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TAKE ONE August 2018

Gardener News Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping Communities GARDENERNEWS.COM

TAKE ONE No. 184

Beautifying Traffic Control Boxes with Spectacular Artwork By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor As a resident of Somerset County, N.J., I have been noticing agricultural, gardening and landscaping designs popping up in vehicle intersections, on traffic control boxes, for several years now. One day I was sitting in my favorite coffee spot in Warren Township with my good friend Vic Sordillo, who happens to be the Mayor of Warren Township in Somerset County. We were discussing environmentally friendly and beautification ideas for the township. During the beautification thoughts, the traffic control boxes came up. Mayor Sordillo said, “The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission (SCCHC) initiated a countywide public art project in 2010 entitled Gallery 24/7 to further integrate the arts into nontraditional venues.� He also told me that it helps welcome tourism to Somerset County, and to Warren Township. I really like the designs, especially the ones related to agriculture, gardening and landscaping. They Tom Castronovo/Photo really reflect the beauty of Warren Township Mayor Vic Sordillo proudly looks over the Flowering Pink Rhododendron traffic control box that nature. And they sure look artist Vivian Bedoya designed. This traffic control box is at the intersection of Mountain Boulevard and Old Stirling a lot better than a big silvercolored box (Cont. on Page 24) Road in Warren Township.

2 August 2018

G a r d e n C e n t e r D i r e c t o r y

Hall’s Garden Center & Florist

700 Springfield Avenue, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 908.665.0331 |

Magnificant Hanging Baskets in All Colors A better garden starts with a better plant.

Proven Winners

Container Gardens  Shrubs  Vegetable Plants  Annuals  Perennials We've Got It All! 


August 2018 3

FLORIS 700 Springfield Avenue Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 Phone: (908) 665-0331 Fax: (908) 665-9804 email:

700 Springfield Av Berkeley Heights, N Phone: (908) 665Fax: (908) 665-9 email: hallsflorist@hot www.hallsgarden






New Jersey Convention Center, Edison, NJ




For more information and to EXHIBIT! (732) 449-4019 (732)449-4019

4 August 2018

Every month of the year has its ties to our farms and nurseries, and August may best be known for offering the most wide-ranging look at what the Garden State produces. In this month, the broadest array of what our farms produce is on display. Not only are yearround favorites in the market, but almost the entire menu of what our fruit and vegetable farms produce has been making its way to the shelves of supermarkets, on-farm markets and community farmers markets, and New Jersey restaurants that source ingredients from local growers. New Jersey farmers produce more than 100 varieties of produce, everything from what you would expect – tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, blueberries – to what might surprise you – Asian pears, bitter ball, cranberry beans and crowder peas. It’s an axiom that you could fill an entire produce section with the wide variety of what comes off of our state’s farms. In recent years, that’s become even more true, as the state’s ever-diversifying population has brought many ethnic favorites onto the planting plans of farmers and into the retail

your favorite retailers just what you should expect to find in the market. Our farmers are rightfully proud of the cornucopia they can bring forth from their soils, our temperate climate and the panoply of farmer talents that exist in every corner of our great state. As much as you enjoy having your bodies nourished by great Jersey Fresh farm products, that is how much our farmers enjoy providing those experiences for you. With such a deep, wide and varied bounty coming from our farms, there’s just no greater way to spend August or any other month than exploring the wonderful world of New Jersey agriculture. 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:

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

August brings a smorgasbord of Jersey agriculture to our state market. Many of these produce items may have their origins in far-off lands, but they increasingly are locally grown by New Jersey’s innovative and market-conscious farmers. While every growing season is different, and the peak of variety may differ by a few weeks year after year depending upon weather, let’s take a look at the Jersey Fresh Produce Availability Chart that the Department puts out each week in the growing season. This one was for the week of August 7, 2017. (This chart features the most likely produce items to be sought by wholesalers, retailers and consumers, along with notes about the current harvesting and the projected volumes in the next few weeks. It does not include

ALL items being produced by New Jersey farmers, and some of the newer arrivals and lesserknown ethnic varieties may be present in smaller amounts in the market but not listed on the chart.) From A to (almost Z), the chart for the week of August 7, 2017 nearly 30 items, starting with arugula and ending with white potatoes. By August, we see that blueberries, which peak in June and July, were listed as “finishing up,” while peaches, noted as having their ripening slowed by an overcast and cool May, saw yellow and white freestone varieties available in great volume and projected to remain that way through midSeptember. Their close cousins, nectarines (a natural genetic variant makes the difference

between peaches’ fuzz and nectarines’ smoother skin) were also harvesting in excellent quality and great volume, and were expected to remain so through the end of that August. As an example, kale was listed as having a “good quality product harvesting in good volume.” Even herbs, like basil, dill and mint, were harvesting in good to excellent quality and fair to good volume. If you’re ever wondering what Jersey Fresh produce is available at any given time of the year – August or any other month -- the Jersey Fresh Availability Chart can be found at our new “Find Jersey Fresh” website. This handy chart, updated weekly by our Division of Markets and Development, will give you an idea before you even step out the door to head to

morris county park commission

The FrelinghuysenArboretum Butterfly Gardening

Jane Hurwitz’s new book on Butterfly Gardening covers the practical details needed to create a vibrant garden habitat that fosters butterflies. A book signing and garden walk with Sharon Wander of NABA.

Saturday, July 28  $20.

This program eligible for 1.5 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU’s

Mushroom Paper-Making Workshop

Use bracket fungi to create beautiful earth-toned sheets of paper with mycologist Dorothy Smullen, using different mushrooms for a variety of hues.

Thursday, August 9  $35.

Putting Herbs to Work in Your Garden

Learn how to use herbs to attract beneficial insects, repel pests, improve your soil, and as companion plants with Caren White, a MG and member of the HSA

Saturday, August 11  $20.

This program eligible for 1.5 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU’s

Flora and Fauna of the Hackensack River Watershed

Explore an urban wilderness where humans and wildlife have learned to co-exist with Riverkeeper Captain Hugh Carola.

Tuesday, August 28  $20.

This program eligible for 1.0 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU’s

Basket Weaving Workshop

Pamela Wilson leads this beginner level workshop to create a basket for gathering herbs, flowers, or vegetables.

Saturday, September 8  $60.

353 East Hanover Avenue • Morris Township, New Jersey • 07960 *Pre-registration is required

August 2018 5

6 August 2018


Rutgers NJAES Team Releases New Varieties of Downy Mildew Resistant Sweet Basil Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station researchers have created four new varieties of sweet basil that are flavorful and resistant to disease, particularly to downy mildew, the plague of basil growers. Seeds for the new varieties – named Rutgers Obsession DMR, Rutgers Devotion DMR, Rutgers Passion DMR, and Rutgers Thunderstruck DMR – are now available to commercial growers through VDF Specialty Seeds. Sweet Basil has long been a wildly popular herb, used in a variety of cuisines around the world. “We grow a lot of basil in New Jersey,” said James Simon, professor of plant biology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “But back in 2010, we started to see a new disease, called downy mildew, showing up on basil plants. It was especially bad in Cumberland County. While downy mildew is a common disease that causes significant damage on many other fruits and vegetables, there was never a strain that attacked basil before.” Downy mildew attacks the underside of the leaves and renders them inedible. In Florida, which has a year-round growing season, basil crops had already been devastated by the disease. The only known defenses were chemicals to treat field crops and manipulating the humidity in greenhouses, which were both expensive and relatively ineffective methods. Simon and his research partners – Andy Wyenandt, extension specialist in vegetable pathology, and graduate student Robert Pyne – wanted to find a genetic alternative to chemicals as a way to resist the disease. They surveyed existing varieties of sweet basil, looking for ones that were resistant to the disease, and struck out. “They were all susceptible,” Simon said. Then they examined “exotic” basils, or other species of basil grown overseas that weren’t widely used commercially except for ornamental purposes. They found some that were immune to downy mildew, but when they tried to cross them with sweet basil, Simon and his colleagues found the crosses were difficult and progeny sterile. James Simon led the research – a marathon, not a sprint – to produce varieties of sweet basil that tasted great and resisted disease. “Eventually, we found one that didn’t look, smell or grow like a basil,” Simon said. “But it was a basil. And it was resistant.” “Resistant” is a key word here, Simon said. A plant that’s immune would be wonderful, but he and his partners had been down that road and found it costly and unproductive. In the initial stage, commercial growers needed resistance. A resistant plant, if it turned out to be commercially viable, might occasionally get some downy mildew while still producing a marketable crop. Simon and his partners decided to take resistance and run with it. It turned out to be a marathon, not a sprint. “We made thousands of crosses,” he said. “We developed varieties that had resistance but originally didn’t have the aroma and/or flavor or that particular look we were after. Or, we got some that had flavor but lacked resistance to the disease.” Finally, their patience resulted in the new varieties now available – Rutgers Obsession DMR (downy mildew resistant), Devotion DMR, Passion DMR and Thunderstruck DMR. While all are high yielding and robust, each is a bit different in their appearance and created to fill different market slots and needs. Dennis DalPonte, a farmer in Richland, New Jersey, worked with Simon on some of the trials. He said the experimental crosses really stood out in a field. He has planted some Rutgers Devotion in his three acres of basil and looks forward to a good harvest. “I’ve been through some of the trials, and the Devotion was like a soldier standing up, waiting for the enemy, when the others were dying (from downy mildew),” DalPonte said. “It looks like Devotion fills our needs. It’s the real deal.”

From the Director’s Desk

Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director

Thoughts from Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s New Director

I am honored to write this column as the new Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) and Senior Associate Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). Dr. Robert M. Goodman, Executive Director of NJAES and Executive Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), announced this appointment last December after Dr. Larry Katz shared his intent to step down as Director on July 1. Larry provided a decade of devoted leadership to Rutgers Cooperative Extension, navigating us through tumultuous budget times, the retirements of many senior extension faculty and staff, and growing demands for extension services among our diverse stakeholder communities. He returns now to the Department of Animal Sciences, in which he has earned the reputation as an exemplary teacher and accomplished researcher. I am indebted to Larry for his efforts over the past six months to ease my transition into the Director’s office. I thank him for all that he has done for RCE, and wish him the very best as he embarks on the next leg of his career. By way of introduction, I’ll share a little about myself. I am a product of Rutgers University, with degrees in resource management (B.S.), agricultural economics (M.S.), and planning and public policy (Ph.D.). I have served in several administrative, research, and outreach capacities at Cook College/SEBS since 1993. In 2010, I joined Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics as an extension specialist in agricultural policy. Throughout my career I have worked in areas related to agricultural land use, economic development, and policy; food industry issues; and domestic preparedness in the food and agriculture sectors. All have been gratifying experiences, made more so because of the direct and rewarding interactions with stakeholder communities. I have been privileged to work most closely with our state’s agricultural sector and count many within the industry as friends. I have been asked more than once, sometimes incredulously, “Why do you want the Extension Director job?” My answer is simple. While a challenging job, it is one worth doing. The power and importance of an interconnected national system of land grant universities sharing a tripartite mission of teaching, research, and extension designed to meet the changing needs of a changing nation is beyond dispute. This notion was indelibly introduced to me 31 years ago while in undergraduate classes with Rutgers Professor Roger Locandro. Over the past year, I have been heartened by the assertions of Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Dr. Deba Dutta that the land grant university system remains among “America’s greatest innovations.” With admitted bias, I believe these to be wise words. I step into the Director’s office with my eyes open to the budget, staffing, and other challenges that we face within Rutgers Cooperative Extension. But I do so with an unwavering belief in the importance of what we do and a deep admiration for those who do it. For more than 100 years RCE has delivered practical, science-based educational and outreach programs to New Jersey’s businesses, communities, and families. Our model relies on the generation of research-based, scientifically-credible information, often from campus-based or field station-based Extension Specialists, to meet the contemporary needs of those we serve. We support the changing needs of our state’s farmers, contribute meaningfully to the development of our state’s youth through 4-H programming, and strive to improve the personal health and well-being of all New Jerseyans. Our Office of Continuing Professional Education delivers more than 300 educational programs (“short courses”) covering a wide range of topics to 15,000-plus residents annually, while also leading workforce development, at-risk youth development, and professional certification programs. Yes, Rutgers Cooperative Extension faces challenges. We will be forced to think strategically and pragmatically about models of effective program delivery, staffing, and financial sustainability. I accept these realities and the prospects for needed changes in how we do things; but at the same time, I remain optimistic. We are up to the task. RCE has continually adapted to best serve the needs of the residents, businesses, and communities of New Jersey since 1914. Technology and socioeconomic factors continue to transform the business environment, the physical landscape of our state, resource usage, and how we live our lives. These same factors make it more difficult to permeate the consciousness of people facing instant access to (for better or worse!) a seemingly infinite volume of information. It is through the tireless and steady efforts of dedicated faculty, staff, and volunteers that RCE remains relevant and impactful, by providing credible information and resources that improve the lives of all in New Jersey. I look forward to sharing many examples of these efforts in future issues of Gardener News! 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.


August 2018 7

A Delicious Plant for the Garden! Common names are often very misleading. For gardeners, having a plant named in a known language is far more comfortable than trying to pronounce, no less understand, a name that is in Greek or Latin. Yet, these common names can get one into trouble. For example, the plant commonly and rather intriguingly known as Pineapple Lily produces neither a pineapple nor is it even a lily! However, it is certainly easier to pronounce than its botanical name of Eucomis comosa and, even with its intriguing common name, it is rarely seen in New Jersey gardens. Pineapple Lily is a native of South Africa and is actually a member of the Asparagaceae or Asparagus family, not the Lily family. The genus name of Eucomis was crafted in 1788 by the French botanist and magistrate Charles Louis L’Hertier De Brutelle (17461800), who moved them out of the genus Fritillaria, where

Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) had originally placed them. The name comes from the Greek Eu meaning good and Kome meaning hair; the good head of hair is a reference to the tuft of foliage that is perched atop the flower stalk of Eucomis. The epithet comosa is from the Latin meaning abundant hair or foliage and is once again a reference to the floral tuft of foliage. It was published by the German horticulturist Heinrich Rudolf Wehrhahn (1887-1940) who properly described and published the name Eucomis comosa in 1929 in the book Die Gartenstauden (The Garden). Pineapple Lilies develop from bulbs and are marginally hardy for central New Jersey. Best grown in sun, the deepgreen strap-like foliage grow to 24 inches long by three inches wide at the base and ultimately develops an arching, fountainlike shape. In mid- to late-July, a central flower spike stretches upwards to 24 inches tall, with star-shaped greenish white flowers clustered around the

top five to six inches of the stem. Each flower is roughly a half-inch in diameter and with the crown of foliage perched on the top of the stem, each floral raceme truly resembles a pineapple! The flowers are followed by purple fruits, allowing the structure to remain attractive well into September. The green forms are attractive, but I have always preferred the deep-purple foliaged form called “Sparkling Burgundy.” The foliage is initially a very dark burgundy and it looks best when grown under full sun conditions. As the plant nears flowering, the leaves assume a greener color. However, the emerging flower stalk is once again a dusky burgundy, providing a nice backdrop for the pink blushed, green flowers. The green foliaged forms look good worked in with a more calming green or chartreuse companion plantings. However, “Sparkling Burgundy,” with its rich colors, needs stronger companions that feature oranges, reds or bold pinks.

Great Tomato Tasting and Snyder Farm Open House

Snyder Research and Extension Farm 140 Locust Grove Road, Pittstown, Hunterdon County, NJ 08867 Wednesday, August 29, 2018 (rain or shine) 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. The event includes the very popular tasting of more than 100 heirloom and hybrid varieties of beefsteak, plum, cherry, and grape tomatoes! Open House features include demonstration gardens of deer tolerant ornamentals; blueberries, hazelnuts, and hollies from the Rutgers breeding programs. Other highlights include tastings of basil, honey, freshly made gazpacho and more. Wagon tours of the farm’s research plots will be held throughout the event. Also, chef preparations of several recipes, a turf labyrinth and educational displays from various organizations. Rutgers NJAES staff and Master Gardener volunteers will be available to provide information and answer your gardening questions. To help us plan for the event please RSVP at: or call 908-7309419 X-3501 Visit our website at for more information. Admission: $10.00 per person, payable at the event (cash or check only). Free for children 12 & under. *Please, only service dogs allowed on the farm grounds.

In Memoriam: Sylvia Griffin (1926-2018), Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County Home Economist

Sylvia Futterman Meehan Griffin, age 92, of Tinton Falls passed away at Jersey Shore Medical Center on June 30, 2018. She was a Rutgers University professor and served as Cooperative Extension Home Economist of Monmouth County for thirty years until she retired in 1991. In addition to her adult education classes she wrote a by-lined food column for the Asbury Park Press for 17 years and consumer information columns for the Red Bank Daily Register and other Monmouth county newspapers. She provided consumer information regularly on radio. She had articles published in national magazines and professional journals. After graduating Weequahic High School in Newark, she received a Bachelor of Science degree from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; and a Masters Degree and Doctor of Education degree from Rutgers University. She was honored with three national awards from her professional associations: Continued Excellence and Distinguished Service for excellent curricula; and the Florence Hall Award for promoting civil rights by developing and teaching a series of classes on “The Black Citizen in America Today”. In 1990 she received the Women of Achievement Award in Education from the Monmouth County Advisory Commission on the Status of Women. She was an active member of Soroptimist International serving as president of the Freehold Club where she was honored with the “Women Helping Women” award; and then in the Toms River club. Born in Brooklyn, she grew up in Newark and lived in Freehold and other New Jersey towns.

Typical of plants from South Africa, they prefer moister summers and drier winters, the opposite of New Jersey. Consequently, if they are to be grown outside as perennials in New Jersey and have a chance of survival, they require soils that are welldrained and enriched in organic matter. Plant the bulbs five to six inches deep and mulch heavily in autumn to insulate the bulb from periods of deep cold. The plants can also benefit from being planted amongst a ground cover like Cranesbill, Geranium sanguineum var. striatum, since the foliage that is retained through winter helps to insulate the soil. For those less daring, the bulbs can be lifted following a heavy frost, packed in peat moss or sawdust and stored in a cool indoor space. They also perform very admirably in containers. Plant the tops of the bulbs either at or one to two inches below the soil line in spring and bring the container indoors following a heavy frost, once again storing

them in a cool space. In this case, they do not need to be lifted, although the soil should be lightly watered throughout the winter. Pineapple Lily may not provide much culinary appeal, but it does add a generous and delicious serving of visual appeal to the garden. Unbeknownst by many, this delectable plant needs to catch the fancy of many more gardeners! Has it caught yours? Editor’s Note: Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth; is the managing director of the Rutgers Gardens, a 180-acre outdoor teaching classroom, horticultural research facility and arboretum; an adjunct professor in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; regularly participates in the Rutgers – Continuing Education Program; and the immediate past-president of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at (732) 932-8451. For more information, please visit

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

8 August 2018

New Jersey Legislative Update Senate Passes Pennacchio/Bucco Bill to Benefit Local Farmers

The State Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) and Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25) that would support the growth of local farm markets and enhance their offerings to customers by removing regulatory hurdles when vendors sell baked goods. “New Jersey’s current law requiring vendors at local farm markets to individually weigh and wrap items, such as cookies and muffins, puts our farmers at a disadvantage,” Pennacchio stated. “These requirements often cause our farmers to second guess whether to sell baked goods at their locations, possibly deterring local business. It is time to place our farm markets on the same playing field as bakeries which aren’t subject to this unreasonable restriction.” Pennacchio noted the legislation inspires entrepreneurship by allowing farm markets to easily sell baked goods, possibly creating the next Cake Boss or Entenmann’s Bakery. New Jersey’s farms depend heavily on healthy crops and can be devastated when harvests are affected by weather or other outside causes. Helping local farmers to diversify with baked goods offers income insurance against bad harvests and broadens the types of consumers that farm markets can attract. Under current law, producers of Jersey Fresh products are put at a competitive disadvantage with the requirement that each baked item be individually weighed before being sold at farm markets, unlike products sold at shops and bakeries. The legislation, S-410, will allow cakes, cookies, desserts, muffins, parties, pies, treats or other baked goods to be sold at farm markets wrapped but unweighted. “During a dry season, farmers must find ways to offset the lost income from the fruits and vegetables they are unable to grow,” Bucco explained. “By making it easier for farmers to diversify their products and sell baked goods, we can continue to enhance our local economies and give communities the ability to have farm-fresh experiences.”

Bateman Bill Protecting NJ Water from Harmful Chemicals Passes Senate

Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) that would protect New Jersey’s families from contaminated stormwater by permitting municipalities to establish and operate stormwater utilities has passed the New Jersey Senate. “When it rains, the many pollutants on our streets, lawns, and sidewalks can run-off and seep into our drinking water,” said Bateman. “We need the appropriate stormwater infrastructure and management to protect families from harmful pesticides, fertilizers, and gasoline entering into our waterways.” Bateman’s legislation, S-1073, provides for the management of stormwater systems that commonly go unmonitored to protect New Jersey’s drinking water and waterways from being polluted. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that stormwater running off impervious surfaces in urbanized areas can infiltrate rivers and coastal waters, impacting drinking water and beaches. This past summer, beaches across New Jersey were closed due to warning signs of dangerous pathogens in the waters. “Stormwater runoff that isn’t properly managed can translate into a health hazard that puts our families at risk,” said Bateman. “By making critical investments to our stormwater management structure, New Jersey can focus on keeping rivers, lakes, and most importantly drinking water clean.”

Bateman Legislation Incentivizing Farmers to Develop Natural Pollination Habitats Passes Committee

Senator Kip Bateman’s legislation providing New Jersey farmers who develop pollination habitats with tax credits has passed the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. “From the gardens we grow to the produce we purchase at a local farmer’s market, many of our fruits, vegetables, and flowers rely on pollinators like bees and butterflies,” Bateman (R-16) said. “Ensuring these pollinators have a place to live is vital to the sustainability of New Jersey’s agricultural economy. Aiding our New Jersey farmers who foster pollinators with business building tax credits will help the Garden State flourish.” Bateman’s bipartisan bill, S-2552, provides corporation business tax and gross income tax credits to farmers who develop qualified native pollinator habitat on their farmers. Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are crucial to the agricultural industry. Approximately one-third of all crops grown depend on pollinators for reproduction. According to the Pollinator Partnership, pollination contributes $217 billion to the worldwide economy. Recently, however, the survival of many pollinators has been threatened by the loss of natural food supplies and habitat. “Promoting practical agricultural policy and rewarding New Jersey farmers is a win-win,” Bateman added. “Pollination is vital to feeding New Jersey and the world.”

Doherty Introduces Legislation to Allow Dogs at Microbreweries

Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) has introduced legislation that would allow dogs to accompany their owners during tastings at microbreweries. “New Jersey’s microbrewing industry is growing at a rapid pace, but it needs our support to continue expanding,” said Doherty. “We’ve heard from brew pub operators that many customers who stop in for a tasting have their dogs in tow, which creates conflict with public health officials who don’t like pets in establishments where food or drink is consumed. It’s possible to meet the demands of customers without sacrificing the cleanliness we expect when we visit our microbreweries.” Doherty said his legislation would allow dogs to be present in areas of licensed microbreweries where brewed products are consumed, but not in areas where items produced for consumption might be contaminated. Similarly, dogs would be prohibited from areas where they risk contaminating clean equipment, glassware, or related articles in the area designated for the consumption of brewed products. Areas where dogs are present would be required to be kept in a clean condition, with any messes promptly cleaned and sanitized. Further, staff members would not be permitted to have direct contact with dogs while on duty, and would be required to immediately wash their hands should direct contact occur. “As microbrewing has grown nationwide, a number of states have begun to address the challenge of how to handle the dogs that are frequently brought to taprooms,” Doherty added. “We can be among the leaders in addressing this issue in a way that’s good for customers, good for business, and good for public health.”

August 2018 9

Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

A Growing and Changing Landscape

There has been a lot of activity in my landscape recently. Some bad. Some good. Last spring, a big, beautiful ash tree had to be cut down. It succumbed to the Emerald ash borer, an exotic beetle. Emerald ash borer will ultimately kill all species of ash trees in North America. Kind of a mass extinction. The adult borer is approximately half an inch long and one-eighth of an inch wide, metallic green in color, with a metallic copper-red abdomen. The larvae are white or cream colored, measure approximately one to one-and-a-quarter inch long and have 10 abdominal segments that are bell shaped. It has a one-year lifecycle. Adults emerge in May or early-June, creating D-shaped exit holes. The female adult feeds on the margins of the leaf. After feeding, the female deposits eggs in bark crevices or under bark flaps on the trunk or bark. The adult beetle stays active until August. After the egg matures, larvae burrow under the bark and feed on the cambium ̶ the water and nutrient transporting layer of the tree. I first noticed the problem when the tree’s crown began to die back. Then a few woodpeckers arrived. Peck! Peck! Peck! Then the bark started to split. In a matter of three years, the tree met its untimely death. Emerald ash borer was first discovered in New Jersey in May 2014 by a private citizen in Bridgewater, Somerset County. As of May 2018, it is now found in 33 states, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. Last summer, I was outside watering the flowers and shrubs early in the morning. I saw the neighbors gathering in their backyard. I thought to myself, What were they doing outside so early? I glanced over again and they were pointing towards the woods. I paid them no mind. A few minutes later, I heard my name called out. Tom! Tom! Tom! As I looked over again, I heard the word BEAR! I looked back and a big old black bear was heading straight toward me through the woods. I should have recognized nature’s warning. The chipmunks were making high-pitched chirping noises and the squirrels were squeaking and making bark-like grunts. I dropped the hose and ran into the house and called the police. Thank God for my neighbor’s alertness. Last fall, I had to re-seed the lawn because fungus attacked it. I used Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed. This year I have a small area that was hit by fungus. It is in an area that I did not re-seed. Lawn fungus is very hard to control. Last year, I used a granular product. This year I’m using a liquid product. I was taught in school to always rotate fungicides because lawn fungus adapts to the same type of treatment. Over-all, the lawn looks pretty good for mid-July. Let’s see how the humidity fairs for the rest of the summer. By the way, watering your lawn at night is about the worst thing to do for it. All you will do is help promote fungus. Watering in the morning (between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.) is the best time. This spring, I had my favorite tree expert on the property again. His task was to cut down a lot of very invasive bamboo, and to remove a majestic 20-foot-tall hemlock tree that was damaged in last winter’s heavy snow. I was not too happy because I babied it free of wooly adelgid. If you have wooly adelgid, look for egg sacs, which resemble small tufts of cotton clinging to the underside of hemlock branches. This pest desiccates the needles, and will kill the tree. I also had him remove six old, overgrown barberry plants from the rock garden. As he cut into them, I was very surprised to find out that the wood was a bright yellow. Next was the task of digging out the roots and the old soil. My plan was to make the rock-encased area into a flower bed. I was off to the garden center for soil. I brought home Espoma organic garden soil. The new flower bed was dressed with New Guinea impatiens. This plant can be a heavy feeder, so I’ve been giving it monthly feedings of a low-nitrogen plant food. This encourages the plant to grow without discouraging any of the flower production. I do think they are receiving too much afternoon sun. Next year, I will switch to angelonia and vinca flowers. I will now begin to monitor the lawn for signs of chinch bugs. These buggers feed on the grass stems in open, sunny areas. I will also continue to water my landscaped trees and shrubs. I wonder what will inspire me in September. Maybe planting some more pest-resistant grass seed. Who knows, maybe mums the word… PS. Happy Birthday, Dad. Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and

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USDAto Collect Onion, Strawberry & Asparagus Production Data

During the next several weeks, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct the New York Onion and Strawberry Grower Inquiry, and the New Jersey Asparagus Grower Inquiry. The agency will survey nearly 200 onion and strawberry operations in New York and about 60 asparagus operations in New Jersey. NASS conducts the Asparagus Survey annually and the Onion and Strawberry Surveys twice per year; a forecast in August and an end of season production in November. “When growers respond to these surveys, they provide essential information that helps us determine the prospective production and supply of these commodities in the United States for the 2018 crop year,” explained King Whetstone, director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Northeastern Regional Field Office. NASS gathers the data for these surveys online, by mail, over the phone and through in-person interviews. Growers provide information on crop acreage, production, and value of sales. NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in a series of USDA reports. “NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only state and national level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified,” stated Whetstone. In closing he says, “We recognize this is a hectic time for farmers and ranchers, but the information they provide helps U.S. agriculture remain viable and capable. I urge them to respond to these surveys and thank them for their cooperation.” All reports are available on the NASS website: https:// For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 1-800-498-1518. Source: USDA/NASS

They’re Back!!!!

By Jeannie Geremia Contributing Writer

This summer is glorious and one I shall always fondly remember, as finally lightning bugs are back in numbers I remember from years ago. So many species seem to be on the wane, and lightning bugs were included in my personal list of vanishing creatures. In fact, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve shed a few tears over their scarcity in years past. I would wait in eager anticipation for the first day of summer, as that seemed to be when they would emerge at dusk and engulf as with their light show in the evening that would continue nightly throughout the summer. The last several years brought extreme disappointment as their numbers seemed drastically reduced, and various reports on the Internet let me know it was not my imagination and that they were, in fact, disappearing worldwide. I even included them in my Gardener News article of last month, lamenting how their numbers seemed vastly diminished and musing about the possible causes, including: too much artificial light, pesticides, climate change, and loss of habitat. The Internet provided me with some answers that I want to share with you, my gardening friends. First off, lightning bugs/ fireflies are not flies but are winged beetles in the Lampyridae family, and the renowned Karl Linnaeus named them Lampyris noctiluca in 1767. Of course, they date back to ancient times and feature in folklore and legends all over the world. The ancient Chinese believed they were a product of burning grasses. They caught them, much like we did as kids, putting them

in transparent boxes and using them as lanterns. Since electricity is such a modern invention, can you imagine how people down through the ages were just delighted and astonished to see these marvelous creatures light up their world? Japanese legend believed that lightning bugs were the souls of the dead and spirits of warriors who fell in battle. Native American folklore abounds with similar legends and it’s fascinating to contemplate the magic they have generated through the ages. There are over 2,000 species of lightning bugs in the world and they are most commonly called lightning bugs, but somehow “firefly” came to be used in scientific literature. I’m wondering if we can trace that to Henry David Thoreau, as he referred to them as fireflies in his journals. The following is from his journal, June 14, 1851: “Where there was only one firefly in a dozen rods, I hastily ran to one which had crawled up to the top of a grasshead and exhibited its light, and instantly another sailed in to it, showing its light also; but my presence made them extinguish their lights. The latter retreated, and the former crawled slowly down the stem. It appeared to me that the first was a female who thus revealed her place to the male, who was also making known his neighborhood as he hovered about, both showing their lights that they might come together. It was like a mistress who had climbed to the turrets of her castle and exhibited there a blazing taper for a signal, while her lover had displayed his light on the plain.” Not all species of lightning bugs light up with a luciferin compound that still mystifies scientists. The female lays eggs in

the ground and the larvae feed on worms and grubs by injecting them with a numbing fluid. The adults feed on nectar and pollen (pollinators rock!), and some don’t eat at all. Their average life span is one week to two months and they can live an entire season. There are lightning bugs in two places in the world where they light up at the same time all night long, and that is Southeast Asia, and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. My husband and our friend, Mat, volunteer at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, so on the trip home, Bob told Mat that I intended to write about lightning bugs and Mat related that he and his wife, Gayle, were dazzled the night before as they sat on their deck viewing thousands of lightning bugs twinkling in the meadow across the street. He also told Bob that there are tours at the Great Smokey National Park so the public can view the lightning bug phenomena. My husband insists that I confess to you how I left him to maneuver his way to our front door last night, gingerly stepping around planters as he made his way. Bob asked me why the lights weren’t on outside and I replied that I didn’t want to disturb the lightning bugs. Of course, he’s not done with this and our family and friends will hear all about it. Editor’s Note: Jeannie Geremia is The Garden Club of New Jersey First Vice President, GCNJ Wildlife Habitat Chair, and a National Garden Clubs, Inc. Accredited Life Flower Show Judge for the GCNJ. Jeannie is a member of Neshanic Garden Club, The Raritan Township Historic Committee and the Raritan Township Board of Health. Jeannie’s email address is:

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12 August 2018 See what I did there? August = HOT! It’s 91 degrees as I write this and we’re full swing into summer. It’s the perfect time of year to update your landscape for upcoming outdoor parties and entertaining. Below are some elements that I hear NJLCA members have been working on the most this year. Earth Edible Landscapes are one of the most common-sense crazes going. In my day, we called them vegetable gardens, but now they are so much more. You might start with your own organic “dinner” garden, which would include herbs, green beans, tomato, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, carrots and more. But beyond what my generation (really my parent’s generation) planted in their gardens, new ideas also include fruits. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and grapes can be grown fairly easily in our hardiness zones and provide delicious snacks and ingredients. Pushing it even further, it is now possible to plant dwarf fruit trees, including apple, fig, pear, cherry and plum, in New Jersey yards. Some may have to be covered in the winter, but most will survive the winter nicely.

August 2018 13 The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Director of Operations

Outdoor Living Elements That Are Hot

Air Sustainable Landscaping goes hand in hand with edibles, as you are using what you grow. However, there are many ways to make your landscaping more sustainable, and landscape contractors will be happy to help you do it. First, ask your landscape maintenance pro to mulch and leave your grass clippings on your lawn. Provided the clippings are not too long, they will provide amazing nutrients to your soil and turf. Ask your landscape installation pro to only use native plants in your projects. There are so many beautiful native plants to our area, that there is no need to use invasive species in your landscapes. Furthermore, see what drought-tolerant plants and grasses are available in your area to reduce water usage. Ask your landscape contractor about permeable pavers, which are

much “greener” than asphalt. Have an irrigation professional install a drip irrigation system, which will be tailored to water specific areas, instead of a box store sprinkler running back and forth half the day. Finally, start a compost bin or barrel and make sure to turn it often. You can add leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps and small branches, and after six months to a year, use the compost in your garden and around trees for a nutritious mulch. Fire Not only is a fire feature stunning and mesmerizing, it will extend your outdoor living area usage into the fall. There are hundreds of options to choose from, including fire features that use gas or traditional wood. Fireplaces are great for seating areas, outdoor living rooms, etc. We are most familiar with seeing fire pits in backyards,

but you can now get versions that are sunken into the ground, elongated versions that look like a wall of fire along the top, in any material you can think of, and those that are portable. The newest products include fire bowls, which can be installed on top of walls, columns, over a pool ledge, etc. Water Long gone are the days that most people have an above ground pool with an aluminum ladder. Water features have become more sophisticated and elegant. There are fountains to can fit in the smallest of gardens, including rock columns and planter-based features. There are water walls, which spill a sheen of water over the edge or between stones. You can have a contractor install a koi pond, as well as a swimming pond. And there are dozens of types of pondless waterfalls that can give you the

calming sounds of water in your yard. Many of these are very budget friendly. Fun – The Fifth Element! Landscape installation contractors are now able to bring the fun of play to your landscape. If you have children, playhouses have come a long way from the plastic bubbly mini-houses with a drive through window. Playhouses can be built to replicate your main home, they can have two floors, anything you dream. Furthermore, many homeowners are having their contractors install tumble mats, life-sized chess boards, mini-golf or putting greens, and for more adult fun, outdoor bar areas. Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott is the Director of Operations for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. She was presented with a community service award from the Borough of Fairview for her assistance in leading the 9-11 Memorial Park project and the Legislative Champion of the Year award from the Federation of Employers and Workers of America. She is currently the State Licensee Chair on the National Association of Landscape Professionals International Certification Council.

Butterfly Weed vs Butterfly Bush By Hubert Ling How can butterfly weed plants, which may not even bloom this year, be better for the environment than large butterfly bushes just ready to burst into bloom and attract hundreds of butterflies? Well, butterfly weed is a very striking native plant with bright orange flower clusters, while butterfly bush is an invasive Asian plant. The N.J. Invasive Species Strike Team, a private, non-profit organization aimed at reducing the impact of invasive species, refers to butterfly bush as “… highly threatening to native communities.” In addition, although butterfly bush is frequently utilized by adult butterflies, not one species of North American butterfly larvae can survive on the foliage. No larvae butterflies means no adult butterflies, and butterfly larvae rarely survive on nonnative plants.

Consequently, I strongly suggest that anyone interested in preserving New Jersey wildlife, neither plant nor grow butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii). What’s the alternative? Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) is native to almost all of the continental United States. Although it is only about two feet high, you can plant dozens of butterfly weed in the space formerly taken up by a butterfly bush and really brighten up your garden. Butterfly weed plants support the larvae of grey hairstreak, monarch and queen butterflies, and provide nectar for a range of adult butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Thus, you can do your part to improve the environment and preserve butterflies for future generations to enjoy. Butterfly weed is easy to raise from seed. Plant the seeds in a seedling tray and keep them moist in the fall, covered with mulch during the winter, and gradually remove the mulch in spring. Butterfly

weed grows deep taproots and therefore is difficult to transplant when mature, so plan ahead. The plants grow best in deep, well-drained fertile dry soil, in sunny locations. They are drought-, rabbit-, and deer-resistant. Unlike most other milkweeds, butterfly weed does not produce large amounts of milky sap that can irritate the skin and eyes. Butterfly weed is generally maintenance free, although like many milkweeds it can develop an aphid problem. You can let the ladybugs take care of this for you, or use a strong spray of plain or soapy water to shake off the aphids. For Native Americans, butterfly weed was one of the most useful plants. The Meskwaki tribe of Iowa used butterfly weed flowers as a red dye for basket fibers. Fibers from the stems have been used by Native Americans for belts, cloth, and bow strings. The Menominee treasured the fibers as the thinnest and strongest and much better

than cotton. Butterfly weed was also a highly respected medicinal plant: the Penobscot tribe used the root as a diaphoretic and as a cold medicine, and the Menominee used the root externally as an antibiotic dressing for bruises, cuts and wounds. The Delaware used the roots for rheumatism and as a drink for women to expel the afterbirth; the plant can be dangerous for pregnant woman since root extracts induce strong uterine contractions. Butterfly weed is also known as pleurisy root because it was used to treat infection of the inner chest wall and the outer lining of the lungs. The Cherokee, Delaware, Mohegan, Omaha and Ponca used the plant for pleurisy, and for bronchial and pulmonary problems. In Colonial America, butterfly weed was widely prescribed and used as the Native Americans used it. It was also used as an emetic and officially listed as a medicinal

drug in the United States and Canada until the late 1800s. Since pleurisy can be caused by a variety of infectious agents, cancer, and trauma, it is unlikely that any single drug can successfully treat the many types of the disease. Pleurisy today is treated by first determining the underlying cause and then tailoring a specific cure. Foster & Duke list butterfly weed as a plant to treat with caution because of toxic cardiac glycosides. It is well known that the monarch butterfly collects toxins from butterfly weed in its body to reduce predation from birds. Although butterfly weed has had extensive use as a medicinal plant, many safer and more effective alternatives are available, so just enjoy it in a colorful garden border. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is the Horticulture Chairman for the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at

14 August 2018


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16 August 2018

NJNLA Hosts Annual Summer Landscape Contractor Meeting

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Anthony Luciano, left, owner of Condurso’s Garden Center in Montville, Morris County, N.J.; Lori Jenssen, second from left, Executive Director, New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association; George Hamilton, Ph.D., second from right, Specialist in Pest Management, Department of Entomology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; and Kevin McLaughlin, Show Promoter, Total Pro Show. The dog days of summer are not just for dogs; this is also prime time for fruits and vegetables here in the Garden State. Anyone who planted a few tomato plants last May is now, more than likely, starting to swim in them. After a relatively cool start in May and early-June, these plants have thrived in the hot days and warm nights that are commonplace in New Jersey during June, July, and earlyAugust. The same can usually be said for their warm-weather cousins – peppers and eggplant. While it is true that these crops will last right up until the first freeze if they are cared for properly, they perform at their best during the warmest time of the year. Extreme heat can cause some problems, however. Temperatures around 95 degrees and above can cause tomatoes to go into a selfpreservation mode which causes them to abort many of their flowers and small fruit. But still, during the heat of the summer is when tomatoes are at their best in terms of flavor. This is also why

The New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association (NJNLA) hosted its Annual Summer Landscape Contractor Meeting at Condurso’s Garden Center in Montville, Morris County, N.J. Attendees learned about the spotted lanternfly, and the devastating effects it will have in the horticultural and agricultural industries. Attendees also had a roundtable discussion on Senate Bill No. 665 and Assembly Bill No. 3968. These bills prohibit snowplow or de-icing service contracts from indemnifying the promisee against liability for loss or damage in certain instances. These bills will help rein in escalating insurance costs for snow contractors who service high-traffic commercial and retail properties, such as shopping centers and big-box stores, throughout the winter months. Attendees were also introduced to a new green-industry trade show called the Total Pro Show, which will be geared toward professional landscape contractors, garden center owners, nurseries, and the hardscape industries. The show will also feature a full educational conference.

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

The Dog Days of Summer

tomatoes should never be stored at temperatures under 55 degrees. Sweet corn is another vegetable that thrives during the heat of summer. Although it can be planted earlier in the spring than tomatoes, sweet corn really starts to take off as the weather gets warmer. I am sure that many of you have heard the old saying that on hot and muggy summer nights, it is possible to hear the corn grow. I have tried to listen a few times but am still waiting to hear it. Although corn does its best growing in higher temperatures and high humidity, I think that its flavor actually gets a little better as the days start to shorten and the nights get a little cooler. Cucumbers and summer squashes are also at their peak during the summer months.

The same can be said for their sweeter cousins, watermelons and cantaloupes. As most of you are aware, there is nothing quite like the flavor of a fully ripe, just picked watermelon or cantaloupe. Of course, this article would not be complete without discussing the queen of the summer fruits here in New Jersey, the peach. Peaches have long been the mainstay of the fruit industry here, and although they have been somewhat elbowed out of the way, so to speak, by imported fruits from California, such as grapes, plums and nectarines, they are still a “can’t miss” attraction of the summer months. In fact, I probably get more questions about when the start of peach season is than all of our other crops combined.

There is just something about locally grown, tree-ripened peaches that causes them to be far superior to any of their out-of-state and out-of-season competitors. While peach season usually starts around the Fourth of July here in New Jersey, it usually swings into high gear toward the end of July, when the “freestone” peaches start to ripen. For those that don’t know, with freestone peaches, it is relatively easy to separate the pit from the flesh of the peach. This makes freestones the desired choice for freezing, canning, baking and the like, as they are much easier to deal with in the kitchen. Although the earlier ripening varieties where the flesh tends to “cling” to the pit are juicy and just as tasty, the freestones do tend to hold

up better in uses other than eating them out of hand. But have no fear; all is not lost for good quality produce when we get into the cooler days and nights of September and October. Because, while we were busy harvesting our tomatoes, sweet corn, and peaches during July and August, we were also busy planting some of our crops that do much better when the temperature gets a little cooler. So, get ready for broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, and Brussels sprouts during October and November. Oh yeah, and don’t forget about apples! Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is currently a Tewksbury Township Committee Member. 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.

August 2018 17

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18 August 2018

Earth BioGenome Project Could Hold Solutions for Agriculture’s Future although in less detail, for a total By Kim Kaplan Public Affairs Specialist of about 150,000 genera. The remaining 1.5 million species USDA/ARS would be sequenced in still less The U.S. Department of detail during the final four years Agriculture (USDA) is partnering of the project. in the Earth BioGenome Project “The benefits that will come (EBP), biology’s version of the from increasing our knowledge moonshot, an effort that will andunderstandingofthegenomes yield millions of powerful of the Earth’s biodiversity will new solutions to agriculture’s be monumental, especially for challenges. agriculture,” explained Kevin EBP is an international Hackett, senior national program cooperative initiative to sequence leader for entomology with during the next 10 years the USDA’s Agricultural Research DNA of more than 1.5 million Service (ARS). Hackett is one species—those more complex of only three federal members than bacteria—representing on the 23-person EBP steering the world’s biodiversity. The committee and he is representing initiative was highlighted in agriculture. a recent Proceedings of the As an example of the National Academy of Sciences importance to agriculture, article. Hackett pointed out that insects EBP calls for scientists to destroy one-fifth of the world’s sequence the genomes of 9,330 crop production annually species, one from each plant, and would do worse without animal and protozoan taxonomic pesticides. Control of insect family as reference genomes in devastation is an ongoing the first three years. Then, the struggle, and pesticide resistance plan calls for sequencing the is an ever-evolving problem, genome of one species from requiring researchers to look each genus—the next taxonomic constantly for new ways to division finer than family— tackle the issue. during years four to seven, “Understanding a pest’s Hey, I’m no brighter than the next gal or guy. My friends affectionately call me “The Dr.,” for reasons I will not reveal, but I am not a physician, a Ph.D. or some renowned scientist. I do not perform research, I do not write books, but I do study… every week. As I write this, we are experiencing a very serious heat event, so I will stay indoors, sip some lemonade, and read. At almost 60 years old, I still have much to learn. Every discipline changes, it seems, overnight. It does not matter what you do, what work you perform, what service you provide, you have a moral responsibility to be the best you can be. You have to keep up with the evolution of your craft. This is true of the tree care and landscape industry. There is no such thing as “good enough.” Think about it. You hire a plumber, an electrician, an attorney, a surgeon…you expect, without even asking, that they are up-to-date with the current standards and procedures. In fact, these disciplines require

DNA and biology is essential to precisely targeting new controls, to combatting an insect without harming other species or other pieces of the ecology,” Hackett said. “There are solutions to problems in pest control out there in the genetic biodiversity that we can barely conceive of right now.” For instance, who could have guessed that a jellyfish’s DNA would have provided a glowing green fluorescent protein that lets scientists trace when compounds too small to be seen by microscopes are being made in the cells of species as diverse as peas and pigs? Genomic information is already providing the basis for other powerful advances from speeding up breeding for enhanced plant and animal traits to helping increase safety from ticks and diseases associated with them. For example, ARS insect physiologist Felix Guerrero and his team recently sequenced the cattle fever tick genome and identified genes now being used to develop a vaccine against the ticks. This vaccine may protect

cattle from several fatal tickborne diseases and eventually fight other ticks including those that spread Lyme disease to people. Another ongoing ARS-led project is Cornome, which is planning to completely sequence ten of the most important agricultural insects in corn, so that when RNA interference (RNAi) gene silencing is applied to create a new pest control, scientists can first check the DNA of non-target insects to make sure they would not be harmed by this new technology. EBP is not beginning its massive task from scratch. It is building on alreadyexisting efforts to sequence the genomes of more specific taxonomic groups such as the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA), which is targeting 7,000 non-insect/ non-nematode species with an emphasis on marine taxa, and the i5K Initiative, which is sequencing the genomes of no less than 5,000 arthropod species important to agriculture and biological research. Hackett is an i5K co-founder and one of its co-chairs.

Tree Notes By Steve Schuckman NJ Certified Tree Expert

The Importance of Staying Educated

testing and licensing. Most require continued education to ensure the practitioner remains well versed in their craft. You would never hire a cardiologist that advertised “We fix Hearts” on the side of a rusty old van. But you might hire some guy with the same van whose sign says, “We due hedges” (that is NOT a typo…I actually saw this). Why? One reason is there is no professional licensing or educational requirements for landscape contractors. Not yet. Anyone can buy some tools, a truck, have a sign made, and suddenly it is “Bob’s Landscaping and Design.” One needs no experience, no education, and unless applying pesticides, no state license (and even then, I still

see pesticides being applied with no posted DEP License number).Buyer beware. Thankfully, there is regulation of the tree care industry in New Jersey. Every tree care company in the State of New Jersey is now required to be registered with the State, provide proof of insurance, provide staff safety training, and have at least one person on staff licensed as a Licensed Tree Expert (LTE – replaces the Certified Tree Expert or CTE), or Licensed Tree Care Operator (LTCO). Licensed professionals are also required to obtain continuing education credits, which (hopefully) means they are staying current. It is complicated, so for more go to the New Jersey Board of Tree Experts website. The take-home message: ask for

proof of credentials when hiring a tree-care contractor. This is important for many reasons, the most important being safety. Tree work can be dangerous, and sadly you can go to the local rental place and get just about anything: chainsaw, chipper, maybe even a lift. But you do not know what you are doing and will likely get hurt or hurt someone else. Same goes for the so-called “professionals.” Without proper training, education, and experience, the potential for poor quality work and injury is high. Which is why education is so important. Yet many of my colleagues never attend a conference, never take a class, never expand themselves. The tree-care craft continues to evolve: it is dynamic,

So far, scientists from around the world, individually and in various networks, have sequenced the genomes of about 15,000 species, less than 0.1 percent of all life on Earth. The total cost for phase I of EBP is estimated at about $500 million. The total cost of the 10-year project is expected to be roughly $4.5 billion. EBP’s feasibility benefits from the sharp decline in sequencing costs, down from $10,000 per genome in 2001 to $1,000 today. EBP expects most of the funding to be donated by foundations. For more information about ARS genomics and i5K work, please see “Unraveling What Genomics Can Do” at https:// agresearchmag.ars.usda. gov/2017/sep/genomics/. Editor’s Note: The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact. research is ongoing, there is still so much to learn. Many of my books and downloaded articles are already out-ofdate. There are plenty of educational opportunities available to the professional arborist. Rutgers Office of Continuing Education offers many one-day courses, as does the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania (as a plus, the Morris Arboretum is beautiful). Then there is real-life education. I learn more from interacting with my colleagues than I do from classes or books. I don’t know everything, nor do my friends. Sharing is caring. Editor’s Note: Steve Schuckman is owner of First Mountain Aboriculture, which provides horticultural consulting and community forestry services. He is currently the consulting forester for Bloomfield, Hawthorne, Maplewood, and Montclair, in New Jersey. He is also a New Jersey Certified Tree Expert. He can be reached at There is no question this past winter was one for the record books. A winter that held its grip on us until April, and then came the rain in April and May. Plant material was thrown completely off-cycle and storm damage took its toll on larger deciduous trees and conifers. Customers came into our garden center every day asking for advice on how best to stake or replant their larger trees that toppled out of the ground. Many were left frustrated with the cavities Mother Nature left in their gardens. And most, it seemed, were quick to rip out any plant, big or small, that didn’t bounce back quickly. Ornamental grasses were one of those plants many were frustrated with. Customers showed me pictures of their grasses sprouting around their edges while the interior seemed lost. Mindful that most grass types need heat to get going, I tried to reiterate that to our customers. I myself started to lose faith in a particular grass type planted at our home, black mondo grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus. We have two cultivars of black mondo grass on our property “Nigrescens” Recently, the New Jersey Agricultural Society joined forces with the New Jersey Farm Bureau, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Board of Managers to conduct an urban tour of agriculture for our state’s legislators and other government entities. The final of four tours, billed “Discovering New Jersey’s Experiment Station,” this one focused on the subject of “Urban Agriculture.” Held at the Essex County Rutgers Cooperative Extension Center, the purpose of the event was to acquaint attendees with the important role Rutgers Cooperative Extension plays in our urban citizens’ lives. During my career with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, I had the opportunity to work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension in various capacities, and quickly grew to appreciate the important service Rutgers Extension contributes to our state. When many people think of a county agricultural agent, an image is conjured of rural areas, and an official visiting farms, dispensing advice on crops, livestock, and other farming issues. To a certain extent, that is true. However, in New Jersey, home of the most densely populated state containing

August 2018 19 Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

“Patience Is a Virtue” and “Edge of Night,” both, I believed, were lost as June approached. “Nigrescens” is a perennial groundcover with soft, grasslike leaves that are jet black. “Nigrescens’” texture, spikes of pale pink flowers and prolific black berries in the fall, has always held my attention. This durable, easy-to-grow grass is popular at our garden center, particularly when we combine it in planters with small gourds and baby pumpkins in the fall. Our small collection of black mondo grass, at our home, was actually from a reclamation project last fall. About 10 years ago, a local business was looking for large planters to put inside their store filled with an interesting plant. Black mondo grass quickly came to mind as I thought that

gold and silver would only amplify this plant type. Never did I expect this plant to live indoors for nearly a decade in those pots. Situated near large windows with artificial light above and only minimal water, this plant exceeded everyone’s expectations. After 10 years and needing a change, the owners of the jewelry store asked us to replace their beloved black mondo grass. We took it away and I decided to reintroduce it to a more natural setting in our garden, complete with New Jersey’s four extreme seasons. After 10 years inside a storefront, and after our long and bitterly cold winter, the plants I installed in late-October began to show life in June. Convinced they were lost and nearly forgotten, tucked

beneath two inches of mulch, it wasn’t until we finally got around to planting our annual pots, in our backyard, that I saw them poke their heads up through the mulch. The same holds true for “Edge of Night.” A white-edged black mondo grass also hardy to zone 5: (-10 degrees Fahrenheit through -20 degrees Fahrenheit), this rare and equally slow to divide grass is a real stunner in our garden. “This is one of those ‘tongue on the floor’ plants for plant nerds like me” (plantlust. com). Outer white margins on long, slender leaves, are subtle yet stunning. Also planted lateOctober, but not part of that interior landscape, I thought winter had taken these from us too. Again, that was until we planted our coleus in the shade

NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director

Agriculture is Everywhere!

huge swaths of urban areas, Rutgers Cooperative Extension is so much more. During this particular tour, we heard from four extension departments about the work they do in New Jersey’s urban communities. The Department of Family and Community Health Sciences promotes health and wellness through education, research and collaboration with outreach in food, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles. Department faculty and staff work in neighborhoods to promote healthy families, schools and communities. Some of their program areas include: Nutrition, Physical Activity and Health, School Wellness and Early Care Education, Chronic Disease Prevention, Food Safety, Food Security, School gardens and edible education. During their presentation, we learned about a project conducted in Paterson schools that targeted food waste.

Through a collaboration of the Department and school food officials, the Paterson school district significantly reduced food waste and realized substantial savings for the school district. The 4-H Program is a national youth program boasting over 6 million members. In New Jersey, the 4-H program is housed in Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The program works with children in grades K–12. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through various programs. Though typically thought of as an agriculturally focused organization, 4-H today focuses on healthy living, science, engineering, and technology programs, and plays an important role in positive development of inner-city youth. Currently, 4-H has engaged in a project with Montclair Community Farms which gives 4-H participants the opportunity to grow and sell

vegetables while also increasing access to fresh produce in urban neighborhoods. Many readers of the Gardener News are familiar with the Rutgers Master Gardener Program. Part of becoming a Master Gardener requires volunteer and service work. In Essex County, Master Gardeners worked with several military veterans to construct a high tunnel on an abandoned lot in East Orange. This community garden will be used as an outreach tool to educate and train youth and adults in urban agriculture. In addition to this project, Rutgers offers opportunities for students to learn and work in urban communities by supporting community gardens, urban farms, farmer’s markets, community supported agriculture and school gardens. Lastly, the Office of Agriculture and Urban Programs briefed the attendees about Newark PIVOT – an open space

in June. Sometimes we can be a bit impetuous with our actions. Quick to make hasty decisions because our expectations have not been met in a more immediate form. Perhaps a sign of our culture today perpetuated by our electronic devices, life moves way too fast now. Gardening, like many other interests, requires hard work, dedication and careful watchfulness. Thoughtful learning through improved judgements, “A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself”May Sarton. And “patience is a flower that grows not in everyone’s garden”- Italian proverb. 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, ReevesReed 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. project where students traverse the city in search of potential “green” spaces for urban agriculture uses. Tailored to landscape design students, some projects include storm water run-off abatement, city transportation issues, and helping to restore and maintain Branch Brook Park. This historic gem was designed in 1896 by Frederick Law Olmstead, Sr. (considered the father of landscape architecture, and of Central Park fame) and was the first county park to be opened for public use in the United States. Agriculture can be found in almost any location. It can be as large as a several thousand-acre farm in Cumberland County, or in a tiny lot in Newark. It’s nice to know our state has a valuable resource in Rutgers Extension that can serve and support this wonderful, diverse industry. 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

20 August 2018

Spotted Lanternfly Sighting Confirmed in New Jersey New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher announced that New Jersey Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Agriculture personnel confirmed the first sighting of the spotted lanternfly in New Jersey. The sighting was made in portions of Warren County recently. The species is currently in its nymph stage and is likely to be either black or red with white spots. The spotted lanternfly, which is native to China, India, Vietnam and East Asia, was first located in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has spread to 13 counties there. The pest prefers Tree of Heaven as its host. The New Jersey sighting was made on Tree Heaven, which were treated to help prevent the spreading of the pest. Surveillance will continue in that immediate area as well as along the Delaware River border. Department field crews have been conducting surveys for this insect along the New JerseyPennsylvania border since 2014, from Warren to Burlington Counties with no previous findings. The spotted lanternfly has a history of being an excellent hitchhiker, having the ability to stay connected to vehicles that travel across state borders. The insect’s movement into new areas happens through the relocation of adults, nymphs or egg masses. The NJDA and USDA asks everyone who travels to and from Pennsylvania inspect their vehicles for the insect before returning to New Jersey. The spotted lanternfly makes use of over 70 different plant species, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, vegetables, herbs and vines, including agricultural crops like grapes. The lanternfly in its currents stage is about a half-inch to three-quarter of an inch long. The Department is asking for everyone’s help in identifying areas where low numbers of this insect may be. Residents can email pictures of suspect insects to or call the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840 (BAD-BUG-0) and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information. For more information about this insect go to spottedlanternfly.html

Globally Rare Orchid Discovered in New Jersey State Forest Biologists with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Natural Lands Management have confirmed a new occurrence of a globally rare orchid, the small whorled pogonia, within Sussex County’s Stokes State Forest. Consisting of just a single plant found on stony ground in a forested area of Stokes, this is just the third occurrence of this rare orchid known to exist in the state. The other known occurrences are also in Sussex County. The small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides) is listed as endangered in New Jersey and as threatened by the federal government. It grows up to 10 inches tall and features a whorl of four to five leaves that encircle the stem. The orchid showcases one or a pair of grayish-green flowers that bloom in May and June. “While small and inconspicuous, this plant’s presence indicates a healthy and thriving forest ecosystem,” said New Jersey Parks and Forestry Director Olivia Glenn. “I’m thrilled that biologists discovered this elusive orchid in a state park where we can monitor, manage and protect this rare find.” Historically, the small whorled pogonia’s range comprised 21 eastern states and parts of Canada. However, the orchid has never been a common species and typically grows in small populations. It prefers drier upland sites, usually in mixed deciduous forests. Martin Rapp, a biologist with the DEP’s Office of Natural Lands Management, found the new population on June 6 while surveying potential sites that could support small whorled pogonia. The small whorled pogonia does not appear above ground every year and may remain dormant underground for years. Because the orchids emerge inconsistently, biologists carefully monitor the known occurrences annually. They revisit sites where the orchid once grew to attempt to confirm its presence. “Small whorled pogonia previously occurred in Bergen, Hunterdon, Passaic and Sussex counties, but the orchid has not appeared on many of these sites in decades,” said Bob Cartica, Administrator of the Office of Natural Lands Management. “That’s one of the mysteries of this orchid

– suitable habitat exists throughout its range, but populations of small whorled pogonia are rare.” Research indicates that small whorled pogonia, like many other orchids, depend on soil organisms to thrive, especially fungi. In the case of this species, fungi not only provide nutrients for the orchid but they also help break the dormancy cycle prompting the orchid to emerge from the soil. In addition to the surveys for previously known populations, biologists will survey Stokes and other state properties for new populations of small whorled pogonia. Because the orchid is listed as a federally threatened species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides matching funding to conduct the surveys. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identifies human impact, including collection and habitat destruction, as the primary threat to small whorled pogonia and other orchid populations. The most effective strategy in ensuring the continued existence of small whorled pogonia is to maintain the integrity of the forest that supports it. The Office of Natural Lands Management includes the Natural Heritage Program, the Natural Areas Program and the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust. The office works to identify and track endangered and rare plant populations as well as rare and unique ecological communities. The office also manages public open space acquired by the Natural Lands Trust and designated State Natural Areas. Located in the extreme northwestern corner of the state, the nearly 16,500-acre Stokes State Forest encompasses a portion of Kittatinny Mountain and straddles the Appalachian Trail, north of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. For more information on small whorled pogonia and its relationship to soil fungi, visit For a report on the status and trends of endangered plants in New Jersey, visit For more information on Stokes State Forest, visit parksandforests/parks/stokes.html Last month I made my 15th trip to the beautiful state of Oregon. Why Oregon? Oregon is the grass seed capital of the world! Oregon supplies approximately 75 percent of all of the grass seed produced in the world; it is a very important crop to their economy. The Willamette Valley is in the heart of the grassseed growing region located between Portland and Eugene, and contains some of the best growing conditions in the world. However, a lot of grass seed is also grown in the eastern section of Oregon, too. My reason for going to Oregon is because Jonathan Green is a big grass seed supplier and we have a sister company, Cascade International Seed Company, located in the Willamette Valley that we formed in the 1980s. Cascade ships seed mostly in the USA, but to many other places in the world as well. We supply coolseason grasses such as Tall Fescue, Creeping Red Fescue, Chewings Fescue, Hard Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass

August 2018 21 Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

My trip to Oregon and Kentucky Bluegrass. Production of grass seed usually starts in the earlyfall when we find growers to plant many acres of seed for us. Breeders seed created from germplasm obtained from private breeders in conjunction with various state universities is drill seeded in rows, sometimes at a low rate of five pounds per acre. A fall fertilizer and perhaps some weed controls are applied, too. When spring arrives, the same thing happens. Weed controls and fertilizer are applied and perhaps some fungicide to reduce rust disease if necessary. Late in spring, the reproductive tillers reach up to five feet in the air and the seed is pollinated by Mother Nature’s blowing

winds. Mature grass seed develops so that by the end of June the fields are swathed and combines are running, sometimes for 24 hours at a clip, to collect the millions of pounds of grass seed produced. Yes, over 100 million pounds! That’s the equivalent of over 2,000 truckloads of grass seed. Wow! There are hundreds of grass-seed growers in Oregon, and once they harvest the seed they need to clean it to remove, weeds, crop seed, chaff, and soil inert matter before testing and bagging takes place. I find it amazing how these grass-seed growers can produce such a beautiful, clean lot of grass seed for planting great lawns. Many seed laboratories located in Oregon run overtime hours, too, to

keep up with the summer rush of testing and shipping requirements to send seed all over the world. This grass seed is used for planting on home lawns, parks, ballfields, playgrounds, sod farms and for forage grazing animal demands. Jonathan Green ships seed to many sod growers all across the U.S.A. Fall is the best time for them to start their fields, too, just like your home lawn, after the summer heat, drought and bugs have passed and the ground is warm. Sod growers usually need 10 to 18 months to have a new field planting ready for harvest to ship finished sod to customers. Remember, a great lawn starts out with great quality grass seed! And fall is the best time to reseed

and upgrade an existing lawn or start a new one. Many other profitable crops are grown in Oregon, such as hops, potatoes, beans, peas, corn, pears, apples, sugar beets, plums, cherries and grapes. Grapes and hops mean wine and beer! The winery and beer micro-brewing craze has hit Oregon in the past 25 years like the rest of the country. Hazelnut production has grown to over 100,000 acres, too. All of these profitable crops have started to make it more difficult to find growers at times to grow grass seed. Has the grass seed market matured? Golf courses are not being built like they have been in the last 25 years. Many are closing in favor of new homes. If you ever get a chance to visit Oregon, please do so and enjoy the many sights and sounds and beauty. Enjoy the rest of the summer! 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:




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22 August 2018

Study Shows Most People Are Spreading Dangerous Bacteria Around the Kitchen and Don’t Even Realize It

A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that when it comes to handwashing before meals, consumers are failing to properly clean their hands 97 percent of the time. Rushed handwashing can lead to cross-contamination of food and other surfaces, resulting in foodborne illness. “As a mother of three young children, I am very familiar with the mad dash families go through to put dinner on the table,” said Carmen Rottenberg, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA. “You can’t see, smell or feel bacteria. By simply washing your hands properly, you can protect your family and prevent that bacteria from contaminating your food and key areas in your kitchen.” The preliminary results of the observational study, conducted by USDA in collaboration with RTI International and North Carolina State University, showed some concerning results. Handwashing: the study revealed that consumers are not washing their hands correctly 97 percent of the time. Most consumers failed to wash their hands for the necessary 20 seconds, and numerous participants did not dry their hands with a clean towel. Thermometer use: results reveal that only 34 percent of participants used a food thermometer to check that their burgers were cooked properly. Of those who did use the food thermometer, nearly half still did not cook the burgers to the safe minimum internal temperature. Cross contamination: the study showed participants spreading bacteria from raw poultry onto other surfaces and food items in the test kitchen. 48 percent of the time are contaminating spice containers used while preparing burgers, 11 percent of the time are spreading bacteria to refrigerator handles, and 5 percent of the time are tainting salads due to cross-contamination. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million Americans are sickened with foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Children, older adults and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk. With grilling season upon us, USDA is reminding consumers to use a food thermometer and cook meat and poultry products to the recommended safe internal temperatures. When cooking meat and poultry patties, insert the thermometer through the side of the patty until the probe reaches the center of the patty. Meat and poultry products are done when they reach these minimum internal temperatures: Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145°F. Ground meats (burgers): 160°F. Poultry (whole or ground): 165°F. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling raw meat, poultry or eggs. Make sure you are washing for a full 20 seconds, and always dry your hands on a clean towel. Have questions? Need more food safety information? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MP-HOTLINE (1-888-674-6854). Live food safety experts are available Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

Try our E-Newspaper, where every page reads exactly as it does in print. Visit New York State Fair Launches New “Maple Day” on August 27

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York’s maple industry hit a 74-year record in 2018 with the production of 806,000 gallons of maple syrup. The maple industry in New York has grown by nearly 50 percent in the last five years and continues to maintain the state’s standing as the second leading producer of fresh maple syrup in the nation.   “The maple industry is one of New York’s most important agricultural sectors, and it continues to grow year-over-year, infusing millions into the economy and bringing New York national recognition for its quality,” Governor Cuomo said. “The growth of the industry is an indicator of our fantastic producers, who work hard to make some of the best maple syrup in the country and the innovative and unique maple products that consumers are demanding.” “It is always a highlight of spring to visit farms across the state and celebrate Maple Weekend,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “I have seen firsthand how farmers are contributing to our maple industry and continuing to increase production in New York. We’re proud that New York is second in the nation for maple syrup production, creating jobs and growing the economy. We will continue to invest and grow the industry to ensure continued success.” According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York’s maple production constituted about 19 percent of the national total. The number of maple taps also continues to climb, with more than 2.73 million taps in production in 2018, the highest number of taps since 1943. New York producers also benefited from a long season in 2018 which lasted 52 days, compared to 43 days in 2017. In celebration of New York’s growing maple industry, the New York State Fair will hold its first-ever Maple Day on Monday, August 27. Maple Day is sponsored by the

New York State Maple Producers Association and will feature maple products, such as maple cotton candy, maple donuts, pancakes with maple syrup, and more, that can be sampled at locations across the Fairgrounds. Cooking demonstrations using pure New York maple syrup will be held throughout the day in the Wegmans Demonstration Kitchen and maple vendors will be sampling and selling products at the Taste NY Marketplace in the Horticulture Building. Maple Day joins Dairy Day, Beef Day, and Agricultural Career Day in a lineup of special days created at the fair to highlight and promote New York State agriculture. The New York State Grown & Certified program recently expanded this past winter to include the New York maple industry. Since February 2017, the number of maple producers in the program has nearly tripled, from 14 to 37. For a complete list of producers in the program, visit http:// New York State Grown & Certified promotes New York’s agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards. For maple, the syrup must be sourced from New York maple trees and processed in New York State. To meet the food safety standards, participants must have successfully completed a maple food safety class, developed in partnership between Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Western New York Maple Producers Association, and must follow food safety best practices that are subject to an onsite audit. In addition, the maple producer must participate in an environmental management program that promotes sustainability and keeps forests healthy and productive, such as the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management program, which is administered through the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, or the Certified Tree Farmer, administered by the American Tree Farm System. State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said,

“Maple is agriculture’s first crop of the season and its certainly one that we do extremely well here in New York. Thanks to our dedicated maple producers, more of whom are joining the NYS Grown & Certified program, New York continues to be a top producer in the country, with record production figures and number of taps in recent history. We are pleased to promote the industry through Grown & Certified and at the State Fair, where more than 1.1 million people will get to taste some of the very best maple syrup and maple products in the country.” Governor Cuomo launched New York State Grown & Certified in 2016 to help meet the growing consumer demand for local foods grown or produced to a higher standard. The program certifies New York State producers who adhere to high food safety and environmental stewardship standards. The Department of Agriculture and Markets supports Grown & Certified producers through a marketing campaign, including on-product labels, promotional materials, such as the New York State Grown & Certified website, and sales materials that educate consumers, retailers, and wholesale buyers on the value of the program. In addition to maple producers, fruit and vegetable growers, Christmas tree growers, oyster growers, beef producers and twelve dairy processors, representing more than 1,800 dairy farms across New York State, are participating in the program. Grown & Certified products can be found in farmers markets and major retailers including Tops Friendly Markets, Price Chopper, Hannaford, Stewarts Shops, and ShopRite. For more information on New York State Grown & Certified, visit, or follow the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Producers interested in learning more about how to become New York State Grown & Certified and how to qualify can contact the Department of Agriculture and Markets at (800) 554-4501 or email It is always hard when a loved one passes on. This was extra heavy for our entire family. I will not dwell on this, nor did I intend on writing about this. It has just been on my and my family’s minds heavily. My mother-in-law, the matriarch of our family, my boss, my friend, a mom, a wife, a sister, a grandmother, an advisor, an aunt, and just for the most part a most influential part of the shore community, has recently passed after a long battle with cancer. I don’t have to say how this affects us all. Cancer does not care, cancer knows no passion, Cancer has zero boundaries and loves nobody in its destructive path. I think we all know this, and many of us have our stories. I wish everyone well and I will go on with my articles on food, which my mother-in-law was always very fond of, especially when she recommended ideas for me for the Crabs Claw kitchen. So many of her ideas continue to flourish here.

August 2018 23 From the Deep By Craig Korb Executive Chef

A heartfelt tribute and recipe She would always tell me things about her travels and different foods she tried and thought would be good for our restaurant. I always laugh at how many times she was spot on when I was like. Yep, OK! Anyhow, I am dedicating this to her for being such an inspiration to not only me, but countless others who have had the pleasure and luck to have crossed her path, if only once. Thank you for your patience with me, and we are all going to be fine. We all lose special people and I understand that. It just stinks sometimes. Really badly! Back to the issue at hand! I have been eating soooo much Jersey corn recently and we always have

leftovers! I’m sure you do, too! So, my new suggestion is to make creamed corn out of leftover Jersey corn. It’s brilliant, I tell you! I made it for my wife about a month ago and she loved it, even though I typically over-salt everything. It is so simple and a great way to use awesome leftover Jersey corn. Anyhow, again, without further ado, I will leave you with two great summer recipes. God bless and hope to see you soon! “Leftover creamed corn” (serves 2) 2 ears of pre-cooked Jersey Fresh corn. Cut off cobs 1 tsp butter 1 pinch approx. flour 1/4 cup heavy cream Salt and pepper to taste

Method-Saute cut corn in a medium sized pan with butter and salt and pepper -Add flour and sauté for 30 seconds more -Add heavy cream and simmer until just tight -Optional- add a pinch of palm or a shot or two of tabasco! LOUISE’S PEACH CREAM PIE! Sacred recipe!!! 1 cup flour 1 Tbsp sugar 1 stick butter, melted 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts, prefer walnuts -mix thoroughly and pat into the bottom of a 9-by-13 baking dish -it will be a thin layer -bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and let cool 18 ounces packaged

cream cheese 1 cup cool whip 1 cup powered sugar -blend until light and fluffy, spread onto cooled first layer -3 small packages of lemon instant pudding, 4½ cups milk -beat until thickened, spread over cream cheese layer - spread remainder of cool whip container on top, cover and refrigerate overnight! ......This recipe was taken exactly from my motherin-law’s handwriting and is honestly old school and awesome. One of my alltime favorite desserts ever! Good luck and enjoy some old school style. Editor’s Note: Craig Korb is executive chef at The Crab’s Claw Inn, Lavallette, New Jersey. He has an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors degree in Food Service Management from Johnson and Wales University. For more information visit or phone (732) 793-4447.

Planted in New York

New York corn planted area for all purposes in 2018 is 1.12 million acres, up 12 percent from 2017. Growers expect to harvest 630 thousand acres for corn grain, up from 485 thousand acres last year. New York soybean area this year is estimated at 270 thousand acres planted, unchanged from 2017. New York winter wheat acreage planted is estimated at 125 thousand, down 11 percent from 2017. New York winter wheat harvested acreage is forecast to be 100 thousand, down 20 percent from last year. The 2018 United States corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 89.1 million acres, down 1 percent from last year.  Growers expect to harvest 81.8 million acres for grain, down 1 percent from last year. U.S. 2018 soybean planted area is estimated at 89.6 million acres, down 1 percent from last year. Area for harvest, forecast at 88.9 million acres, is down 1 percent from 2017. U.S. 2018 winter wheat planted area is estimated at 32.7 million acres, up less than 1 percent from last year. This represents the third lowest planted acreage on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 24.8 million acres, down 2 percent from last year. Source: USDA/NASS

Guess where one of the largest rain gardens in New Jersey has just been installed?

A rain garden was constructed at the Cumberland Insurance Group in Bridgeton, NJ and planted on June 16th. The existing area was constantly saturated and had standing water due to a large volume of stormwater discharged to the area from the parking lot. Rain gardens were designed to allow proper capture and infiltration of this water while also providing aesthetic value to the property. The garden is about 4,000 square feet, easily one of the largest in the state! The project was completed through a collaboration with American Littoral Society who had funding available through a grant and asked for us to help by providing engineering designs and overseeing construction. Several employees from the Cumberland Insurance Group also volunteered their time to help with planting the garden. We are happy to see yet another successful project come together that the employees will be able to enjoy as well as make a positive environmental impact!

24 August 2018

Beautifying Traffic Control Boxes with Spectacular Artwork (Continued from page 1)

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Horses Grazing by artist Maia Reim. This traffic control box is at the intersection of South Finley Avenue and Cross Road in Bernards Township. on the side of the road. Some of the art-decorated boxes almost look like they blend right into the landscape. The friendly and eye-pleasing designs help soften the impact of an ugly utility box. They are truly a pleasant sight. New Jersey is the Garden State. It is very fitting to see pictures of agriculture and horticulture being represented in our intersections to remind us of how beautiful the state is. Some of the artwork on the boxes that impress me the most are the pink flowering rhododendrons, the horses, the cows and the rock gardens. Several days later, I reached out to SCCHC and learned that this project has been made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA), a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the State/County Partnership

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Stone Planter by artist Deborah Stair. This traffic control box is located at the intersection of Washington Valley Road and Promenade Boulevard in Warren Township.

Local Arts Program Grant. Funding for this grant comes from dedicated Hotel/ Motel Occupancy Tax via state legislation in 2003, which established a stable, renewable source for state funding of the arts, history and tourism. Cultural grants awarded by the NJSCA are supported by this revenue so the New Jersey taxpayer does not pay for public support of the arts through property, sales or income tax. A total of 22 original artworks, selected between 2010-2012 through the wellpublicized Call for NJ Artists, have been reproduced on a special vinyl adhesive film and professionally applied to the exterior of selected county-owned Traffic Control Boxes throughout Somerset County. A total of 28 boxes in the county now have artwork on them to date. Installation began in the fall of 2010. Somerset County was the first county in the state

to initiate the art project. Since then, several other counties in the state have installed artwork on their traffic control boxes. With the aid of dedicated funding provided by an arts grant, and through a competitive and professionally juried selection process, New Jersey visual artists were invited to create and submit original artwork for this project. Mayor Sordillo also said, “In Warren Township, we have always been proud of our appearance and the quality of services and infrastructure. It is very rare to see property that is not well maintained or an eyesore within our neighborhoods. While we need to have utilities and the metal boxes that house the electrical components, we are very pleased to have worked with the county to beautify them with artwork of the colorful rhododendron flowers.”

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Hillsborough Collage by artist Walter Choroszewski. This traffic control box is located at the intersection of Amwell Road and Post Office Drive in Hillsborough.

Warren Township has 19.3 square miles. It is nestled in the Watchung Mountains. Once described as “the greenest place in New Jersey,” Warren Township residents and elected officials are working to keep its rural character and charm while recognizing that there will be growth due to the town’s beauty, favorable property taxes and strategic location. Somerset County is at the hub of Central New Jersey. Its 21 municipalities, which encompass 305 square miles, contain a diversity of landscape, population, and development that reflects the varied lifestyles of its estimated 333,751 residents. As one of America’s oldest counties, Somerset is steeped in colonial and Revolutionary War history. The county was established by charter on May 22, 1688, with land conveyances dating to 1651. Historic sites, monuments, and buildings are found in virtually every

town, preserved for future generations. Thanks to some really great efforts and forward thinkers, this artwork no longer makes these aluminum boxes an eye sore or a target for graffiti and posters. I hope that someday all traffic control boxes have some form of artwork on them. Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and

August 2018 25

New Jersey Department of Agriculture Kicks off Summer Food Service

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service representatives helped serve lunch to students participating in the Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program at Bridgeton High School. Started in 1976 as an outgrowth of the National School Lunch Program, Summer Food Service is designed to ensure those who are age 18 or younger in low-income areas have access to meals while school is out. It also is open to people over 18 who are mentally or physically handicapped and who participate in public or nonprofit private programs established for the disabled. “Summer Food Service provides an opportunity for children and those who are eligible to receive healthy meals throughout the summer,” Secretary Fisher said. “The commitment of the City of Bridgeton and the Bridgeton Public Schools to administer these summer meals is a great example of the success that can take place when there is a collaborative effort like the one here.” The Bridgeton Public School District was a bronze winner for the USDA’s 2017 Turnip the Beet award, which is given to outstanding summer sponsors that serve high quality nutritious meals to low income area children. The federally funded program reimburses participating organizations for meals served to children who live in areas in which at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program. Statewide this year there are 130 sponsors for 1,400 sites serving more than 100,000 children daily. In the 2016-2017 school year, nearly 430,000 New Jersey students received free or reducedprice meals in their schools under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). In 2017, 23 percent participating in the NSLP had access to meals in the summer. Last year, 116 sponsors served more than 3 million meals at the 1,350 feeding sites in the state. Most participating organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals a day – lunch and either breakfast or a snack. New Jersey ranked 6th in the Nation in 2017 in the percentage of eligible children who received free summer lunches, according to the Food Research and Action Center. Bridgeton is participating in the Summer Food Service Program with 15 sites this year, feeding 1,200 children per day. During today’s visit, the children were served grilled chicken fajita, with peppers, onions, and salsa black bean fiesta salad and sweet pineapple slices. “The solid partnership we have with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has played an essential and significant role in assisting us with serving the nutritional needs of the students and families in the Bridgeton community,” said Bridgeton Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomasina Jones. “This is a vital program for the Bridgeton community. We appreciate the support we receive from all stakeholders. It is because of the investment and unwavering support of our partners that we are able to provide the meals we are serving today.” To learn more about the Summer Food Service Program or how to become a sponsor, visit To find a feeding site near you, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or text Food to 877-877.

FSA Makes Emergency Loans Available to NJ Farmers

Farmers in the following counties are eligible for Emergency Loans through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA): Farmers in Hunterdon, Somerset, Union, Burlington, Atlantic, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean and Warren Counties who suffered severe physical losses caused by excessive snow, excessive rain, flooding and high winds that occurred March 2, 2018, through March 7, 2018. Farmers in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties who suffered physical losses caused by severe winter storms and snow storm that occurred March 6, 2018 and March 7, 2018. Under these designation, producers with operations in any primary or contiguous county are eligible to apply for low interest emergency loans. Emergency loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding and other natural disasters or quarantine. Producers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000. Applications must be received by February 8, 2019. Please contact your local County Office for more information or visit our website at

The Premier Gardening Monthly Newspaper Number 184 Published Monthly Reserve Ad Space Phone: 908.604.4444 Website: E-Mail: Staff Executive Editor/Publisher . . . . Art Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tom Castronovo Clarissa J. Roper Tom Castronovo

August Columnists Tom Castronovo Gail Woolcott Bob LaHoff Brian Schilling Craig Korb

Todd Pretz Douglas H. Fisher Steve Schuckman Peter Melick Al Murray

Contributing Writers

Bruce Crawford Hubert Ling

Jeannie Geremia Kim Kaplan

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The Gardener News invites correspondences on gardening subjects of interest. Gardener News, Inc, and its Publisher reserve the right to accept, refuse, or discontinue any editorial or copy, and shall not be liable to anyone for printing errors, misinformation or omissions in editorial or copy. The information contained in articles herein represents the opinions of the authors and, although believed to be accurate and complete, is not represented or warranted by Gardener News, Inc. to be accurate or complete. All advertising is subject to the Gardener News advertisement rates, and must be PAID IN FULL at time of submission. Publisher reserves the right at its absolute discretion, and at any time, to cancel any advertising order or reject any advertising copy whether or not the same has already been acknowledged and/or previously published. In the event of errors or omissions of any advertisement(s), the newspapers liability shall not exceed a refund of amounts paid for the advertisement. NOTE: All editorial, advertising layouts and designs and portions of the same that are produced and published by Gardener News, Inc., are the sole property of Gardener News, Inc. and may not be reproduced in any form unless written authorization is obtained from the publisher. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to: Gardener News, 16 Mount Bethel Rd - #123, Warren, NJ 07059. (c) 2018 Gardener News, Inc.

Full Moon, August 26, 2018 Eastern Daylight


When harvesting peppers, use a sharp knife/pruner to cut them, but leave a short stub of stem attached. Its best to harvest them early in the morning. Pulling peppers by hand can cause branches to break off. Pick peppers when they are full size and fully colored. It’s best to harvest often which will increase the plant’s yield. If you aren’t sure what fully colored is, check the variety tag description. Many hot peppers will turn red, but can be eaten green. Red, yellow, and orange bells start out green and turn color later as they continue to mature on the vine. Most peppers can be eaten at just about any stage, and peppers have a long time window for harvest; they can continue to mature on the plant for several days past maturity. Over ripe bells usually get sweeter and over ripe hot peppers usually get hotter. After harvesting, rinse, pat dry and store in your refrigerator.

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