enamored with the hot colors that are now available on Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius. Common Ninebark, also called Eastern Ninebark, is native from Quebec to Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan and Minnesota. Introduced in the late-1600s, Ninebark has not always been a plant most would remember to use. Achieving average heights of five to 10 feet tall and wide, Ninebark has been noted, in the past, as “about anything is better than a Physocarpus” (Dr. Michael Dirr). And while that may have been true of the species and even some of the older cultivars, today there is a whole new palate available to gardeners that offer rich, vibrant colors on their leaves. Colors that are sometimes difficult to obtain in the garden, like yellow, amber and red. Sure, you can do it with barberry, but you know how they reseed themselves. And while Heucheras and Heucherellas offer similar markings on their leaves, they won’t hold up in hot afternoon sun so well. Ninebark’s hardiness is from zones 2-7. Having alternate, roundish ovate leaves that are one to three inches long and bark that is a shiny red-brown on younger stems is attractive to me. However, the bark on older stems and plants peels in long papery sheets to reveal several layers of reddish brown inner bark, hence its common name. This alone looks outstanding in the winter months when the plant is devoid of leaves. Featuring small pink or white, five-petaled flowers, appearing in dense, flat, rounded, almost spiraea-like clusters (corymbs) in late-spring only adds to its interest. Drooping clusters of reddish fruit, inflated seed capsules, are abundant in September and October. Another opinion of this plant is that it is a “tough, thicket-forming, Missouri native deciduous shrub growing 5-8 feet tall with graceful arching branches” (Missouri Botanical Gardens). So how ‘bout those colorful cultivars? “Center Glow” is a mounded, vase-shaped, Ninebark cultivar that matures to six to eight feet tall and wide. Its maple-like leaves emerge golden and age to burgundy for a dramatic presentation. Complementing its leaves are small pinkish-white flowers. “Diabolo” is a purple-leaved cultivar, brought to us from Germany and a PHS gold medal winner that grows four to eight feet. Pinkish-white flowers here again, “Diabolo’s” foliage may fade a bit in the heat of summer. “Lemon Candy” has chartreuse–yellow leaves starting in the early-spring. This compact grower, three to four feet tall and wide, has flowers appearing in June that are flat, white racemes. Introduced from Ball Ornamentals and developed by Peter Podaras, this little gem fits well in smaller landscapes. “Amber Jubilee” has eye-catching foliage, complete with shades of orange, yellow and gold. Expect white flowers in the late-spring/early-summer and fall markings of red and purple. This medium-growing shrub is propagated under the First Editions label of Bailey Nurseries and was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. “Little Devil” is a beautiful, easy-care variety with deep burgundy foliage. Button-like, white flowers with shell pink overtones, in the spring, help make this small wonder a sure bet for containers around the pool. “Coppertina” has, as you would expect, stunning copper-colored spring leaves darkening to red as it matures. This medium-sized shrub also has pinkish-white, button-like flowers in mid-summer. Finally, to round out the cultivars mentioned here, is “Summer Wine,” a heavenly selection that has fine, deeply cut, dark crimson-red leaves covering this compact grower. Renew your Ninebarks by cutting them low to the ground in late-winter. Consider using them in mass, as a border or perhaps even as a larger screen. A versatile plant, with no serious insect or disease problems, Ninebarks now have plenty of hot colors to choose from. Be on the lookout for some of these cultivars in tree form as you can appreciate the bark on these year-round and they make great little trees in the landscape or in over-sized containers. Finally, I would like to thank the Gardener News for the opportunity it has given me over the years. A forum rich with gardening information that has enabled me to talk about great plants all these years… Thank You! Editor’s Note: Bob LaHoff is co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center and Florist in Union County, a member of the Union County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, the American Boxwood Society, the European Boxwood Society, a members of the Reeves-Reed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society, a member of the NJ Plants Trade Show Advisory Board, and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331.


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Gardener News When it comes to landscape design and construction, everybody is always in such a rush to get things done. Both homeowners and contractors alike. My question to you this month is, why? It’s certainly not because there was some sort of landscape emergency that is forcing you to landscape your property. I mean, after all, if your front walk doesn’t get installed for another two weeks or your evergreen privacy screen is planted the first week of June instead of the last week in May, will your world come to an end? Obviously the answer is “no” (I hope). So what’s the rush? The reason that this is the focus of this month’s column is because I have seen too many projects designed and installed poorly, all because somebody was in a rush to get things done. Even though a completion date may be semi-legitimate, like an upcoming birthday, graduation party or anniversary, most of the time it was just because the contractor or the homeowner wanted to get things done now. As the summer quickly approaches, there is a heightened The New Jersey tomato is famous across the country for being the best tasting, juiciest tomato around. We here in New Jersey have no doubt about that! It has less to do with climate than with seed selection and variety. The lengths of time the tomatoes stay on the vine also help make them the best of the rest. Commercial tomato growing really ramped up in the 1950s due to demand of chain restaurants, the growth of national fast food and sandwich shops, and the need of consumers to have all varieties of fresh produce all year round. Growing became factory-like in some cases, using efficiencies and technology to enhance the growing processes. Many times, the focus on efficiency was so intense that the flavor of the tomato was not even in the top three attributes. The priorities became cost, supply, logistics, and then flavor. Even as some states still pick tomatoes green and use ethylene gas to ripen and color the tomato, New Jersey tomato growers maintain the traditional pick-off-the-vine method when the fruit is ripe.

July, 2013 9 Creating Outdoor Spaces By Jody Shilan, MLA Landscape Designer

What’s the rush? sense of urgency to get projects started and completed so that they can be enjoyed this year. It doesn’t matter if it is an outdoor kitchen, swimming pool or foundation planting, everybody’s in a rush. While it’s wonderful to be motivated, it’s never great to blow through a landscape design and installation, especially when you consider how costly these projects can be. The problem with rushing is that you forget to look at the big picture, long-term quality and value of the project. Mistakes are made and potentially great ideas and solutions are often overlooked. For example, maybe you didn’t spend enough time evaluating hardscape materials for your new patio and now “hate” what you initially thought you would “love” because you wanted to

save time and picked a paver from a catalogue instead of seeing samples. What about your plant material? Sure, everything looks great when it’s in bloom, but what about the other 49 weeks of the year? If you had more time, maybe you would you have chosen a shrub that had a colorful leaf, providing you with 35 to 40 weeks of seasonal color instead of your “one hit wonder” azalea that’s now done for the year. Or now that the work is done, you’re starting to realize that your expedited landscape design leaves much to be desired and your dream landscape has become your “bad dream” landscape. When I was a contractor and it was crunch time, we spared no expense to meet our clients’ deadlines and expectations as we threw every employee and

piece of equipment at a project just to get it done. There were times when we were literally pulling out of the driveway at 6 p.m. on Saturday as the guests were rolling in. I’m serious. Although everything looked finished in time for the big event, there were definitely elements that were “slapped” together for the sake of brevity. While a misplaced daylily or malfunctioning irrigation head isn’t a big deal, realizing that your new BBQ and granite counter is in full sun all day long and should have been located closer to the house to provide some shade, is a really, really big deal. Let this be a reminder to you that it takes time to properly design and build a landscape and the last thing you need is a deadline forcing you to make decisions that can affect you

Passionate About Produce By Paul Kneeland The King of Produce

“The Season of Tasteful Tomatoes” There are really no large commercial growers in New Jersey. Considering its size and population, that is impressive. The “Rutgers Tomato” was developed in the 1930s and used primarily for canning. Companies such as Heinz and Campbell’s used the tomatoes in the products and continue to do so to this day. A full 75 percent of commercial growers today use the variety. Pretty impressive from the State University! Rutgers University’s Dr. Bernard Pollack developed the Ramapo Tomato variety in 1968. This tomato variety had great flavor and would adapt well to the growing conditions in New Jersey. Initially, the Ramapo had low demand for the seeds, which prompted low production. In 2008, the Ramapo seed

saw a re-emergence because consumers were tired of eating tasteless tomatoes. July and August are the best months for Jersey Tomatoes. New Jerseyans long for the taste of Jersey Tomatoes. Rutgers University’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) annually holds a tomato tasting at Snyder Research and Extension Farm in Pittstown. Tasting different varieties and giving feedback directly to the seed breeders and the researchers is very interesting and fun. Today, New Jersey tomatoes are not only sold fresh but are also canned and marketed under the Jersey Fresh branding. Home chefs and advocates routinely can the fruit so they could make nice sauces when the season is over.

Tomatoes nowadays are grown in the field, in hoop houses, and in greenhouses. Field tomatoes are exactly what the name describes – grown in the field and handpicked. Hoop houses are usually open=ended structures, sometimes with material going all the way down to the ground, sometimes not, that are used to extend a season or protect against weather or to grow a specialty crop. Greenhouses most of the time are temperature-controlled to optimize heat and humidity and also as a pest control. When in a controlled environment, less pesticide use is in order. There are also hydroponic greenhouses that use no soil and are drip irrigated with long flexible piping. Much of the nutrients and feed are sent into the water system to

for many years to come. If you do have a deadline, do your research and plan the project in advance. If you realize that you don’t have the time to do it right, instead of rushing to get the project built sooner rather than later, move your deadline back. The world will not come to an end and ultimately you’ll have a landscape that you’ll love instead of one that is “just good enough.” Remember - spending money is one thing. Wasting it is quite another. Editors Note: Jody Shilan is the owner of Jody Shilan Designs in Wyckoff, where he provides landscape design and consulting services for homeowners and landscape contractors. He earned his bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture from Cook College, Rutgers University and his masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently, he is Executive Director of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA). He can be reached at 201-783-2844 or jshilan@gmail.com. feed the plants. The system of growing in hydroponic farms is much different than in the field. Some think it is even cleaner than organic growing. However there is no certification process and it is much less understood from a consumer standpoint. You can walk into any market today and see a hundred varieties of tomatoes. Each one with its own flavor profile. Each one serving a need. From yellow to green to red, from small to large, from long to short, the tomatoes available now are staggering. The search for the one that best suits your needs can be cumbersome – but in the end, flavor always wins. Editor’s Note: Paul Kneeland is the Vice President of Floral, Meat, Produce and Seafood for Kings Food Markets, 1st Vice President of the Eastern Produce Council, and a newly elected board member of the Produce Marketing Association. He holds degrees in Business Management from Boston College as well as Northeastern University. He can be reached at pkneeland@kingssm.com.


10 July, 2013

Gardener News

Silphium – A Garden Cornerstone From the viewpoint of a designer, plants are a tool for providing color, texture, height, and even food and shelter for insects and animals within the garden. Often, we overlook those plants that can serve one of the most important roles in the garden – fun! Even more challenging is to select a plant that meets all of these goals. Amidst the short list of plants that meet this challenge is one much overlooked genus: Silphium. All of the 20 species are found throughout the Northeastern United States, and although they each have a unique common name, as a group they are called Rosinweed. Interestingly, although Silphium is native to North America, the name Silphium or Silphion was first applied to a plant native to the ancient Grecian colony of Cyrene, now present day Libya! The etiology of the word has been lost and the plant is now It is safe to say that the population of New Jersey is multicultural and our weather is multi-changeable. Already we have seen a May frost followed by a May heat wave. So what else can be next? About the only thing good we can say about our changeable weather patterns is that if you wait until next week, it will be a whole lot better. Our weather can be best described as a melting pot of change. As we get into the hazy, hot and humid days of summer, your landscape may need some special attention. When new plantings are forced to endure 90-degree heat as early as they have this year, they may suffer some ill effects. Luckily, we have had sufficient rainfall to provide adequate hydration, but that too will soon be in shorter supply. Water in general can be a problem area as natural rainfall is seldom sufficient during the summer months.Additional water will need to be supplemented since there are many factors affecting the moisture content in plants. During dry, windy weather conditions, plants and particularly turf will dry more quickly. You may notice the same areas dry out first every year. These isolated dry areas can be hard-compacted soils or

extinct, but this North African native had a resinous sap that was used for seasoning food and medicinally for curing coughs, sore throats, fevers and even to terminate pregnancy. It was literally worth its weight in silver! Perhaps due to overharvesting or overgrazing of the plant by livestock, as the plant supposedly improved the flavor of the meat, the plant became extinct. The Silphium of North America also has a gummy or resinous sap, which in 1753 led Carl Linnaeus to name this New World genus in honor of the ancient Cyrenian plant. Silphium is a member of the Asteraceae and is typically found in prairies. As a group, they grow best in full sun and are very tolerant of Mother Nature’s vagaries. Silphium perfoliatum, or Cup Plant, bears these desirable qualities and it is also a great garden plant. The glossy, deep-green leaves appear opposite each other along the stem and are fused at their base, giving the appearance that the stem

literally grows through the leaf. This leaf arrangement is termed perfoliate and gives rise to the species epithet. The common name comes from the “cuplike” appearance and action of the leaves, as they will hold water following a storm. The young leaves of spring can be used in salads and the Native American Indians used the sap for a number of medicinal purposes, including the use as a gum to freshen breath. The stems are stout, sturdy and square, adequately supporting the annual growth of eight feet. Beginning in mid-July, the stems are topped by large clusters of, two-inch-diameter yellow, aster-like flowers, which typically persist until early-October. The abundance and length of bloom makes this a popular plant among honey bee enthusiasts. The extensive root system can grow to depths of 10 feet and is slightly rhizomatous, allowing the plant to slowly develop large colonies. Plants are drought-tolerant, but transplant poorly due to this deep root system, and much

diligence must be given when initially locating this elegant giant in the garden. S i l p h i u m terebinthinaceum, or Prairie Dock, is another truly fun prairie plant that has great untapped potential for the gardening world. Compared to Cup Plant, Prairie Dock’s garden assets lie in the texture offered by the size of its leaves, rather than the size of the overall plant. This plant develops a basal rosette of large, paddle-shaped leaves that reach upwards of 18 inches in height and eight to 12 inches wide. One of the constant challenges faced by designers is finding tough plants with bold foliage for textural contrast. Prairie Dock is a great candidate for creating those awe-inspiring textural compositions – something I witnessed recently on the High Line in NYC. From July through September, slender and well branched flower stalks of up to eight feet arise from the basal foliage, terminating in two-inch yellow, daisy-like flowers. Placing the plant at

The Landscaper By Evan Dickerson Landscape Professional

New Jersey Isn’t Only a Melting Pot even an overabundance of rocks or concrete foundations under the soil. These areas heat up and dry out first, which complicates the watering process. Temperature will play a significant part in how much water is needed as well. An additional watering per week will need to be added during these periods. Most summer rain showers are fast and furious, with much of the beneficial moisture running off. Compacted soils can add to this dilemma. Therefore, these showers can not be counted on to sufficiently water the landscape. It would be a good idea to measure the amount of water your sprinklers or system apply. Use three or four flatbottomed containers and time how long it takes to accumulate one-half inch of water. Armed with this information, you can then apply the proper amount of water to your turf and ornamentals.

For turf during temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees, you will need to apply one-half inch of water once or twice weekly. As the temperatures increase five degrees, you will need to add one additional half-inch watering. For instance, 85-degree periods would require two or three halfinch waterings, 85 to 90 degrees would get three or four halfinch waterings, and so forth. This generally applies to your turf, since it is important to keep moisture levels up before the turf approaches dormancy. However, if your property is too big to keep it all watered properly, letting your turf go dormant while concentrating on your ornamentals and bedding plants is a viable alternative. Your ornamentals will not need as frequent watering as the turf, but they should be watered enough to prevent them from drooping due to inadequate moisture. This will prevent root loss

and ultimately other problems from insects and disease. Plants which are in distress are willing targets of insects and disease. If your plants were planted in a medium rich in organics and other soil amendments, their root systems should be strong enough to withstand the high temperatures so far this year. Directed applications of water are important to target areas where your plants were newly planted or where they may dry out more quickly due to exposure or other restrictions, such as nearby trees and plants, which may take up more water than those they are surrounding. When planning gardens, water use should be considered. Rain gardens, where natural rainfall is captured and used by a host of native plants, are a great way to conserve water as well as show off the plants indigenous to our region. Rain barrels are also used to capture water for

the front or middle of a garden allows for views through the flower stems, enhancing the perceived depth of the garden. With the current focus on native and low-maintenance perennials, it is surprising that Silphium remains so little known. Hopefully, what is now a fun and dramatic botanical curiosity will soon “blossom” into the next garden cornerstone! Editor’s Note: Bruce, foremost a lover of plants since birth, is director of the Rutgers Gardens, an adjunct professor in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, an instructor for Rutgers NJAES Office of Continuing and Professional Education and chairperson of the Garden State Gardens group. He is a member of the Garden Writer’s Association and the New York Hortus Club. He can be reached at (732) 932-8451. For more information, please visit www.rutgersgardens.rutgers.edu later use in our plantings. Both of these procedures incorporate piping downspouts and routing groundwater to certain locations for collection. It sounds like a lot of work, but once set it up, they are not a maintenance nightmare. Many times, setting up automated or sprinkler watering can end up being more of a chore when targeted water is needed. Automated sprinkler systems can for the most part be set up to water each zone of your property differently, depending upon the water requirements of each area. Sometimes adjustments may be needed which will increase or decrease the volume of water in a specific part of your property. Your irrigation and landscape professional, as well as your garden centers, can be of assistance in making these adjustments and recommendations and ensuring that your landscape receives proper irrigation, which will help your landscape plants survive and increase your enjoyment of them in the summer heat. Editor’s Note: Evan Dickerson is owner of Dickerson Landscape Contractors and NaturesPro of North Plainfield. He has been pioneering the organic approach to plant health since 1972. Evan can be reached at 908-753-1490


Gardener News

July, 2013 11

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Olive-oil Milling Leftovers Scrutinized in New ARS Studies By Marcia Wood USDA Agricultural Research Service Informational Staff

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For every gallon of olive oil that’s pressed from the ripe fruit, about 38 pounds of olive skins, pulp and pits are left behind. Known as pomace, these leftovers typically have low-value uses. But U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agricultural engineer Rebecca R. Milczarek and her colleagues are working with olive growers and olive-oil processors in California—where most of the nation’s commercial olives are grown—to find new, environmentally friendly, and profitable uses for pomace. According to Milczarek, pomace from California mills is usually a wet, heavy goulash that ranges in color from green to brown to black to purple, and has an aroma somewhat like that of olive tapenade, a flavorful spread made of finely chopped or purÊed olives, anchovies, capers, garlic and olive oil. Milczarek notes that one key to creating highervalue uses for pomace is to develop techniques that millers can use to quickly and affordably dry it on-site. That would make the pomace lighter, and easier and less expensive to ship to, for example, a centralized processing plant. There, specialized equipment could be used to extract additional oil or perhaps compounds for use in new foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics or other products. In her research, Milczarek is investigating the dynamics of drying pomace. The goal of these studies is to determine precisely how long it would take for water to diffuse from the pomace under specific conditions. In preliminary experiments, documented in a 2011 peer-reviewed article in the Journal of

Food Engineering, Milczarek’s team dried small batches of fresh pomace, using a combination of microwave and convection (hot forced air) heating. The drying rates for the four internal temperatures studied—104 degrees, 122 degrees, 140 degrees, and 158 degrees Fahrenheit—averaged about 28 percent lower than those reported in some studies conducted by other scientists. The bottom line? Lower drying rates mean more drying time is needed in order for the pomace to dry sufficiently. What can olive mills do about that? For commercial drying, pomace would be carried on a conveyor belt through a “drying tunnel.� With the drying rates in mind, the tunnel could be lengthened, or the conveyor belt could be slowed, to ensure that pomace emerging from the tunnel isn’t damp and prone to mold. Of course, drying adds to mills’ energy costs. However, the combination of microwave and convection drying that Milczarek tested is inherently more energy-efficient than drying options that are based solely on convection, she points out. Two features of Milczarek’s study—keeping the pomace’s internal temperature steady when testing each temperature regimen, and taking pomace shrinkage into account—likely made the research unique among olive-pomace-drying experiments and contributed to the accuracy of her results. Milczarek is with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif. ARS is the USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency. Editor’s Note: Marcia Wood works for the Agricultural Research Service, USDA. She can be reached at 301-504-1662 or by emailing Marcia.Wood@ars.usda.gov


Gardener News

July, 2013 15

We probably spend more time in our yards in the summer than any other time of year. Almost all of the other trees have finished blooming, but the Crape Myrtles have yet to burst into bloom. Colors range from pinks, to purples, to whites and reds. Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia) used to be a tree that could only be enjoyed if you lived in Cape May or further south. There have been several things that have changed that have helped to bring these wonderful trees into our gardens. For those that are interested, there seems to be a debate over the common name. There are lots of gardeners that argue that the name is “Crape Myrtle” and others “Crepe Myrtle.” The flower resembles crinkled “crepe” paper, but the proper English spelling is “crape.” My opinion is that either spelling would be acceptable. The flowers look delicate, but are very sturdy. The bloom lasts for almost three months, making them one of the longest-blooming trees in the garden. They generally start blooming here late-June or early-July.

us a curve with lower-thannormal temperatures. If the temperature drops below 0°F, the top portion of the Crape Myrtle could be killed off. However, this is not the end of your Crape Myrtle! The roots can withstand these sub-zero temperatures. Once the tree leafs out in the spring, be sure to prune off any dead wood. We have one tree next to my parent’s house that was about 10 feet tall, and the winter dieback killed it off to a onefoot stub. We cut it back, and it was back to six feet tall and blooming the very same year.

It’s prime chinch bug time! Many of you have heard of chinch bugs, but have you ever identified one or seen chinch bug damage to your lawn? This month is a good time to start. Chinch bugs overwinter in leaf litter and thatch. Once temperatures reach 50 degrees, mating and egg-laying begins and a female may produce 300 eggs over a 40- to 50-day period. Chinch bugs tend to live in the thatch layer of your lawn, which is the dead organic matter intertwined with the grass just above the true soil level. Chinch bugs are about 1/8 to 1/5 of an inch in size and sometimes are hard to find on the turf canopy due to their small size. Chinch bugs have black and white markings on their wings. Their wings rest flat over the back of the insect in a criss-cross pattern. There are five growth stages, called “instars,” of the chinch bug’s life cycle. The first two instars are red, the second and third instars are orange and the

The Great Plant Escape By David Williams Plant Enthusiast

Summer Tree Fireworks Spectacular Crape Myrtles originally were USDA hardiness zone 7-9. The USDA recently has changed our hardiness zone. Our average winter temperatures have not been as cold in Westfield, so our current hardiness zone is now 7a. There also has been quite a bit of breeding and selection of hardier varieties, which has led to more choices of varieties that will grow in our area. I generally like to grow my Crape Myrtle as a multistem tree, as it seems that it responds to our winters better. Crape Myrtles flower on new wood, which means that the best time to prune them is early-spring. Powdery mildew seems to be the only problem that affects them, but many of the newer varieties are resistant.

These are some of the more popular varieties: (All zone 6 unless noted) Lagerstroemia “Catawba” : Dark Purple flowers. Grows 15 feet tall. Foliage has a bronzy cast in spring, bright green in summer, and orange-red fall color. Zone 7 Lagerstroemia “Tonto” : Fuchsia flowers. Grows eight feet tall. Orange-red fall color. Lagerstroemia “Tuscaroa”: Coral Pink flowers. Grows 15 feet tall. Orange-red fall color. Lagerstroemia “Muskogee”: Light lavender flowers. Grows 15 feet tall. Red fall color. Lagerstroemia “Zuni”: Medium lavender. Grows nine feet tall. Orange-maroon fall color.

Lagerstroemia “Dynamite”: Fire Red. Grows 15 feet tall. Orange-Red fall color. (A personal favorite) Lagerstroemia “Red Rocket”: Ruby Red. Grows 15 feet. Dark-green summer foliage. Bronze-red fall color. Lagerstroemia “Raspberry Sundae”: Raspberry red with a touch of white. Grows 20 feet tall. Sterile with very few seed pods. Lagerstroemia “Red Filli”: A dwarf variety that only grows 2 feet tall. Red blooms. Purplish fall color. Zone 5. Down South, the bark of the Crape Myrtle is considered one of its major ornamental features. They develop very dramatic bark that peels back as they get older. We don’t see that feature as often in our location because sometimes winter will throw

Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

Chinch Bugs are chomping! fifth instar is black with wings easily visible. Chinch bugs tend to feed on full sunny areas of your lawn during periods of hot, dry weather. They cause damage to your lawn with their piercing-sucking mouth parts as they feed on the sap of grass plants, usually around the lower crown of the plant. They suck out plant juices and inject chemicals into the plant which clog the plant’s vascular system. The area on the grass blade where they pierce tends to turn yellow. Damage first looks like irregular patches and then spreads quickly if not kept in check. Frequently, chinch bug damage is masked as drought and heat stress or fungal damage on the lawn.

Chinch bugs are usually very active during summer months, as they scurry around the ground, sometimes as many as 150 to 200 insects per square foot! If you do not want to scour the ground looking for chinch bugs, get a coffee can and cut out both ends. Do not feed the chinch bugs the coffee, save it in another container for brewing later! Soften the soil with some water and push the can into the soil and one to two inches. Fill the can halfway with water, gently stir up the ground area at the bottom of the can, wait for about five minutes, and if you have chinch bugs they will float to the surface. We have mentioned many times before that a

healthy growing turf is the best defense against most lawn problems. The same goes for chinch bugs. If you have not fertilized recently or your lawn is under drought stress, a light feeding and proper watering can mask some chinch bug damage. A square foot of lawn area can tolerate up to 15 to 20 insects per square foot. Your choice of grass seed can also make a difference. Chinch bugs are mostly attracted to red fescues, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and bentgrass. Tall fescues seem to have a greater resistance to chinch bug damage. Also, seeding turfgrasses that contain endophyte-enhanced varieties will help your

Editor’s Note: David is a fourth generation partner at Williams Nursery in Westfield. He is a member of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, and the Union County Board of Agriculture. He has served as a board member for the Friends of Mindowaskin Park, the International Garden Center Association, and the Rutgers Board of Managers. He recently finished a two year term as President of Garden Centers of America (GCA). He can be reached at (908) 232-4076. lawn repel many surfacefeeding insects. The big-eyed bug is the primary predator of chinch bugs. There are a number of granular and liquid insecticides on the market that are labeled to control chinch bugs, along with other surface-feeding lawn pests. Small chinch bugs are easier to control than mature adults. Some insect controls may also kill the big-eyed bug, causing a resurgence in chinch bug populations. Sections of your lawn that die can have some chinch bug populations reappear again, even after controls have been applied or the following year. Be sure to monitor these areas each year to reduce the excess population. Damage from chinch bugs does kill the grass and you will need to re-seed these areas. Editor’s Note: Todd Pretz is Vice President of Jonathan Green, a leading supplier of lawn and garden products in the northeast. For more information, please visit: www.jonathangreen.com


16 July, 2013

Gardener News

July is a time when there are many parties. Temperatures also tend to rise in July. Now is a great time to limit environmental stress in the garden. Extreme temperatures can cause garden havoc, but don’t fret. With the right plan, you may help ensure the garden thrives throughout the summer. If you need to fill some space or gaps in the garden, try to be careful of the temperature. Try to plant in the very early morning or in the evening as the sun goes down. Or, wait for a cooler or overcast day to plant. Planting in extreme heat causes tender plants to be stressed or even go into shock. Always after planting, make sure to waterin all freshly planted material. Actually, it is also a good rule of thumb to inspect plant material for water before it is planted. If plants are dry before planting, give adequate water before planting. Then after planting, water it in thoroughly. As always, a proper watering schedule is highly recommended throughout the summer. Keep in mind that

to heal themselves instead of utilizing its own energy to avoid heat or other environmental stress. Now is also a great time to mulch your garden if you have not done so, or if the mulch has washed away. Mulch helps to keep root systems cool and moist. Keep a close eye out on your plants for insects and fungus this month. If you find some, always spray them during the coolest part of the day. If July winds up being hot and humid this year, try cooling off in the garden. Much of the water taken up by plants is released through transpiration. This is the process where water contained in liquid form in plants is converted to vapor and released to the atmosphere. Sort of natural air conditioning.

My neck glands swelled up to being wider than my face - it was hideous and I started to think about whether my breathing was going to be impaired and what in the heck made this happen to me. I used to get swollen glands as a kid, but hadn’t in years, so who do you call? That’s right, you call Mom. Mom started asking me a number of questions and as I answered them she went, “Ah-hah!, that is what did it! Remember when you were a little boy, we used to have to stay inside the camp at the big family gatherings?” Mom would sit inside with me to keep me company but I have not had this reaction in years.....many years. Everyone else was out at the picnic tables eating burgers and dogs, Jell-O with fruit cocktail, potato salad and corn on the cob, with strawberry shortcake for desert. Was it something I ate? Nope. Many people spend time outdoors with no ill effects at all from......biting insects. As of just recently, that person was also me.

The Professional Grower By Tim Hionis Greenhouse Specialist

Planting in July some plants prefer more water than others. It is ideal to know which plants prefer to stay moist and which can handle being dry. For example, keep New Guinea impatiens away from flowering vinca because New Guinea impatiens need more water than the vinca. You may wind up overwatering and rotting out the vinca trying to keep up with the New Guinea impatiens, or vice versa, you may end up drying out and killing the New Guinea impatiens while tending to the vinca watering schedule. If you are unsure if you are watering enough, make sure the soil is moist, at least eight to 12 inches in depth. Keep in mind, that containers and hanging baskets dry out quicker than planted garden material. These are at risk

of drying out quicker in high heat and high wind locations. Hanging baskets with a heavy frequent watering schedule leach out of nutrients. Increase the frequency of water soluble fertilizer to help counteract this event. Leaching occurs when you water and the soil has lost its ability to absorb water and it spills right through the drainage holes and as a result it flushes out the needed nutrients for plant survival. If this has occurred in your soil, the best way to rehydrate soil is to slowly keep adding water multiple times until the soil is able to absorb the needed water for the plant. Once this happens, go back later and apply a water soluble fertilizer to recharge the nutrients in the soil. It is also important to keep unwanted weeds out

of the garden. Especially when temperatures get hot and things become crowded, plants, like people, need room to breathe. Picture a crowded subway on a hot July afternoon…Going away for a while? Lower your hanging baskets out of the sun and put them in a cool area. Make sure to water them thoroughly the morning before you leave. This gives your plants better chances to survive until you get back. You can also ask a neighbor to check in on them often. If you do, make sure to bring them a souvenir from your trip! Did you know that cutting back on certain flowers will help promote more blooms? Spent flowers or damaged limbs may actually draw energy from the plant’s core

The Miscellaneous Gardener By Richard W. Perkins Freelance Writer

“You Are Kidding? Swollen Glands From...!” But under some conditions and with some individuals there can be UNEXPECTED REACTIONS, I was told by the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife guy whom I call on occasion to ask questions. Generally, black fly bites cause some itching and minor swelling from the first few bites of the season, but then an immunity develops, creating subsequent reduced reactions. Nonetheless, even individuals who have lived all their lives in black fly country like I have and are exposed every season can have greater effects if they get an unusually high number of bites on their first exposure of the season, or have some significant change in their physical condition (like getting older) or medical status.

Therefore, everyone should take this possibility into account as they do with all other outdoor bug risks (mosquitoes, ticks, wasps, bees, spiders, etc.) and take appropriate precautions. Well, I was out in the woods on a Thursday and forgot my Deep Woods Off. Halfway into the hike, I came upon a black fly swarm and I got bites in all the usual places; behind the ears, under my shirt sleeves at the wrists, on the back of the neck under my baseball hat band and under my pant leg at the spot where my sock top hit my calf. Sneaky little vermin and normally I get some swelling and it goes away in a day or two. Not this time. My glands swelled up to the size of small tennis balls. By Saturday night, I had a light fever and felt all

around pretty lousy. And, on top of not feeling well, I missed date night! They are lucky I wasn’t a crop duster because I would have loaded up the ol’ plane with DEET and bombed em’....:) My Fish and Wildlife guy told me about another person my age who was bitten by black flies and about two days later had swollen glands, a sore throat, an earache and pain to-the-touch in the same general area as the swelling behind their ears. Most people don’t suspect black flies because they have been around them all their life with none of the above symptoms in the past. For minor reactions, there are a number of topical cures. Aloevera, for one, can be used to soothe the skin and mitigate the itching. Also, witch hazel,

Editor’s Note: Tim Hionis has been growing plants for over 20 years, and is co-owner of Hionis Greenhouses and Garden Center in Whitehouse Station, NJ. He can be reached by calling (908) 534-7710. in addition to being a useful application for cuts and burns, can be applied on top of a bite. There are even some reports of onions or garlic being effective in reducing inflammation and swelling. But, if difficulty breathing or hives all over the skin occur, you must immediately seek a healthcare professional, as these may be signs of a serious allergic reaction. One medical website suggested taking a Benadryl (antihistamine) and a Zantac (heartburn reducer) and going straight to the ER. Others have suggested taking a Fexofenadine (over the counter allergy medication) and an Aleve (anti-inflammatory) and do the same thing - go directly to the ER. Typically, a few days later, a slight stiffness and pain should be receding rapidly. Thanks for reading and see ya next month. Editors Note: Richard Perkins is an avid horticulturist, a member of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance and the Seacoast Writers Association. He can be reached at perkinsphoto7@aol.com


Gardener News

July, 2013 17

Recognizing members as the greatest resource

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Paul Kneeland, second from left, President of the Eastern Produce Council (EPC), Vice President of Floral, Meat, Produce and Seafood for Kings Food Markets, and a featured columnist for the Gardener News, welcomes Dennis G. Doyle, left, manager of the Atlantic Blueberry Company and a producer member of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council; New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher, second from right; and Joseph Marino, President of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey, to the Eastern Produce Council’s annual Jersey Fresh BBQ meeting and networking event at Demarest Farms in Hillsdale, Bergen County, NJ., on Tuesday, June 4. The EPC is a thriving organization of over 500 members. Their members span from produce business professionals including retailers, wholesale distributors, growers, vendors/brokers and logistics providers. The EPC has broadened its scope to become the produce industry’s premier resource for networking, education, business development, information source and support for charitable causes in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. The EPC is also dedicated to making the world a better place and is committed to improving the social welfare of their local and extended communities.

Governor Christie Declares July Smart Irrigation Month (KINNELON, N.J.) Governor Chris Christie has proclaimed July to be Smart Irrigation Month in New Jersey to draw attention to the importance of using water efficiently. July is traditionally the month of peak demand for watering lawns, gardens and landscapes in North America. The Irrigation Association named July as Smart Irrigation Month to increase public awareness about simple practices and innovative technologies homeowners, businesses and property managers can use to: Save money on utility bills; minimize or defer investments in infrastructure to store and carry water, typically paid for by property taxes or municipal bonds; and protect their community’s water supply for generations to come. Homeowners typically overwater lawns and landscapes by up to 30 percent. By selecting and planting carefully, watering wisely, and maintaining and upgrading automated irrigation systems, consumers can save money, save water and see better results. “We are especially proud and pleased that Governor Christie has designated July as Smart Irrigation Month in New Jersey as many of our irrigation contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers are seriously involved in helping local communities and consumers use water efficiently and effectively,” said Michael Edmiston, President of the Irrigation Association of New Jersey. To find a certified local professional to design, install, maintain or audit your irrigation system, visit www.ianj.com. For a copy of the Smart Irrigation Proclamation, click here. Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association of New Jersey and the national Irrigation Association, both non-profit industry organizations dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation. The IANJ has over 300 certified irrigation contractors members throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. To learn more about the IANJ visit, www.ianj.com.


18 July, 2013

CASE FILES

From the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County Garden Help Line

By Madeline Flahive DiNardo, Union County Agricultural Agent and Master Gardeners, MC Schwartz and James Keane Q. What is the best way to support my tomato plants? -Sprawling in Scotch Plains A. There are several methods that can be used to support your tomatoes: Cages, staking, the “Stake and Weave� system or trellising. Choosing the best one for your garden depends on the type of tomatoes you are growing and how much effort you want to put into creating the support system. The first consideration when making your decision is the type of tomatoes you are growing. Determinate tomatoes tend to be short and have a bushy growth. Each branch has a flower cluster at the end that produces fruit. Determinate varieties have a brief harvest period, but produce tomatoes earlier than indeterminate varieties. Cages, stakes or the “Stake and Weave� method are all appropriate for determinate tomatoes. Indeterminate varieties grow upwards through the growing season, and produce tomatoes until the first frost. These varieties can grow higher than six feet tall. Indeterminate tomatoes can be supported using any of the four methods. Cages Tomato cages are cone-shaped metal hoops that are set around the tomato plant. Sizes range from three to five feet tall. Make sure the spacing between the wires is at least six inches so you can reach in and harvest your tomatoes! When choosing a cage for a determinate variety, check for the mature size on the plant. You can find this information on the seed packet or plant tag. Cages for indeterminate varieties need to be at least five feet tall. You can make your own tomato cage using six-inch-by-six-inch wire mesh. The cage should be 18 to 24 inches in diameter, and three to five feet high, depending on the mature size of the tomato plant. Use wire cutters to cut the bottom row of the mesh to make “legs� for the cage that are pushed into the soil. If you are placing cages around your tomatoes, the plants should be spaced two-and-a-half to three feet apart in a row. Leave four to five feet between the rows. Sink the “legs� of the cages eight to 12 inches into the soil. Place the cages around the tomatoes soon after planting. Tomatoes grown in cages do not need to be pruned. The extra foliage helps prevent sunscald and cracking. Another advantage to using cages is there tends to be a heavy fruit load. The disadvantage is that tomatoes tend to ripen later than tomatoes grown using the staking or trellis methods. Stakes Stakes can be used to support both types of tomatoes. Some common materials used include wood, metal, two inch PVC pipe or concrete reinforcing rods (rebar). Wood stakes should be one-and-a-half to two inches wide and five to eight feet high, to support the weight of the plant. If you are re-using wood stakes from a previous growing season, soak them in a 5-percent household bleach solution for 20 minutes. A ratio of one-half cup of bleach to two cups of water would suffice to reduce the chance of introducing soil borne diseases to the garden. Stakes should be installed two to three weeks after planting, when the plants are 12 to 15 inches high. The plants should be spaced two feet apart with three to four feet between rows. Drive the stakes eight to 12 inches into the ground about four inches away from the plant. Use a soft twine or strips of material to gently tie the tomato to the stake. Make a figure-8 with the loops around the stake and the plant and the center of the figure-8 between the plant and stake. Make sure that the tie will not cut into the plant. Avoid tying the plant directly below a flower cluster. The weight of the maturing fruit might sag and tear the branch off the main stem, causing injury to the plant. The Stake and Weave Method RCE fact sheet 1102, “The Stake and Weave Training System for Tomatoes in the Home Garden,� has details and drawings of this support method for tomato plants. Choose a sunny, dry day for this project. Working with wet plants may spread bacterial diseases. In this method, four to five horizontal lines of twine, at six- to eight-inch intervals, are strung between stakes to support a row of tomato plants. The stake should be made of a non-slip material such as wood or metal. The twine must be strung tautly. Use weather-resistant twine. Synthetic twine (nylon) is stronger and does not break down or sag as soon as natural jute twine. Wooden stakes should be one inch square and at least four to eight feet long. Indeterminate plants need six- to eightfeet stakes. Drive the stake a foot into the ground between every other tomato plant in the row. You can reinforce the stakes at each end of the row by placing another stake directly against it and tying them together. Start stringing the twine at the bottom. The lowest line should be two inches below the branch with the lowest flower cluster. Pass the string along one side of the plant, making a loop around each stake. When you reach the last stake in the row, loop back and pass the string along the other side of the tomato plant. Start the next line six to eight inches above the lowest line. Pruning is recommended when using this support method and staking. Find the lowest branch with a flower cluster on it. Keep the branch (sucker) directly below it. Move any suckers (two- to four-inch growth) below this branch by gently twisting them off. Trellis This method is only recommended for indeterminate varieties. Larger tomatoes and early ripening are the pros of trellising, but the con is that plants are more susceptible to sunscald. Stakes that are at least five to six feet tall are placed 12 to 20 feet apart in a row. Twelve-gauge wire is strung tightly across the top of the stakes. Twine is dropped vertically from the top wire line and gently tied to the base of the tomato plant, or a wire line that runs horizontally along the base of the stakes. Train each tomato plant to two stems: the main stem and the branch (sucker) just below the lowest branch with a flower cluster. Remove any small suckers (two to four inches) below the selected branch, by gently twisting them off. As the two stems grow, carefully wind them around the twine or use plastic greenhouse clips to gently tie the new growth to the twine. So, with a great support system, your tomatoes can thrive! Editor’s Note: The Union County Master Gardener’s HELP LINE fields hundreds of citizen inquiries a year – offering assistance with their indoor as well as outdoor gardening and pest control questions. Responses to resident phone calls and on-site visits comply with current Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station recommendations. Union County residents can call (908) 654-9852 or email mastergardeners@ucnj.org for assistance. A complete listing of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) offices where you can contact a Master Gardener in your area can be found on page 22 of the Gardener News. Free RCE fact sheets are available at www.njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs

Gardener News Statement on the Detection of Genetically Engineered Wheat in Oregon :$6+,1*721 '&   ʊ 2Q -XQH  2013 the USDA Office of Communications Director Matt Paul gave the following update on the detection of genetically engineered wheat in Oregon: On May 29, USDA announced that a small number of volunteer wheat plants in an Oregon field had tested positive for genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat. Extensive testing confirmed the wheat as a variety – MON71800 – developed by Monsanto. The detection of this wheat variety does not pose a public health or food safety concern. Monsanto worked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 to complete a voluntary food and feed safety consultation. Completion of the FDA consultation process means this variety is as safe as non-GE wheat currently on the market. USDA began an investigation into this matter on May 3 when an Oregon State University scientist notified USDA’s officials that plant samples they had tested positive for a protein that made them resistant to glyphosate. As of June 14, 2014 USDA has neither found nor been informed of anything that would indicate that this incident amounts to more than a single isolated incident in a single field on a single farm. All information collected so far shows no indication of the presence of GE wheat in commerce. Investigators are conducting a thorough review. They have interviewed the person that harvested the wheat from this field as well as the seed supplier who sold the producer wheat seed; obtained samples of the wheat seed sold to the producer and other growers; and obtained samples of the producer’s wheat harvests, including a sample of the producer’s 2012 harvest. All of these samples of seed and grain tested negative for the presence of GE material. Investigators are continuing to conduct interviews with approximately 200 area growers. On June 13, 2013, USDA validated an event-specific PCR (DNA-based) method for detecting MON71800 (provided by Monsanto to USDA on May 23, 2013). The USDA validation process included a specificity study and a sensitivity study. USDA determined that the method can reliably detect MON71800 when it is present at a frequency of 1 in 200 kernels. Additionally, USDA has provided this validated DNA test method to detect this specific GE variety to our trading partners that have requested it. Major markets, such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan, have postponed imports of U.S. white wheat as they continue to study information from U.S. officials to determine what, if any, future action may be required. USDA officials will continue to provide information as quickly as possible as the investigation continues - with a top priority on giving our trading partners the tools they need to ensure science-based trade decisions.


Gardener News

July, 2013 19

Greetings from the restored Jersey shore! By this time, many of you have been back to the shore and have seen all the work that has been and is being done to get everything back to “normal.” Summer has definitely been a bit different down here, but the heart and soul of the Jersey shore is still intact. I don’t mean to continually bring up the Sandy thing every month, I just would like to remind people that there is still a lot of work to be done and to keep people up to date on things. As good as Lavallette looks, there is still tons of restoration work going on. Neighboring Ortley Beach seems to finally be headed in the right direction as well. As far as Mantoloking and the areas north of Lavallette, much of the destruction remains. Fallen houses are slowly being demolished and carted away. Whole communities such as the Camp Osborn section of Brick, which was completely devastated by fire, remain as a symbol and constant reminder of just how bad it was. Slowly but surely it will hopefully all come back. Onto some positive, happy thoughts. June was like softshell crab month down here. We couldn’t keep enough of them in the restaurant. Fried,

sautéed, grilled, you name it and we sold it. My personal favorite is grilling them, which most people don’t think to do. The slight charring of the shell gives the crab a great grill flavor. Simply tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice and grilled for about three to four minutes on each side is all that’s needed to enjoy these seasonal crabs. A soft-shell crab is a blue crab that is undergoing a molting process in which the old shell is discarded and a new shell is developed. There is a small window in which these soft-shell crabs must be harvested or they will turn “tinny” or too hard for consuming. Once harvested, they arrive, most times from Maryland, alive and still kicking. They are then processed by removing the tail, lungs and face. Yes, I know that sounds a bit brutal but they sure taste good. We generally have them for most of the summer or

Method - heat a medium-sized pan over a medium flame for about a minute and add 2 Tbsp. of the butter - dredge the crabs in flour and then dip in egg - shake off excess egg and add to pan with melted butter, repeat with all crabs - cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side, then carefully flip over once crab is lightly browned - cook for another minute - remove from flame and carefully add wine and lemon juice - return to flame and let simmer for a few minutes or until sauce is reduced by half - turn off flame and add remaining butter, swirl butter gently in pan to incorporate into sauce - sprinkle the chopped parsley over the crabs - serve over pasta of choice or just with some good bread

The Bronze Birch Borer is a truly damaging pest to birch trees in New Jersey. If you have a birch tree on your property, you should be aware of this insect pest. The bronze birch borer is a small beetle that is approximately one-half inch in length. But it’s the larval form of this insect that makes the bronze birch borer one of the most devastating pests of white-barked birches in our area. The larvae feed just under the bark of birch trees, in doing so, they eventually girdle a branch or the upper trunk of the tree and the result is wilting and often death. Unlike many of our pests, this beetle is a native to North America. This borer has been found to attack most birch species, but European white birch, paper birch and yellow birch seem to be the most preferred hosts. Most homeowners first notice evidence of this pest when the top part of a birch tree suddenly wilts and dies. This happens because the larvae of the beetle feed under the bark and girdle one of the upper branches or the upper truck. Careful examination of branches and the trunk will usually reveal raised ridges or bumps

leaf aphids, but both of these pests are more easily controlled than the bronze birch borer. Remember, before applying any pesticides, make sure you read the label and the directions. Consult with a certified pesticide applicator or New Jersey certified tree expert for more specific information. Birch Trees and The Bronze Birch Borer As always, I hope you along the stem and branches. As with most wood-boring areas generally require regular learned something.... These are ridges formed from insects, the bronze birch borer annual preventive insecticide Till Next Month the larvae tunneling under the is extremely difficult to control, applications. Surface sprays bark as they feed. One thing especially if an infestation is are applied to the tree trunk so Editor’s Note: Robert to look for is a D-shaped exit established over many seasons. that the insecticide is present to graduated from SUNY hole. These D-shaped holes are This pest seems to prefer birches kill larvae hatching from eggs. College of Environmental found in the bark and may be in stressed conditions. Birches This must be done before eggs Science and Forestry and stained with rust-colored sap. generally grow in shady, cool are laid and reapplications will Syracuse University with These holes are the emergence and moist wooded areas. Thus, be needed if adults lay eggs degrees in science education holes made by adult beetles. when birches are planted as an over extended periods. Soil and forest biology. He is an Heavy attacks and continued accent plant in sunny, dry urban drenched systemic insecticides ISA Certified Arborist and reinfestation results in most of lawns, they are rapidly attacked. are applied to kill the feeding a New Jersey Certified Tree the branches dying from the (Remember: right plant – adults on the leaves and bark Expert. Robert is currently as well as the young larvae teaching AP Environmental top down. Eventually, the trunk right place) is girdled and the entire tree If you really want a birch entering the trunk area. Science, Biology and As I mentioned above, Chemistry at Liberty High for your landscape, select dies. Adult bronze birch borers shaded and semi-moist areas by planting species of birch less School in PA., and on are rarely observed because using the north and east sides prone to attack can also be an staff at Temple University of their secretive behavior and of buildings, or try a resistant option. Though they do not have teaching Horticulture. He rapid flight ability. The adults species of birch. Proper pure white bark, river birch is delivers many short courses are slender, dark olive bronze fertilization and control of both quite resistant to attack and gray and seminars at various in color with a bright green aphids and leaf miners will help birch is moderately resistant. outdoor education facilities. iridescence underneath the keep the birch vigorous and However, these species have He is available for talks and wing covers. The larvae are better able to withstand borers. there own problems - gray birch consultations in both NJ and Susceptible birches that is very susceptible to leaf miners PA. Robert can be reached by slender and cream-colored and are planted in open, sunny and river birch is attacked by calling (484) 560-5744. are grub-like.

From the Deep By Craig Korb Executive Chef

Feeling crabby – in a good way until supplies run out, and some years are better than others. The most popular way of preparing them at the restaurant seems to be francaise style, in which the crabs are floured, egg battered, sautéed in butter, lemon and white wine then served over angel hair pasta. The other popular way is deep fried on a roll with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce. I’ll eat them any which way I can. People not familiar with these types of crabs might want to try the appetizer size, usually one, or sample a friend’s first. At least a few times every year we will get them returned because the person “didn’t realize it was a whole crab” or “it wasn’t what they were expecting.” I’m going to give you a basic francaise recipe that doesn’t have to be served over pasta if you prefer. I like the pasta or at least a piece of bread to soak up the sauce. In closing, I would just

like to thank everyone for their continued support of the Jersey shore communities and businesses up and down our amazing coast. Without it, a lot of us could not and would not be here. Go Jersey! P.S.- don’t forget about Jersey Fresh. Ask for Jersey Fresh products every time you buy your fruits and vegetables. July and August are peak months for Jerseygrown produce. Tomatoes, corn, peaches, pears, greens, and fresh herbs, just to name a few. Soft-shell crab francaise (serves 2) - four soft shell crabs ( whale or jumbo size) - 1/2 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper - two eggs, beaten - 3 Tbsp. butter, add more if needed - 1/2 cup dry white wine - juice of 1 lemon - 1 tsp. parsley, chopped fine

Editor’s Note: Craig Korb is executive chef at The Crab’s Claw Inn, Lavallette, New Jersey. He has an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors degree in Food Service Management from Johnson and Wales University. For more information visit www.TheCrabsClaw.com or phone (732) 793-4447.


20 July, 2013

Gardener News

Agricultural leaders gather in New Jersey (Continued from Page 1) include: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Last year, the meeting was held in New Hampshire. Among those attending this year’s meeting from the NEASDA states were: Chuck Ross, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture; Darrel J. Aubertine, New York Commissioner of Agriculture; Kenneth Ayers, Rhode Island Chief of Agriculture; Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture; Steven K. Reviczky, Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture; Walter E. Whitcomb, Maine Commissioner of Agriculture; Jay Howes, Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Al Murray, New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture; Dianne Bothfield, Vermont Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; and Jolinda H. LaClair, Vermont Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. NEASDA representatives from Massachusetts and New Hampshire were not able to attend due to scheduling conflicts. The meeting drew interest from states outside the Northeast as well. Steve Troxler, North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, and the current President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), attended, as did Leonard M. Blackham, Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Past President of NASDA. Also in attendance were Acting USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael J. Scuse; EPA Agriculture Counselor Sarah Bittleman; USDA NASS Eastern Field Operations Director Norman Bennett; and USDA NASS Northeastern Director King Whetstone. The meeting officially opened in Cape May’s famed Congress Hall on June 2 with a heartfelt welcome by New

Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Fisher. Congress Hall is just a few steps from the ocean, in the heart of Cape May’s well-known historic district. Reports were then given by each state. They included crop developments, farm markets, food deserts, how they are tracking the Farm Bill (federal legislation that funds multiple agricultural programs), raw milk, budget discussions, and agri-tourism. After the opening session was over, the group had some time to explore Cape May before boarding a trolley for a dock tour and fishing industry discussion.

started off with Food Export USA, one of four regional groups that help connection agricultural operators with export opportunities. It was followed by Federal Partners Updates: The group heard from USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Scuse; NASDA President Troxler; EPA Agriculture Counselor Bittleman; USDA NASS Eastern Field Operations Director Bennett; USDA NASS Northeastern Director Whetstone; and Utah Commissioner Blackham, who gave a briefing about emerging invasive species threats. The secretaries then discussed the

Tom Castronovo/Photo

USDA NASS Northeastern Director King Whetstone, left, and USDA NASS Eastern Field Operations Director Norman Bennett during the NEASDA agriculture tour of Southern New Jersey. The group also learned about the commercial fishing fleet located at the Lobster House. This fleet offloads and ships millions of pounds of fresh seafood annually. The tour and discussion were followed up with a Jersey Fresh and Jersey Seafood dinner at the Lobster House. On Monday, June 3, breakfast was served between 6:30 – 8:30 a.m. The meeting

Federal Milk Marketing Order reform and Sustainability of the Northeast Milk Supply. Everyone then picked up box lunches and boarded a bus for an agriculture tour of Southern New Jersey, including a visit to the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, a unique business incubation and economic development accelerator program, which provides business and technology expertise to startup

and established food companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, and utilizes its outreach capacity to reach food and agribusinesses throughout the world. The 23,000-square-foot facility is under the inspection of the USDA and FDA. The tour continued to Centerton Nursery, Inc., one of New Jersey’s finest familyowned container nurseries, producing nearly a thousand kinds of hardy garden plants for the independently managed garden centers, franchises, farm and roadside markets, landscape contractors and florists across the United States. That was followed by a stop at Edward Wuillermin & Sons, Inc., a 350-acre diversified vegetable farm selling wholesale through the largest produce auction on the East Coast. Here the group learned about video sorting grading equipment to improve pack-out. Next up was the Atlantic Blueberry Company, one of the largest highbush blueberry farms in the world, encompassing over 1,300 acres. The day ended at Tomasello Winery, an extensive Atlantic County vineyard with nearly 70 acres of vines. It is the only third-generation, familyowned winery in New Jersey and their wines can be found in 37 states nationally, in thousands of stores, as well as in Canada and Asia. On Tuesday, June 4, breakfast was again served between 6:30 – 8:30 a.m. The day started with a presentation by the New England Dairy Board, MidAtlantic Dairy Association and American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. It was followed up by a discussion of the new federal law known as the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, by Dr. Wesley Kline, a County Agricultural Agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Next was an update from

NEASDA President Douglas H. Fisher. That was followed by Carl Schulze, director of the Division of Plant Industry in the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and Jeff Beach, NJDA’s Policy Advisor and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, who spoke to the group about the importance of crisis communications in emergencies such as hurricanes. Next up was a discussion on GMO food labeling legislation. This was followed by a Food Safety Modernization Act discussion, linking back to Dr. Kline’s presentation. Secretary Fisher then closed the meeting at noon. NEASDA is part of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). NASDA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(C) (6) association whose members consist of the “Departments of Agriculture� of all 50 states and four territories. Its mission is to represent the state departments of agriculture in the development, implementation, and communication of sound public policy and programs which support and promote the American agricultural industry, while helping to protect consumers and the environment. Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com.

New 2013 National Gardening Survey :,//,672197 ĘŠ7KH1DWLRQDO*DUGHQLQJ6XUYH\VKRZVDVPDOOLQFUHDVHWKHVHFRQG\HDULQDURZLQODZQDQGJDUGHQSDUWLFLSDWLRQDQGVDOHVZKLOHQDWLRQDO FKDLQVFRQWLQXHWRGRPLQDWHPDUNHWVKDUHĆŽ$W1DWLRQDO*DUGHQLQJ$VVRFLDWLRQZHÂśUHGHOLJKWHGWRVHHPRUHSHRSOHGRLQJODZQDQGJDUGHQDFWLYLWLHVIRUWKHPVHOYHVDQG HVSHFLDOO\SOHDVHGWRVHHDQLQFUHDVHLQODZQDQGJDUGHQVDOHVIRUWKHVHFRQG\HDULQDURZDIWHUEHLQJGRZQWKHSUHYLRXVWZR\HDUVĆŽVDLG0LNH0HWDOOR1*$3UHVLGHQW There is good news for the Lawn and Garden business in results of the just-released 2013 National Gardening Survey report from the National Gardening Association. Nationwide, household participation in do-it-yourself lawn and garden activities showed a welcome increase of 2 million more households (2%) in 2012 compared with the year before, translating into an extra $354 million (1%) in retail sales of Lawn and Garden products across the nation. In total, U.S. households spent $29.5 billion on their lawns and gardens last year. Average annual spending on lawn and garden activities per household remained flat at around $347 per year. A new survey question added last year and continued in 2013 asking households how much they spent at each type of retailer selling lawn and garden products confirmed that big-box stores and mass retailers account for the largest share of lawn and garden retail sales. The 2013 National Gardening Survey found that U.S. households spent more at Home Improvement Centers (27% of the total gardening retail market) and at Mass Merchants (20%) than they did at local Garden Centers and Nurseries (17%) RUORFDO+DUGZDUH6WRUHV  0DQ\LQGXVWU\LQVLGHUVKDYHVSHFXODWHGDERXWWKLVVKLIWLQPDUNHWĆŽFKDQQHOĆŽVKDUHIRU\HDUVDQGWKH1DWLRQDO*DUGHQLQJ6XUYH\KDV confirmed their suspicions. With a collective 47% share, large national chains now drive the L&G market. This market share data has not been collected before in this or any similar survey and will give industry insiders something to think about. However, the national chains have their own challenges. The 18-34 year old group of householders cite their local Hardware Store as their preferred lawn and garden supplier (21% of sales), ahead of Home Centers (13% of sales) and Mass Merchants (15% of sales). If you have any questions about the National Gardening Survey, please contact the Research Director, Bruce Butterfield at 1-888-538-7476, ext. 113 or e-mail: bruceb@gardenresearch.com.


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July, July Ju ly, y, 2013 201 21 21

Creative Juices

By Jeannie Geremia Garden Club of New Jersey

Here we are in the midst of the always thrilling growing season, when everything seems to grow by leaps and bounds. The excitement is palpable of seeing our seedlings mature and develop fruits, vegetables, flower buds and blooms, as we start reaping the rewards of our labor and love. Oh those Jersey Fresh blueberries, the smells of our ripening strawberries still lingering in our memory, with tomatoes coming on and peaches, corn, peppers, squash, tender peas and yummy salad greens making their way from our community gardens, home gardens, farmers markets and farm stands to our dinner tables. How lucky are we to live and garden in the Garden State! Adventures are always in the forefront as we go about a seemingly endless array of activities and projects. Several of my fellow National Garden Club judges from the Garden Club of New Jersey were invited to Ocean City, N.J. to judge their 41st fabulous flower show at the Music Pier overlooking the ocean. It was a gorgeous day, with sunbathers out in force while others were enjoying the delights found along the length and breadth of the boardwalk. It was good to see everything back in order after Sandy, and smelling that fresh salt air is a tonic in itself. We love to judge this show, as the public does an outstanding job in both design and horticulture. This year’s theme “Let’s Go To The Movies,” got the exhibitors’ “creative juices” flowing in many different directions, using movie titles as their inspiration. It’s fun to see the different “take” everyone brings to their design with the most successful interpretation winning the blue ribbon. We were all “agog” over the

wonderful “broken” container within another “broken” container with miniature plants, a cottage and other compatible accessories. We all wanted to rush home and bring our own creative juices to play in making a “fairy type” container. The ride back home was memorable, too, as I almost gave Nancy Gahtan and Susan O’Donnell, fellow judges riding with me, whiplash. It seems I missed my exit off the Atlantic City Expressway, and so we were off on an adventure. We ended up passing “Batsto Village,” a charming historical site located in the South Central Pinelands, that we have to come back to explore, when I happened to see a farm stand with strawberries and asparagus. Hence the “whiplash” occurrence as I swerved into their driveway. It was FLB Farms in Nesco, N.J., with their farming operation dating back to 1949. One of the owners, who identified himself as a “Piney,” gave us an amazing account of the Revolutionary War history of the area and Batsto Village. Wow, and were those strawberries ever flavorful, not to mention the best asparagus I had this year. We passed acres and acres of blueberry bushes and were told it would just be two more weeks (midJune) when the first Jersey Fresh blueberries would be harvested. Hammonton and environs is definitely a “do over”---think “Blueberry Capitol of the World.” Another absolute delight is being a part of and/or visiting community gardens as the “creative juices” are apparent wherever you look. Just visit your nearest community garden to see what I mean, as everyone’s community garden plot is so individualistic and inspiring. We just visited Duke Farms Community Garden, which has expanded to 420 plots

with all sizes and shapes of gardens and a mind-boggling array of vegetables, fruits and flowers. I spoke to Mila Dunbar and Greg Fries of Bridgewater as they were lovingly tending their 20-foot by 15-foot garden plot. They had put in strawberries last fall and I admired their fat, juicy-looking berries. They’re trying their hand at growing russet potatoes and Northern reds, too. I then encountered Xiomara Piercey and her neighbor, Carolyn White, from Hillsborough, just finishing protecting their tender zucchini plants from a squash bug other gardeners warned them about. Xiomara’s husband made her several raised beds in her 10-foot by 10-foot plot, and Carolyn accompanies her for support and encouragement. They were off to a garden center to purchase some more garden equipment and plants. Lastly, I spoke to Bruce Gandarillas of Raritan, and his son, Brock, aged 14, and they were taking in the beauty of their huge strawberry plants and encouraging their carrots, peppers and tomatoes to perform as well. I’m sure, my gardening friends, that we can all relate to the enthusiasm and sheer excitement from seeing the fruits of our creativity and labor. Update: My Giant Swallowtail butterfly hatched out after the chrysalis overwintered in my gazebo on May 16. GET OUT THERE--GARDEN! Editor’s Note: Jeannie Geremia is the Community Garden Chair for the Garden Club of New Jersey, Inc., and is a National Garden Clubs, Inc., Accredited Judge for the GCNJ. She can be reached by emailing jeannieg42@earthlink. net Garden Club of New Jersey’s website is: www. gardenclubofnewjersey. com and phone number is: 732-249-0947.

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Gardening Classes at the Warren Township Library Great Gardens of NJ: 7 PM, Tuesday, July 23. Getting off the Turnpike and into the beds and borders of New Jersey’s Public Gardens. From Gilded Era estates to 21st century Leeds-certified gardens, New Jersey offers a wide range of settings and plant palettes for the garden visitor. Travel from South to North in this hour long presentation filled with beautiful imagery and helpful suggestions for planning your next garden visit. Guest speaker: Lesley Parness has served as Superintendent of Horticultural Education at New Jersey’s largest park system, the Morris County Park Commission, since 2001. Pre-registration required. Invasive Species: 7 PM, Tuesday, August 13. In New Jersey, there are over 100 invasive plants, ranging in status from rare to spreading rapidly. Many of these plants stem from the landscape industry, such as Chinese silver grass and Bradford pear. This workshop will focus on how to identify and eradicate these plants, and stop their reintroductions in order to prevent the further degradation of New Jersey’s natural resources. Melissa Almendinger, Executive Director of NJ Invasive Species Strike Team (NJISST), will present a program about identification and removal of emergent invasive plants, before they become widespread and can cause significant ecological damage Learn what you can do to help our native plants survive. Pre-registration required. Pre-registration is required to attend these programs, as seating is limited. To register online please go to bit.ly/Zj1gBd or call 908-754-5554 ext 64 for more information or assistance with registration. Patrons with further questions may visit the website at http://www. sclsnj.org. The Warren Twp. Library is located at 42 Mountain Boulevard, Warren, NJ 07059.


22 July, 2013

Gardener News RUTGERS COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PHONE DIRECTORY

NJ Peach Buyers Guide Dedicated to Long-Time Industry Champion */$66%2521- ĘŠ7KH1HZ-HUVH\3HDFK3URPRWLRQ&RXQFLO 1-33& KDVGHGLFDWHG its 2013 Peach Buyers Guide to Steve Riccelli for his long service to the state’s peach industry. Now affiliated with TMK Produce, a Philadelphia-based distributor of fresh produce with a specialty in premium fruits, Riccelli specializes in selling locally grown peaches. The Buyers Guide is an essential tool for retailers, wholesalers, distributors and any other entity dealing with locally grown peaches. Topics cover storage and handling, hydrocooling, quality grading, peach and nectarine varieties and dates of availability. It also lists growerpacker members with the facilities and services they provide and sales contact information, as well as growers who sell directly to consumers. “The NJPPC Is honored to recognize Steve Riccelli by dedicating this guide to him,â€? says Santo John Maccherone, chair of NJPPC. “Steve is successful and respected, because he developed a close relationship with people in our industry. His knowledge of the Jersey fruit industry goes back to his high school years, when he began pruning trees at Heritage Fruit Farm in Gloucester County, and he’s been building on that experience ever since.â€? In 1986, Riccelli and his father, Sam, entered into a partnership with Eckert Produce, opening Riccelli and Eckert Produce in the Philadelphia Food Distribution Center. Steve and his Dad worked hard, the business thrived, and after several years, they were able to buy out Eckert, naming the new company Riccelli Premium Produce. For both businesses, Steve marketed Jersey Fruit peaches and worked closely with growers at the Jersey Fruit Cooperative and other New Jersey peach growers. In 2004, Steve and his dad sold Riccelli Premium Produce and Steve joined T.M. Kovacevich (now TMK Produce), where he specializes in selling Jersey Fresh peaches, among many other things. Steve and his wife Donna have three daughters: Felicia, and twins Samantha and Amanda. In his spare time, Steve loves to cook, fish and has recently become involved with coaching in a sports organization for children with special needs. For copies of the Buyers Guide and further information, email Jerry Frecon, jfrecon@ verizon.net or check the website, www.jerseypeaches.com The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council is a voluntary organization of peach growers, marketers and others allied with the peach industry, all dedicated to the orderly marketing and viability of the New Jersey Peach Industry.

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Tom Castronovo Justin Kukuc Tom Castronovo

July Columnists Tom Castronovo Todd Pretz Evan Dickerson Richard Perkins Peter Melick Jody Shilan Craig Korb

Douglas H. Fisher Tim Hionis Bob LaHoff Paul Kneeland Robert Andreucci David Williams

Contributing Writers Bruce Crawford Jeannie Geremia

Union Co. Master Gardeners Marcia Wood

Gardener News is published monthly by

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TIP OF THE MONTH

Reduce or eliminate pesticide use in your landscape by incorporating plants like mint that repel some harmful pests or other plants that attract beneficial insects for pest control. Mint helps prevent against ants, aphids and white flies. Chives will deter spider mites. You can also stop harmful insects from eating your plants by setting out a yellow sticky trap. You can also plant thyme. Thyme will attract beneficial insects to the garden. If you must use pesticides, use them sparingly and responsibly.


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From Local Farms to Our Markets in 24 HOURS At Kings Food Markets, we want to offer you the freshest, high quality produce available, that’s why we are bringing you exclusive local, fresh produce that’s picked & delivered within 24 hours. Market selections will vary daily, so find out when your favorite produce will be delivered by joining our e-newsletter on our website or by following us on social media.

Connect with us. www.kingsfoodmarkets.com

This is what fresh tastes like. Bedminster, Bernardsville, Boonton, Chatham, Cresskill, Florham Park, Garwood, Gillette, Hillsdale, Hoboken (2), Livingston, Maplewood, Mendham, Midland Park, Morristown, Ridgewood, Short Hills, Summit, Upper Montclair,Verona, Warren, Whitehouse Station, Garden City; NY, Old Greenwich; CT

Gardener News - July 2013  

Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping Communities