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Gardener News

January, 2014

Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping Communities GARDENERNEWS.COM

TAKE ONE No. 129

By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Gardener News proudly bestows our 2013 “Person of the Year” to Craig Korb, the executive chef at The Crab’s Claw Inn, Lavallette, New Jersey. A long-time columnist for the Gardener News who has real energy and desire behind using locally procured items, and a farmer’s grandson, Korb is receiving our award for being the first executive chef and “restaurant” in the state to serve a dinner, which is open to the public each fall, featuring “Jersey Fresh produce, Jersey-landed Seafood and Jersey Wine” all in the same meal. He is also receiving it for teaching his daughters Marley, 7, and Lucy, 4, about the importance of locally sourced food. Korb travels to farmer’s markets and local farms on his days off with his family and hand-selects fresh produce for his family’s meals and to source fresh produce for the restaurant. Korb also teaches them about New Jersey sea farming and the very freshest catch. Korb receives the majority of his seafood from Viking Village, a certified, state-ofthe-art commercial fishing (Continued on Page 16)

2 January, 2014


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January, 2014 3 Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

Hi all: I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. This month I’m going to share a few things with you that were e-mailed to our newsroom that missed the printed edition. You can learn more about them by visiting the “Latest News & Press Releases” feature on www. I hope you all have a terrific 2014. Maybe I’ll see you at one of the upcoming Trade, Home & Garden or Flower Shows. If you see me, please say hello! The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has been awarded a $282,000 crop insurance education grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to ensure producers get the information they need to effectively manage risk and ensure their businesses are productive and competitive. This is the 13th year the Department has received the grant. The funds will be used for education and outreach to producers so they are fully informed of existing and emerging crop insurance products. All educational activities undertaken will be structured to allow producers to have a true understanding of the kind of risks addressed by crop insurance; the features of existing and emerging crop insurance products; using crop insurance in managing risk; the impact of crop insurance on other risk management decisions; making an informed decision on crop insurance prior to sales closing date deadlines; and record keeping requirements of crop insurance. The Department is partnering with the County of Salem and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Salem County for this risk management education program. New Jersey is one of 45 states to benefit from $10 million allocated to two RMA programs, the Targeted States Program and the Risk Management Education Partnership Program. --In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises pregnant women, infants and children to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and other milk products, and supports a ban on the sale of raw milk in the U.S. They say that raw milk and milk products from cows, goats and sheep can transmit lifethreatening bacterial infections, yet sales are still legal in at least 30 states. --The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Through Jan. 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS. --Americans are shifting to healthier, simpler diets and that has helped to stabilize obesity levels, per the NPD Group, a leading global information company. NPD’s 28th annual Eating Patterns in America Report finds Americans consume more fruit, more bottled water and more yogurt than they did a decade ago. The NPD Group says fruit has now surpassed milk, vegetables and carbonated soft drinks over the last decade and now ranks number-two on the list of top-10 foods Americans eat. --New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher recently announced that Farmers Against Hunger is the recipient of a $100,000 Gleaning Support Grant, made possible through the Department of Agriculture’s State Food Purchase Program. --The Kingdom of Spain, a member state of the European Union, has requested the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow fresh nectarine, peach and European plum fruit to be moved into the continental United States for consumption. USDA/APHIS’ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology has drafted a pathwayinitiated risk analysis for this request, and the draft document is available for 30 days for stakeholders to review and provide comments. --The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now accepting nominations from qualified industry members to serve on the 2013-2015 Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. This Committee, which consists of members from all aspects of the fruit and vegetable industry, provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on issues of importance to the industry. The Committee is composed of 25 new and former members from every capacity within the industry. Growers/ Producers, Wholesalers, Distributors, Farmers Market Managers, Food Hubs and Cooperatives, Association leaders, Retailers, Food Service suppliers and State department of agriculture leaders are all welcome to submit a nomination. Committee members serve a two-three year term. Interested candidates may nominate themselves, or nominate someone else – either is acceptable. Committee members meet in the Washington D.C. metro region to review and discuss specific issues that impact the fruit and vegetable industry, and develop recommendations that are sent to the Secretary of Agriculture for his consideration. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service manages the Committee’s activities. --Exmark Recalls Commercial Walk-Behind Mowers Due to Injury Hazard. The mower’s blade can break and injure the user and others nearby. This recall involves 2013 Exmark Commercial 30-inch Walk-Behind Mowers, model ECKA30 and serial numbers ranging from 313605897 to 313660824. The phrases “Commercial 30” and “Exmark” are printed on the front of the black and red mower. “Exmark” is also printed on the side of the mower. The model and serial numbers are located on a decal affixed to the engine base above the left rear tire.


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As always, I hope you find the information in the Gardener News informative and enjoyable. Until next time…Keep the “garden” in the Garden State. -Tom Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and

2013 NJ Flower and Garden Show Award Winning Water Display Garden

4 January, 2014

Gardener News

There has been a great deal of discussion and debate lately concerning our country’s use of renewable fuels. Of course, the main point of controversy in this has been the United States’ increased utilization of ethanol as a fuel source and how this usage has affected our country’s economy. And, as is usually the case, there have been winners and losers as our nation’s energy policy has changed. When people first started seriously discussing the use of corn-based ethanol as an additive to gasoline, the landscape was a great deal different than it is today. Oil and gas prices were at historically high levels. Conversely, corn prices were at historically low levels (which made ethanol very attractive from a cost standpoint.) The United States was importing a great deal more of its oil from the Middle East than we are now. There was also a lot of public clamoring for “energy independence” and “self-reliance” and the need to wean our nation from this addiction to “foreign oil.” This sounds like a win-win situation for everyone, right? So over a period of a few years, the federal government gradually enacted a series of incentives,

few years, the United States will become the leading producer of oil in the world. Many people are questioning the need for the continued use of ethanol. In fact, the EPA just proposed decreasing the mandate for ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. So now what? It is my opinion that this country would be much better off in a purely market-driven economy anyway. As history has shown, government intervention into areas such as this tends to create more problems than it solves. Besides, think of all the money that would be saved if it wasn’t spent on lawyers and lobbyists!

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

The Renewable Fuels Debate subsidies, and mandates with the express purpose of putting more renewable fuels into the marketplace. And it worked. Ethanol plants started to spring up all across the Corn Belt (there were even some interests here in New Jersey who had some brief illusions of building their own ethanol plant.) The finished product was then shipped to refineries across the country, where it was blended with gasoline and then sold. Farmers started planting more corn to meet the increase in demand (that is a nice way of saying, “take advantage of higher prices”) and we started to, at least on a percentage basis, rely less on foreign oil. But, as most everyone knows, situations like these are rarely win-win, especially when the federal government

gets involved. Sure, there were winners. Grain growers as a whole did well through this time period. Granted, there were other factors involved that raised prices, such as increased exports, the weakness of the dollar, and certain weather events. But it is hard to refute the premise that grain prices rose due to the increased use of ethanol. Of course, the other obvious winners in this were the consumers of this gasoline. And then there were the lawyers and lobbyists who were working both sides of the issue. Then there were the losers. Of course, the large oil companies, who previously had controlled the entire process, now had to purchase a product from someone other than themselves. Another group who took this hard was the farmers who were involved in animal production. Because corn is such a mainstay in the

Look Who’s Reading the Gardener News!

It’s in the news

Tom Castronovo/Photo

American film and television actor Scott Wilson, best known as the veterinarian/farmer and Greene family patriarch Hershel Greene on the AMC television series The Walking Dead, looks over the Gardener News on a recent trip to New Jersey. The Walking Dead tells the story of a small group of survivors living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. The series has attained strong Nielsen ratings, surpassing various records for a cable series, including receiving 16.1 million viewers for its season-four premiere to become the mostwatched drama series telecast in basic cable history. The unthinkable happened during the December midseason finale, when Wilson’s character was sliced and diced by a sword-wielding maniac. Wilson is also well-known for his recurring role on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as casino mogul Sam Braun, the father of investigator Catherine Willows.

diets of cows, pigs, and poultry, these increased prices really affected the bottom line for many of these producers. Of course these producers then passed price increases on down the food chain, with repercussions in the food distribution, retail grocery and restaurant industries as well. The increased demand for corn also helped to raise prices for fertilizer, farm equipment, and farmland all across the country. Other sectors of agriculture, such as vegetable and forage producers, saw easy money in corn and switched production away from those areas, thereby driving up prices in those areas. But while all of this was going on, other things were happening as well. Due to new technologies and discoveries, gas and oil exploration was really taking off here in the United States. In fact, within the next

Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is a current member of the Tewksbury Township Committee, and a former Mayor of Tewksbury Township. He also served as a director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau and is a past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Peter has also been featured on NJN, News 12 New Jersey and on the Fox Business Network.

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6 January, 2014 OK, it’s an epidemic or something, but everyone I know is slipping and falling. Knock on wood, so far no one has been even moderately injured. Back in September 2011, I got my left hip replaced and on December 31, I slipped and fell on my concrete steps that the rain had frozen onto in a matter of a few minutes, making them slicker than an ice skating rink at night. I had entered the house moments before on dry steps and flew off them on my way back out hitting my head on a concrete step, knocking me unconscious. I got one heck of a gigantic purple bruise, had to deal with compartment syndrome in my left buttock, but miraculously the new titanium hip and installation areas were not damaged. A nice couple walking their dog picked up everything I had in my arms and helped me back into the house. I told them I was OK, thanked them, and they were on their way. I put ice on the knot on the back of my head and called Sandy,

Gardener News The Miscellaneous Gardener By Richard W. Perkins Freelance Writer

Slip-and-Fall or Slipped and Fell? telling her what happened and, of course, off to the ER we went for a CAT scan. Since that event, I have been very, very cautious to NOT slip and fall and, to date, have not. Now, with the recent onset of snow and freezing rain, all my relatives are taking dives and an enormous amount of co-workers as well, ergo my need to share this slipand-fall information with you BEFOE you have slipped and fell. I consult with a number of towns and businesses that have snow removal operations and create policies with them to share with the public and thereby limit the number of injuries on steps, sidewalks, parking lots and roadways. My number-one is always

- watch where you are walking and shuffle those feet. Black ice or packed snow can be anywhere and especially slippery under a light covering of snow. Freeze/thaw/freeze cycles can turn sidewalks and parking lots, which during the day were wet but solid to walk on, into early-evening skating rinks. Keep an eye out where roofs loaded with snow get heated up by the sun and drip on sidewalks. When the sun goes down, that drip spot will soon be glare ice. Broad steps, to a Court House for example, are typically concrete or cut from stone and can be treacherous any time of the day. I know it’s a super anxious moment to be late for an appearance, but on those days that you

NJ Agricultural Fair Names Ambassador 75(17211- ĘŠ.D\OD9DXJKDQRI/DID\HWWHKDVEHHQFKRVHQ as the 2014 New Jersey Agricultural Fair Ambassador. The 18-year-old graduate of Sussex County Technical School was selected from among seven contestants by the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey during the group’s fall dinner on November 3 in Burlington County. “Kayla is the fifth-generation on her family’s dairy farm and will be a wonderful spokesperson as she attends our state’s agricultural fairs next summer,â€? said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “She also will serve as an inspiring mentor for young people interested in or already involved in agricultural youth organizations.â€? As ambassador, Vaughan is charged with visiting the state’s agricultural fairs in 2014, discussing the fairs, promoting agritourism to the public and bringing people together to support the state’s agriculture industry. “Agriculture is not just something I do for a living, it is what I live for,â€? said Vaughan. “I will spend the next year representing the agriculture industry as a whole and the families that work so hard at it.â€? Vaughan grew up on her family’s dairy farm and is the current New Jersey Dairy Princess. She has been active in Sussex County 4-H and ran the milking parlor at the New Jersey State Fair. She studied commercial baking in high school and will is enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America with a goal of opening a bakery on her own dairy farm using her own natural products. Vaughan participated in Skills USA where she placed third in the state for baker’s aid. She also worked as a volunteer for a variety of organizations, including Catch a Dream Foundation and hospice. This is the 11th year the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey has named an ambassador. In choosing an ambassador, the Association seeks a good representation of young people active in agriculture in the Garden State and their county fair. There were 21 agricultural fairs in the state this past summer, including the New Jersey State Fair at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. The earliest fair is held in June, with the final fair of the season in late August.

have reason to believe that ice could be lurking, get to that hand railing and use it. Hold the railing with a firm grip and check with a toe wiggle before you step down firmly. Always have some snow melt and sand at your front door not only for you and your family’s safety but for others as well, like your postman or postwoman, for example. I will never forget that day in 2011. As I went back into the house, I tested the lower step and my hiking boot slid sideways under just a tiny amount of pressure. Later that day, I went on-line and purchased some Yaktrax Pro traction devices that just slip over the heel and toe of my hiking boot and Velcro strap into place. There are different

kinds of these devices, but around here this type is in all the stores, even LL Bean. Carrying a whole bunch of stuff in your arms obscures your view of where you are walking, and if you do lose your balance, you will not be able to stabilize yourself by swinging your arm weight, because they will be holding all that stuff. After you open your car or truck door in that shopping mall parking lot, stick a foot out and check the surface before jumping out. I know shopping is very exciting, but slipping and falling on your butt and banging your head on the driver’s side rocker panel will put a damper on anyone’s retail therapy extravaganza. Be smart, be safe, thanks for reading and see ya next month. Editors Note: Richard Perkins is an avid horticulturist, a member of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance and the Seacoast Writers Association. He can be reached at

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January, 2014 7


From the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County Garden Help Line By Madeline Flahive DiNardo, Union County Agricultural Agent and Master Gardeners, MC Schwartz and James Keane Our December case file was an investigation about how to force spring flowering bulbs to bloom at home. During our year-end case file archiving, we found a few more bulb-related questions. Q. I started the “cold process” for forcing daffodil bulbs in October. When I brought the pots into my warm living room, I just got long leaves and no flowers. What happened? Leggy in Ledgewood A. Sometimes forcing bulbs does not go as smoothly as planned. The “cold process” is the 12-to-13 week period the bulbs need to be kept at temperatures of 35º F to 48ºF. The potted up bulbs can be kept in a cold frame, refrigerator, or unheated attic or cellar for this period. When the “cooling period” time has passed and the bulbs have grown a good firm root system, gradually move the pots into warmer areas. The gradual process is called acclimatizing. The first week, keep the bulbs at 50ºF to 60º F as the leaves begin to grow. When the leaves are six inches long, the pot can be moved into warmer temperatures of 68ºF and a sunny location. It may take three to four weeks for the blooms to appear. If the pots are bought into warmer temperatures too quickly, a phenomenon called “blast” or “bud-blast” may occur. The foliage grows leggy and the plant never blooms. Q. I forced Hyacinth bulbs. They bloomed, but the flowers are nestled in the leaves. How can I prevent it from happening next time I force hyacinths? Shorted in Scotch Plains A. Sometimes, when Hyacinth bulbs are forced, the blooms will be in between a “clasp” of leaves. Hyacinths need to be kept in darkness during the cooling period. To encourage the flower stem to elongate above the leaves, place the bulbs in a dark place or cover it with a paper bag for a few days during the acclimatizing period. Q. My forced bulbs were beautiful. Can I use the bulbs to force again next fall? Happy in Hillside A. Forced bulbs are usually discarded once they are done blooming. These forced bulbs can never be forced to bloom indoors again. The forcing process puts a lot of stress on the bulb. If you would like to plant the bulbs in your garden, you certainly may, but it will take several years to have flowers again. Bulbs you forced at home or flowering bulbs you purchased or received as a gift can be planted outdoors. Once the bulb has finished blooming, remove the flowers before they set seed. Keep the foliage growing as long as possible and start fertilizing with a houseplant fertilizer. The longer the foliage is alive, the more food reserves the bulb will store for future growth. The foliage will eventually die back. Remember, it is part of the growth cycle. When the leaves die back, you can store the bulbs in a cool, dry place and plant them in the fall. If the bulb is soft or has any signs of damage, discard the bulb. It is very susceptible to insect or disease problems. If the foliage is still growing in the spring, you can plant the bulbs outdoors after the last spring frost. The foliage will die back and the bulb’s natural growth cycle starts again. Be patient. It will take the bulbs several years to bloom again. Be ready for lots of foliage for a few years! Q. Is it true you can force some bulbs to bloom in water? Water weary in Westfield A. Yes, there are some bulbs that can be forced in water. There are specially designed vases that can be used. For example, a vase for forcing hyacinths has an hour glass shape. The bottom half is filled with water. The hyacinth bulb is placed in the top half. Keep the vase in a cool (50ºF), dark area for four to eight weeks. When roots develop and shoots appear, gradually move the vase to a bright window. Narcissus (daffodils) can also be forced to bloom in water. Select a waterproof container that has four- to five-inch sides. Fill the shallow pot or sided dish with clean crushed rock or pebbles. Pour water over the rocks. Arrange the bulbs in the container so that the basal plate (flat bottom of the bulbs where the roots grow from) is touching water. The bulbs should be close together, but not touching. Only the basal plate should be in contact with the water. Keep the container in a cool (less than 48ºF) dark room for several weeks. It may take eight to 10 weeks for the top growth to begin. Check the container occasionally, as it may need more water. When sprouts appear and are about three inches long and flower buds appear, gradually move the container to a bright location. The ideal temperature to keep blooming daffodils at is 60ºF. The bulbs should be discarded after they are finished blooming. Editor’s Note: The Union County Master Gardener’s HELP LINE fields hundreds of citizen inquiries a year – offering assistance with their indoor as well as outdoor gardening and pest-control questions. Responses to resident phone calls and on-site visits comply with current Rutgers NJ Agricultural Experiment Station recommendations. Union County residents can call (908) 6549852 or email for assistance. A complete listing of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) offices where you can contact a Master Gardener in your area can be found on page 22 of the Gardener News. Free RCE fact sheets are available at

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Gardener News Happy New Year! It’s going to be a great 2014 season for you and your lawn, right? What will be your New Year’s resolutions for your lawn? I heard a lot of complaints about crabgrass this past year. Did you know crabgrass only grows in sunny areas, so you do not need to apply preventer all over your lawn if you have shaded areas? Crabgrass plants can germinate even into the month of August. Wow! If you have had a continuing problem with crabgrass, that means you need to follow a split application program or apply crabgrass preventer two times during the spring season for optimum control. The timing for these applications would be in April and then again in early-June to extend control into August. Some crabgrass preventers do prevent or suppress certain broadleaf weeds, too. Remember, you cannot apply grass seed for three to four months after these applications unless you use a preventer that contains Tupersan (siduron).

January, 2014 9 Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

What are your lawn resolutions? Weed & Feed products are used to feed the existing lawn and control broadleaf weeds. Did you apply a Weed & Feed product and expect to control crabgrass? Grassy weeds such as crabgrass and broadleaf weeds require two different types of control. If you do not know the difference between grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds, check them out on the Internet. Broadleaf weeds have a more defined leaf and have a “flowering” aspect to them, like dandelions, clover, chickweed and more. Broadleaf weed controls need to be applied when the weeds are actively growing. This makes it more difficult to control weeds in earlyspring weather, when the temperatures are below 50 degrees. Did you apply a

Bergenia: Avid gardeners have long realized that a “garden” is not merely a “warm-weather” friend whose interest fades with the onset of colder weather. Much to the contrary, winter can provide an entirely unique and beautiful display of colors and textures, untold in any other season. The challenge is conveying that message to the general gardening public, who consider winter to be that “nongardening” season. Fortunately, there are a number of plants that provide interest during the frenzied season of springtime buying that, unbeknownst to the buyer, have garden interest far beyond spring. Pigsqueak or Bergenia is one of these fun plants that many purchase in April for the flowers, only to learn of its benefits come the winter solstice! Bergenia is a member of the Saxifrage family, a group of approximately 440 species of plants, typically found in rocky, almost alpine conditions.

broadleaf weed control in the heat and stress of summer and scorched your lawn, too? Do not apply any broadleaf weed controls if the temperatures are over 85 degrees. You also have the option of applying broadleaf weed control granules without any fertilizer. Are grubs the problem you cannot seem to fix? Did you apply a product too early or too late for optimum control? Did you read the complete label for application tips and proper timing? Did you apply a surface-feeding insect control that is not labeled for grub control? You need to understand the life cycle of the grub in order to best eliminate them. Grubs start their journey to the soil surface in late-spring to

reproduce. Apply a grub control at this time to disrupt this reproductive cycle. If grubs are present at the surface during the year when you rake the lawn or you see them in landscape beds, be sure to use a product labeled for quick kill, not extended control. Has fungus been a headache for years? Lawns prone to fungus tend to get fungus again over time, from spring through fall. You can prevent this by applying a product labeled for the specific fungus you have, applying from late-spring every 30 days or so through the summer. Don’t be fooled and waste money. Properly identify the fungus because fungus damage can also look like heat and drought stress or insect damage, too.

We can kill all of the weeds, insects and fungus and have a lot of bare spots and other lawn problems. Why? Have you ever addressed the condition of the soil? Who still has never taken a pH test of their lawn soil? Many lawns do not utilize the nutrients you feed them if the soil pH is too low or too high. There are many great soil amendments available to correct soil problems. Who promised they would re-seed their lawn with improved varieties and still didn’t get around to it? I saw some great lawn renovations this past fall when the proper preparations took place. Quality grass seed, good seed-to-soil contact and improving the soil to grow a better lawn are the key. I hope you can accomplish the lawn of your dreams this year. Good luck! 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:

A Colorful Winter Squeak!

The name Bergenia was coined in 1794 by the Professor Conrad Moench (1744-1805) of the Marlburg University in Germany, honoring a fellow German Botanist and Physician, Karl August von Bergen (17041759). Of course, nothing is ever clearly defined with plants, especially before rapid communication. In 1821, the English botanist Adrian Hardy Haworth (1767-1833) named the genus Megasea, from the Greek Megas for large. The leaves of Bergenia are typically very large and coarse, prompting Hawsorth to script this name that even to this day is occasionally seen. The plant’s common name of Pigsqueak is far more entertaining, since when the large rubbery leaves are rubbed together, they produce a squeal very reminiscent of a pig’s squeak. Most Bergenia species inhabit the colder regions of western Asia. Originating from Siberia and Mongolia, Bergenia cordifolia has heart-shaped or cordate foliage, which ironically Adrian Haworth originally named Saxafraga cordifolia.

The heart-shaped leaves grow upwards of 10 inches tall and eight inches across. As is typical of the genus, Bergenia cordifolia spreads slowly via a thick rhizomatous root system, allowing the plant to develop into a dense, weed-suppressing colony. The bell-shaped flowers appear in colors of white, pink or red, depending upon the seedling, and are displayed along a branched spike which stretches to eight inches above the foliage. The foliage remains green throughout the growing season, but with the advent of winter, it assumes shades of deep red and amber. Native to the Eastern Himalayas and Western China, Bergenia purpurascens is very similar in appearance, although the flowers are purplish-red to pink. Throughout the summer, the leaves have hints of purple which intensify into strong reds and deep purples come winter. The crosses made between these two species come under the designation of Bergenia x smithii, as named in 1930 by Heinrich Gustav Adolf Engler. A selection of B. x smithii available

for New Jersey gardens is the dark-pink flowered form named “Bressingham Ruby.” The foliage forms dense mats to 12 inches that are dark green in summer, with glowing shades of red come winter. It looks stunning when combined with Red-Stemmed Dogwood or Willows. “Bressingham White” has similar winter foliage but with white flowers in April. Another fun species for the garden is Bergenia ciliata. Native to Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, it is deciduous and consequently has no winter interest. Come April, it reawakens with light-pink flowers followed by foliage that once again takes center stage, as the hairy or cilieate leaves grow to an impressive paddlelike size of 12 inches tall by 12 inches wide. A bold-textured plant indeed! Pigsqueaks perform well in moist, well-drained soils and prefer light shade. In their native haunts, they grow in areas shaded by large rocks or on shady, rocky bluffs. However, they are tolerant of a wide range of soil types and pH’s and can

endure full sun in moister soils. Maintenance is low, as the new foliage of spring arches up and over the fading foliage of the year prior, eliminating the need to remove older foliage. Division is needed every five to eight years. It should also be planted where the gardener can touch the thick, waxy foliage and produce that delightful squeak. After all, we winter gardeners delight in more than just color alone! 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 pastpresident of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at (732) 932-8451. For more information, please visit

10 January, 2014 At this time of year, with the holidays winding down, I often reflect upon relationships and how we interact with others. There are many aspects of human nature that we need to think about. Speech, written communication, creative expression in art and similar forms of expression, and nowadays we have the Internet, blogging, websites and all the different manner of computer generated communication. All of these are certainly viable forms of communication and do indeed speed up the process. However, I can’t help but wonder what we may have lost in the process. When everything we do is immediately available for intense scrutiny and dissection, it seems that most of our communication is one-sided. How many times have e-mails or blogs gone out in haste that were later either retracted or corrected when a more prudent course would have been a healthy measured dialog? Many of us use short, terse speech when having a conversation. Does anyone miss the avid conversationalists of the past, from Socrates, Martin Luther, Gertrude Stein and New York salon keeper Luba Petrova Harrington or interviewer Bill Moyers? Probably not, but what can these people teach us? That a component might be missing? I believe that component is the art of listening. Certainly a good

January is upon us and winter has settled in. Besides keeping the roads and sidewalks clear and safe, and having plenty of firewood stacked to keep the house warm, there are many things that can be accomplished before the upcoming spring. As the festivities wind down and the much needed downtime is finished, there is much to prepare and plan. Spring programs need to be put into effect. The first couple of weeks of January is when the Easter Lily bulbs will come in and need to be planted up immediately. It will be a late Easter this year, falling on April 20. From a growing prospective, this becomes a challenge. With Easter being late in April, there are many factors that need be kept in mind. Easter Lilies are very temperature sensitive, and the demand for them has an extremely tight window. As temperatures rise, the Easter Lily blooms faster. So it is very important to keep a close eye on them as they grow. There is only a 10-day window

Gardener News The Landscaper By Evan Dickerson Landscape Professional

I’m Listening, But Did I Hear You? conversationalist must be the consummate listener, would you not agree? Since there is really no one in the world who is an expert on all subjects, we must all agree that we all have much to learn. We could say that many of us don’t know what we don’t know. And, if we don’t know what we don’t know, we certainly have a lot to learn. Learning starts by listening, listening to our constituents, our competition, our mentors and the experts in their fields. We should all be willing and able to share ideas and concepts, and we need to be open to new ideas. Good listeners need to be able to clear their minds of prejudices and biases which would poison their ability to objectively ingest new and innovative ideas. Many of the most successful businesspeople in history have said that the single most influential force in shaping their business prowess has been finding out what has and has not worked for their predecessors. If these

people are willing to share this information, we must be willing to emphatically listen. The electronic age has given us the ability to immediately respond and correspond, but it has not enhanced our ability to hear what is going on around us. Consequently, we seem to have lost the ability to have constructive dialog. Again, when ideas are written in whatever form, the process has to include reading and comprehending what the writer‘s intent was in presenting his ideas to begin with. Lost in this equation is the process of face-to-face interaction. I may be old school in my thinking, but I can’t help but think back to the days when one of the only ways to disseminate information and even resolve disagreements was in face-toface discussion. Yes, it may take more time to accomplish, but it usually results in stimulating the creative process. In the landscape industry, it is the responsibility of owners to listen to their foremen and all of

their employees to evaluate how they perceive their efficiency. Are they getting the most out of their talents or is the fact that “we’ve always done it that way” is getting in the way of their effectiveness? Listen and learn what the people involved in the most basic aspects of your business can tell you about “How we should be doing things now.” Asking our customers to find out their feedback on our performance and listening to the praise, complaints and constructive criticism from clients can often lead to critical changes. The consumer needs to listen to the professional advice and expertise that all professional landscape contractors possess. The most important aspect in the process of sharing ideas and information is listening. Well, talk is cheap and listening can be very expensive. The costs come in the form of pain and anguish. Dumping old and antiquated ideas is painful. Why should we think outside the box when it’s all warm

The Professional Grower By Tim Hionis Greenhouse Specialist

Anticipating spring! of demand for them. If they bloom too early, they won’t make it to Easter Sunday, and this cannot happen. Now, with a late Easter, there isn’t much to worry about overshooting the timing of the blooms. On an early Easter, the challenge is they need to be pushed to bloom in time. It does no good to have tight buds on Easter Sunday either. All month long, shipments come in of plant material to prepare for spring. Cuttings of Geraniums, New Guinea Impatiens, Nonstop Begonias, Dahlias, Calibrachoas, and all the spring annuals start coming in as well. They need to be planted and misted regularly until they establish a root system. These are the premium

varieties of these plants. They are selected because they have superior qualities to them over plants in the same families. Getting them in early helps assure that the best cuttings come in. It’s the old saying of getting the cream of the crop. It also helps in that, if there is an issue of quality or health of a crop that comes in, we can make adjustments to the program so there are no surprises going forward. Also in focus are the upcoming trade and floral shows for the industry and the public. It is important to showcase what we can do for the Garden State by being able to provide some examples of what will and can be offered for the upcoming season.

One of the two best shows in New Jersey that allow us the capability of doing so is the NJ Plants Show, which takes place January 21-22, 2014. This is a trade show that is available to the industry, meaning the Floriculture, Horticulture, Landscape Design and Contractor, Interiorscape Design, and much more. This show connects manufacturers and companies together to help build relationships to enhance that and beautify lands and surroundings. The second important show in New Jersey in the winter is the NJ Flower and Garden Show that takes place Feb 13-16, 2014. This show is a public show and showcases thousands of beautiful plants

and fuzzy in there? Because all boxes have lids on them which close us off from the very people we are trying to serve, educate, improve the quality of life of and listen to. Let’s break down the barriers that cause us to fail to properly communicate. Again, the first step to good communication is being able to listen. The value of this communication comes in many forms. It may become easier for you or company as a whole to perform tasks. It will improve your efficiency. It may improve your relationships and make you less confrontational or even more inquisitive. I know that this perspective has come with age, but communication has no age barriers and the need for more thoughtful, compassionate communication has never been greater than now. Today’s communication may be more immediate and explicit, but is it better? Well, there you have it, more rambling thoughts which may provoke an interesting discussion, which indeed will require us to listen. Editor’s Note: Evan Dickerson is owner of Dickerson Landscape Contractors and NaturesPro of North Plainfield. He has been pioneering the organic approach to plant health since 1972. Evan can be reached at 908-753-1490

and flowers. There is a vast array of gardens and decorations to see there. It is one of the first places to see colorful landscape in New Jersey before the onset of spring. The show gives this great state a fantastic taste of spring in the heart of winter. I look forward to this show the most. It is a great show to walk through and see the beautiful gardens and displays put together by some of the best landscape contractors and designers in the state. The floral arrangements that are done by many of the garden clubs in the state are also something that shouldn’t be missed. Just think, before we know it, the spring skies will be back here and the smell of freshly cut lawn will fill our nostrils again. Editor’s Note: Tim Hionis has been growing plants for over 20 years, and is co-owner of Hionis Greenhouses and Garden Center in Whitehouse Station, NJ. He can be reached by calling (908) 534-7710.

Gardener News

January, 2014 11


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Gardener News Since what was old is now new again, and what we should have never done is something we definitely should be doing now, let’s take a closer look at a new diet that is hitting us by storm, the Paleo Diet. In June of 2013, we explored the Mediterranean Diet here in this very column. We talked about the ingredients of the diet, what was good and what was bad for you, and how to incorporate the eating habits of European life into our busy lives here in America. Well, like any good competing process, the Paleo Diet has limited things from the Mediterranean Diet, but stays on an interesting premise of percentage of consumption by food category – proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, dairy, etc. The Paleo Diet is based on caveman-type hunter gatherer options that focus on the natural resources of our surroundings. What is really cool is that the agricultural revolution that occurred about 10,000 B.C. brought the proteins together and helped cement the diet that can reduce chronic illness and epidemic diseases. Before that time, sustained agriculture was not happening on this planet. I’m sure that all of you have heard of the Emmys, the Oscars and the Golden Globes, but I’m pretty sure that very few of you have heard of the NJLCA Landscape Achievement Awards, which is completely understandable. Well, that’s all going to change right now. The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) has an annual awards competition, open to members only, which allows them to submit projects that they have built or maintained throughout the year. There are several categories to choose from, including design/ build residential, design/build commercial, maintenance residential and maintenance commercial. The residential design/build category is also divided into price ranges, giving landscape contractors of all sizes the ability to compete. The categories range from $0-$25,000 up to $100,000-andover. This year, due to the improving economy and the size and quality of the projects that our members submitted, we actually need to add a new category of $250,000-and-above next year. Like any other competition, members are required to submit an application and application fee for each individual project; provide a minimum of five

January, 2014 15 Passionate About Produce By Paul Kneeland The King of Produce

Facts about the Paleo Diet The diet is helpful in reducing obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, acne, vein issues and gout, along with the effects of feeling better, being stronger and more disciplined, living longer, less stress, and overall being happier. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Don’t think that this is an easy-fix diet, because frankly, none of them are. Some sound good and claim you’ll lose weight by taking a pill or eating their meals. But all diets require some physical activity. A very simple way to calculate what to eat is calories-in and caloriesout. Everything we do expends energy (calories-out). You do not have to go to the gym for four hours a day or lift weights or run marathons. It can be as simple as walking.

Eating food is really easy. Avoiding food is really hard. Any diet will have you avoid something. Refined sugars are generally not allowed in any diet. Tells you something, doesn’t it? Sugars do break down fat, but natural sugars are what we need to help with that. The Paleo diet avoids dairy, cereal grains, beans, potatoes, processed foods, salt and refined vegetable oils. So if you think of what you ate today or yesterday, how many of these things did you consume? Would it be easy or difficult to avoid these things? Grass-fed meats are highly recommended in the diet, as feed does sometimes carry some of the banned items such as cereal grains. Fish and seafood products are also a cornerstone to the diet, in addition to the meats. Generally, people consume about 15 percent protein in their

meal. In the Paleo diet, protein intake is 19 to 35 percent of diet. Actual consumption contrasts with the new USDA initiative “Myplate,” which shows less than 25 percent (see www. but Myplate is consistent with the Paleo diet. Non-starchy fruits and vegetables make up the majority of the carbohydrates in the plan. The intake is designed to keep a low glycemic index and help break down proteins during digestion. They also have low sodium, which reduces water retention. Sodium intake for the average American is twice as much as potassium intake. For the diet to work, those numbers must be flipped. Eating unprocessed, fresh foods will help increase the absorption of potassium. Low potassium levels can lead to heart disease and stroke, as well as high blood pressure.

The NJLCA Today By Jody Shilan, MLA Executive Director

Award-Winning Companies Just Do it Better photos and a maximum of 10, with a complete description of the overall project; and one sentence describing each photo. If applicable, there also needs to be at least one picture showing a master plan of the project, preferably in color. The submissions are all painstakingly organized, prepared and reviewed prior to judging to make sure that the applications are complete and that there are no company names visible in the photos, potentially skewing the judging. The panel of judges is comprised of experienced green industry professionals with both educational and practical knowledge in landscape design, construction, plant material and turf grass. None of the judges are allowed to submit their own work and the panel is supervised by a committee chairperson, who is usually an NJLCA board member.

The projects are reviewed and judged at NJLCA Headquarters in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. Each project is displayed on a screen with the chairperson reading the descriptions. The judges discuss each and every project, looking at them from a variety of perspectives and scrutinizing everything from the landscape design to the quality of materials used and the quality of the craftsmanship and finally the overall impression of the project from a maintenance point of view. Once all of the projects have been reviewed, the judges decide if there is a first-, secondand third-place winner for each category. Although there may be up to 10 entries per category, the judges may still decide that the projects submitted were not worthy of an award. Our standards are very high. Just because there may have been only three entries in one

category does not mean that there will automatically be three winners. There may be one, two, three or none. Once the winning companies are selected, the names are sent off to be inscribed in our crystal awards to be presented to our winners at our achievement awards dinner. Winners are not notified prior to the dinner so that we can keep the attendance high and the excitement higher. This year’s achievement awards dinner was once again held at Macaluso’s in Hawthorne, New Jersey, on December 17, 2013. The winners are listed on another page here in the Gardener News. As the Executive Director of the NJLCA, my goal is to constantly raise the bar for our industry and our members while raising the awareness to the community that there is a substantial difference between a landscape contractor who is a

We all need some fat in our diets, but it is important that we keep out the bad fats like trans fats and polyunsaturated fats and Omega 6 fats. Replace them with Omega 3 fats like fish oils and monounsaturated fats. Sound complicated? There are a lot of diets out there and each person has to find one that suits their own goals and lifestyle. The important thing is that everyone is trying something. We need to stay healthy for our families and for ourselves. Any diet that has fruits and veggies as an important ingredient is usually one that attracts me the most. Start your new year out on a proper eating discipline and you will be very happy in the spring. Editor’s Note: Paul Kneeland is the Vice President of Floral, Meat, Produce and Seafood for Kings Food Markets, President of the Eastern Produce Council, and a board member of the Produce Marketing Association. He holds degrees in Business Management from Boston College as well as Northeastern University. He can be reached at member of an association and one who is not. Contractors who invest their time and money in their state associations tend to be more educated, professional and aware of the state-mandated requirements to operate a safe and legal business. As a consumer, it is no longer acceptable to just ask a contractor if they are insured and have references. Your contractor should have the proper insurances, the required licenses and certifications and also the skilled and professional employees necessary to make them an award-winning company. Editors Note: Jody Shilan is the owner of Jody Shilan Designs in Wyckoff, where he provides landscape design and consulting services for homeowners and landscape contractors. He earned his bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture from Cook College, Rutgers University and his masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently, he is Executive Director of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA). He can be reached at 201-783-2844 or

16 January, 2014

Gardener News 2013 Person of the Year

Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

“The Times They Are A-Changin’” For those of you who follow my column, I am picking up where I left off last month. During a tribute to Bob Dylan at the 1997 Kennedy Center Honors, Bruce Springsteen spoke of the meaning of this titled article, a Bob Dylan song. Springsteen succinctly described its meaning as a “struggle for social justice in America.” And while this article has nothing to do with political or social change, it has everything to do with climatic change. Recently, I have been involved in talks about trees for the future, specifically trees that are struggling to adapt to our warming climates. One fascinating study is being conducted at the Chicago Botanic Garden: “Andrew C. Bell, Ph.D., serves as curator of woody plants and is responsible for managing the development of the Garden’s tree and shrub collections. Dr. Bell’s work includes evaluating and promoting woody plants for sustainable landscapes and studying the effects of climate change on urban street trees.” ( trees-for-2050/) Finding trees, now growing in the Garden, which will continue to do well in a warming urban environment, is paramount. The study takes a candid look at some trees growing at the “northern edge of their hardiness” through the year 2050 and beyond. The hard truth is that further data suggests that by 2080 “only 11 percent of the initial trees would continue to do well in Chicago and the upper Midwest.” The realization is that many trees we are now familiar with may not be around and those we are less familiar with will be. Stephen Schuckman, my longtime friend and owner of First Mountain Arboriculture, has his MA in botany and is an ISA-certified arborist. He shared with me two websites: USDA Forest Service website, shows a climate change for 80 Forest Tree Species of the Eastern United States and www.nrs.fs.fed. us/atlas/ has new updates for climate change for trees and birds. The websites are as enlightening as they are scary. Take Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum, for example. The projected models have this tree all but gone in the years ahead. Steve says, “It’s fruitless to plant Sugar Maples at this point” and poses the questions: With this tree gone, what will happen to the lumber and maple syrup that this tree provides? Dr. Bell points out two other trees that did not perform well in their study: American Linden, Tilia Americana, and Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata. What we also can take away from these studies, however, are trees that have performed well. Kentucky Coffeetree, Gymnocladus dioicus, scored high marks. One of the largest trees in Eastern North America, Kentucky Coffeetree is a great candidate for street tree planting as well as residential and park settings. A wonderful native that has been touted as tolerant to the worst stresses nature and humanity have to offer. Kentucky Coffeetree has rich blue-green bipinnately compound leaves that finish yellow in the autumn. Two deciduous conifers that also performed well were common Baldcypress, Taxodium distichum, and Ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba. Baldcypress offers a tall, columnar to pyramidal habit, with rich-green, feather-like foliage. It is this foliage that turns rusty orange in the fall. Fibrous, reddish-brown bark has always captivated me in the winter months. And while Baldcypress makes an outstanding street tree, many use it as their “Go To Tree” for wet areas. Ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba, is a tree that has survived the test of time. Existing unchanged for millions of years, Ginkgo has unique fan-shaped leaves that emerge a bright green and finish the year saffron yellow. Tolerant of just about any setting, Ginkgo makes a handsome, full tree over time and has long been my favorite. Finally, another top performer in the study, and there are others to talk about in a longer article, is Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua. Sweetgum has forever been shunned in residential landscapes because of the “itchy balls” it drops on the lawn. The fruit alone has held back the potential of this tree. Interesting star-shaped green leaves turn shades of yellow, orange, red and purple in the fall. Efforts are being made to select “fruitless” varieties, perhaps ensuring this tree’s success as we all go forward. My favorite Chinese proverb is: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” And while many take the quote as meaning it’s never too late to accomplish the things you want to in life, for purposes discussed here I am taking it more literally. We need to carefully select trees we plant today for future generations! Editor’s Note: Bob LaHoff is co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center and Florist in Union County, a member of the Union County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, the American Boxwood Society, the European Boxwood Society, a members of the Reeves-Reed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society, a member of the NJ Plants Trade Show Advisory Board, and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331.

(Continued from page 1) dock in Barnegat Light, New Jersey. Viking Village is home port to more than 40 independently owned fishing vessels, including Scallopers, Gillnetters, and Longline boats. Each year, about 5 million pounds of seafood is packed out at Viking Village and shipped both locally and around the world. In late-June of 2010, discussions between Chef Korb and Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray took place to craft an all-Jersey dinner. The result of those discussions - The Crab’s Claw Inn officially partnered with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture on July 22, 2010 to incorporate local, fresh produce and Jersey-landed seafood into their menu. New Jersey’s food and agriculture industry, which includes restaurants, produces around $100 billion a year in revenues, making it the third-largest economic sector in the state. Chef Korb officially plated up the first dinner on October 6, 2010 to a sold-out crowd. Korb also partnered with the Garden State Wine Growers Association’s “Vintner’s Choice” program in 2010, so he could pair up some of the state’s most prestigious wines with his dinners. As of 2013, New Jersey currently has 46 licensed and operating wineries, with several more prospective wineries in various stages of development. As patrons arrived at the first dinner, they were greeted at the front entrance with the official New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s farmers’ market cart, filled with Jersey Fresh produce. Jersey Seafood and Jersey Fresh banners were hanging on the front of the building. All of the waitresses and bus persons wore Jersey Seafood aprons and Jersey Fresh baseball caps. The entire restaurant was decorated with a warm Jersey fall harvest theme. The bright white tableclothcovered tables were lined with large glass-encased candles, mini pumpkins, gourds, and eggplants, on crisp burlap strips. At each of the following dinners, the Jersey harvest decorations keep getting better. Special guests attending this historic October 6, 2010 dinner were: New Jersey Assemblyman John F. McKeon; New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher; Scott Ellis, president, New Jersey State Board of Agriculture; New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray; Paul Hlubik, New Jersey state executive director, United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency; Troy Joshua, director, United States Department of Agriculture, NASS; Joe Atchison, marketing specialist, New Jersey Department of Agriculture; and Lou Caracciolo, president of the Garden State Wine Growers Association. In the fall of 2014, Chef Korb and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture will be celebrating the partnership’s 5th Anniversary. As always, this dinner is open to the public and is sure to sell out fast. New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray says that “the NJ Department of Agriculture congratulates Chef Craig Korb on his selection as the Gardener News person of the year. Chef Korb is a true friend of New Jersey’s agricultural community, and has expended great effort in helping the public gain greater appreciation for all New Jersey farm products, seafood, and wines. From his monthly column, where he shares information and recipes for delicious Jersey Fresh produce, or Jersey Seafood, to his annual Jersey Fresh dinner where he brings in New Jersey farmers and vintners to interact with patrons as they enjoy a complete dinner using ingredients harvested from nearby farms. The Department salutes Chef Korb for his dedication and support of New Jersey farmers.” Sam and Louise Hammer, owners of The Crab’s Claw Inn, said, “When Craig started working for us as a longhaired college student, we had no idea our relationship would become what it has. He is a wonderful son-in-law, husband to our daughter and father to our beautiful grand-daughters. The bonus, though, is that he is a terrific chef! We really hit the jackpot. His knowledge and talents are shown every day in the menu, preparation and care that (Cont. on pg. 20)

Gardener News

January, 2014 17

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18 January, 2014

Gardener News

Gardener News Bringing Younger Generations Into Agriculture 75(1721 1-  ĘŠ Âł%HFDXVH DJULFXOWXUH PDWWHUV´ ODXQFKHG the New Jersey Farm Bureau’s 95th annual convention, including debate to help resolve the increasingly complex issues confronting the state’s farmers. “Because agriculture mattersâ€? was adopted as the organization’s new slogan, to be displayed on its newly designed website, facebook and other social media. A push for more young people in farming leadership positions was initiated at the convention, renewing the Young Farmers & Ranchers program of the American Farm Bureau Federation for farmers ages 18-35. The introductory meeting just prior to the convention attracted 30 young farmers, who were addressed by Zach Hunnicutt, 2013 national chair of YF&R. “Now is the time to invest in the future of New Jersey agriculture,â€? said Hunnicutt, a Nebraska farmer. Many factors are attracting New Jersey’s young people to farming, among them the opportunity to work for oneself and the growing public interest in visiting farms and buying locally grown produce. “Our annual surveys continue to show that agriculture is important in New Jersey,â€? says Ryck Suydam, who opened the convention as its president for the second year. “Not only is it a major revenue producer, amounting to more than $1-billion annually, but its value goes well beyond economics to most people.â€? The Farm Bureau’s pre-convention survey of public opinion, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson’s PublicMind Poll, showed that the state’s residents overwhelmingly support public funding for preservation of farmland and open space. “Both urban and rural dwellers appreciate driving by farms and seeing plowed fields, growing crops, and pasturesâ€? says Suydam. “It reminds them that people and land are interdependent. Proof of this came in the poll showing that 77% percent of those surveyed say they purchase locally grown produce, and the majority are willing to pay something extra for it.â€? Defining “locally grownâ€? was a drawn-out discussion among convention delegates endeavoring to set policies for 2014. While the survey addressed the same question and indicated that 44% of responders said “locally grownâ€? should apply to crops grown within state borders, convention delegates also considered the proposed NJ Department of Agriculture rule proposal defining “locally grownâ€? as crops grown within 30 miles of the state’s borders, which would extend to Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York states. Delegates agreed to continue studying the issue, recognizing that New Jersey farms selling wholesale outside state borders must be given consideration. Tony Broccoli, of Rutgers’ Climate Adaptation Alliance, addressed food production and climate change, noting that June 2013 was the wettest on record and otherwise noted that agriculture falls under the economic sectors at risk from climate change. Jennie Schmidt, a Maryland farmer who has experimented with three different types of crops on her 2100-acres presented her experiences with conventional, organic, and HMO (or bio-tech). While she drew no definitive conclusions, she pointed out the future need to feed an increasing global population. “The public accepts technology in most other areas of our culture, but seems insistent on perceiving farmers and farming as pictured in American Gothicâ€? she said. “Traditional methods won’t feed the world. The public must recognize the fact that farming must accept experimentation in production methods and adopt technology to meet this need for food supply in the future.â€? New Jersey forests also came under scrutiny by Steve Kallesser of Gracie & Harrison Consulting Foresters, who has been working with private woodland owners and the state. He pointed out that nature doesn’t manage forests; that must be done by landholders with careful forest management plans. He also commended New Jersey forestland owners for creating and implementing sustainable forest plans. During his remarks to the convention on November 18th, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher praised the state’s farmers and the New Jersey Farm Bureau for efforts to utilize “best practicesâ€? and conservation in their farming practices. The New Jersey Farm Bureau is a non-profit member organization of 11,000+ farmers and farm-related individuals within the Garden State. It is the only organization solely dedicated to representing the grass- roots interests and directives of its members in educating all levels of government and the public on the farm community’s policies and positions. The Farm Bureau also takes a lead in seeking out initiatives, activities and ventures to enhance the profitability of producer members and ensure the viability of farming in New Jersey – Because Agriculture Matters

January, 2014 19

Rethinking Garden Design By Jeannie Geremia Garden Club of New Jersey Winter is the perfect time to rethink our garden designs, with the goal of attracting pollinators at the forefront of our objectives. The goal is to create a garden habitat designed to enhance and grow our pollinator population. We know that we can and must reverse the decline of all our pollinators, and that means we have to take a fresh look at how to make our yards, parks and gardens a haven where our pollinators will flourish. We can start one garden at a time to teach our fellow gardeners, our agricultural community and the public that together we can and will have a thriving pollinator population once again. One of the first tasks is to eschew the perfect landscape that fits into the “cookie cutter� mold of the obligatory arborvitae, boxwood and evergreen template surrounding our homes, with pristine lawns and nary a blade of grass out of place. If you were a bee or butterfly, would you beat a path to that essentially barren and boring yard? No, my gardening friends, you would fly to a welcoming banquet of diverse native plants, trees, and shrubs with water features, nesting sites and, yes, patches of bare ground needed by some native bee species. I know how hard this mindset can be, as we’ve had it drummed into our heads that we must be neat and fastidious. It’s especially difficult for those who love to be outside (who doesn’t?) and who want to keep busy. We can start by taking a section of yard, planning on a few species of native plants, as bees want a sweep of multiple plants of a species, not just a plant of this and a

plant of that. If deer come and feast in your yard, plan to put in something unattractive to them, but delightful to our pollinators. Joe-Pye Weed, Golden Alexander, Anise Hyssop, Goldenrod, New England Asters, Clover, Coneflowers and herbs would be a good start, plus earlyspring native ephemerals. New Jersey Audubon’s website has great tips for creating a backyard habitat. They suggest including water sources such as ponds, bird baths, rain gardens and puddling areas for butterflies. Make sure the water is kept fresh and enjoy the delight of seeing a robin splashing in your bird bath, butterflies congregating to suck up the minerals from the puddling sites and dragonflies darting here and there. The New Jersey Audubon Society recommends creating a cover for wildlife to provide shelter in inclement weather and protection from predators. That means leaving a section of your property with some brush, thickets and even dead trees. I know it’s hard not to clean up, but bite the bullet and try it. See the results of a multifaceted yard and know that you are doing your part to insure we have a continuing food supply, as our pollinators provide one-third of the food we eat. Remember, too, that our wildlife are laying eggs in nests, and on host plants, and caterpillars morph into pupas and cocoons that can easily be destroyed by our tendency to want everything perfect. Think before you cut down, and leave vegetation and noninvasive weeds such as jewelweed and wood asters alone (I was guilty of pulling these out in years past, but enjoy both species and the butterflies and bees they bring). Some of our most spectacular butterflies use plantain, stinging nettles and violets as their host plants, so

read up on butterfly and moth host plants and see what new delights await you. Please think hard before you use any chemicals and/or fertilizers. Try mulching your leaves into your lawn and leave a cover of leaves on your garden. Don’t overuse wood mulches, but aim for wall-towall plants, trees and shrubs. Bruce Crawford, Director of Rutgers Gardens, and his students will give a great example of utilizing native plants in a community garden setting that you can adapt in your own yard at the New Jersey Flower and Garden Show, “America in Bloom,� this February 13-16 at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison. This garden will be part of the Garden Club of New Jersey’s Standard Flower Show, “From Sea to Shining Sea,� and we will have bee houses and butterfly shelters displayed in this garden with “how to� instructions for the public. Get ready to be part of the solution and contact me to become further involved as we “blanket� our Garden State with speaking engagements on growing our pollinator population and encourage our garden centers to feature “pollinator-friendly native plants� and organic methods of gardening. Join a Garden Club! Editor’s Note: Jeannie Geremia is the Community Garden Chair and the Butterflies & BeeGAP Chair for the Garden Club of New Jersey, Inc., and is a National Garden Clubs, Inc., Accredited Judge for the GCNJ. Jeannie is also Program Chair for Neshanic Garden Club and can be reached by emailing jeannieg42@earthlink. net Garden Club of New Jersey website is: www. gardenclubofnewjersey. com and phone number is: 732-249-0947.

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20 January, 2014

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Christmas cheer and comfort to a community Christian Nicholson, president of the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association and owner of the Hidden Pond Tree Farm in Mendham, proudly holds a proclamation from Governor Christie proclaiming the first weekend after Thanksgiving as the beginning of the Jersey Grown choose-and-cut Christmas tree season. It also states that farms throughout our state welcome thousands of visitors each year to experience New Jersey’s Four Seasons of Agritourism. Christmas tree farms are a sustainable resource that keeps land in valuable agriculture production. New Jersey ranks sixth in the nation in the number of Christmas tree growers, with 1,150 farms that grow more than 6,000 acres of Christmas tree in the state. In 1901, the first Christmas tree farm in America was begun with the planting of 25,000 Norway spruce near Trenton. These trees were harvested and sold for $1 each. The New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association holds an annual tree contest, with the grand champion winner hosting the Secretary of Agriculture for a ceremonial tree-cutting. Governor Christie also proclaimed December 2, 2013 as Jersey Grown Christmas Tree Day, encouraging New Jersey residents to support

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the state’s farmers and visit choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms, as well as helping their neighbors in need and the military during the holiday season. Christmas tree growers in New Jersey may participate in the Jersey Grown program, which allows farmers to tag



their trees with the Jersey Grown brand to easily identify that their Christmas trees are grown in New Jersey. Jersey Grown includes quality standards and is similar to the well-known Jersey Fresh branding program for produce and other agricultural products. The New Jersey Christmas

Tree Growers’ Association, organized in 1950, is a statewide organization of growers, professionals and industry leaders dedicated to the promotion and marketing of Christmas trees and related products. On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, Nicholson donated

a beautiful 17-foot Norway spruce from his award-winning farm to Seaside Heights, which was ravaged by Sandy in the fall of 2012. Students from Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary School took a bus trip to his farm for a day of fun, which included hays rides, roasting marshmallows, hot chocolate and pizza. Several town council members also made the trip. The buses were escorted by Seaside’s Finest. The Mendham Borough Public Works Department delivered the tree. Nicholson called the tree a “beacon of hope” for all the residents and children of Seaside Heights. New Jersey’s First Lady Mary Pat Christie presented a letter to Nicholson to read to the children as chair of the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. She said that this event demonstrates the true meaning of the Christmas spirit and reminds us that the holiday season is a time to count our blessings and come together as New Jerseyans to help our neighbors still in need. The Paying It Forward Foundation helped make the Seaside Heights Christmas tree day happen. The tree was placed and decorated in the courtyard of Borough Hall in Seaside Heights. It was lit on Friday, December 6.

2013 Person of the Year

(Continued from page 16) he puts into his work. He is proud of his relationship with the great folks at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. We are both very happy and excited for him to receive this award, because he has worked hard to show the bounties of the State of New Jersey to all of our customers, and beyond.” The Crab’s Claw Inn, a shore landmark since 1979, is located on a narrow barrier island in Ocean County, New Jersey, which runs from Point Pleasant to the north, down to Island Beach State Park at the southern tip. The restaurant sits in the heart of the island between the beautiful Atlantic Ocean to the east and the sparkling Barnegat Bay to the west. The restaurant, which is open year-round, is owned by Sam and Louise Hammer. They employed Korb in 1994, before he attended Johnson & Whales University in Providence, R.I., where he earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in food service management. After college, Korb worked at Postrio in San Francisco, a star-studded restaurant opened by famed chef Wolfgang Puck. Korb also worked for the storied Hayes Street Grill in San Francisco, owned by Patricia Unterman, San Francisco’s most respected food critic. After three years of internships, Korb returned to The Crab’s Claw Inn and married the Hammers’ daughter, Shannon. Gardener News began the annual “Person of the Year” cover story in 2008. Gardener News will annually bestow our “Person of the Year” award to a person who performs exemplary outstanding service to the agricultural, gardening and/or landscaping communities. 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

Gardener News It may be a tad chilly right now, but I am already getting excited about springtime plants. There are tons of new plants that will be introduced for 2014. Sometimes introductions are boring, and don’t deserve a place in my garden, but the following plants are ones for which I will be digging holes to plant in my garden at home. One plant that has been exploding in popularity recently has been crepe myrtles. It seems that more and more crepe myrtles are making their way into our landscapes. They do make a statement in the garden, and there are many times when people will slow down when passing my house to see the crepe myrtles in my garden. I think that people will not only slow down when they see these two new varieties, they’ll stop their cars so they can snap a photo. These crepe myrtles are from the “Magic”™ series. Crepe Myrtle “Purple Magic”™ has the best purple color out of any tree I’ve ever seen bloom. It is an intense violet purple. They will flower for almost three months beginning in late-June. It has a great, dense, shrub-like habit. Blooming in early-summer with dark purple flowers, this I sincerely hope this coming year is the best and most wonderful year for everyone. After the last few, it has seemed a bit bleak at times, I know, but we all must carry on for our families and one another. My New Year’s Eve was spent at the restaurant, cooking, which I should have been doing last year had it not been for that damn storm. Although, I have to admit, having dinner out with my wife alone wasn’t too bad either. All in all, Christmas and the holidays seemed to get back to a more normal routine this year, which was nice as well. And although I do not want to dwell on the negative, there are still many families that are without a home and are in our thoughts. Allrighty then! The comfort food craze/phenomenon is still in full swing. As it should be. New foods and trends are great, but there isn’t anything better than, say, baconwrapped meatloaf, mac-n-cheese, chicken pot pie, and as far as I’m concerned, most Italian food. Which generally tastes better the day after it is made. Sundays are the perfect day for comfort foods, especially during the long winter months. I know everyone is probably into or contemplating their healthy New Year’s resolutions. Just try to think moderation. Sunday just seems to strike me as the perfect day for glorious, home style meals that bring you back to your childhood. One meal that I have been preparing throughout

January, 2014 21 The Great Plant Escape By David Williams Plant Enthusiast

Magic in the 2014 Garden dense-shrub form of crepe myrtle fits in the landscape where taller crepe myrtles do not. The new growth has a reddish tint and will eventually mature to a glossy, green color. The foliage is highly resistant to leaf spot and powdery mildew. Crepe Myrtle “Midnight Magic”™ is a new pinkblooming variety whose foliage is a dark purple. This extends the seasonal interest by several months, and it’s great to have spring and summer interest in one tree. Crepe Myrtles need full sun to perform the best in the garden. I am not overly fond of boxwoods, there’s just something about the smell of them, but I like the way they can be trimmed into a low English-style border. When I first looked at this plant at a trade show, I thought it was a dark-green boxwood or

ilex. On closer examination, I was shocked. It was a blueberry unlike any I have ever seen. This compact little wonder is Brazle™ berry “Blueberry Glaze”™. Blueberry Glaze™ is not like any blueberry variety that I’ve ever seen before. With its small stature and incredibly glossy, dark-green leaves, Blueberry Glaze™ is reminiscent of a boxwood and can easily be sheared as such. The white-withpink spring flowers beautifully contrast the deep foliage color. Small, little dark (almost black) berries present in little bundles mid-summer. The small berries have intense flavor, much like that of wild blueberries. With their deep flesh color, these berries pack a healthful punch with their antioxidant-rich qualities. Even without the fruit, this plant would be great. With the fruit, it’s an awesome new

plant. It is winter hardy to zone 5 and will do well in the ground, or in containers. These will do best in full sun. In 2008, the introduction of “Endless Summer”® hydgrangea, forever changed the world of hydgrangeas, especially in the Northeast. Hydrangeas could be seen blooming continuously from the spring throughout the summer. Since then, hydgrangeas have become the most popular flowering shrub purchased in a garden center. The new introduction of Bloomstruck™ is an improvement over the original Endless Summer and it lives up to the promise of endless blooms, and then some. This beauty blooms on old and new growth, constantly pushing out new flower heads measuring three to five inches’ across. Intense rose-pink, violet

From the Deep By Craig Korb Executive Chef

Happy New Year! And greetings from the Jersey shore! the fall at the restaurant is a lasagna Bolognese, or a meat sauce lasagna. The key to a good lasagna is a good sauce. I have done a Bolognese sauce in one of my past articles, I think with rigatoni. This sauce is slightly creamier and a bit different, though. I generally use the Barilla brand no-cook lasagna noodles, but you can use whatever brand you prefer. I find a good lasagna goes great with a simple salad tossed with a garlic enhanced red wine and olive oil vinaigrette and a nice big wedge of homemade garlic bread. C’mon now? Sunday, football, couch, family, lasagna and, last but not least, bed. Being a true New Jerseyan means that you know a certain few things about food. You know our corn and tomatoes kick ass, you understand our love and pride of pork roll, you know that a real bagel is boiled before it is baked, and you definitely know good Italian food (especially pizza). So do yourself a favor and go make a nice thick, saucy, cheesy lasagna and relax.

Lasagna Bolognese (serves six, no problem) 1-2 packages lasagna (you may have some leftover noodles depending on your layering) 1 recipe Bolognese sauce (recipe follows) 1 lg. container ricotta cheese 1 lb. block of mozzarella cheese (shredded) 2 lg. eggs Salt and pepper 1 cup grated parmesan Bolognese sauce 1Tbsp. olive oil 1 lb. ground pork/veal/beef mix (usually marked as meatball or meatloaf mix) 1 onion, small diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 large can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes (pureed in a blender) 1 cup milk 1/2 cup flour 1 Tbsp. basil, chopped 1 tsp. dried oregano Salt and pepper to taste

For sauce-in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, sauté onions in olive oil until soft over medium heat -add ground meat mixture and sauté, chopping the meat into small bits using a spatula or side of a spoon -when meat is just cooked through, sprinkle with garlic and sauté for a few more minutes, seasoning with the salt and pepper -sprinkle the flour over the meat and fold to incorporate -next add the milk and fold/ stir into the meat flour mixture until tight and incorporated well -add the pureed tomatoes and stir together, it should start to thicken quickly -stir gently and add basil and oregano -let simmer on low for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally For lasagna-preheat oven to 400 degrees -mix together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, salt

or blue flower heads are held upright on striking red-purple stems. As with other hydrangea, BloomStruck’s flowers can be pink, purple or blue, depending on soil pH. Glossy, dark-green leaves with red petioles and red veins add to this plant’s allure, making it stand out before flowers even open. Bred by Dr. Michael Dirr, the originator of the original Endless Summer, BloomStruck™ has extremely strong stems, above-average heat tolerance and great disease resistance, especially to powdery mildew. Editor’s Note: David is a fourth generation partner at Williams Nursery in Westfield. He is a member of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, and the Union County Board of Agriculture. He has served as a board member for the Friends of Mindowaskin Park, the International Garden Center Association, and the Rutgers Board of Managers. He recently finished a two year term as President of Garden Centers of America (GCA). He can be reached at (908) 232-4076. and pepper, and a small handful of mozzarella cheese, set aside -in a 9x9 baking dish (like a pyrex) ladle enough sauce to coat the bottom -next add one layer of noodles, overlapping slightly -now add the ricotta mixture and gently spread evenly over the noodles -next add another layer of noodles, followed by a generous amount of the Bolognese sauce evenly over the noodles -again add another layer of noodles followed by the ricotta mixture, repeat with the noodles and sauce also -cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes -remove from oven and remove foil -top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese -return to oven and bake until cheese is full melted. ENJOY! 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.

22 January, 2014


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January Columnists Tom Castronovo Tim Hionis Evan Dickerson Richard Perkins Peter Melick David Williams

Todd Pretz Jody Shilan Bob LaHoff Paul Kneeland Craig Korb

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Gardener News January 2014