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Rutgers NJAES Tomato Breeders Release ‘Scarlet Sunrise’ Bicolor Grape Tomato By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) tomato breeding team that developed the ‘Rutgers 250’ tomato, has created a new and unique bicolor grape tomato, ‘Scarlet Sunrise‘. Developed by traditional (non-GMO) plant breeding methods, this cultivar has firm, crackresistant red/yellow fruit, and–representative of New Jersey’s legacy of tasty tomatoes–an intense sweet flavor balanced by moderate acidity. The indeterminate plants are high yielding, with mid-late season fruit maturity. Rutgers NJAES has a robust plant breeding program – with new and novel releases enhancing selections of classic Garden State favorites like peaches, strawberries and tomatoes, or enhanced disease resistance for disease prone varieties like sweet basil, hazelnuts and turfgrass. There are a number of traits that tomato breeders focus on when developing a new cultivar. When growing for commercial markets, firmness and disease resistance are often priorities. The thing that sets the tomato breeding program apart at
Rutgers is the focus is on flavor–nothing less would be expected from the home of the Jersey tomato. Two historic tomato releases from Rutgers breeding program are the Rutgers tomato (1934) and Ramapo tomato
(1968). In today’s market, that long-lost flavor eludes most tomato breeding programs. Rutgers NJAES started investigating people’s preferences to determine tasty tomato varieties when
it launched the annual Great Tomato Tasting at the offcampus Rutgers Snyder Research & Extension Farm in the early 1990s, with this year’s event being held on August 26. Tomato tastings have become a regular part
of Rutgers agricultural outreach programs and they provide insight into what people consider a flavorful tomato. This in turn drives the breeding efforts. Rutgers NJAES plant breeders– (Cont. on Page 18)
2 April 2020
G a r d e n C e n t e r D i r e c t o r y GardenerNews.com
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4 April 2020 Now that we are in the clear from winter’s harsh forces (OK, maybe not as harsh as usual this year), we venture outside more frequently to welcome the new season. Our immediate thoughts turn to sunnier days and balmy temperatures. We take deeper breaths of outdoor air into our lungs and inhale the many vibes and fragrances that signal the gateway season of warmer breezes and milder days. It is apparent, too, that other inhabitants of our world are reacting to these changes and slowly appearing, or reappearing, from winter’s cocoon – crawling, walking, and flying onto the scene. Another, oft-unnoticed, world of changes is happening right below our feet. I do not think the average person gives enough attention to soil, its health, and how its well-being affects that of us all. Most people, I suspect, just assume that soil will be there whenever we summon it to be the anchor for the crops we produce, and that if we need more topsoil, we can just go buy it. But topsoil takes really long periods of time to develop into its most productive form. It’s amazing how we really owe our existence to these top few inches of life-giving soils.
GardenerNews.com NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture
The Hidden Life Inside Our Soils The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) says healthy soils provide an environment that sustains and nourishes plants, soil microbes and beneficial insects, all while improving the environment. There seems to be so much that we as people don’t understand about these soils that are so incredibly vital to our lives. After all, only about 2 percent of Americans are involved in agriculture for a living. That leaves a lot of people whose livelihoods aren’t tied to the soils the way a farmer’s is. So, what is soil? Soil is made up of air, water, decayed plant residue, organic matter from both living and dead organisms and minerals. And anyone who dug up earthworms for bait to go fishing as a kid knows that soils are far from static. In healthy soil, there is
always something moving. Some we can see with the naked eye. Most are so small that we cannot see them without a microscope. So much is going on that it is hard to fathom. It is widely reported in scientific journals that one handful of healthy soil contains more micro-organisms than there are people on Earth. Really? There are about 8 billion people on the planet right now, with that number still growing. According to globalagriculture. org, the thin layer of topsoil that we walk on, and through which plants send their roots in search of moisture, is the result of the enduring, age-old processes of decomposition, transformation and accretion through countless organisms. Most of those inhabitants are microscopic and at present we only know a fraction of them.
EPA Finalizes Glyphosate Mitigation EPA has concluded its regulatory review of glyphosate-the most widely used herbicide in the United States. After a thorough review of the best available science, as required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA has concluded that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen. These findings on human health risk are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the European Food Safety Authority, and the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The agency is requiring additional mitigation measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays to the intended pest and reduce the problem of increasing glyphosate resistance in weeds. Glyphosate has been studied for decades and the agency reviewed thousands of studies since its registration. Glyphosate is used on more than 100 food crops, including glyphosate-resistant corn, soybean, cotton, canola, and sugar beet. It is the leading herbicide for the management of invasive and noxious weeds and is used to manage pastures, rangeland, rights of ways, forests, public land, and residential areas. In addition, glyphosate has low residual soil toxicity and helps retain no-till and lowtill farming operations. More information on glyphosate and EPA’s interim decision is available at www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate
The long-term fertility of the soil is the foundation to agriculture. This is why the rules and regulations of the National Organic Program that determines what can and can’t be called “organic” in your supermarket are heavily concentrated on the soil – what goes into it, what is taken out of it, etc. Those assumptions have been challenged in recent years by the evolving practices of hydroponics and aeroponics. But for the vast majority of agriculture, everything comes down to the soils. Healthy soils are often what researchers cite when they try to figure out how New Jersey, one of the smallest states land-area-wise in the nation, can grow and market so much high-quality produce that we routinely land in the Top-10 producers of a dozen or more fruit or vegetable categories.
Healthy soils have helped New Jersey develop a bustling wineries industry, and have led to the creation of four distinct American Viticultural Areas in the state – the Central Delaware Valley, Outer Coastal Plain, Warren Hills and Cape May Peninsula. \ Regardless of which media or habitats we grow and raise crops and livestock in, we should never lose sight of the fact that, especially when it comes to agriculture, soil is essential. It really is amazing what this resource provides to us, all the while appearing as non-descript common dirt. 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
morris county park commission
The FrelinghuysenArboretum Elegant Spring Centerpiece*
Professional floral designer Marge Hulstrunk demonstrates how to create a spring centerpiece with tips to make your own at home. There will be a raffle afterward, and the lucky winners will be able to take Marge’s creations home. Wednesday, April 8, 6:30 pm • $25
Plant Sale Gardening Education Extravaganza* 9:30 am—Planting Gardens for Pollinators-G. DiDomenico 11:00 am—Plants that Thrive in the Shade-D. Lattanzio 1:00 pm—”Black Gold” for Your Garden-C. Wilczek 2:30 pm—Fight Invasives and Plant Natives-I. Ontscherenki Presented by the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Morris County Each talk eligible for 1.0 CEU Saturday, April 18 • Free, but please register
25th Annual Plant Sale May 2 & 3 • 9am-4pm
353 East Hanover Avenue • Morris Township, New Jersey • 07960 *Pre-register to guarantee a seat
April 2020 5
6 April 2020
R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E
From the Director’s Desk
Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director
Rutgers NJAES Plant Varieties
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Phone Directory Atlantic County Phone: 609-625-0056 Bergen County Phone: 201-336-6780 Burlington County Phone: 609-265-5050 Camden County Phone: 856 216 7130 Cape May County Phone: 609-465-5115 Cumberland County Phone: 856-451-2800 Essex County Phone: 973-228-2210 Gloucester County Phone: 856-224-8040 Hudson County Phone: 201-915-1399 Hunterdon County Phone: 908-788-1339 Mercer County Phone: 609-989-6830
Middlesex County Phone: 732-398-5260 Monmouth County Phone: 732-431-7260 Morris County Phone: 973-285-8300 Ocean County Phone:732-349-1246 Passaic County Phone: 973-305-5740 Salem County Phone: 856-769-0090 Somerset County Phone: 908-526-6293 Sussex County Phone: 973-948-3040 Union County Phone: 908-654-9854 Warren County Phone: 908-475-6505
Each month, we feature information that highlights the expanse of work by Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) and its outreach unit of Cooperative Extension that serves New Jersey in a multitude of ways. Among some of our most robust programs at the Experiment Station are our breeding programs – benefiting New Jersey, the nation, and the world. NJAES breeding efforts date back to the early-20th century and today’s programs extend beyond just supporting our agricultural roots, but also reach our suburban and urban yards and gardens, our bay waters and pineland bogs, and golf courses and athletic stadiums around the nation. Rutgers NJAES has an extensive plant breeding program – with new and novel releases enhancing selections of classic favorites like peaches, strawberries and tomatoes, or enhanced disease resistance for disease-prone varieties like sweet basil, hazelnuts, and turfgrass. It takes years for plant breeders to collect material, cross breed, and trial their selections, sometimes travelling around the world to collect plant material. In addition to extensive field trials, an essential component to NJAES breeding efforts of edible plants is taste testing. Starting with our annual Great Tomato Tasting event at Rutgers Snyder Research and Extension Farm that began in the early-1990s (and this year will be held on August 26), taste tests have routinely been used to guide NJAES breeders on great flavor in their cultivars. After years of cross breeding sweet basils that are resistant to basil downy mildew, the basil breeding team released four new varieties of downy mildew resistant (DMR) basils to commercial growers – enabling farmers to successfully grow this crop that had readily succumbed to the disease. Seeds of two of these varieties, “Rutgers Devotion DMR” and “Rutgers Obsession DMR,” are now also available to home gardeners, with sources listed on our website: breeding. rutgers.edu/basils. Even though New Jersey was once the hub of local seasonal strawberry production, modern markets moved to favor year-round supplies from California and Florida. Despite this, New Jersey still has a vibrant pick-your-own strawberry industry. The NJAES release of “Rutgers Scarlet” strawberry offers New Jersey home gardeners and commercial growers a berry that not only grows well in the region, but also has great flavor. Sources for Rutgers Scarlet strawberry plants can be found at: breeding.rutgers.edu/strawberry. An offshoot of our ethnic crops research has developed into hot pepper breeding – a boon for hot pepper lovers and our growing ethnic population that want the flavors of their traditional cuisine with access to hot peppers grown locally. The “Rutgers Pumpkin” habanero is a medium/small hot pepper that resembles a miniature pumpkin, is light or deep yellow when ripe, and has a moderate heat level. The seeds for Rutgers Pumpkin habanero can be obtained through our website: breeding.rutgers.edu/pepper. After 45 years of dogwood breeding, Rutgers introduced its first Cornus kousa dogwood, “Scarlet Fire.” This medium-sized eye-catching tree combines disease and pest resistance with cold and heat tolerance and features unique, deep pink shimmering bracts that last six to eight weeks. Sources for Scarlet Fire can be found at: breeding.rutgers.edu/dogwood-trees. In addition to sources of seeds and plants for these varieties listed on our breeding website, gardeners can find the plants sold at venues around the state. Starting with the renowned Rutgers Day plant sales on April 25, and the Rutgers Gardens Spring Flower Fair on Mother’s Day weekend–both on Cook campus in New Brunswick, residents can find Rutgers varieties available locally. Rutgers Master Gardener plant sales around the state in May sell many of the Rutgers favorites. County Master Gardener programs can be found at: njaes. rutgers.edu/master-gardeners/counties.php. And, in cooperation with New Jersey commercial growers, these varieties are sold at garden centers and farm stands throughout the state. These varieties aren’t available in big box stores, so please support your local growers and NJAES breeding efforts by buying local. Since the new millennium, NJAES has released new varieties of turfgrass, cranberry, strawberry, dogwood, basil, tomato, pepper, peach, apricot, and hazelnut that benefit farmers and consumers. Similarly, NJAES’ oyster breeding has developed disease-resistant oysters allowing the resurgence of a once booming shellfish industry. More exciting plant varieties will be released in the upcoming year, including one not listed above– hint: your cats will love it, but the mosquitoes won’t. Editor’s Note: Brian J. Schilling, Ph.D., is Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Senior Associate Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and a professor of agricultural, food and resource economics.
R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E
April 2020 7
Chionanthus – A Tree of Eloquence and Grace I am often accused of using descriptive adjectives for plants that are usually reserved for people. Terms like handsome, attractive and elegant frequently roll of my tongue, along with terms that are far less complimentary on occasion. Eloquent, ethereal and graceful are words I typically do not use to describe a plant, but I do believe they are the perfect adjectives to describe the Fringe Tree, botanically named Chionanthus virginicus, especially while it is covered with its fleecy white flowers in spring. Fringe Tree is a member of the Oleaceae or Olive Family. The genus includes nearly 150 species, almost all of which are evergreen and native to tropical regions of the world. Chionanthus virginicus is native from New Jersey south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas. The genus name was penned by the Swedish Botanist Spring has officially arrived and with it comes a renewed energy of anticipation, innovation and boundless opportunities to reinvent your garden and yourself. This month also commemorates my return to the Gardener News – as a columnist covering continuing education opportunities. In a few short months, I will celebrate my 25th year working at Rutgers, 17 of which, I have either previously written for, amplified or personally distributed copies of this fine publication. As the Director of the Office of Continuing Professional Education (OCPE), I have the privilege of leading one of the most innovative and diverse educational program portfolios in the world. I look forward to sharing some of these programs with you. OCPE provides educational opportunities for adults and adolescents through short courses, workplace training, and youth services. Established in 1906 by Dr. E.B. Voorhees, OCPE has grown from serving 22 farmers in New Jersey to over 20,000 students, attending more than 350 programs annually. OCPE offers practical, high-value programs that enrich our students with new skills, new careers and new opportunities, providing the highest-quality opportunities for lifelong learning by building bridges between the needs of society and these resources of
Carl Linnaeus in 1753; inspired by the snowy white flowers, he crafted the genus from the Greek Chion for snow and Anthos for flower. Linnaeus also provided the species epithet and described the plant in 1753. The species name refers to the colony of Virginia, which in 1753 not only included the current state of Virginia, but also the region that now includes Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and portions of Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. In general, Chionanthus virginicus is slow growing, naturally appearing in moist woodlands, along stream banks and exposed rocky glades. It frequently appears as a multistemmed shrub, reaching 15 to 20 feet tall and slightly wider. However, under perfect conditions, they can reach heights of 30 feet by equal or greater widths. Depending upon the year and location, the white flowers that inspired the name can appear in late-April, although May into early-June is more typical for New Jersey. The floral display lasts for upwards of two weeks
and looking up into a canopy of the pendant flowers can be a very transformative moment for the gardener. The flowers emerge from buds at the base of the leaves and freely dangle along the stems. The flowers are arranged in panicles, which have a central stem with three-flowered clusters radiating outwards along this stem. The overall panicle ranges from four to 10 inches long and up to six inches wide. The plants are dioecious, with individual plants having all male or all female flowers, a trait certain species adopted to prevent self-pollination and inbreeding depression. The individual flowers consist of four to six strap-like petals that are up to one inch long on the female and slightly longer on the male flowers, by 1/16 of an inch wide. The flowers are wonderfully fragrant and give the plant a very appealing lacy or fringe-like appearance. Although the male flowers may be showier, it is the female flowers that develop clusters of blue to purple fruits come
September. The fruits are technically called a drupe, with each containing a single large, central seed. The drupes are much beloved by birds and are a great reason for not planting a massing of simply clonal male selections, since the fruits are vital to the garden for the fall display and wildlife. The foliage appears with the flowers and is positioned such that it nicely complements rather than hides the blossoms. The leaves are a dark, glossy green, measuring four to six inches long by two inches wide and transform into an attractive golden yellow come fall, especially if the plant is located in full sun. The bark is a smooth gray, maturing to a ridge and furrowed appearance. Fringe Tree performs very admirably in full sun or light shade and is very adaptable to a broad range of soil types and pH. It is hardy to zone 3 and the only issue is to keep a watchful eye out for is Emerald Ash Borer, as the species is susceptible. Eloquent and graceful, Chionanthus is certainly a plant
Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education By Kenneth M. Karamichael Director
Rutgers University: the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the School of Environmental & Biological Sciences. This new Lifelong Learning column is dedicated to amplifying innovative programs and courses available throughout the year. Each month I will share personal insights acquired over the years - while spotlighting different course(s) to help you or your garden grow. Please visit the website at the bottom to obtain the full list of classes available. Concerning the Spring Home Gardener’s School, OCPE staff will circulate additional information in the coming weeks. This information will include new course dates, credits/refund options, and any other course-specific details. There is no immediate action required on your part. April Trivia Question: What do a public defender, a maintenance
worker, a flavor scientist, a corrections officer, a playwright, a nurse and an interior designer have in common? Answer: They are all New Jersey beekeepers! This month’s spotlight program is critical to the production of New Jersey’s food supply – Bee-ginner’s Beekeeping: The Basics of Apiculture! May 7-9th, 2020 Rutgers EcoComplex 1200 Florence-Columbus Rd, Bordentown, NJ 08505 This class is designed to provide information that new beekeepers need to start and care for a honeybee colony. In the first two days, participants will be introduced to bee biology and management. Participants will also have handson sessions, learn how to assemble hives, open and examine colonies, and see how honey and beeswax are harvested. Who Should Attend? Whether
you are completely new to beekeeping or already have a few years as an apiarist under your belt, you will gain valuable insights from our seasoned instructors and their combined experience. Our students come from all walks of life – attorneys, teachers, retirees, farmers, artists – but they leave with one thing in common: a newfound confidence to start their own hives and pursue their passion for beekeeping. Skills You Will Develop include: Bee Biology, Bees in an Urban Setting, Disease and Mite Prevention, Hive Assembly and Management, Honey Extraction, Queen Bee Purchasing, and Much More! This apiculture course includes hands-on training on a number of important topics related to beekeeping, including assembling hives and opening and examining colonies. From disease and mite prevention and hive management to honey production, this class will cover everything
that has been overlooked too long in the gardening world. It is very easy to grow and, providing you have chosen seedling diversity, you will not only have a spring floral display, but an autumn display of fruits complimented by our foraging winged friends. What more could a gardener ask?
Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth; is the managing director of Rutgers Gardens, a 180-acre outdoor teaching classroom, horticultural research facility and arboretum; a part time lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; regularly participates in the Rutgers Continuing Education Program; and past-president of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.rutgersgardens. rutgers.edu. you need to know to further your hobby or get your business off the ground! All attendees receive a list of Honey Bee Suppliers, a Glossary of Apiculture Terms and a Beekeeping Basics textbook to enhance your continued education during and after the course. This course fulfills the legal requirements of the State of New Jersey for beekeeper education: https://www.nj.gov/ agriculture/pdf/Diseasesofbees. pdf. CAUTION: Whenever you work around live bee colonies, please remember to wear light-colored and smooth-textured clothing, as darkcolored, textured and woolly clothing can aggravate the bees. Warmer weather means more active bees! Always be prepared. Visit CPE.RUTGERS.EDU to learn more about the hundreds of programs available at Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station each year! Learning Never Ends for the New Jersey Gardener!
Editor’s Note: Kenneth M. Karamichael, Ed.M., is the Director of the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education within Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Ken can be reached at kenneth@ rutgers.edu.
8 April 2020
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GardenerNews.com NEWS FROM RUTGERS NJAES/RCE April 2020 9 Plant Pathology Specialist Bruce Clarke Honored by the Nebraska Turfgrass Association
Bruce Clarke, extension specialist in turfgrass pathology in the Department of Plant Biology, was awarded the Nebraska Turfgrass Association Presidential Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the turfgrass industry in Nebraska and the nation. The director of the
Center for Turfgrass Science at Rutgers since 1994, Clarke’s research and extension programs focus on the cause and control of turfgrass diseases and integrated pest management strategies to reduce fungicide use. His work with the biology and control of summer patch
and anthracnose, and his introduction of effective cultural management and fungicides are cited as some of the most important achievements affecting the playing conditions of golf courses worldwide. Clarke is a frequently invited speaker to national and international
New Position for Bruce Crawford, Director of Rutgers Gardens Dear colleagues, Please help me welcome Bruce Crawford, director of Rutgers Gardens, to a new role as the State Program Leader in Public and Home Horticulture, beginning this Spring. In his new role within the RCE Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bruce has been tasked with elevating home and public garden education in New Jersey through new educational programs, resources, and other statewide outreach activities. Bruce has been an essential part of the Rutgers Gardens for the past 15 years, overseeing a number of important initiatives and collaborations. Bruce has worked tirelessly to advance the Gardens. He has forged stronger ties to the American Public Garden Association that elevates Rutgers Gardens in a national effort to promote and improve access and programming in a range of public gardens. The milestone centennial celebration in 2016 and the garden’s designation as Horticulture Landmark from the American Society for Horticultural Science stand as significant achievements of Bruce’s tenure as director of the Rutgers Gardens. He fittingly was presented with the Rutgers Gardens Centennial Award of Distinction for his tireless commitment to the gardens. Bruce was instrumental in the establishment of the Rutgers Gardens advisory board to assist in planning and donor development. He initiated the Gardens Party as a fundraising event that has grown in stature, in part because of the outstanding caliber of the recipients of the annual Hamilton Award, the horticulture award inaugurated in 2017 in honor of former Rutgers professor and gardens director Bruce “Doc” Hamilton. Over the years, Bruce developed a strong summer student internship program that engages students from many different majors to work on a range of duties in the gardens and also serve as ambassadors to visitors. These interns, who receive 3 credits of summer course work, are able to enjoy this transformative experience, tuition-free, thanks to Bruce who worked tirelessly to cover the cost of tuition through donations. For these and many other accomplishments, please join me in thanking Bruce for his wonderful devotion to Rutgers Gardens. We’re delighted that we are able to continue tapping into his unique skills in his new role that will greatly benefit RCE in its programming and outreach to a much broader constituency. I’ll keep you informed on the search for a managing director who will oversee Rutgers Gardens’ ongoing development as a leading public garden in New Jersey and the region. Bob Robert M. Goodman Distinguished Professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources Executive Dean, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Executive Director, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey 88 Lipman Drive, Suite 104 New Brunswick, NJ 08901 848 932 3600
turfgrass conferences. The graduate students whom he’s mentored have established a reputation of significant positive impact in turfgrass pathology. He has a bachelor’s degree in forest management and a doctoral degree in plant pathology from Rutgers. Among his many
significant career accolades is the 2016 USGA Green Section Award from the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished service to golf through work with turfgrass. In addition, he was recognized with the 2012 Col. John Morley Distinguished Service
Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent’s profession and the 1996 Hall of Fame Award presented by the New Jersey Turfgrass Association.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Releases New Tool for School and Community Gardens: Online Training Series
It was a sunny day at the community garden, and Toni, the garden coordinator, was standing by the compost bin, regarding it with frustration. The community garden–on an open patch of wooded land by the college campus–had been established a number of years ago and had several amenities – it was enclosed by a tall chain link fence, it had a water source, and a compost bin that was divided into three sections. Despite the ideal set-up, there were still problems the gardeners encountered, and most frustrating to Toni was the compost bin – it just didn’t make compost, despite the gardeners tossing in loads of their old plants and weeds from their plots. The three sections were meant for transferring the different stages of broken down material until it was completely composted. Instead, nothing was composting, and the big pile of dead tomato plants, shriveled radishes and
dried sunflower stalks overflowed from the first bin into the second bin. “This isn’t how it’s supposed to work,” said Toni, scratching her head. “Doesn’t compost ‘just happen?’,” asked Miguel, her fellow gardener. “I thought these materials would be broken down by now, so we could transfer them to the last bin,” lamented Toni. “Nothing ever makes it to the ‘finished compost’ bin,” remarked Miguel. “It’s a shame,” sighed Toni, “we could really use that compost.” Since the community gardeners had to drive to the remote garden location, that meant they had to transport their own compost and amendments to their garden plots. They really could have used the brown gold that never emanated from the compost bins. Toni is not alone in encountering obstacles in the
smooth operation of a community or school garden. That is why Rutgers Cooperative Extension has developed a new online training series to help school, community and home gardeners be successful with their vegetable gardens. Whether starting a new garden or having years of experience, the online webinars can help with garden planning, picking crops, budgeting, composting, pest and disease management and food safety. A certificate of completion is available at the end of each webinar. This training can be used by new teachers, parents, or community gardeners who are starting or taking leadership of a garden or those who just need training on a particular topic. Rutgers Master Gardener volunteers are also available to train garden groups on a variety of topics. Visit njaes.rutgers.edu/ community-garden for online trainings.
Rutgers Plant Breeder William Meyer Wins Green Section Award from USGA
William Meyer, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and the inaugural C. Reed Funk Endowed Faculty Scholar in Plant Biology and Genetics at Rutgers, is the 2020 United States Golf Association Green Section Award recipient for his work in sustainability through agronomic advancements. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turfgrass, including research, maintenance and other areas that positively impact the landscape upon which golf is played. For more than 47 years, Meyer has made a significant
impact on the turf industry through his turfgrass breeding work, which focuses on developing grasses for golf and other playing surfaces that are resistant to adverse factors. Since 1996, he has led the Rutgers turfgrass breeding program at the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science, where he serves as associate director. The center has released more than 400 turfgrass cultivars and his impact on the industry is captured in this video produced by the USGA. In addition, Meyer has influenced all levels of the industry at the national and international levels through seminars, research papers and trade publications. He holds three degrees from the
University of Illinois, including a bachelor’s in horticultureturf, and master’s and doctoral degrees in plant pathology. Over the course of his distinguished career, Meyer has led research for two commercial turf seed companies, been president of his own turfgrass breeding company, and taught at the graduate level in the Department of Crop Science at Oregon State University. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2009 New Jersey Turfgrass Association Man of the Year Award, the 2014 Impact Award from the National Association of Plant Breeders and the 2015 Lifetime Membership Award from the Turfgrass Breeders Association.
10 April 2020 Plant Craze: TPIE 2020 welcomes more than 6,800 industry professionals The Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA) 2020 Tropical Plant International Expo was an exciting, hugely successful, upbeat, marketing showcase! More than 6,800 attendees attended the industry trade show over the course of the two-day event - an increase of 400 over last year! Attendees flocked to Fort Lauderdale from no less than 47 states, six Canadian provinces and 37 different countries. Interiorscape buyers jumped up by eight percent over last year. Landscape buyers catapulted up by an astounding 24 percent. And, the number of retail buyers at TPIE 2020 also increased by 41 percent. Some 400 exhibitors took 850 exhibit booth spaces showcasing houseplants, indoor foliage, tropicals, products and services. Eye-catching merchandise displays and clever marketing ideas were abundant throughout the nearly five-acre TPIE show floor! As for what the substantial increases in attendance can be attributed to, insiders say signs point to the exploding trend of houseplants as a retail product category throughout the United States. “We extended our promotional reach for TPIE to include many of the online plants sellers, boutique plants shops and a wider range of produce and grocery markets,” explained Linda Adams, TPIE’s show manager. “TPIE has always been the best place to learn trends about, be inspired by and connect with the commercial world of tropicals and indoor plants. And now, with consumers embracing indoor plants like never before, TPIE is a must-attend event for anyone wishing to take advantage of the year-round, higher margins which indoor plants can offer.” A brand new FNGLA record was set with 729 registrations for the TPIE Road Show and educational workshops for 2020. This is a mind-blowing 182 percent increase over last year! More than 600 people packed into the TPIE Opening Session with Max Luthy of TrendWatching reporting on the key trends for 2020 ― and what they mean for interior foliage sales. And, more than $28,000 was raised for research and scholarships at the National Horticulture Foundation’s annual TPIE reception, where outgoing Foundation president David Liu (Plant Design Systems) was honored for stewarding the foundation to new heights over the course of the past two years. During his tenure as president, the Foundation broke the $3 million mark. A BIG tip of FNGLA’s cap goes to TPIE exhibitors, sponsors, attendees and the TPIE Planning Committee for such a truly outstanding show. Mark your calendars for next year’s TPIE- January 20-22, 2021 when TPIE will be in Tampa during the multi-year Broward County Convention Center’s expansion construction project. For more on the 2020 Cool Product Award winners, and to see which exhibitors took home coveted Booth Awards, visit www.fngla.org.
Still More Kindred Spirits By Jeannie Geremia Contributing Writer
It is simply mind-blowing how many kindred spirits come our way when we least expect them and are instantly and mutually recognizable. Just out of the blue, I had the great fortune of meeting another such person and have to share this happenstance with you, my gardening friends. It started not even a week ago with an email from Emilio Panasci, whom I met at last summer’s Great Zucchini Race in Rahway where he was part of Bob Markey’s YMCA Square Foot Gardening team. Emilio introduced me to Barbara Weiland, “a longtime Newark gardener and advocate for beautification, education and health.” Emilio went on to say that Barbara has “one of the most beautiful vacant-lotsturned-gardens” in Newark, and just recently joined the Maplewood Garden Club to network and learn along with them. Emilio proceeded to ask if The Garden Club of New Jersey, Inc., could provide some support for Barbara’s latest efforts to develop a “seniors garden club” here in Newark. I responded immediately by reaching out to Barbara and inviting her to attend the GCNJ’s next Board meeting in March as a guest and provide the GCNJ Board with a description of her projects and vision for young and old alike in Newark. We went from emails to phone conversations in a heartbeat, and I am just floored by all Barbara Weiland has done and continues to do advocating for the citizens of Newark, encouraging them to partake in the joys of gardening, cooking and eating fresh produce, connecting them to nature. Barbara has a remarkable history in Newark, as she has taught generations of students for 47 years. Since retiring, she has entered a new phase of teaching,
mentoring and doting on her charges. Barbara founded Kids in Business in 1985 and is still the Executive Director. She states that “When I first started working in the healthy food access world, I felt as though I had landed on Plymouth Rock without one clue of where I was. But since my landing and meeting Tobias Fox, my knowledge and awareness of future food access possibilities has increased dramatically. Now I realize healthy food access solutions can take as many forms as gardens do – from the formal structures of Victorian gardens to the rolling meadows of nature’s back yards. I have met so many wonderful people who are all involved in caring for our planet and making sure our school children receive the most nutritious and healthiest food choices. Exciting things are happening. Instead of corner stores, we see local pop-up produce stands throughout the city! And now seed swapping! Larger stakeholders are networking, and a Food Council is in formation, promoted by the Office of Sustainability in City Hall.” Kids in Business, a non-profit organization, through Newark’s Adopta-Lot program, adopted a lot and created the Kinney Community Garden located at 279 West Kinney Street, and embraced the surrounding community. This community garden is beginning its fourth year, and has improved the lives of the community by encouraging all ages to come together by working, teaching, learning about the importance of healthy eating, “a place where we grow and give away our food, and a place where members of the community can further their own education and vocational training. The Garden is built on a foundation of mutual trust, persistence, and the belief that honing the art of giving and receiving can transform lives.” They have hosted numerous events throughout
the year, including the weeklong Newark’s Harvest: A Citywide Garden Tour. They have created a program entitled Unicorns in the Garden; another program entitled Cornucopia of Hope, and they went from distributing 100 meals to 200 to 300 and growing. Rutgers students, church groups and volunteers help by providing labor, instructors, and classes on botany, percussion, cooking and yoga to children in exchange for watering plants in the garden. “Food access to healthy produce and sustainability in our community is an ongoing collaboration of very invested local community urban farmers/gardens, a city committed to forming a food policy council to give permanence to make lasting changes for equal opportunity and sustainable living,” Barbara said. “Being a part of this community, joining committees, helping others, offering ideas, swapping seeds, borrowing tools, bartering your skills is just the beginning. The opportunities for collaboration are endless. We are like an ever-branching stream building tributaries and estuaries as we go.” Kindred Spirits indeed! Partnering, Sponsoring, Encouraging, Sharing, all positives, and we welcome a new garden club to join our 100-plus garden clubs throughout the Garden State --urban, suburban, rural -- the GCNJ is devoted to gardening education, protecting our wildlife and pollinators, and protecting our ecosystems and environment. Onward and Upward! Join a Garden Club! Editor’s note: Jeannie Geremia is The Garden Club of New Jersey, Inc. President, and a National Garden Clubs, Inc. Master Flower Show Judge for the GCNJ. Jeannie is a member of Neshanic Garden Club, and the Raritan Township Historic Committee. Jeannie’s email address is: email@example.com
GardenerNews.com The New Jersey Agricultural Convention is always a great learning experience and a fantastic opportunity to talk to farmers about the nuts-and-bolts issues in the state’s third-largest industry. Something I’ve said many times in this column is that good ideas and helpful programs can’t come out of Trenton alone. If we want to do right by our state’s hard-working farmers, nurseries, fisheries, and others, we need to make sure that we’ve got boots on the ground in the communities that work in these industries every day. Often, that involves visiting agricultural sites and sitting down to speak with local agriculturists, whether in my own Monmouth County office or on-site. But when it comes to hashing out these issues as a community, few forums can compete with our state’s Agricultural Convention. One exciting piece of news that came out of this year’s convention was that the Department of Agriculture has received hundreds of applications to grow hemp. The state Legislature last year passed a bill creating a pilot hemp-growing program, and the Department of Agriculture provided an excellent presentation on hemp at the convention. I look forward to learning more and working with farmers on creating a permanent program when the Assembly
I have been fortunate in that I have been able to travel around somewhat and visit some other areas of the United States and the world, getting a first-hand look at how other growers operate. As I spent some time in these different areas, it was interesting to see how these agricultural operations differed from our own, and also to see some of the unique obstacles and challenges that other growers had to confront. While some of these differences were very obvious, others were not always so evident and were actually quite surprising. I think that it is almost human nature to think that what you yourself are doing is “normal,” and that what others are doing is “abnormal,” but that is not always the case. Many differences in production techniques have to do with weather conditions. It was always very interesting to see some of the extreme measures that growers will take to try to control or change the weather. In fact, more than once I found myself saying something along the lines of “If I had to do_____ in order to grow that crop, I don’t know if it would be worth growing!” But one way or another, these other growers always seemed to find a
April 2020 11 Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman
Agriculture Convention Spotlights Key Farming Topics for 2020
Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on industrial hemp again this spring. This non-psychoactive cousin of pot holds great promise for New Jersey farmers. Establishing a hemp industry will create jobs and help keep farming profitable. If we act soon, we can place our state at the forefront of a global industrial hemp market that is expected to reach $10.6 billion by 2025. The Agriculture Department also provided a much-needed update on requiring seasonal farm labor housing to comply with fire alarm and suppression systems regulations under the Uniform Construction Code. The presentation clarified the requirements for existing buildings, such as sheds and barns, that are converted to seasonal housing, and new housing construction. Knowing the requirements for hard-wired smoke alarms and
automatic sprinkler systems should help farmers plan their compliance upgrades of seasonal housing and provide a safer living environment for their workers. If you have questions about seasonal farm labor housing requirements, please call my legislative office at (732) 6953371. The farmers participating in the convention also approved numerous resolutions, including one supporting a bill (A-3066) that bolsters the Right-to-Farm Program. Farmers shouldn’t be penalized by frivolous lawsuits that prevent them from carrying out the daily activities of operating and maintaining a farm. The bill is pending a hearing, possibly this spring, before the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The convention resolution also supported the “Loan Redemption
Program forTeachers ofAgriculture” in A-1568 to increase the number of new and beginning teachers in food, agriculture, and natural resources education by providing for student loan forgiveness. The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee hopes to discuss this bill this spring. The convention produced numerous other resolutions, including a call for the state legislature to continue supporting the Farmland Preservation Program. The program uses a portion of the corporate business tax to support farmers who permanently dedicate their land to farming, preserving it as open space for future generations. Other resolutions approved at the convention support an exemption from state sales taxes on fees for stabling and boarding horses (A-1563), and a call for the Department ofAgriculture to create a
The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer
Obstacles to Success
way to make things work. As a fruit grower, one of the weather conditions that can be the most worrisome is a hailstorm. If this occurs any time between bloom and harvest, the effects can be devastating as the crop can be destroyed in only a few minutes. Fortunately for us here in New Jersey, while hailstorms do occur, they are generally quite localized and not an every-year occurrence. And while we have been negatively impacted a few times over the past 30 years, it is not to the extent that some growers around the world are impacted. In certain areas, due to hailstorms being regular events, growers have had to erect elaborate networks of hail
netting to shield the fruit from these storms. These systems cost thousands of dollars per acre to build and must be maintained on top of that. These are fixed costs that growers must overcome every year in order to turn a profit. In many areas of the world, the scarcity of water is the limiting factor that has to be overcome. In the arid Southwestern United States, water is diverted for hundreds of miles so that areas that would otherwise be desert can become some of the most diverse and productive farmland in the world. This engineering allows an area like the Imperial Valley, which is in Southeastern California, to become the “Salad Bowl” for the rest of the United
States during the months of January and February. With its temperate climate, and 4,000 feet of topsoil, some hard work and water are all that is needed for some of the best growing conditions anywhere. In other areas of the country, growers have to deal with extremely cold temperatures. In certain instances, farmers rely on “microclimates” for protection from cold weather. Generally speaking, Canada is too cold for peaches to grow on a regular basis. But in some areas immediately adjacent to the Great Lakes, the temperature of the water has a moderating effect on the air temperature and growers are able to successfully crop their trees year after year. Of course, here in New Jersey,
“Jersey Native Plants” promotional brand (A-1580), mirroring the efforts of the Jersey Fresh program, to promote consumer awareness of the ecological and economic benefits of native plants species. Both bills have been introduced in the Assembly and referred to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which hopes to hold hearings on them this spring. I’d like to give a shout-out to the people recognized at the convention for their contributions to New Jersey’s agricultural industry. Congratulations to Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award honorees Jane A. Brodhecker and James E. Etsch; Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year, Edward W. Gaine; Vegetable Grower of the Year, the Specca Family, and Blueberry Grower of the Year, Variety Farms. Thank you, and to all whose efforts make New Jersey a true Garden State.
Editor’s Note: Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling is Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the New Jersey State Assembly. He can be reached at 732-695-3371 or AsmHoughtaling@njleg. org, or by mail at 802 W. Park Ave., Ste 221, Ocean Township, NJ 07712 we have our own set of problems and issues to overcome. When I speak with other growers, they are often shocked to learn that in order to grow most fruits and vegetables successfully, we have to keep them fenced in order to protect them from New Jersey’s out-of-control deer population. That is an expense that growers in most other regions of the country do not have to deal with. While climate change is of concern to some, here in New Jersey we have a particular climate that is harsher than just about anywhere in the world. And of course, that would be the “regulatory climate.” Think spring! Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is Mayor of Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County, NJ. 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.
12 April 2020
Landscape New Jersey 2020 Trade Show & An overwhelming crowd of more than 1,750 landscape contractors, horticulturist, greenhouse growers, garden center owners and members of the floriculture industry packed the Meadowlands Exposition Center ’s 61,000-square-foot floor for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association’s (NJLCA) 43rd Annual trade show and conference, “Landscape New Jersey 2020,” breaking previous records by 15 percent. The show was held on Wednesday, February 26, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Attendees included business owners, employees, high school students, trade school students and members of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). They networked with peers and discussed the state of the industry. All were provided the opportunity to see the latest in landscape and land equipment, the newest plant material available, emerging
technologies in the industry and much more. The New Jersey State Police were on hand to educate attendees on commercial motor carrier regulations, while NJ One Call discussed the importance of “Call Before You Dig.” Rutgers’ Office of Continuing Professional Education and Bergen Community college each had booths featuring their year-round educational opportunities. The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service disseminated information about their surveys. OSHA was also on hand to educate attendees on the safety requirement concerning the industry. Some of the trade show exhibitors included Cambridge Paving Stones, Condurso’s Garden Center, Hionis Greenhouses and Garden Center, and New Jersey Deer Control. New Jersey State Senator
Christopher “Kip” Batman and New JerseyAssemblyman Kevin Rooney were also on-hand to answer legislative questions that show attendees had concerning the Green Industry. New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture members toured the show to see the different facets of the horticulture, landscape, greenhouse, nursery and sod industries that were represented. The nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod industry continues to be New Jersey’s leading agricultural sector, with sales at almost $500 million. New Jersey ranks fifth in the nation in nursery stock sales. Following their tour, the State Board held their monthly meeting at 1:30 p.m. This is the first time in the history of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture that the Board assembled at a show like this. The New Jersey State Board of Agriculture is charged with setting policies which direct the Secretary and the Department of Agriculture in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. The State Board of Agriculture comprises eight
New Jersey Deer Control. members who serve for four years. By law, at least four of its members must represent the top commodity groups in the state. Members serve without salary. Members of the State Board of Agriculture are elected by delegates from the agriculture community to the legislatively established, annual State Agricultural Convention in February, then recommended to the Governor for appointment to the Board with the approval of the State Senate. NJLCA President Nelson Lee and NJLCA Vice
President Richard Goldstein addressed the Board. They spoke about the economic impact of their industry as a whole. According to the most recent census released by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS), horticulture operations in the U.S. sold a total of $13.8 billion in floriculture, nursery and specialty crops in 2014, up 18 percent since 2009. The number of horticulture operations in the United States increased
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April 2020 13
Conference Breaks Records and Makes History 8 percent during this time to 23,221. NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. The Census of Horticultural Specialties is conducted once every five years to provide a comprehensive picture of U.S. horticulture. NASS mailed unique survey codes earlier in December 2019. The deadline for response was Feb. 5, 2020. Results, including production and sales data for U.S. floriculture, nursery, specialty crop industries, and greenhouse food crops, will be available in December 2020. NASS conducted the last Census of Horticulture in 2014.
The USDA was established Faith American Brewing was the star of the show, by President Abraham Company, LLC founder greeted hundreds of his Lincoln in 1862. He called Kelsey Grammer was also Faith American enthusiasts it “the people’s department.” graciously hosted by the and shared samples of his NASS traces its roots back NJLCA. Mr. Grammer, who company’s Faith American to 1863, when USDA Ale, courtesy of the established a Division NJLCA, on the trade of Statistics. show floor. The Each year, the tasting was held in the NJLCA selects a combined Bobcat of theme for their show. North Jersey and Storr For 2020, the theme Tractor Company show was Hollywood and booths. they didn’t disappoint. Kelsey Grammer After passing through and his Faith American a massive amount of Brewing Company equipment on display received an Honorary on the front sidewalk Membership to of the convention the New Jersey center, attendees were Landscape Contractors treated to a replica Association (NJLCA), DeLorean from “Back during the show. to the Future,” along The New Jersey with Doc Brown and Landscape Contractors Tom Castronovo/Photo Marty impersonators New Jersey One Call. Association is managed in the front lobby. by a volunteer board
made up of an Executive Board, Board of Directors and an Advisory Board, which is comprised of horticulturists, landscape contractors, educators and vendors. The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, the largest association of its kind in the Garden State, represents the entire Green Industry in New Jersey, including landscape contractors, landscape architects, sod growers, nurseries, greenhouse growers, garden centers, horticulturists, floriculturists and the industries that supply them. The Landscape New Jersey 2021 Trade Show and Conference is slated for Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at the same location.
Kelsey Grammer and his Faith American Brewing Company received an Honorary Membership to the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) during the Landscape New Jersey 2020 Trade Show and Conference. From left to right are New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, NJLCA President Nelson Lee, Kelsey Grammer, NJLCA Board Member Justin Flatow, NJLCA Vice President Richard Goldstein, NJLCA Board Member Jeff Baker, NJLCA Board Member John Freitag, NJLCA Board Member Joe Bolognese, and NJLCA Executive Director Gail Woolcott.
14 April 2020
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GardenerNews.com Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News
Sweetly Fragrant with a Yummy, Fresh Scent for Mom
Easter is April 12 and Orthodox Easter is April 19. Mother’s Day is May 10. Florists, food markets, greenhouse growers and garden centers will be loaded up with Easter and Mother’s Day flowers. I can’t wait to see all of the new varieties. Flowers have more colors than a basket of Easter eggs, and they last longer than chocolate candy on Mother’s Day. Research from the journal of Evolutionary Psychology show flowers have immediate and long-term positive effects on emotional reactions, mood, social behaviors and even memory for both males and females. The first flowering plant that I will mention here that will fill your home with fragrance is the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum). It is a perennial bulb with large, white, trumpet-shaped flowers and stunning green foliage, often known as the trumpet lily among us gardeners. Once in the home or the office, display the plant in bright, but indirect sunlight, and protect it from drafts and heat sources, such as fireplaces, heaters, and appliances. Cool daytime temperatures in the 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit range will prolong the life of the blooms. The temperature can be even cooler at night. If the lily’s pot is in a decorative foil wrapper, poke a few weep holes in it, and then make sure water is not accumulating under the pot. More plants die from over-watering than under-watering. Water your Easter lily only when the soil becomes dry to the touch, and don’t leave it dry for extended periods. Remove flowers as they fade and wither. Also remove the yellow anthers from the flower centers. This will help prolong the life of the blossoms. Tulips are often associated with rebirth. When purchasing one or more of these potted bulb beauties, look for tight heads deep in the turgid foliage and just showing color. The stems should be straight and strong. When bulbs are growing vigorously, pots can dry out quickly. Check the soil with your finger daily, and water as needed to keep it moist but not soggy. To help give your bulbs more water when they need it, set a saucer under each pot and water until it’s at least partially filled. If there’s still water in the saucer, say, eight hours later, dump it out and water less next time. Cut tulips are very phototropic and will curve rapidly toward the light. When designing, allow for this in creating a floral design as well as the fact that cut tulips continue to grow in length approximately one inch per day.
Make sure you do not mix cut tulips in the same package as daffodils. Tulips are very sensitive to, and will be harmed by, the sap from daffodils. If the daffodils that are planted outside in the yard aren’t blooming, the plants weren’t able to store enough food in their bulbs in the previous year. Daffodil foliage typically persists for four to six weeks after blooming. During this time, the daffodil foliage is manufacturing food. Much of the food is transported down to the bulbs. In order to bloom, daffodils must store adequate levels of food in their bulbs. Cutting off the foliage before it has died back naturally may prevent the plants from storing adequate food in the bulbs. Allow the daffodil foliage to die completely before removing it. My favorite flower to give as a gift to my Mom is the hyacinth. The fragrance is breathtaking. Hyacinths have bell-shaped flowers with reflexed petals. The waxy, densely-packed florets come in shades of white, peach, orange, salmon, yellow, pink, red, purple, lavender and blue. The foliage of the hyacinth is fleshy, glossy green and strap shaped. The hyacinth bulb is a light purple or cream in color that are covered with dry, papery, skin-like layers. After six to eight weeks of blooming, hyacinths will begin to go dormant. First the flowers will die, and eventually the leaves will wither. When most of the flowers are brown, cut the entire flower stalk off. This is called deadheading. The foliage will still be green at this point, and should be left to die off naturally. Be careful not to break or bend the leaves, as this can prevent the plant from storing up much needed energy for its next blooming cycle. Feed your plant with a good indoor plant fertilizer to build up even more of this energy. Don’t over water, though. Hyacinth bulbs are prone to bulb rot if watered too vigorously. Daffodils and hyacinths are known to be quite deer resistant making them perfect outdoor beauties to place on the front steps. Squirrels won’t eat them either. Lastly, if you enjoy the look of hydrangeas in the summer, why not try a potted hydrangea – often called florist hydrangeas? They are easy to care for indoors, providing you keep the soil moist. Don’t let them dry out! You’ll find that those large leaves and big colorful blooms make them thirsty plants. They prefer full sun in the morning, with some afternoon shade; however, many will grow and bloom in partial shade. To me, the only way to celebrate Easter and Mother’s Day is with flowers. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
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, landscaping and nursery communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com.
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GardenerNews.com Cajun French for “Let the good times roll,” Mardi Gras 2020 ended not too long ago, in late-February, and we were there! The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, eventually making its way to the French House of the Bourbons. Bourbon Street was named, in fact, after a royal family in France, not after the amber-colored whiskey. In 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived some 60 miles from New Orleans and named it “Pointe du Mardi Gras,” as it was the eve of the convivial holiday. Noisy and raucous perhaps, New Orleans incites and embodies all that a party town offers and its rich history is rooted in, what else, plants. Perhaps one of the most visited landmarks in “New Or-lins” is the famous Café du Monde. Established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market, beignets (French-style square doughnuts covered with powdered sugar) and coffee are all the rage here. Dark roasted coffee, with chicory, was developed by the French during their civil war. Chicory is the root of the endive plant, which is a type of lettuce. Roasted and ground, chicory is added to coffee to help “soften” coffee’s sometimes bitter edge. Acadians from Nova Scotia brought this unique taste with them as well as many other French customs. Should you visit, despite how you take your coffee, it
Each year, the NJLCA tries to perform a service project in New Jersey. In the past, we have built a 9/11 memorial, restored landscaping and walkways for an urban garden non-profit, created outdoor classrooms, planted habitats for endangered birds, repaired and restored a ball field for the little league championship game, cleaned up a Boy Scout camp and helped restore access, planted a garden at a women’s shelter and more. Last year, we didn’t find a suitable project, but it looks as if we’ll be making up for that, as we now have three projects on the table for 2020. The first is similar to a previous project. A local ball field is in a terrible state of disrepair. One of our members came to us with the hopes that we could help them repair the field to make it safe and enjoyable for children again. The second is a learning garden at a school for children with different abilities. This project would involve installing walkways, plants, a sensory garden and more. Finally, we are hoping to work together with other allied associations in the industry to restore an inner-city park back to
April 2020 17 Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!
all tastes better with a beignet. Whenever I think of the South, their most iconic tree always comes to mind. Live oak, Quercus virginiana, is also known as the Southern live oak tree. A symbol of strength, the live oak is also the state tree of Georgia. Capable of living for hundreds of years, live oak gets its name because they remain green and “alive” throughout the winter when other trees are dormant. A tough, durable tree, Quercus virginianacan survive just about anywhere. Forests, hot parking lots, even by the ocean, as salt spray doesn’t bother this tree. Supporting many types of epiphytic plants, including Spanish moss, this seems to only add to their character. There are several notable live oaks on record: “The Seven Sisters Oak” near Louisburg, Louisiana, the “Cellon Oak” in Alachua, Florida, and the “Angel Oak” near Johns Island, South Carolina. These trees are over 1,000 years old and the
“Cellon Oak” can reportedly be seen from space. My own experience, in New Orleans, had me gawking at the live oaks in Congo Square, an open space within Louis Armstrong Park, “where slaves and free blacks gathered throughout the 19th century for meetings, open markets, and the African dance and drumming celebrations that played a substantial role in the development of jazz” (neworleans.com). Additionally, local voodoo practitioners still consider this space a spiritual base. Back to my live oaks, the real estate given to these majestic creatures showcases their limbs plunging toward the ground before shooting toward the sky. Despite all that live oak offer us, alas, I will continue to get on a plane to enjoy their beauty. Sadly, they are only “hardy” from zones 7-10, a bit warmer than New Jersey’s climate. During our time visiting the
“Crescent City,” we took a tour of the French Quarter and Saint Louis Cemetery Number One. Our tour guide was a wealth of information and she told us about the true or common indigo plant, Indigofera tinctoria. A species of plant from the bean family, this was one of the original source of blue indigo dye. Widely grown for improving soils, the dye is obtained from processing/fermenting the plants leaves. Our guide explained that enslaved workers who handled certain species of indigo plant parts, over several years, showed symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and even death. Fortunately, over the years, synthetic dyes came about and sugar production quickly became the dominant crop. “New Or-lins” has so much to offer. History, culture, architecture and gastronomical treats, all here to nourish your mind, body and soul. Turtle soup, jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, crawfish etouffee, muffaletta’s, beignets, Po-Boys, King
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, Reeves-Reed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331.
the gardening and landscaping as horticultural therapy. It’s amazing how cathartic planting can be to anyone going through a difficult time. By Gail Woolcott Finally, support a “scout” project. Both Boy and Girl Scouts Executive Director need to earn their badges. Many of these projects involve outdoor gardening or landscaping projects. If you are physically unable to help with a service project, or planting a pollinator-friendly began to sprout and then became please support one of these or garden (even planting three or four full-fledged flowers (I think they any other service projects that purple coneflower, sunflower, joe- were marigolds). involve horticulture, nurseries and pye weed, wild bergamot, etc. will Start a community garden with landscaping in the community. attract bees and other pollinators). a few friends in a barren or unused Although these aren’t community area (be sure to ask the town if projects, they will certainly help to they will allow it). The point of Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott save water, encourage pollinator a community garden is to create is the Executive Director for growth and benefit the planet. a space where all can take some the New Jersey Landscape If you want to go bigger, plant a of the items produced (vegetables Contractors Association. tree at a school for Arbor Day and or flowers) and it’s up to all of She was presented with a plan a short ceremony where you the members to keep it weed free community service award from explain to the children why trees and clean. If you do a community the Borough of Fairview for are important and all about the tree garden, considered adding a row her assistance in leading the you’re planting. On that same note, or two for community food banks. 9-11 Memorial Park project why not offer to teach a one-day Another idea is to help clean up and the Legislative Champion class to students at a local school. or plant a garden at an abandoned of the Year award from the Let students get their hands dirty cemetery or historic site. Once Federation of Employers and and create something that they can again, get permission, but most Workers of America. She is watch grow. When I was younger, would be pleased to see these areas currently the State Licensee we did a simple plastic cup project revitalized. Chair on the National where we planted a few seeds in Speak to a shelter about Association of Landscape soil in the cup. I remember how planting a healing garden and Professionals International excited we all were when they enlist some of the residents to use Certification Council.
The NJLCA Today
You Too Can Give Back
its former beauty. For a service project we complete, NJLCA will try to get as many materials donated as possible, enlist its members to spend the day volunteering (or send employees) to help with the build and coordinate the project from start to finish. But there is no reason why you cannot also provide a service project in your community. With a little forethought and planning, there are many projects that can be completed by one or two people. And if you need materials, reach out to industry suppliers. You’d be surprised how many are willing to provide tools and materials for a worthwhile project. Some projects you can do in your own home or on your property, such as building a rain barrel (there are dozens of how-to’s online)
Cake, pralines and charbroiled oysters with jumbo lump crabmeat… the list could go on forever. And should you wish to partake in a libation or two, consider a unique purple gin from the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria-British Columbia, Canada. Attending a house party, friends introduced us to Empress 1908 gin. Made from eight botanicals: juniper, grapefruit peel, coriander seed, rose petals, cinnamon bark, ginger root, butterfly pea blossom and Fairmont Empress Blended Tea, this proves yet again, how wonderful the plant kingdom truly is. A refreshing potable whose hue is spot on for Mardi Gras. The next time someone yells “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler,” make sure to shout back “Ouai, tu as raison,” which means “Yeah, you’re right!”
18 April 2020 Recently I had the chance to sit down with my good friend Paul to talk about his lawn. Paul lives in Delaware in the MidAtlantic region on the edge of the transition zone. These areas possess a challenge to grow grass due to hot, dry summer weather. Todd: Paul, you have a strong desire to have the best lawn in town, when did this passion for your lawn begin? Paul: I’ve always been a competitive guy; it started when I lived in New Jersey, my neighbors and I were always trying to outdo each other. I’ve lived in Delaware for three-plus years now and the competition is starting again. Todd: Did you really go to your neighbor and say, “Can you hear my grass growing, snap, crackle, pop?” Paul: Yes, I love to kid them all since my lawn looks so much better than theirs, it really drives them nuts! Todd: How many times a week do you cut your lawn during the growing season? Paul: I mow my lawn twice a week to keep it pristine looking, that way I do not have to collect any clippings.
GardenerNews.com Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant
My friend Paul…
I get my mower serviced at the beginning and end of each season for maximum performance and I sharpen my blade a few times a year. I don’t let anyone else cut my lawn, no way. Todd: You used to live in New Jersey and now in Delaware. Is it hard to keep your lawn looking great now? Paul: Yes, this area is more challenging, it seems to be about 10 degrees warmer throughout the year than my old house in New Jersey. It really does get hot here for most of the summer months. Todd: I see a lot of nice farmland in this area. Was your development an old farm field? Paul: No, it was actually a wooded area; trees had to be cleared to build.
Todd: So, for perhaps hundreds of years your soil was not exposed to too much sunlight, just leaves falling and decomposing, your soil probably had little microbial activity? Paul: I suppose so, I’ve taken to heart you mentioning how important it is to feed the lawn and feed the soil too. You can’t grow a great lawn without great grass seed and great soil. Todd: You’re right, so you had your lawn sodded initially, correct? Paul: Yes, sod and then a regular regimen of lawn products over the years. It really is not that hard to get a great lawn if you know what you are doing. Todd: You mentioned that you are starting to see native
Bermuda grass show up in areas of your lawn. Nasty stuff huh? Paul: Yes, it’s a pain and I see it in many lawns now in my development. I dig it out and have tried spraying it out when it appears. It sometimes comes back or shows up somewhere else each year in my lawn. It’s tough stuff! Todd: I hardly see any weeds in your lawn; you’ve done a good job of creating a thick, healthy lawn that crowds out the weeds. Do you have an irrigation system? Paul: Yes, I put it in a year ago to try and keep ahead of the hot, dry summer weather. Todd: You have two dogs. I guess you are using organic products on your lawn? Paul: Absolutely, I want
them to stay happy and healthy, I love my dogs. Todd: I don’t even see any dog spots. You are good. Paul: Well, you know people walk their dogs and I use Love Your Soil to neutralize the salts so my lawn doesn’t burn. Todd: What type of products do you use on your lawn? Paul: Jonathan Green. They are the best! Todd: What other tips can you share with our readers? Paul: I enjoy reading your article each month in the Gardener News and I have a secret weapon that my neighbors don’t. Todd: What’s that? Paul: I know a great lawn guy who lives in New Jersey. Todd: I wonder who that could be.? Well, that about wraps it up here in Lower, Slower Delaware. Thanks Paul for your time and keep it green! 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
SHOW IT TO A FRIEND
Rutgers NJAES Tomato Breeders Release ‘Scarlet Sunrise’ Bicolor Grape Tomato (Continued from page 1)
extension specialist in vegetables Tom Orton and Pete Nitzsche, agriculture and natural resources county agent of Morris County, selected grape and cherry tomatoes that tested well in Rutgers performance and taste tests and used them to cross-breed for a unique flavorful grape tomato. After eight years of field and taste testing, the promising result is being launched in 2020 as ‘Scarlet Sunrise’ bicolor grape tomato (Plant Variety Protection Certificate pending). In addition to rating well in taste tests, Scarlet
Sunrise showed notable results in field trials. Orton remarked, “While ‘Scarlet Sunrise’ has high yields of attractive, firm, good-tasting fruits, I am most impressed by the extended window of harvest and absence of fruit cracking under high moisture conditions.” The ‘Scarlet Sunrise’ tomato seeds are available through the Rutgers NJAES Rediscover the Jersey Tomato program and commercial growers can obtain seed through a commercial outlet.
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, landscaping and nursery communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com.
April 2020 19
A Disappointing Native Plant! By Hubert Ling If you want to disappoint little children, your friends, deer, and rodents, you might want to grow Appalachian Barren Strawberry. As the name suggests, after freely blooming in April this strawberry lookalike does not produce any appetizing fruit. All you get is a small collection of two to six dry seeds (achenes). However, you won’t be disappointed with barren strawberry if you know what to expect. What you get is an easy-to-grow plant which is a well behaved, slow-growing ground cover about three to nine inches tall. In spring you get a quantity of bright golden half-inch flowers and during the rest of the year, including winter, you have a dense groundcover formed from three part strawberrylike glossy evergreen leaves which in cool weather take In 2004, GEICO Insurance began a series of humorous commercials themed around the catchphrase “So easy a caveman could do it.” I recently thought of them when a 2016 quote attributed to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg (before he left the race) caused a stir among our nation’s agricultural industry. Even though the quote was taken slightly out of context, it still underscored misconceptions the public has about farming. “If you think about it, the agrarian society lasted 3,000 years, and we can teach processes. I can teach anybody – even people in this room, so no offense intended – to be a farmer. It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, you add water, up comes corn.” Despite the fact that I doubt Mr. Bloomberg would even know what end of the shovel to put in the ground, the quote has become a rallying point to highlight the super-wealthy’s ignorance and indifference towards the working class. Unfortunately, this ignorance does not recognize boundaries of class or wealth. Part of our mission at the New Jersey Agricultural Society is to educate the public about
on a bronze cast. The plant spreads from narrow, shallow-growing rhizomes and grows best in moderate shade. Propagation is normally done by digging up and transplanting sods of the colony; be sure to use a large transplant since small sods suffer greatly from transplantation shock. Seeds can also be used, but germination is spotty. This plant is particularly useful under pine or spruce trees since it does well in dry, humusy, well drained, and moderately acidic to neutral soil. Barren strawberry also grows with regular water conditions in gravelly soil and is moderately deer resistant. However, it does not do well in hot, humid areas, in wet areas, or in lownutrient sandy soils. Barren strawberry grows from Eastern Canada to Minnesota and south to Georgia. In New Jersey, it is restricted to a few central and western counties and not found at all in the Pine Barrens. The plant was
named for Count Waldstein, an Austrian botanist from the 1700s. The species name fragarioides means it looks like a strawberry. If you are a purist and only interested in growing native New Jersey plants, you should be aware that there is a very similar alien plant, Waldsteinia ternate, the Siberian Barren Strawberry which is available at garden centers and is often marketed as our native Appalachian Barren Strawberry, Waldsteinia fragarioides; our native species apparently is hard to get. The leaves of the Siberian species are not as glossy, the flowers tend to come up closer to the center of the plants and tend to rise above the leaves. Most diagnostic, however, is the fact that the Siberian species has a single, narrow. green bractlet between each of the five green sepals. These bractlets are one-third to half as long as the sepals. The leaves of our
native Appalachian Barren Strawberry are glossy, the flowers tend to come up around the plants and are often hidden by the leaves. Most importantly, there are no narrow bractlets between the five sepals. The petals of the Siberian barren strawberry are rounded and thus overlap each other. In our native species, the petals are generally narrow or sometimes rounded, depending on the subspecies; our southern U.S. subspecies tends to have rounder petals. Recently, some botanists have changed the name of our native Appalachian Barren Strawberry to Geum fragarioides; this was done because genetic studies link our native plant to Geum. Geum plants are commonly called avens and our barren strawberry would be unique since it lacks the persistent curved style which avens have. These hooked styles attach to animal fur or clothing and help distribute the seeds, which is another
NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director
Farming – Not So Easy That a Politician Could Do It
the importance of agriculture. Throughout my career, I have been amazed at some opinions our public has towards farmers. Some of the most frequent perceptions I have encountered include: The cost of food goes directly into the farmer’s pocket. Our food is unsafe. Farmers abuse their animals. Farmers are destroying the environment. All large farms are corporate farms. All farmers are rich. And lastly, “What do farmers do in the winter, do they all go to Florida?” Um, no. In the winter, rather than working 16 to 18 hours a day, they are only working 12 to 14. Agriculture cannot be simply or smugly defined as digging a hole and planting a seed. Today’s farmers must master a litany of disciplines in order to survive. First and foremost, farmers are the original stewards of land, water and natural resources.
These resources are, after all, how they make their living, so it makes sense to protect them. Additionally, farms give the public environmental benefits such as clean water supply, green and open spaces, habitat for birds and other wildlife. A farmer is a mechanic. Maintaining the equipment and tools used in farming is an ongoing and unpredictable responsibility, so basic mechanical skills are important to farmers. The ability to make routine repairs on buildings, plumbing, and equipment prevents a farmer from having to make service calls – thus saving time and money. A farmer is a scientist. Farmers must know farm chemistry in order to safely and properly use pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. A farmer must possess basic veterinary practices to maintain healthy livestock and be a botanist in order to identify
and treat plant disease or pest damage. Produce growers must be well versed in food safety practices to ensure a safe food supply. Meteorology skills are vital in determining planting and harvesting schedules. A farmer is a problem-solver. Farming can be a trial-and-error profession. Farmers constantly look for the best and most efficient ways to work their fields, harvest multiple crops and raise their livestock. Unpredictable weather can cause delays in planting or harvesting. Farmers must operate through excess rain or drought. A farmer must know how to react quickly to save a crop yield by making effective decisions. Problem-solving abilities also help a farmer in figuring out how to be productive even when equipment malfunctions or other obstacles arise. A farmer is a business
useful characteristic our poor barren strawberry lacks. The Iroquois used our native barren strawberry as a blood remedy and used a poultice of the leaves for snakebites. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t put any faith in the effectiveness of these cures. Bees visit the plant for nectar and pollen. Other than that, our native wildlife is not particularly wild about barren strawberry. However, once you have it established it in your garden, you will be happy with the plant. It is very useful in rock gardens and for borders. Barren strawberry makes a lush, low-lying backdrop for shade-tolerant, taller plants, such as wild geranium, twinleaf, or wild blue indigo. Look for it online but ask about the bractlets.
Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is the Horticulture Chairman for the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org executive. Accounting, bills, payroll, sales, marketing and endless record-keeping are just a few “non-growing” skills that a farmer must possess. A farmer is a gambler. Each year, farmers must bet on what crops will be profitable to them. Commodity markets change daily, public tastes for new or different products can be spontaneous (think kale). Weather conditions can be unpredictable. Yet year after year, farmers invest huge sums not knowing what the payout will be until harvest. A farmer is your neighbor and valued member of the community who deserves our support. Editor’s Note: Al Murray is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society. Established in 1781, the Society is New Jersey's oldest organization whose purpose is to advocate, educate and promote on behalf of New Jersey's agricultural industry. Mr. Murray previously spent his entire career at the NJ Department of Agriculture, serving as the Assistant Secretary. He can be reached at njagriculturalsociety@ gmail.com
20 April 2020
Toro® Unveils Revolutionary e-Dingo™ 500 Toro has made a major step into the electricpowered equipment marketplace with the introduction of the new Toro® e-Dingo™ 500 compact utility loader. The e-Dingo allows end users to realize all the benefits and power of a standard compact utility loader with no fuel costs and zero exhaust emissions. Ideal for indoor construction jobs that require fast completion times and reduced overall costs, the new e-Dingo will be available in Spring 2020 through Toro’s extensive network of trusted dealers and rental partners. Greater efficiency and reliable performance set the e-Dingo apart. It’s powered by lithiumion battery technology designed for tasks that require heavy or continuous operation for indoor applications. The maximum operating capacity
of 515 pounds reduces labor and hauling time. Versatility is also a hallmark of the new e-Dingo, thanks to Toro’s 4-Paw® independent 4-wheel drive system and true spin-turn performance. Plus, several existing Dingo attachments are compatible with the new e-Dingo models, including: A Standard Bucket; A Narrow Bucket; A Light Materials Bucket; Adjustable Forks; A MultiPurpose Tool; A Hydraulic Breaker; A Grapple; A Leveler; A Utility Blade; and an Auger. “We are truly excited to introduce the new e-Dingo, a compact utility loader that provides an unprecedented combination of power, versatility and durability with zero exhaust emissions, designed for indoor construction,” said Jay Thaker, marketing manager at Toro.
“These reliable machines are game-changers for indoor contractors in the compact utility loader category to help reduce overall costs and speed up completion. With the ability to use common attachments that work with all Dingo models, operators will be able to handle a wide variety of tasks with greater efficiency.” The e-Dingo allows operators to utilize several power modes to conserve energy. The Auto Idle feature automatically conserves energy by powering off the motor after it’s been idle for a certain amount of time. The machine also shifts to low idle after 5 seconds of non-use and shuts off when not in use for over 30 seconds. The operator can then instantly restart the machine by simply double-tapping the traction control lever.
Trump Administration Takes Major Step to Improve Implementation of the Endangered Species Act EPA, with its federal partners, issues improved method for evaluating pesticide impacts, resulting in a more efficient and transparent review process and delivering better protections for the country’s endangered species The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new method on March 12 for conducting biological evaluations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to assure that pesticide registration review actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) do not jeopardize endangered species. The updated method ensures that—when available—the agency will use high-quality historical data that reflects where and how certain pesticides are used. “Responsible pesticide use is an essential tool for managing America’s farmland,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA’s improved methodology will better protect and promote the recovery of endangered species while ensuring pesticide registration review decisions are conducted in a timely, transparent manner and are based on the best available science. I want to thank our federal partners for working together to implement the 2018 Farm Bill and for helping EPA bring our pesticide assessment process into the 21st Century.” ESA is a proven and critical tool for ensuring the recovery and protection of the nation’s most vulnerable species and habitats. However, for decades EPA’s approach for assessing pesticides risks to endangered species resulted in costly, time-consuming litigation and delays in pesticide registration decision-making. EPA’s new “Revised Method for National Level Listed Species Biological Evaluations of Conventional Pesticides” (Revised Method) will better protect and promote the recovery of endangered species while ensuring pesticide registration review decisions are conducted in a timely, transparent manner and based on the best available science. With this action, EPA is fulfilling its commitment under the 2018 Farm Bill to ensure that pesticides can continue to be used safely with minimal impacts to threatened and endangered species. “The required review of crop protection chemicals under the Endangered Species Act is an issue that has frustrated America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers for far too long. Under President Trump’s leadership, we are cutting the red tape to unleash the full potential of American agriculture,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “I am proud to join forces with my colleagues as we move forward on a protocol to allow the tools farmers need to feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world to reach market while also ensuring our environment is protected.” “The Revised Method is an improved framework for Endangered Species Act pesticide consultations,” said U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. “By incorporating actual pesticide usage data into these assessments, they will be accurate and legally defensible. We look forward to working with the EPA to apply this framework and review public comment on the draft carbaryl and methomyl biological evaluations.” “As EPA’s finalized method of conducting evaluations demonstrates, the whole-of-government approach to regulatory reform is bearing fruit,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Actual use of pesticides is an important factor to consider as we work to protect endangered species. The Department looks forward to working closely with our public and private partners to ensure that the rules are good for both our economy and our environment.” “Under President Trump’s leadership, the Administration is committed to supporting agricultural communities and environmental protection,” said CEQ Chairman Mary B. Neumayr. “Since 2017, CEQ has worked collaboratively with EPA, DOI, USDA, and DOC to improve the ESA pesticide consultation process and today’s announcement reflects the Federal government’s commitment to a process that promotes timely and effective decision making and advances rural prosperity.” The final Revised Method incorporates high-quality pesticide usage data into the agency’s biological evaluation (BE) process for the first time and was informed by input from a wide range of stakeholders, including states, tribes, environmental NGOs, and agricultural stakeholders. In conjunction with today’s announcement, EPA is also releasing for public comment draft BEs for the insecticides carbaryl and methomyl which were conducted using the final Revised Method. EPA will accept public comment on the draft BEs for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. After carefully considering public comments, EPA will finalize the BEs. If the agency determines a pesticide may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the agency will consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services). The Services will then issue a biological opinion to determine if the population of a species would be adversely impacted and, if so, propose ways to reduce risks. To view the pre-publication notice for the draft biological evaluations for carbaryl and methomyl, the final Revised Method document, and learn more about how EPA protects endangered species from pesticides, visit: https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species Background: As directed by Congress through the 2018 Farm Bill, EPA, the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture and White House Council on Environmental Quality established an interagency working group in 2018 tasked with providing recommendations and implementing a strategy to improve the Endangered Species Act of 1973 consultation process for pesticides. As part of this effort, in 2019, EPA proposed updates to the method it uses to evaluate the impacts pesticides have on endangered species to better protect and promote the recovery of species while ensuring timely pesticide registration review decisions and public transparency.
April 2020 21
Gardening by the Sea
Sand dunes play a very important role in protecting the coast, by buffering incoming waves. American beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata), is a species of grass native to eastern North America, where it grows on sand dunes along the Atlantic Ocean. This grass species thrives under conditions of shifting sand, sand burial, and high winds; it is a dune-building grass that helps build the first line of defensive sand dunes along the coast. The grass responds to being buried by sending up a new rhizome (underground stem). From the new rhizome, a new shoot forms. The rhizomes also help the plant spread horizontally up to six to 10 inches annually. American beachgrass grows up to two to three feet tall. The plant does produce a seedhead and seeds, but much of the spreading is through the rhizomes. Seedlings have a tough time getting established in a hot, dry environment. American beachgrass is able to live in a very hot and salty environment characterized by coarse sand, little organic matter and almost no water. The best time to plant this grass is from October 1 to March 30 in the Mid-Atlantic region, but may be extended to April 30 in New England in most seasons. If properly planted, good survival can be expected at any time during
this period, except when the planting medium is frozen. Summer plantings are not satisfactory. This grass can be planted either by hand or by mechanical equipment designed for this work. The culms must be planted at least eight inches
deep. This prevents grass plants from drying out, as well as being blown out by the wind. American beachgrass has also been called coastal beachgrass, beach grass, marram grass, and dune grass.
Tom Castronovo/Photo and Story
Pictured above is American beachgrass stabilizing the frontal dunes in Lavallette, Ocean County, N.J.
22 April 2020
NORTHEAST DEPARTMENT CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Last month members of the green industry, comprised of wholesale and retail nursery, greenhouse, turfgrass and sod producers; landscape architecture, design, construction, and maintenance firms; and distributors of lawn and garden products at wholesale and retail, gathered in the Legislative Office Building to announce the findings of the report by UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy, Economic Impacts of the Connecticut Green Industry in 2017. The major findings were impressive – from contributing $4.7 billion to the state’s economy,
Connecticut’s Green Industry Is Growing
a 27% increase since 2012, to nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod production accounting for 51% of all agricultural production (measured by gross sales) in Connecticut. However, it was noted that because business activities are so diverse and widespread, the industry is often underestimated in the public eye as a driver of the economy. The Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association (CNLA) requested and funded the study, which also reports the green industry supports 43,000 jobs in the state. CNLA President, Dustyn Nelson said, “The Green Industry Economic Impact Study is important on many fronts. It shows that our
industry is growing and has great opportunities for younger generations to make a career. Legislators need to know the impact our industry has as they are creating legislation.” Just a few weeks later, the green industry was front and center as the 39th annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show got underway in Hartford. As one of New England’s largest and most prestigious flower shows, the event featured more than one acre of gardens in full bloom, 300 exhibitors and over 80 hours of free seminars. Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt attended the opening ceremony complete with a garland of fresh flowers
and greens for the ribbon-cutting. He later commented, “The green industry accounts for 51% of total agriculture production in Connecticut. It’s hard for people to envision that, but here at the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show you can see it in action. This a great demonstration of how people can support local Connecticut Grown businesses to landscape their homes and businesses while contributing to the state’s economy.” An array of 24 live, lush gardens were on display throughout the four-day show. Each landscape was unique and created inspiration among attendees, however, one stood out and was selected by the
team of judges as Best in Show. Designed by Henry Gresczyk of Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, CT, highlights of this display included a ’48 Ford truck filled with blooming tulips, a living roof garden, hydroponic greenhouse, chicken coop, vegetable garden and water element, all in appreciation of the earth’s beauty and remembrance of the farm’s patriarch, former Agriculture Commissioner Bruce Gresczyk. A sign outside the award-winning display summed it up best stating “the earth cares for us, so we care for the earth.” Learn more about the study at http://zwickcenter.uconn.edu/ CT-Green-Industry.pdf
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Department of Agriculture Adds 12 Counties to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine
Farm to School Infrastructure Grant Now Accepting Applications
Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced that twelve counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone ahead of the 2020 spring hatch. With this addition, the quarantine for this invasive pest is now at 26 counties. “The Spotted Lanternfly is more than a pest in the literal sense,” said Agriculture Secretary Redding. “It’s wreaking havoc for home and business owners; kids who just want to play outside; Pennsylvania agriculture and the economy of the state we all call home. Whether you think it’s your job or not, we need every Pennsylvanian to keep their eyes peeled for signs of this bad bug – to scrape every egg mass, squash every bug, and report every sighting. We need to unite over our hatred for this
pest for our common love: Pennsylvania.” The new dozen counties are not completely infested, but rather have a few municipalities with a known infestation which led to a quarantine being placed on the entire county out of an abundance of caution. Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Columbia, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Juniata, Luzerne, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, and York have been added to the quarantine for 2020. “Most of these municipalities have already been aggressively treated,” said Dr. Ruth Welliver, director of the Bureau of Plant Industry. “With continued aggressive treatment and monitoring, and an actively engaged community, we can strike Spotted Lanternfly from these counties.” Quick, aggressive treatment to newly identified
populations of Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania was funded through the Rapid Response Disaster Readiness line of Governor Wolf’s 2019 PA Farm Bill. The 2020 PA Farm Bill proposes another $3 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly, plus an extra $1 million that is uncommitted to readily act in the event of the next agricultural disaster. Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit; fines associated with noncompliance can be up to $300 for a criminal citation or up to $20,000 for a civil penalty. Homeowners with questions about treatment are encouraged to contact their local Penn State Extension office. For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit agriculture.pa.gov/ spottedlanternfly.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) is now accepting applications for the Farm to School Infrastructure Grant program. This grant program helps schools and early care providers advance the goals of farm to school through the purchase of equipment and/or supplies. The deadline to apply for this funding opportunity is April 19th at midnight. Grants of $1,000 are available to Vermont schools and early care providers pursuing goals around improving their meal programs, utilizing more local food, and increasing agriculture and nutrition education. Successful grantees will receive $1,000 as reimbursement for purchases of equipment and/or supplies. $8,000 in grant funding is available through this opportunity. Notification of awards will be made in mid May 2020. The infrastructure grant program is made possible through the Rozo McLaughlin Farm to School Act, which seeks to increase agricultural literacy, improve child nutrition, and help Vermont schools and early care providers develop relationships with local farmers and producers. More information about the program, and links to apply, can be found on the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ website: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/ grants/earlychildhood. Questions about the program should be directed to Trevor Lowell at (802) 585-9186 or email@example.com . Maple Festival Cancelled The Vermont Maple Festival held April 24-26, 2020 in St. Albans Vermont is cancelled due to the current health concern of COVID-19. Please continue to support your Vermont Maple Sugar makers.
April 2020 23
OF AGRICULTURE NEWS NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE New York State Agriculture Commissioner Announces New Agricultural Environmental Management-Leopold Conservation Award
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced a new partnership with the Sand County Foundation to enhance New York State’s annual Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM)Award by combining it with the nationally recognized Leopold Conservation Award program. The Leopold Conservation Award program will enhance the AEM Award through new award criteria, an independent judging process, a $10,000 cash award, and a
comprehensive promotional campaign to advance conservation in agriculture. The Leopold Conservation Award is presented by the nonprofit Sand County Foundation to farmers, ranchers and foresters in 21 states for ethically managing natural resources for improved water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat. Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “It is with great enthusiasm that I announce a new partnership that will celebrate voluntary conservation by farmers
and forestland owners. New York AEM Leopold Partnering with the Sand Conservation Award must County Foundation to present be received by the New the first-ever New York York State Department of AEM- Leopold Conservation Agriculture and Markets by Award makes perfect sense April 15. Nominations will be as we recognize landowners reviewed by an independent who inspire others with their panel of conservation leaders. dedication to land, water and Interested candidates should wildlife habitat management contact their local county and who are dedicated to Soil and Water Conservation leaving the land better than District. Contact information how they found it. We thank can be found at https:// the Sand County Foundation agriculture.ny.gov/soilfor collaborating with us to a n d - w a t e r / s o i l - w a t e r host this most distinguished conservation-district-offices. award.” New York State’s annual Applications for the Agricultural Environmental
Management Award winners are chosen from nominees submitted by County Soil and Water Conservation Districts from around the state. The first Agricultural Environmental Management Award was presented in 2002; prior to that, the award was known as the Agricultural Stewardship Award. New York State’s AEM framework is a model for the nation as a voluntary, incentive-based approach to protect natural resources and meet the economic needs of the agricultural community.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Jane Brodhecker, James Etsch Honored for Distinguished Service
Long-time farmers Jane Brodhecker, of Sussex County, and James Etsch, of Middlesex County, were honored February 5 with Distinguished Service to Agriculture Citations by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City. “Jane Brodhecker and James Etsch have each made themselves an integral part of New Jersey agriculture with their decades of service to our farmers and their dedication and standard of excellence they each bring to their own farms,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “Jane’s expertise and experience on the State Agricultural Development Committee provided much needed insight to our farmland preservation efforts. James has served on several boards and agriculture-related associations for the last 30 years while continuing to grow his own operation.” Jane Brodhecker Brodhecker graduated from Indiana University with
a degree in home economics and nursing with minors in arts and math. When she met and married her husband Tom Brodhecker, she spent 10 years as an “Air Force” wife. The Brodheckers raised six children. In 1969, the Brodheckers purchased their farm in Hampton Township, Sussex County. The farm began as a grain, hay, sheep and cattle operation and has expanded in size and diversity. Today, the Brodhecker Farm continues to grow grain and hay on their own land as well as rented land. They raise cattle and sheep and have also developed their operation to include being a New Jersey licensed livestock feed manufacturer, along with having farm-raised beef, chicken and pork. Black oil sunflower seed, field corn, hay, straw and meats are sold from the farm store. Along with serving on the State Agricultural Development Committee, Jane has been a long-time member and leader of the New Jersey Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and found time to
volunteer with 4-H and the Girl Scouts while managing their farm’s business office. The Brodheckers were also honored by the New Jersey Agricultural Society as Gold Medallion Winners in 2019. Both Brodheckers have served in leadership positions on their county board of agriculture and on numerous committees and boards that include State and Regional 4-H Leaders Forum Planning Committees, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Board of Managers, Sussex County Farm and Horse Show, as members of the Sussex County Agricultural Development Board and as delegates to the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention. James Etsch James Etsch graduated from Cook College, Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Science. He has served on the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture since 1988, serving as president from 2000-2002. He has been a part of the New Jersey Farm Bureau
Board of Directors since 2003 and has been active in several other organizations and activities as well. They include serving as a Middlesex County Fair Trustee since 1989; serving as a member of the Board of Managers from 1998-2003, including being president 2001-2003 and an emeritus member since 2010; serving as a member of the Princeton Agricultural Association; serving as a member and past president of the New Jersey Grain and Forage Producers Association; and serving as a member of the New Jersey Agricultural Society Board of Trustees, National Hay Association and the Monroe Township Open Space Committee. James is the son of Roy and Mary Etsch, who established the farm with ground originally purchased by Roy’s father. Etsch Farms has been in operation since 1931 in Monroe Township. James and his wife Caroline, now farm more than 1,000 acres in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties. Etsch Farms sells hay,
straw, mulch and feed corn and operates year-round. The farm also carries farm fresh brown eggs from their hens and local raw honey. Etsch Farms also is known for its activities and events such as summer outdoor movies and an eight-acre corn maze experience complete with hayride, farm animals, apple cider donuts and pumpkin picking in the fall. The farm’s corn maze was started in 2006 and has become a popular destination for fall agritourism as it hosts thousands of visitors each year. Etsch Farms also provides opportunities for youths by offering a day camp for children ages 7-10 for a week during the summer. The Etsch’s have two sons, Zachary, who works at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, and Peter, a fourth-generation farmer who is actively involved in the family business. Organizations who qualify to send delegates to the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention may nominate a state farmer for the Distinguished Service Award.
24 April 2020
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USDA AGRICULTURE RESEARCH SERVICE NEWS Making Rice Even Nicer
Rice is a dietary staple for more than half of the world’s population. In the United States, we consumed about 4.28 million metric tons of rice in 2017-2018. That’s around 26 pounds per person per year! Whole-grain rice has advantages over milled rice because the bran, or outer layer, of the grain remains intact. Rice bran contains nutrients, minerals, and bioactive compounds like tocopherols, tocotrienols, and γ-oryzanol. Rice with purple or red bran has anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, respectively. Eating whole-grain rice is associated with a reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancers. But the bran is just a very thin coating over the much larger rice grain. An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) research team in Stuttgart, Arkansas, thinks that increasing the proportion of bran to grain will enhance whole grain rice’s overall nutritional value. The team studied 134 diverse rice cultivars from ARS’s vast rice collection, curated at the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart. They found that different cultivars naturally had heavier bran layers than others—some up to 2.5 times as heavy. Purple bran types had the heaviest bran, followed by red, white, light brown, and brown. With this knowledge, rice breeders can improve whole grain nutritional quality by selecting these types for their breeding programs. The bran layer has a slight down side, too: Although bran contains most of the rice grain’s fats (lipids), which can be extracted for use in cooking oils, it also contains enzymes (lipase and lipoxygenase) that break down those fats. That action shortens the rice’s shelf life and can lead to rancidity. The Stuttgart team evaluated a set of diverse rice varieties with different bran colors and found more than a 15-fold variation in rancidity levels. Red, purple, and brown brans had lower rancidity levels than the light-brown and white brans. Within the light-brown brans typical of U.S. cultivars, the team found varieties that had less enzyme activity and could be used in breeding to improve storage stability of U.S. brown rice. Arkansas is the nation’s chief rice-growing state, with a crop value of $1.16 billion in 2018.
Researchers Put Cornstarch to Use Fighting Pests
Add yet another use for cornstarch—besides thickening soups and gravies, making adhesives, soothing skin and removing stains. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Peoria, Illinois, are now using the versatile commodity to make products that can fight insect pests, prevent disease and decay and impart water resistance to surfaces. Underpinning that effort is the team’s use of patented procedures for converting cornstarch into a new class of material known as amylose inclusion complex (AIC)—an advance aimed at increasing the commodity’s value even more. Products created from the AIC include emulsions using essential oils from garlic, asafoetida (a type of spice) and other plants to control mosquito larvae in aquatic habitats. The emulsions are toxic to mosquito larvae but not the environment, which makes them promising botanical alternatives to synthetic insecticides, noted one of the ARS scientists, Ephantus Muturi, who is with the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria. Muturi said the emulsions envelope droplets of the oils, stabilizing them and protecting them from extremes of heat or oxidation that can reduce their potency when applied to mosquito larvae habitats, like storm water catch basins and old tires. The emulsions also allow the oil droplets to disperse in water, contrary to their natural tendency. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of their contacting and killing the larvae, improving control of the young pests. In laboratory trials, exposure to the essential oil emulsions killed the larvae of yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) in 24 hours. The number that died upon exposure was dependent on the type of oil and formulation used, noted Muturi, who reported the findings in the October 2019 issue of the journal Insects together with NCAUR colleagues William Hay, Robert Behle and Gordon Selling. Ultimately, the team envisions using the essential oil emulsions as part of an integrated approach to controlling mosquitoes and preventing the diseases they can spread, such as West Nile virus, yellow fever, dengue and Zika. On another front, Hay, Behle and their colleagues are examining cornstarch-based emulsions that could put the kibosh on wood-damaging termites and rot-causing fungi, including species that cause stored potato losses of up to 25 percent annually. Other products include films and coatings that regulate gas exchange or impart water repellency to paper and other cellulosic materials, as well as glass. Like the emulsions, they too were derived from the AIC. Selling and ARS chemist George Fanta used current industrial techniques such as steam-jet cooking to produce the AIC from high-amylose cornstarch, fatty acid salts, and other biobased ingredients. The team’s efforts support a broader push at Peoria to develop new, value-added uses for Midwestern crops like corn that will help diminish the reliance on petroleum-based goods and the environmental ‘‘footprint’’ their use can leave behind.
New Test Identifies Poisonous Mushrooms
A simple, portable test that can detect the deadliest of the mushroom poisons in minutes has been developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their colleagues. Eating toxic mushrooms causes more than 100 deaths a year, globally, and leaves thousands of people in need of urgent medical assistance. Amanitin is the class of mushroom toxins that cause the most serious issues. The new test can identify the presence of as little as 10 parts per billion (equivalent to 10 cents out of $10 million) of amanitin in about 10 minutes from a rice grain size sample of a mushroom or in the urine of someone who has eaten a poisonous amanitin-containing mushroom. The test also works with dog urine, as dogs are known to indiscriminately eat mushrooms. ‘‘We developed the test primarily for mushrooms as food products. Serendipitously, it was sensitive enough to also detect the toxin in urine,’’ said ARS microbiologist Candace Bever, who worked on the development. Bever is with the Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research Unit in Albany, California. No definitive point-of-care clinical diagnostic test currently exists for amatoxin poisoning. Early detection of amanitin in a patient’s urine would help doctors trying to make a diagnosis. ‘‘Our hope is that doctors and veterinarians will
be able to quickly and confidently identify amatoxin poisoning rather than having to clinically eliminate other suspected gastrointestinal diseases first,’’ she added. ‘‘We also hope that will give patients a better chance at recovery, even though there are no clearly effective, specific treatments right now.’’ The test also could be a practical and definitive way for mushroom foragers to identify and avoid eating mushrooms with amanitin toxin if a commercial partner can be found to produce and market a test kit. This test is the most sensitive and reliable field method available to chemically identify amanitin-containing mushrooms. Although mushroom experts can identify deadly mushrooms just by looking at their appearance, experts cannot see the toxin chemicals that lurk inside. Still this test only identifies the presence or absence of this specific class of toxin; it does not detect other compounds such as hallucinogens or toxins that cause other gastrointestinal or neurological symptoms. So, it cannot determine if a mushroom is edible. Mushroom hunting has gained in popularity in the last several decades. A single mushroom identification group on Facebook, among many, has more than 166,000 members. Foraging for mushrooms is popular throughout most of Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, parts of the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, as well as in Canada and the United States. Distinguishing toxic from nontoxic mushroom species is based on first
correctly identifying the mushroom and then referencing a mushroom field guide to determine if it is known to contain toxins or not. But mushrooms of the same species can vary in appearance, especially at different life stages and habitats, making them very difficult to identify. Many poisonous mushrooms closely resemble edible wild mushrooms. For instance, the Springtime Amanita (Amanita velosa) is a highly desirable edible wild mushroom in the Pacific coastal United States. But to the untrained eye, it can appear similar to the Death cap mushroom A. phalloides. The Death Cap accounts for more than 90 percent of fungus-related poisoning deaths in Europe. ‘‘This test can provide more information about a wild mushroom beyond physical appearance and characteristics, and detect something we cannot even see—the presence of amanitins,’’ said Bever. If an affordable product like this was available, foraging could become even more popular and possibly safer. The new test is an immuno-assay and depends on a very specifically reactive monoclonal antibody—a lab-produced protein that detects and binds only with a specific target. Scientists from the University of California-Davis, Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also contributed to this project. This research was published in the journal Toxins.
26 April 2020
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There are three plants that will thrive in the bathroom with low light. The first is English Ivy. It is one of the most popular indoor plants. It is known to be one of the most effective plants that remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia, xylene, toluene and several other types of airborne pollutants from the air. English Ivy prefers cooler and moderate humid environment to thrive. It easily grows in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. English Ivy tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers rich loams. The plant will tolerate some drought, but produces best foliage color in evenly moist soils. The second is Lemon balm. It is a perennial aromatic and herbaceous plant in the mint family. Scientific research reports suggest that having a lemon balm plant around improves mood and boosts overall mental wellness. Ohio State University study shows that its sweet smell adds to mood enhancement and reduces stress. Lemon balm is effective air purifier; it cleans the air by suppressing airborne germs, mold, and bacteria. It is one of the hardiest herb plants which can tolerate full sun or full shade; it can do well indoors or outdoors without much maintenance. The plant contains chemicals that seem to have a sedative, calming effect. It might also reduce the growth of some viruses. And third is the Peace lily. Lilies are a tropical, evergreen plant that thrives naturally on the forest floor, where it receives dappled sunlight and consistent moisture. Replicating these conditions in the home is the key to getting your peace lily to be happy and healthy. Keep these plants out of direct afternoon sunlight, but in a well-lit area. An east-facing window is ideal, as they will be exposed to the warmth of the morning sun but avoid the intensity of mid-day rays. With enough light, peace lilies may produce white to off-white flowers in the early summer and continue to bloom throughout the year. In NASA studies, it was discovered that peace lilies can help improve air quality, removing formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the surrounding air.
April 2020 27
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