Gardener News January 2022. Our "Person of the Year" issue.

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TAKE ONE

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January 2022

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TAKE ONE No. 225

Raj Sinha Tom Castronovo/Photo

Jersey farmer, for constantly supporting agricultural viability, creating a pollinator environment, and for generally making people Gardener News proudly happy. bestows our 2021 “Person Raj grew up in of the Year” to Raj Sinha, Frelinghuysen, Warren a Sussex County, New County, NJ, on his parents’

By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor/Publisher Gardener News

farm, growing and selling sweet corn. Today Raj is the proud owner of Liberty Farm in Sandyston, NJ. Raj started growing sunflowers on his farm for New Jersey Audubon as part of their Support

Agriculture Viability and the Environment (S.A.V.E.) Program. The sunflowers are primarily used to harvest black oil birdseed. Liberty Farm proudly participates in the Jersey Grown Black Oil Sunflower seed marketing program.

Black oil sunflower seed is the most familiar and most popular type of birdseed. The seeds that Raj harvests every year are meatier and have a higher oil content, giving birds more nutrition and calories in every (Cont. on Page 16)


2 January 2022

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January 2022 3

Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

In Short Supply or Maybe Nothing at All If you are looking for a new snow blower before the heavy flakes fly, shop now. I’ve learned that supplies are very, very low at the power equipment dealers. As the weather gets warmer, I’ve been told that mowers, leaf blowers and string trimmers will be in short supply as well. Shop now for spring. Parts to repair equipment are an issue as well. With the disruption in the workforce and shipping issues, I don’t think we will see an end to these supply issues for at least a year. So, if you are looking for a specific piece of equipment or a certain brand, now is the time to act, before they are all gone. It’s anyone’s guess as to when the supply chain will catch up. The above information came from many different power equipment dealers that I have spoken with as the Gardener News was delivered around the state in the last two months. Moving on to garden centers. Plant and tree shortages have been deepened due to the simultaneous effects of COVID-19, extreme weather events and changing consumer preferences. The horticultural shortage on specimens is causing them to be sold for an average price that is 20% higher compared to pre-pandemic days. Extended freezing temperatures last year in the southern states badly damaged the horticultural industry, in turn exacerbating the already existing plant shortages. In 2022 I think we will experience increased labor issues. Please go easy on your landscape professional if their schedule fluctuates by a few days.

Grass seed is also one of my concerns. Oregon faced historic drought conditions last summer. One of the hardest hit crops was tall fescue. Oregon growers produce essentially all of the U.S. commercial production of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), perennial ryegrass (L. perenne), bent grass (Agrostis spp.), and fine fescue (Festuca spp). They also produce substantial amounts of Kentucky blue grass (Poa pratensis), orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata), and tall fescue (F. arundinacea), which is used primarily for turf and lawns. The heat followed extreme wet conditions in fall of 2020 and into the early part of 2021. Both the extreme wet and dry conditions shifted potential yields downward. Prices of synthetic fertilizer, which rely on natural gas and coal as raw materials, have soared amid an energy shortage and export restrictions by Russia and China. Hurricane Ida drove several large chemical plants to suspend operations when it tore through the U.S. Gulf Coast in August 2021. You could be disappointed if you wait until spring to buy your lawn fertilizer program. Again, shop early. Since the pandemic began, many of you stayed home, whether you were unemployed or just working from home. The more time you spend at home, the more money you spend around your home. In my humble opinion, availability of all outdoor goods will continue to be in short supply for the foreseeable future. Shop early and stock pile!

Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening, landscaping and nursery communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com.

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January 2022 Columnists Brian Schilling Peter Melick Diana Dove Bob LaHoff

Douglas H. Fisher Eric J. Houghtaling Bruce Crawford Lesley Parness

January 2022 Contributing Writer Hubert Ling

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) 2022 Gardener News, Inc.

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4 January 2022 As we settle into the next couple of colder months, we are inside looking out and remembering how, just a few short months ago, we were still picking some of our favorite fruits and vegetables or taking cuttings of flowers and plants. No doubt that in last year’s garden there were great successes bringing a modest or maybe even overwhelming bounty. Quite naturally, though, also some abysmal failures may have occurred that produced a zero yield. That’s how it goes at times until you learn the idiosyncrasies of things you are growing. Did I water correctly? Did the proper amendments (food) get fed to the plants? How was the sun exposure? Was it too much or too little? What about disease pressure and insects? When you really think about it, whatever you did harvest, it truly was an accomplishment to be proud of and something for which you should give yourself some credit. Like all living organisms, plants have requirements to survive, and it is so gratifying when you get the balance right, and the results show themselves as produce or flowers. As it is with This is my last column as Chair of the State Assembly Agriculture Committee and I’d like to thank all the New Jersey Gardener News readers who gave me a few minutes of their time each month over the past three years. I’d also like to thank Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin for giving me the great opportunity to chair the Agriculture Committee. I didn’t know much about Agriculture then, but I’ve always related to farmers. They work hard to put food on our tables. I have always felt the State’s job was to make it easier for them to succeed - not always the case. Farming is a tough business that’s critical to our quality of life, provides food, helps preserve open space and contributes $1 billion a year to the state economy. I’m proud to stand with farmers and proud of the work the Assembly Agriculture Committee has done to help preserve their livelihood. We fought to protect the Right to Farm Act with legislation to protect farmers from bad faith complaints and frivolous lawsuits, an unfortunate result of new residential developments near farms that have been operated by the same family for generations. It’s just not fair to burden farmers with the costs of frivolous suits. My

GardenerNews.com you with benefits on so many levels, from the physical to the almost intangible. I like to think there really are no mistakes in the garden, just lessons to be learned. Each By Douglas H. Fisher seed has a story, a history, and Secretary of Agriculture a pathway to our hand that ultimately passes it back, to start the process anew. So, it’s time to dream of the 2022 version of your “mind’s eye” garden. Whatever you decide, stick bit into not only the tried and true weed by many), which Mexican with it and don’t get derailed from but the might be possible? farmworkers use in their recipes. having your best garden ever. And, if this is your first, it When you peruse the seed I tried a couple of paw paws (no catalogues, undoubtedly you notice luck there). Miniature Kadima absolutely will be! all the new and varied offerings of watermelons were in the mix and not only the staple plantings, but the crop was prolific but the taste the exotic and relatively unknown disappointing. Of course, I had a Editor’s Note: Douglas also. Try experimenting with one familiar Rutgers tomato tucked H. Fisher is New Jersey’s or two, and you might become among the greenery. Secretary of Agriculture. the maven of the new instead of Oh, the flowers! Hawaiian He is the department’s only a part of the legion of the Giant Marigolds, and Candy Cane executive officer, secretary old and familiar. This can be so Zinnias worked out well and the to the State Board of much serendipitous fun and lends stares from onlookers were fun Agriculture and a member itself to great conversations and to observe. Yes, it was an eclectic of the Governor’s cabinet. experiences, like sharing recipes mix, but this suited my purpose of Secretary Fisher fulfills that are based around the new wanting to be surprised by what executive, management additions to your garden. the tiny plot could produce. and administrative duties In my very small garden last This would be maddening prescribed by law, executive year, I planted Cardoon (which for some people who thrive on a order or gubernatorial took too much real estate) because precise pattern and schedule. This direction. He can be reached I heard a farmer tell me it was so is the point I would like to stress. at 609.292.3976. For more prevalent in years back in Italy. I It’s your garden that is unique to info, please visit: http:// also tried purslane (considered a you and has the capacity to shower www.state.nj.us/agriculture

NJ Dept. of Agriculture

Your slice of earth!

children or pets, it takes some time and experience to get exactly that right nurturing balance. And, likewise, tending to the garden and really reaping all the benefits for oneself, pulling in the best from the outer world and all the synergies that are formed from your efforts, is so incredibly satisfying. Think of all the connections you made that started with planning, preparing, planting, tending, and harvesting your garden. So now in January, it is time to look ahead once again to the garden you can create in 2022. What will be the same? It’s time to think about how you might want to change it up a bit and stretch your imagination, your reality, and creativity. What could happen this year if you let yourself wander a

Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman

Thanks for the Experience of a Lifetime

bill would enable them to recover reasonable attorney fees and court costs of defending themselves. The bill complements legislation to allow farmers and winemakers to host a limited number of milestone events like weddings, anniversaries, and educational activities. In addition to introducing new people to life on a farm and supporting a farm’s bottom line, special events promote agritourism, an increasingly important source of revenue for Garden State farmers. I also hope the Legislature will pass my bill creating an Invasive Species Task Force. We must develop plans to deal with destructive pests such as the spotted lanternfly and whitetail deer - and most recently even an invasive subspecies of ladybugs. Invasive species threaten millions

of dollars in crops, thousands of jobs, and everyone’s backyard garden. I’m proud that my bill creating “Pollinator License Plates” became law in November. It will generate annual contributions that the New Jersey Conserve Wildlife Foundation and the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program to protect native pollinators. It’s also been an honor to represent New Jersey’s farmers of the sea as the state’s legislative representative to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. I got to visit innovative commercial fishermen at their fishing co-ops and see how baymen and women have restored the oyster fisheries in New Jersey rivers and bays. I’d especially like to thank New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher, Farm Bureau President Ryck

Suydam, the Agricultural Society, county Boards of Agriculture, the Rutgers Extension experts, and my colleagues on the Agriculture Committee for their support and patience in helping me learn about the agricultural ecosystem. Thanks to Garden State farmers, nurserymen, and fishermen for their generosity in sharing their knowledge and stories with me. Thanks to New Jersey Gardener News Editor and Publisher Tom Castronovo for telling those stories in informative, insightful, and interesting articles, and for allowing me the privilege of speaking to Gardener News readers every month. The last six years as a state Assemblyman have been a great run for me. Along the way, I learned about New Jersey’s third largest industry from the experts, farmers,

while visiting cranberry bogs and horse farms, plant nurseries and aquaculture operations. For a kid from the shore, meeting New Jersey farmers and their families and seeing what they raise from the soil with their hands has been a rewarding experience. And when I had the opportunity to address farmers at the State Farm Bureau Convention in November and received a standing ovation, well, it was something I will never forget. While I won’t be returning to the State Legislature this year, I wish you all success in your future endeavors. I look forward to visiting my farm friends in the months ahead. Until then, I hold the experiences we’ve shared close to my heart. I will think of you every time I visit the Jersey Fresh section of my local farm market or grocery store.

Editor’s Note: Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling is Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the New Jersey State Assembly. He can be reached at 732-6953371 or AsmHoughtaling@ njleg.org, or by mail at 802 W Park Ave, Ste 302, Ocean Township 07712.


GardenerNews.com SupportSupport NJ Agriculture Support NJ Agriculture NJ Agriculture

January 2022 5

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6 January 2022

R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E

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Action Steps for Healthy New Year! Wishing You Wellness for 2022 The start of the new year is the best time to initiate your personal wellness program for 2022. Take charge of your wellness path so you can enjoy your healthiest year with a few simple action steps. The first item on the “To-do List” is to do your homework. Find reliable science-based sources of information to guide your journey through wellness. Look for guidance from your physician and sources such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Also look at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website to find links to trustworthy sources of information. Make personal and family wellness a priority. Set your wellness goals, then create a plan to help achieve them. Perhaps use a shared calendar so everyone in the household is aware of important family dates and activities. Consider starting a new family tradition of cooking a healthy meal or taking a weekly walk together. Physical activity is an essential part of a wellness plan. How can you increase your movement each day? If you spend much of your day sitting at a desk or in a favorite chair, be sure to get up to walk every 30-45 minutes. Whenever possible, take a 10-minute (or longer) walk outdoors. Spending time outdoors can relax your body and brain to encourage clarity, focus, and an opportunity to de-stress. Healthy meals and snacks are also a vital component of your wellness. Skip the unhealthy salty and sweet treats. These items are not beneficial to your body. Our diets should be 50% fruits and vegetables, with smaller amounts of protein and carbohydrates. A diet including plant-based antioxidant-rich foods can naturally reduce inflammation in our bodies. Create a regimen of healthy meals and drinking water as much as possible. Consume nutritious foods containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, and related nutrients every day. Declutter your space to help reduce stress and avoid accidental falls at home or in the office. Sit back with a notepad and notice items that clutter your space. Take note of things that could cause hazards when in a hurry. Make a plan to add openness to the space by rearranging where you spend time working, cooking, and socializing. Having less chaos around adds efficiency to completing tasks while reducing personal safety hazards. The space should

invoke a sense of calm and relaxation. Spend time with family and friends. Studies show that socialization is important to our physical and mental health. Avoid isolation by reaching out to family and friends on a regular basis. People with a support system tend to be healthier than those without. Gather with others in-person or online to play games, share stories, or discuss books—it does wonders for the brain in addition to increasing your immune defense. Sufficient quality sleep is critical to good health. According to the CDC, studies show that insufficient sleep—less than 7-9 hours per 24-hour period—may influence several diseases and chronic conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. The National Sleep Foundation recommends these tips for ensuring the proper quality of sleep: a comfortable bed used for sleep, not watching TV. Remove phones and electronic devices from your bedroom or silence them for at least 7-9 hours of sleep. Engage in relaxing activities before bedtime, avoid screen time within one-hour of sleep, and avoid large meals a few hours before bedtime. Speak to your physician if you are having difficulties sleeping. “Me-time” is time well spent. Stress can have serious implications on your physical and mental well-being. Everyone needs some personal time to care for their body and mind. For instance: explore a new hobby, read a book, listen to relaxing music, learn a new skill, or observe nature. Spend a few minutes observing photographs or artwork to look for details you haven’t noticed before. Hobbies are an effective way to immerse yourself into a project and help maintain calm in your day. Practicing mindfulness and meditation are great ways to bring clarity, focus, and moments of calm when feeling stressed. Take care of yourself first, then you will be able to successfully care for others! Remember to keep your goals attainable with simple action steps on your wellness journey which will be beneficial to you and your loved ones! Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS) Department resources are available at njaes.rutgers.edu/fchs: look for our Wellness Wednesday webinar series; sign up for the Live Well-Stay Healthy text messages; read our fact sheets and follow our social media (FB, IG & Twitter), for a variety of consumer-friendly wellness-related topics and live cooking demonstrations.

Editor’s Note: This month’s contribution was written by Joanne Kinsey, FCHS Educator, Atlantic & Ocean Counties, and Rachel Tansey, Senior Extension Associate, Monmouth County.


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January 2022 7

LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITY NEWS Rutgers Executive Dean Receives National Honor for Advancing Agricultural Education

Laura Lawson, interim executive dean at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, recently received an Honorary American FFA Degree from the National FFA (Future Farmers of America.) Lawson, along with her fellow honorary degree recipients, were recognized as “individuals who have provided exceptional service on a national level to agriculture, agricultural education, or FFA.” “Being at the National FFA convention to receive this honor was an amazing experience,” said Lawson. “Seeing more than 55,000 FFA members gather to share their knowledge and passion about agriculture gave me hope for the future of farming, agricultural education and related industries.” “We value Dr. Lawson’s perspective and knowledge and recognize the great strides she is making to support the development of young leaders in the agriculture industry,” said Erin Noble, state program leader for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Education at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, who has served as New Jerey’s State FFA Advisor since 2019. New Jersey has more than 2,300 FFA members who engage in personal, career and leadership development activities as they develop agricultural skills and competencies. Lawson was nominated by the New Jersey FFA Executive Board.

Rutgers Gardens has a New Director

Lauren Errickson will be the new director of Rutgers Gardens, effective January 3, 2022. For the past five years, Lauren has been part of our Rutgers Cooperative Extension team and has been engaged in the development, management, and evaluation of multifaceted nutrition, agriculture, and food access programs, including the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market and Community Gardens, Rutgers Against Hunger, RU Ready to Farm: Getting Rooted in the Garden State, and What’s the Catch? New Jersey Seafood and Healthy Living. Lauren has worked in our home community of New Brunswick with city government, houses of worship, schools, cultural organizations, and senior centers – focusing on food, art, and the environment – to increase community engagement with Rutgers. Lauren’s practical experience working with volunteers and collaborating with nonprofit organizations prepares her to lead our collective efforts to support Rutgers Gardens as a place of peace, beauty, safety, and enjoyment for all our visitors. She also comes prepared with business and management skills from her previous roles in environmental education and agriculture, including running an organic, off-grid, horse-powered farm with her husband. Ariana Arancibia has decided to move on to other endeavors.

RECYCLE THE

National Weather Service Recognizes Rutgers Weather Station with 2021 Honored Institution Award for 125 Years of Service

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service has selected Rutgers University as a recipient of its 2021 Honored Institution Awards for 125 years of service and providing outstanding weather service to the nation. Rutgers has maintained a weather station on campus as part of the Cooperative Observer Program since Jan. 1, 1896, with the current location at Rutgers Gardens on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus since 1978. Rutgers students, faculty and staff received the award from NOAA during a virtual ceremony on Nov. 3. “Long-term stations like the one at Rutgers Gardens have played an invaluable role in our efforts to document and produce evidence of climate change,” said Anthony Broccoli, a Distinguished Professor of atmospheric science, who oversees the station. “Many students, staff and faculty have contributed to this remarkable record of weather and climate at New Brunswick. Generations of students have taken on the responsibility of recording the daily weather readings. Without their efforts over the past 125 years, this recognition would not have been possible.” Rutgers weather station has recorded a number of historic weather events, including an all-time low of -16 degrees Fahrenheit on Feb. 9, 1934. The station also recorded a major snowstorm in January 2016 that dumped a two-day total of 26.9 inches of snow. Rutgers reports daily maximum and minimum temperatures, rainfall, snowfall, snow depth and soil temperatures, among other observations, in addition to any additional severe weather observations to the National Weather Service, according to statement released by NOAA announcing the award. “Weather observations are the backbone of weather forecast and warning operations. The observations our cooperative weather observers take each day not only enhance our climate history, they also are incorporated into computer model that allow our forecasters to provide accurate forecasts and warnings during severe weather, flooding and winter storm events. These observers are also our eyes and ears in the field during events, at times providing critical near real-time information,” said Philadelphia/Mount Holly WFO Meteorologist-inCharge Jason Franklin. The Rutgers weather station is managed by the Department of Environmental Sciences and, in earlier years, the Department of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography. From the 1980s until his retirement in 2016, the station was managed by environmental sciences instructor and former assistant New Jersey State Climatologist Keith Arnesen. Recent developments have included making current data available at Rutgers Weather Center with some recent historical data available at the weather station website. The Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist, a unit of Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Station, is a curator of COOP station records for New Jersey.

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8 January 2022

Everyone views evergreen plants from a different point of view. I prefer to use evergreens to form the backbone of a garden, providing winter structure through foliage and form while allowing other plants to take center stage throughout the remainder of the year. Although the palette of utilitarian evergreen plants is substantial, Plum Yew, or Cephalotaxus as it is botanically, known is among my favorites for providing winter garden structure. Cephalotaxus is currently a member of the Taxus family or Taxaceae, with 11 species native to Eastern Asia. The term Cephalotaxus was first coined by the German Botanist and Physician Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866) during an extended visit to Japan from 1823-1829. The word comes from the Greek Kephale for head, describing how the ⅛” diameter male cones bear a resemblance to a human head and the foliage resembles that of Taxus or Yew. Siebold sent the first samples back to Europe during 1829 and this species rapidly caught the eye of the 4th Earl of Harrington, Sir Charles Stanhope (17801857), who incorporated it into a

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Morris County Park Commission By Bruce Crawford Horticultural Manager

An Evergreen for Winter Structure and Beauty garden at Elvaston Castle. It also caught the eye of several British gardeners who loved to peer over garden walls to see what novelties their neighbors had planted! The British gardener Joseph Knight (1778-1855) initially named the plant Taxus harringtonia in honor of the Earl’s appreciation for the plant, but it was the German botanist Karl Heinrich Emil Koch (1809-1879) who correctly placed this species under Cephalotaxus in 1873! In its native habitats of Japan, the Plum Yew varies from a low spreading plant to more arborescent forms of 30’+ tall with comparable widths. Most of the plants appear in woodland areas where they flourish in deep, humus rich soils. The lustrous, dark green and waxy foliage ranges from ¾”-2” long, with the undersides featuring two lines

of silvery stomata running the length of the leaf. The ‘flowers’ of evergreens may not always be pretty, but they are often very interesting. The male flowers or cones appear in the leaf axils along the drier and protected undersides of a stem. The female cones rarely appear solo, but rather in clusters of six to twelve, supported by short stems. Typically, one or two ovules develop per cone, with the developing seed covered by a hard shell and an outer dark purple and fleshy coating, giving the seed an olive or plum-like appearance. It also provided the common name of Plum Yew! In cultivation, the spreading forms of Plum Yew have taken precedent over the larger tree forms. One exception is the form named ‘Fastigiata’ that has retained popularity since first

being introduced from Japan during 1861. In youth, the plant is distinctly upright in shape, maintaining widths near 12” at heights of 3-4’. With time, the plant gradually develops into a broadly spreading or nearly globous form, approaching heights of 18-20’ with equal widths. At Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Raleigh, NC, a very attractive sport appeared near the base of an aforementioned ‘Fastigiata’. It had been growing for nearly 15 years and had developed into a soft ‘fan-shaped display’ in excess of 5’ in diameter. It was a sport of exceptional beauty and in 1958 was named ‘Duke Gardens’. Although reports of the size vary considerably, it appears to grow to 3’ tall and upwards of 6-8’ wide. Another commonly available form is ‘Prostrata’. As

the name implies, it is prostrate or horizontally growing and although about the same size as ‘Duke Gardens’, the pendulous branch tips bear a touch more grace. All the forms mentioned above have proven to be very cold tolerant, enduring temperatures well below zero Fahrenheit. Plants flourish in full sun or light shade and most importantly for many gardeners, Cephalotaxus has proven to be highly resistant to deer browse. The lower growing forms look best when massed – something to consider as you examine your garden with a critical eye this winter to determine if it is in need of some evergreen bones. If so, you may wish to consider adding Plum Yew to carry your garden through those winter doldrums! Editor’s Note: Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth, is the Manager of Horticulture for the Morris County Parks Commission, and a Past President of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at BCrawford@ morrisparks.net


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January 2022 9

Growing Gardeners By Diana Dove Environmental Educator

When it Snows… Explore a Garden with Children

Snow can seem magical to a child. Take a child outside and explore a snowy garden. There is magnificent beauty in nature’s winter designs. Whether in a backyard garden or a container garden outdoors, there are countless winter discoveries to share with Growing Gardeners. Examine frost, snowflakes, seed heads, then step back and look at the snowy garden landscape. Bring drinking water, a camera, magnifier, binoculars, and a bird field guide. See your garden in winter… Be weather wise, dress in layers, and never go out alone in the snow. Drink hot soup or hot chocolate before going outside. Make a wildlife bird blind out of snow and practice your observation skills. Birds, cottontail rabbits and squirrels gather where there is cover and food. Birds flock to berries and seed heads of native plants. Create a bird feeding station: roll spruce and pine cones in suet, Nyjer/thistle seeds, blackoil sunflower seeds, and cracked corn. Provide a variety of healthy bird food choices. (Do not use peanuts in schools due to students’ allergies.) Make a video or take photos. Write winter journal entries. Paint or draw your favorite snowy garden scene. Journal entries should include date, time, weather, and a list and sketch of observations. Measure the snow, note the time. Look up simple ways to measure rainfall and wind. Keep in mind, on average, one inch of rain is equivalent to 13 inches of snow, depending on weather conditions. Make an anemometer to measure wind. A max/min outdoor thermometer will measure current

temperature plus the coldest and warmest temps of the day. Though the winter garden appears to be dormant, there is much to explore. Observe the snow…One fun activity for kids is to bundle up, grab an umbrella, and sit in the garden or on a patio with an adult, and watch the snow fall. Catch snowflakes on black felt to discover amazing designs. In your journal, think of descriptive words, then write down and draw what you observe. How are the winter plants similar or different? What is alive? Are there seeds, berries or nuts for wildlife? How have your garden plants changed over the seasons? Watch the sun set over the snow. Watch the moon rise over your garden. Star gaze under a crisp starry wintery night. In our school garden, sometimes we get a warm winter day and garden in our quarter-acre wildlife habitat garden, named the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden. We leave plant stems and seed heads that provide shelter and food for wildlife. We rake oak leaves into the garden beds as organic mulch. We remove any noticeable fungal infested debris. Following are a few winter garden activities. (Note that if you are visiting a garden in an arboretum, for example, there is a no-pick rule.) If in your own garden, you could have a winter scavenger hunt. Search the topic online. Or each child can make a list describing what they see without disturbing the plants. Who creates the longest list? Or play a game listing words associated with the garden in alphabetical order. There are many websites with outdoor winter activity ideas for children. One website I found

is: www.runwildmychild.com A creative winter outdoor craft to try when temperatures are freezing is to make frozen sun catchers using plants or natural debris found on the ground. Get a plastic lid and make a design with sticks, pinecones, leaves, berries, and other plant parts. Fill the lid with water and leave it outside to freeze overnight. With a little imagination, you can create images of animals, trees, and flowers. Take photos of your creation before your sun catcher melts. To be sure the water freezes clear, one trick is to have an adult boil the water you will use for your sun catcher. Try another one using snow and see how different it looks. Go animal tracking in the snow. Search online and look up a segment with instructions to make plaster cast tracks in the snow. Start a collection of cast tracks of winter garden visitors. Go on a moss or lichen hunt, or look for anything green. Make animal snow sculptures. Use binoculars and field guides to identify birds. Look up snow experiments online. Try these: can you freeze a bubble? Does snow float? Try freezing water in different parts of the garden, in both sun and shade, using different colors of plastic containers. How do different colors effect how solar energy is absorbed? Take time to research information about children’s winter garden activities. Growing Gardeners should learn about how plants and wildlife survive the winter, in and around a garden. Some are lessons for life. Make memories and truly see your garden in winter.

Editor’s Note: Diana is an Environmental Educator who can be reached at dianadove13@ gmail.com She co-teaches “Wildlife & Litter” programs with her husband Mike. They offer this and Wildlife Education booths, free, with kids’ crafts, fully funded by County & Local NJ Clean Communities for Pre-K through all grade levels and adults. Please ‘Like” the FB page of the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden she founded in Washington Borough, Warren County. Diana is Co-Youth Chair on the Board of the Garden Club of NJ and is the 2021 National Garden Club Youth Leader Award Recipient. She has a BS in Forestry & Wildlife Management, with a concentration in Biology, plus a BA in Communications from Virginia Tech. She is a former Sr. Naturalist for Somerset Co. Parks and has been teaching since 1975.

USDA to Conduct Commercial Floriculture Survey The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct a commercial floriculture survey. In the Northeast and across the U.S. In previous years, this survey was only conducted in 17 selected states, but has now been expanded to include all states. Between December 23, 2021 and March 18, 2022, growers will be asked to provide information on production area, sales of floriculture commodities, and the number of agricultural workers in their operations. “The information obtained through this survey will help identify state and national trends in areas such as new product development and changing production practices, so that growers can make vital business decisions and evaluate the results of the growing season,” said King Whetstone, director of the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office. “By participating in the survey, floriculture growers ensure that NASS can provide accurate estimates of floriculture production, thereby enabling USDA and the industry to be more responsive to domestic and international markets and consumer needs,” Whetstone explained. NASS will compile and analyze the survey data and publish the results in the May 25, 2022 Floriculture Crops report. As with all NASS surveys, the information respondents provide is confidential by law. “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.

EPA Decreases Annual Pesticide Registration Maintenance Fees The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a notification informing pesticide registrants of a decrease in the annual pesticide registration maintenance fee. The fee for 2022 is $3,660 per product, an 8.5% decrease from the previous year. The Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act of 2018 (PRIA 4) authorizes the agency to collect an average of $31 million per year for each of the fiscal years 2019 through 2023 for a total of $155 million. With $92.6 million collected in the first three years, an additional $62.4 million may be collected in the remaining years of PRIA 4. Due to over 500 new products subject to the annual fee in the last two years, EPA has reduced the fee amount to avoid an over-collection of the fee in 2022. The new product fee amount is estimated to collect $31.2 million in fiscal year 2022, which is half of what EPA may still collect under PRIA 4. All registrants with Section 3 and Section 24(c) pesticide product registrations have received an email to notify them of this change. Registrants will need to access their product filing forms, pay maintenance fees and return completed documents to EPA for processing by Tuesday, January 18, 2022. For more information and to access instructions, the maintenance fee filing form, fee tables and product listings grouped by company numbers, please visit the Annual Pesticide Registration Maintenance Fees webpage at https:// www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/annual-pesticideregistration-maintenance-fees-2022.


10 January 2022 A few years ago, my daughter Kimberly bought a new house. I treated her to a re-seeding of the whole yard since it seemed like lawn care had not been on the radar of the prior owner for many years. Here’s an update on what we faced and where we are today. The location of this property is at the intersection of two streets. A hundred yards behind some of the houses there is a drainage stream. More than a few times a year, when a heavy rain falls, the street intersection backs up at the sewers, flooding a lot of the street. This is because the shallow stream fills up quickly and there is no place for the rainfall to disperse through the street sewer drains. The end result is the yard gets flooded up to four to five inches during some storms for part of a day until it can drain. The backyard also has some low spots where water sits. Bentgrass has established in these areas of the lawn. Improved bentgrass varieties that are mowed short and maintained with precision One year ends and another year begins. As we cruise through December, it is time to complete all of those “end of the year tasks” that have to be finished before the ball drops. While farms are no different from other businesses in many areas, there is a certain seasonality that goes along with agriculture that acts as a mechanism of separation between one year and the next. In many types of agriculture, the planting, growing, harvesting and marketing of a crop happens over the course of a calendar year. And as one year comes to an end, it is important to finish out the year on a strong note so that the farm is set up to succeed in the next one. There are many tasks that have to be completed after harvest. Depending on what was grown in the prior year and will be grown in the upcoming year, cover crops may need to be planted. Not only do these cover crops stabilize the soil and keep it from eroding, they can also help add nutrients to the soil to help with the next year’s crop. While this is being done, it is

GardenerNews.com Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

How is Kimberly’s lawn doing? on a golf course look great. However, native bentgrass that is not mowed short looks rather stringy and not very attractive. Its spreading root system allows for it to survive quite well over time, unless the growing environment is corrected. How do you get rid of bentgrass? You eliminate the drainage problems; bentgrass likes “wet feet” and you need to kill it off and re-seed. If these methods don’t work, all you can do to get rid of bentgrass is to move! First, we cut the lawn very short. I hired a turf professional to properly apply grass seed with a fancy seeding machine. It tore up the yard pretty well to allow for good seed-to-soil

contact. I supplied Jonathan Green grass seed, fertilizer and soil amendments too. I did not do a soil test, I just knew it needed help from the lack of soil foods and fertilizer or weed applications over the years. We re-seeded in early fall and the lawn grew in very well, we were pleased. Fall is the best time to seed your lawn because of warm soil, the lack of summer heat and generally more favorable rainfall conditions. The following spring we needed to follow a general lawn care plan of regular feedings and weed controls. I can’t remember all that we did because we did not do enough. I think we missed the crabgrass preventer

application but we fed the lawn in the spring. We used some organic insect control to reduce summer nuisance bugs. It was early fall before I noticed that weeds where coming back quite aggressively. It shows how resilient Mother Nature is, give her an inch and she takes a mile! So in early fall we did a Weed & Feed application for broadleaf weeds. This helped quite a bit. Last, we applied a Winter fertilizer in October to extend the greening and growth of the lawn. I was remiss in keeping up on the program even though I visit my grandchildren regularly with some Saturday morning donuts. I always reminded myself of the next

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

New Year Planning

also a good idea to complete some soil tests. The results of these tests will determine how much fertilizer and lime will be needed before the next crops are planted in the spring. Phosphorous, potassium and lime can all be added over the winter months if the ground is suitable. In fact, it is beneficial to add lime in the fall as it takes time to breakdown and become more available to next year’s crops. Now is also the time to fix or replace any broken or damaged equipment. Speaking from experience, over the busy holiday season it is very easy to forget about equipment that needs to be fixed. It is best to tackle these projects

as early as possible while they are still fresh in your mind. And due to supply chain issues this year, many replacement parts are hard to come by, or at least might take longer to arrive than usual. Now is also a good time to evaluate equipment to discern whether or not it needs to be replaced. If it does need to replaced, you want to give yourself as much time as possible to ensure it is delivered on time for next year. Plus, there might be some tax consequences to purchasing it in one year or the other. And speaking of tax consequences, this is also a good time to meet with your tax professional. Because tax laws and regulations seem to

change almost every year, it is a good idea to stay on top of these changes and make sure that you take advantage of, or at the very least do not become a victim of, our country’s complex tax codes. Seeds, plants and other growing supplies can be ordered now as well. Time has a way of blurring your memory from prior years, and it is best to make adjustments in varieties and new products sooner rather than later. Plus, popular varieties tend to be in short supply so it is best to get those orders in early. I have also found this to be a good practice with the Christmas items that we sell at our farm. On Christmas Eve every year,

application we needed to do and yes, sometimes I forgot to write it down. I’m sure we all get carried away with our daily lives throughout the lawn growing season from March to November and it’s hard to keep on track sometimes. Try keeping a calendar to remind yourself (my method) or setting your watch calendar to determine your next lawn application. If you get a few weeks or months behind, a lot can go wrong with your lawn. I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season. Winter is a good time to take an afternoon nap or think about your lawn care plan for the coming year. Did you keep records of what you applied and when this past year? I think I’d rather take that nap or watch football. Happy New Year! Editor’s Note: Todd Pretz is Vice President of Jonathan Green, a leading supplier of lawn and garden products in the northeast. For more information, please visit: www.jonathangreen.com I take an inventory of all of the remaining trees, wreaths, garland and other related items and come up with an order for the following year. Because Christmas is such a unique but predictable season, it is best to complete these orders while you can still see what sold and what did not. It is nice to be able to put this to bed while it is still fresh in my mind. Besides, it is kind of hard to get into the Christmas spirit during July and August when the temperature is ninety degrees and we are focused on peaches, tomatoes and sweet corn. Happy New Year! Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is Mayor of Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County, NJ. He also served as a director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau and is a past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Peter has also been featured on NJN, News 12 New Jersey and on the Fox Business Network.


GardenerNews.com The other day I was at my mother’s house in Haddon Heights, New Jersey and was impressed with her daphne. Typically, most daphnes in the greater Philadelphia area look good for a number of years and then start to go into decline. It is theorized that this is because of root and soil issues, possibly caused by the fungal problem Phytophthora, but in any case, daphnes are generally not long lived. Her daphne is the winter daphne, Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’. This is one of those broadleaved evergreen shrubs that would probably benefit from some winter protection, perhaps next to the house or in a courtyard, however my mother’s plant is fairly exposed. This relatively small shrub is evergreen and a great addition to the winter garden. It only reaches four feet tall and has leathery leaves with a beautiful cream to yellow margin to the leaf. In late winter to early spring, it is covered with lilac-pink intensely fragrant flowers. Her plant is likely thriving after more than ten years due to the soil at her house being both acidic and sandy. I think for daphnes, a welldrained soil is paramount to success. As we head into the winter months, I decided to take a walk at the Scott Arboretum

January 2022 11 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society By Andrew Bunting Vice President of Public Gardens and Landscapes

Underused Broadleaved Evergreens of Swarthmore College to look for other underused or just perhaps unknown broadleaved evergreens that could be used to enhance winter interest. I did not have to go far to find a handful of unsung plants. Quercus myrsinifolia, the bamboo-leaf oak, is a small ornamental oak that has narrow, evergreen, lustrous leaves. It its youth, it is relatively fast growing and makes a nice pyramidalshaped small tree in the landscape, good for a backdrop in a small garden. Over time, the canopy will broaden and ultimately might reach 20-30 feet tall with a spread of about 20 feet. This oak will require some searching to find, but it is undoubtedly available through mail order sources. I love the myriad of Osmanthus we can grow in this area. They have beautiful holly-like leaves and an abundance of white,

very fragrant fall flowers which are discreetly buried in the foliage of the plant. You will walk by an Osmanthus and say “what is making that amazing smell” but not notice the Osmanthus. For years it was thought they were not completely cold hardy, but recently they have proven themselves to be tough, broad-leaved, evergreen shrubs that make durable landscape plants. At the Scott Arboretum in the front garden is Osmanthus armatus, which is commonly called the holly olive for the holly-like leaves and because it is in the olive family, Oleaceae. Over time it makes a perfectly rounded shrub with great winter interest and ranks as one of the best fragrance plants for the garden. Finally, an entire article could be written on the genus, Illicium. This is a group of plants native to parts of the southeastern

United States and includes Illicium floridanum as well as many Asiatic species. They are “tough as nails” and one of the few shrubs that can truly tolerate very dry shade conditions. I have some growing right at the base of my mature Norway spruces, Picea abies, which creates extremely dry and shaded conditions and they don’t skip a beat. Relatively new to the market is a very diminutive selection called Illicium floridanum ‘Swamp Hobbit’. In five years, it will only reach eight inches tall with a spread of two feet, so it is a perfect subject for the small garden. Planted in mass, it can make a great evergreen groundcover for the garden. On a recent visit to Stoneleigh Gardens, a public garden that is part of the Natural Lands Trust in Villanova, I saw that they had propagated hundreds of plants, so undoubtedly they will be planting this out for

mass effect as well. Like other Florida anise cultivars, it sports amazing spiderlike maroon flowers that are very unique. And, finally all illicium are truly deerresistant. When the leaves are crushed, they emit an anise-like fragrance which in unappealing to deer. Editor’s Note: Andrew Bunting is Vice President of Public Gardens and Landscapes for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is one of the most recognized horticulturists in the Philadelphia, Pa., region and a highly regarded colleague in the world of professional horticulture. Bunting has amassed a plethora of awards, including the American Public Gardens Association Professional Citation, Chanticleer Scholarship in Professional Development, Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Marion Marsh Award, and the Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. In addition, Bunting has lectured extensively throughout North America and Europe, and participated in plant expeditions throughout Asia and Africa. Learn more at https://phsonline.org/team/ andrew-bunting

USDA Research Seeks to Strengthen Cranberry Resiliency as Climate Change Affects Production

A traditional part of every holiday meal includes some type of cranberry dish. Every year, Americans place homemade or canned cranberry sauce on the holiday dinner table. Others may use the tarttasting blood red berry in a baked good or as a part of the table décor. Regardless of how you choose to incorporate cranberries into your meal or traditions, we can all agree it is a much sought-after item for Thanksgiving and other winter holidays. That’s why researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service are currently working to preserve its production in the looming threat of climate change. More extreme and hotter weather is expected with climate change, which poses challenges for current cranberry production regions. Cranberries are sensitive to heat stress, leading to declines in yield and fruit quality and increases in disease pressure. The nation’s major cranberry-production regions are also locations for major ARS-funded

cranberry research (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin). All of these states have experienced warming climates over last century, but the cranberry production states of New Jersey and Massachusetts have experienced some of the most rapid warming. This means that without an agricultural solution soon, the nation may end up handling fewer, smaller, or lower quality cranberries. “It’s important for us to understand the interaction between a cranberry’s genetics and its environment,” said ARS Research Geneticist Jeffrey Neyhart. “Once we understand this interaction, we’ll be able to protect and increase productivity, fruit quality, stress tolerance, and disease resistance.” Tapping into the wild cranberry gene pool may be one way to improve the resiliency of the cultivated cranberry as the climate continues to change. Dr. Neyhart and the research team are currently working to discover potential wild cranberry genes that are associated with various stresses.

“We were able to identify genomic segments in the wild cranberry that correlate with stresses such as extreme temperatures, soil pH, and drought,” said Dr. Neyhart. “Selecting these genomic segments in breeding can help us to efficiently move more favorable wild genetics into new cranberry varieties.” In addition to breeding efforts, ARS researchers are also trying to better understand heat tolerance in cranberries which can lead to improved cranberry cultivar recommendations for growers based on their location or management practices. This research will be ongoing, and other solutions to this agricultural challenge will be explored as innovative cranberry research continues into 2022. 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 $17 of economic impact.


12 January 2022

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GardenerNews.com The Mudlark and the Orchid Introduction, Parts 1 and 2 may be read at www.gardenersnews.com “Back Issues” or at www.lesleyparness.com The Mudlark and the Orchid - Part 3 The 45-minute hansom cab drive to Stevens Auction House in Covent Garden was instructive. “To begin with, the word orchid, comes from the Latin, orchis, for their root tuber’s oftentimes resemblance to your intromittent apparatus.” I must have looked puzzled, so he hastily clarified, “Your John Thomas, boy.” Dr. Ward went on to explain that orchids could be epiphytic, growing on the limbs of trees, or terrestrial, growing in the ground. They had been collected on every continent, and here he took a small folding map out of his breast pocket and pointed to the places where orchids had been found, “except for Antarctica.” He said that the family of orchids was the second largest in the plant world. “Smaller only than the Asteraceae. Daisy-like flowers, Henry.” * “We are going to an orchid auction,” he went on. “Orchids can be of immense value, some fetching a King’s ransom.” I was skeptical, until he continued, “I myself witnessed an orchid sell for 100 guineas”.** There’s a story behind every orchid. Last week’s auction included a plant taken from a native cemetery in New Guinea. It was growing in a human skull. Orchid hunters are a fierce lot. They face dangers of all sorts to bring these treasures back to England. There are jungles with deadly snakes hanging from poisonous trees and

January 2022 15 The Garden Historian By Lesley Parness Garden Educator

The Mudlark and The Orchid

remote mountaintops with avalanches and hostile inhabitants. Many a young man has lost his life hunting orchids.” he ended. It seemed that the more danger associated with procuring the orchid, the higher the price it fetched. Then, as he started to explain something called pollination, the cab slowed in front of a large brick warehouse outside of which a crowd of gentlemen milled. As we stepped onto the pavement, several of them turned to greet Dr. Ward. The first was a spare, tidy man with a thin nose and lips. “Dr. Lindley, meet my friend, Henry. Henry this is Dr. John Lindley, the orchidologist. He has written a fine book about them, The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous Plants. We shall look at it later at my home.” Dr. Lindley granted us a parsimonious smile. Suddenly, a short square man with sparkling eyes joined us. “Charles, so good to see you.” Dr. Ward exclaimed and “Henry, meet Charles Darwin.” “Good day Sir, I offered. Do you like orchids? I inquired politely. “I was never

interested in any plant in my life more,” Mr. Darwin exclaimed. “Have you seen Angraecum sesquipedale? What insect can suck at it?”*** “Mr. Darwin can better explain pollination to you Henry.” And he did so as we circled the room, admiring orchids marked in lots. Some of the orchids were dormant roots, like the one I had found floating in the Wardian case in the Thames, others abloom. One, had petals so exquisitely colored, the four of us drew audible gasps. Sadly, it was displayed on a garish purple velvet cushion. “Rather like gilding the lily, in my opinion” intoned Dr. Lindley dryly. “Like butter upon bacon,” I added, and the trio nodded their balding heads sagely. At the stroke of half past twelve, the auctioneer mounted his rostrum and pounded his gavel. “Sirs, I have the honor of offering this fine specimen found atop a 5000-meter-high mountaintop in Peru by Benedict Roezl for Frederick Sander.” the auctioneer stated to an immediate undercurrent of interest. “Roezl has only one arm.” Darwin whispered in my ear. “He lost the other demonstrating

one of his mechanical plant extraction inventions. But his prosthesis has an iron tip and with it he gathers orchids for Henry Frederick Sander, the Orchid King.” “At least he named the orchid for him, Miltoniospsis roezli,” Dr. Ward noted. “Sanders has 20 or more orchid hunters searching the globe for rare orchids. They gather what they can carry, then destroy the rest in order to ensure its rarity” Dr. Lindley added in a voice conveying his disapproval. My eyebrows raised in amazement that such educated gentlemen could perpetrate such skilamalink. As the auction concluded, all parted company genially and agreed to meet in several days at Veitch’s nursery. “It’s a place every orchid lover should visit” Darwin added stroking his long, grey beard. Back in the cab Dr. Ward asked, “Shall I have Mrs. Critchley make up a bed for you in my home?” “In the jewel box, if you please, Sir,” I replied, referring to the room of Wardian cases filled with orchids. That night, I slept on clean sheets in a jewel box, surrounded

by a fortune in flowers. I dreamt of the Thames, filled with pound notes. Above its turgid, brown water rose a King, holding not a scepter, but an orchid. * The Orchid family contains nearly 1,000 genera and more than 25,000 species. ** The current value of one hundred Victorian guineas is approximately 16,000 pounds, or $23,280. *** Forty years after Darwin’s death, his assertion that pollinators co-evolved with plants was proved once again with the discovery of the moth, Xanthopan morganii praedicta, the sole pollinator of “Darwin’s orchid,” whose 30 cm. long proboscis can penetrate the flower’s long spurs.

Editor’s Note: Lesley Parness offers a variety of presentations and workshops for garden clubs, plant societies, and horticultural gatherings. Recently retired from her position as Superintendent of Horticultural Education at the Morris County Park Commission, and with four decades of teaching environmental science and garden education, her focus now is garden history. A complete listing of her talks can be seen at lesleyparness. com and she can be reached at parness@verizon.net. This column will appear in the paper every other month.

Our Missing NJ Heathers, the Ericaceae, and the Coefficient of Conservation By Hubert Ling Heathers are members of the genus Calluna in the heather family (Ericaceae). They have scale-like leaves and bell-shaped flowers. Interestingly no true heathers are native to New Jersey. Our New Jersey native golden ‘heather’ Hudsonia ericoides has very different flowers from Calluna but does have leaves and stems which are similar to heathers in Scotland; thus the ‘heather’ common name. However, Hudsonia is in the totally different rock-rose family and only is a heather look-alike. Although, sadly, New Jersey is missing true heathers, our gardens commonly have Ericaceae such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries. However, wild members of the Ericaceae are uncommon. When we hike we always look for rare

plants. But, of course, rare plants are few and far between; the best way to visit rare plants is to go on a field trip with a knowledgeable guide from the Native Plant Society of New Jersey or the Philadelphia Botanical Club. When we see any member of the heather family in the wild, we know we are in a relatively unspoiled area and look forward to seeing other uncommon and rare species. Experts in New Jersey have given every wild plant a ‘C’ number which stands for coefficient of conservation. The ‘C’ designation of 0 is given to all non-native plants such as garlic mustard. This is because alien plants are generally not used as host plants for native insects and therefore are of low or no ecological use in supporting animal life and often suppress essential native vegetation. The C=1 rating is given to common natives, such as ragweed, which grows rapidly even in disturbed

areas. Ragweed is often found along roadsides together with masses of alien grasses and obnoxious weeds; ragweed is therefore an indication that there is little to be found in the way of rare or unusual natives. However, when we get to a C=5 rating of an Ericaceae such as wintergreen, I perk up and start to expect similar or more interesting plants. Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, is a very low growing evergreen shrub about two to six inches high with dark green, thick, shiny leaves and white bell-shaped flowers. Bright red berries are produced in the fall. The leaves and fruit smell exactly like the library paste we had at school 70 years ago which used oil of wintergreen as a preservative. The plant is fairly common in the Pine Barrens and the Kittatinny mountains. It is not found near me and my several attempts to grow it in my yard in Somerset County have resulted in failure even though

commercial companies grow it in abundance. All native New Jersey members of the Ericaceae, related pyrolas, and Indian pipes have been assigned a C=5 to C=10 rating; thus they are considered valuable working members of their ecosystems and are generally uncommon, moderately rare, or very rare. An example of a C=7 plant is trailing arbutus which is a spring blooming gem. Its fragrant white flower has faint hints of pink or violet and is a welcome find for hikers on hilly slopes in mid-April. Unlike many of the Ericaceae, the flowers of trailing arbutus have five oval petals which open up much like an Impatiens flower. We have occasionally seen trailing arbutus at various locations. Another heather-like plant is round leaf pyrola (C=8). This plant has cup shaped flowers with five white petals and is uncommon in New Jersey. We

have only found small numbers of these plants three or four times in mature forests, but were thrilled to learn that a friend of ours had dozens of them growing on a preserve where she works. Dwarf huckleberry (C=9) grows two to three feet tall and has white cup-shaped flowers and black berries with large seeds; it is found in undisturbed swampy areas. We have never seen a rare C=10 member of the Ericaceae in New Jersey although five are listed for the state. Many of the Ericaceae, except our garden varieties, are difficult to grow. But if you have the right conditions you might grow C5-C10 plants and rightfully claim owning a rich conservation preserve. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at milhubling@verizon.net.


16 January 2022

GardenerNews.com

2021 Person of the Year (Continued from page 1)

bite. Black oil seeds also have thinner shells, making them easier for small birds to crack. Each year he plants over 50 different sunf lower varieties, totaling 1 million seeds. Today, Liberty Farm is the home of the famous Sussex County Sunflower Maze, the largest sunflower maze on the East Coast. Raj’s sunflower maze was the first in New Jersey and offers an amazing display that is now a tourist destination. Raj wrote the popular children’s book called “Sunny and The Sunflower Maze” – it’s a story about a little kitten adopted by a photographer at the Sunflower Maze. To further Raj’s love of animals, he invited Father John’s Animal House to his farm during the 2021 Labor Back in late July, I was asked to participate in the 2021 Virtual Tree Symposium sponsored by the Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum. It was held every Tuesday evening this past November. Frelinghuysen Arboretum has recently been recognized by the ACS, American Conifer Society, as a reference garden. Their impressive collection of some 450 specimens is the first in New Jersey to be given this distinction, and as a lifetime member of the ACS, I couldn’t be more proud for the arboretum. Prior to this, in late winter of 2020-2021, a member of the arboretum asked if I could locate a specimen tree for her. A Korean pine, Pinus koraiensis ‘Silveray’, was the selection and it was an important, highly personal, memorial tree for her. ‘Silveray’ has beautiful, silverblue, long, twisted needles that, in time, can become quite large. The symposium consisted of four guest speakers and was out to dispel the myth that conifers are just dull green pyramids. The expert panel was chosen to highlight conifers, discuss their year-round interest by means of color, texture and architectural form, and deliberate traits from propagation to their contributions, in a landscape, in their adult forms. The term “Conehead’s,” (conifers produce cones), was often used to discuss our “brotherhood” and although it started out as just a lecture for The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, it quickly

Day weekend to promote pet adoptions. The adoption event will now become an annual event. Liberty Farm has been the backdrop for many special occasions, from engagements to birth announcements and everything in between. Anyone scouting Raj’s farm during the months of August and September would find it hard to miss the abundance of pollinating bees, birds, butterflies and other beneficial insects that are present on the sunflower heads during flowering. Raj graduated Michigan State University with a B.S. in Microbiology. While he was there, he founded the Michigan State University Microbiology Society. He also graduated from the New Jersey Ag Leadership Development Program, class seven.

Raj has also volunteered a tremendous amount of his time toward the agricultural community. He served two terms as a trustee for the New Jersey Agriculture Society, and two terms on the Rutgers Board of Managers, was a New Jersey Farm Bureau delegate at the New Jersey Agriculture Convention, served as vice president and president of Sussex County Board of Agriculture, was a member of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Vegetable Growers Association, and was president of the Sussex County Master Gardeners Al Murray, the 2015 Gardener News Person of the Year, said “Raj embodies all the traits of being one of New Jersey’s premier farmers. Through hard work, dedication, and innovation, Raj has transformed his farm

to be a valued and beloved asset to his community and surrounding area.” “As a respected voice in the agricultural industry,” Murray added, “Raj continues to be an effective advocate. I join all in New Jersey’s farming community in congratulating Raj for receiving this prestigious award.” This paper now wholeheartedly salutes Raj Sinha, a true Garden State selfless giving inner ray of sunshine, for creating a Jersey-Friendly natural pollinator habitat for bees, butterflies, birds and other beneficial insects, and for providing lasting happiness to everyone who visits his Liberty Farm. Gardener News began the annual “Person of the Year” cover story in 2008. Gardener News will annually

Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

“Coneheads”

morphed to include all ACS members in the United States and even Canada. The first of the four lecturers was Bob Iiames, Jr., Groundskeeper at the 173–acre Lange Estate in Ludlow Falls, Ohio. Bob’s presentation covered a wide range of topics, from conifers that change color, to those that require virtually no pruning. He discussed conifers for shade, cultural requirements and spoke of new and exciting varieties and where you might locate such fine specimens. His 174 or so slides exceeded even my slide count. Bob held the attention of all of his viewers and his enthusiasm was apparent as he rifled through his many exciting choices. The next presenter was Christie Dustman who owns and operates the design firm Christie Dustman & Company. A recipient of several design awards, Christie has taught at many venues including the famed Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Dustman’s talk “illustrated the

thought process behind why she does what she does” and addressed conifers as a unique and often misunderstood plant category in the garden. Christie examined the criteria of “what is a sculpture” and made an argument that conifers are living sculptures, providing key artistic moments to modern gardens. Her argument that conifers should be revered “rather than being relegated as blobs of the past” was a strong one. Her passion for her work and examples she offered clearly conveyed why conifers should be seen as “art in the garden.” One particular slide I enjoyed amplified coniferous material well suited as a sculpture. Pointing out such things as form, weather, permanence in durability (rather than a flower or sheaf of grass), holding their shape (as opposed to herbaceous plants), and having an enduring presence, had this lifetime member conifer “junkie’s” full attention! As the third presenter in the series,

I focused on fastigiate and dwarf conifers that I felt were astonishing with their many attributes. Making the distinction between fastigiate and columnar plant material, I made an argument for using these types of plants in lieu of more majestic plant types, e.g., ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae. I spoke of the brightly colored conifer markings of bark, needles and cones, and explained why knowing your botanical nomenclature is so important to your landscape. Weaving stories of travel and friendship into my presentation, I did my best to hold everyone’s attention and inspire. The final presentation was Ted Hildebrant, a third-generation nurseryman and propagator who grew up at Hildebrant Nursery in Oldwick, NJ. Today Ted and his life partner Elly Keyel own and operate Coldwater Pond Nursery in Phelps, NY. Ted explained how conifers are propagated, and discussed specific methods including by seed, cuttings

bestow our “Person of the Year” award to a person who performs exemplary outstanding service to the agricultural, farming, gardening, landscaping and/ or nursery 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, landscaping and nursery communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com. and grafting. He shared his techniques and warned us of pitfalls to avoid when shopping for our own conifers. Expanding on this, Ted pointed out “good graft unions from bad ones” and helped us understand potential pests and other issues to watch out for as we purchase at the retail level. I particularly enjoyed the ease and pace of his speaking style and how he made understanding types of woody plant propagation for conifers, seed vs. vegetative, so easy to understand. For me, it was an honor and privilege to share my passion for horticulture alongside such well respected “All-stars” in our industry. And in so doing, possibly influence someone to add a unique conifer to their own collection.

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, past member of Reeves-Reed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331.


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January 2022 17

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18 January 2022

GardenerNews.com

And The 2021

The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) is excited to announce our 2021 Landscape Achievement Awards winners. The awards program is designed to acknowledge landscape professionals who execute quality landscape projects. In sponsoring the awards program, the NJLCA strives to recognize superior landscaping projects and to encourage landscape contractors’ consistent use of quality materials and workmanship. The names of entrants are kept from the panel of judges so as not to affect the decision-making process.

Canete Landscape (Wayne) won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation: Foundation Planting for Kearney Stone Steps and Planting, designed by Kelly Tuttle.

CLC Landscape Design (Ringwood) won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000500,000 for Tranquility in Towaco, designed by Frank Thropp and Richard Cording. CLC also won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: Over $500,000 for Ridgewood Backyard Resort, designed by Kevin Taylor and The NJLCA first presented awards to individuals and companies Richard Cording. who have provided outstanding service to the industry and support of the NJLCA. Contractor of the Year went to Shawn Farmside Landscape and Design (Sussex) won the Award of Kukol of Horizon Landscape Co. Two Associates of the Year Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: $50,000were recognized. They were Craig Dahl of Bobcat of North 100,000 for StayCation, designed by Miles Kuperus. Farmside Jersey and Adam Reisboard of Mr. C Fence. Two Volunteers also won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Maintenance: of the Year were also chosen. They were Richard Andreu Commercial/Industrial for Medical Center, site supervised by of Exclusive Stoneworks and Greg Carpenter of American Cesar Acoste Cruz. Beauty Landscape. Nursery of the Year went to SiteOne Landscape Supply and the Customer Service Award went Greenleaf Lawn and Landscape Inc. (Pennington, NJ 08534) to DeBuck’s Sod Farm. Growing Member of the Year went won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation: to DaVinci Landscapes and Educators of the Year went to Ponds/Water Features for Decker Fountain Project, designed by Bill Errickson and Timothy Waller of Rutgers Cooperative Russell Klockner. Extension. Finally, Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak was chosen as Legislator of the Year. Dr. Bruce Clarke, retiring Horizon Landscape Company (Wyckoff, NJ 07481) won from Rutgers Turfgrass Program was also honored for his years of the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation without Pool: friendship and service to the NJLCA and the industry. $50,000-100,000 for Clayton Residence, designed by Christopher Tanzola. They also won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation without Pool: $50,000-100,000 for Farber Residence, 2021 NJLCA Landscape Achievement Award Winners: designed by Christopher Tanzola. Birch Hill Landscape Design and Construction (Short Hills) Landscape Solutions (Union, NJ 07083) won the Award of won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: $50,000Pool: Over $100,000 for McGinness/Werner Project, designed by 100,000 for Cooper Landscape Project, designed by Bill Schau. Barry Greenberg. Landscape Solutions also won the NJLCA People’s Choice Award for this project! Blu Sol Pools (Bloomingdale) won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-500,000 for Monello Landscape Industries (Wayne) won the Award of Overlook Ave, designed by Greg Imhoff. Distinction in Landscape Installation: Commercial/Industrial

New Jersey Landscape


GardenerNews.com

January 2022 19

The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Executive Director

Winners Are...

for East Brunswick Courtyard, designed by Joe Monello and Jarret Benard. Monello also won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation: Lighting for Wayne Colored Lighting, designed by Dave Pilaar; the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-500,000 for Wayne Kitchen and Pool, designed by Joe Monello and Jarret Benard; the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: $50,000100,000 for Raised Patio, designed by Joe Monello and Jarret Benard; the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: Over $500,000 for Boonton Symmetry Pool, designed by Joe Monello; the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000 for Jackson Project, designed by Joe Monello and Andres Bonilla Vega; the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation: Commercial/Industrial for St. Joseph Courtyard, designed by Joe Monello and Jarret Benard; the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation: Ponds/Water Features for Jackson Koi Pond, designed by Joe Monello and Dave Pilaar; the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation: Lighting for Jackson Lighting, designed by Joe Monello and Dave Pilaar; the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000 for Outdoor Living Pergola and Fire Table, designed by Joe Monello and Jarret Benard; the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation: Lighting for Boonton Lighting, designed by Joe Monello and Dave Pilaar and the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation: Lighting for Wayne Lighting, designed by Joe Monello and Jarret Benard.

$500,000 for Livingston NJ Garden Property, designed by Mitch Knapp. Scenic’s Monroe NY Log Cabin Property also won the Judge’s Choice Award for 2021. Siciliano Landscape Company (Red Bank, NJ 07701) won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Maintenance: Residential for Blank Residence, site supervised by Daniel Fleming. Siciliano also won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: $100,000-250,000 for Monmouth Ave Residence, designed by Alan Tufts and the Award of Merit in Landscape Maintenance: Residential for Maggs Residence, site supervised by Julie Soleil. Thomas Flint Landscape Design and Development (Waldwick, NJ 07463) won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000 for Lynch Project, designed by Thomas Flint.

Vander Sluys Landscape Development, LLC (Wyckoff, NJ 07481) won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation: Lighting for Blake Residence - Lighting. Wicklow and Laurano Landscape Contractors (Flanders, NJ 07836) won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: $100,000-250,000 for Leanza Project, designed by Edward Clark, LA. They also won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: Over $500,000 for Morris County Renovation Project, designed by Edward Clark, LA.

R and B Landscaping LLC (Clark, NJ 07066) won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation: Commercial/Industrial Congratulations to all the 2021 NJLCA Landscape Achievement for Flavor Producers, designed by Richard Thieling and Anthony Award winners! Tarantino. Scenic Landscaping (Haskell, NJ 07420) won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000500,000 for Saddle River Outdoor Living Property, designed by Devin Short. They also won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000 for Monroe NY Log Cabin Property, designed by Rick Zimmer and the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: Over

Editor’s Note: Gail Woolcott is the Executive Director 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.

Contractors Association


20 January 2022

GardenerNews.com

Gardener News Required Reading at Seton Hall University in New Jersey The below contributing writer column is an assignment for a new course being offered at the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University. The new course is called The Business of Food. The Assignment Students shall review the Gardener News at GardenerNews.com, to get a sense of the types of articles published and their relative length. The contributing writer column can describe the elements of the course or be a summary of a food show that they attended. They can summarize lessons learned from a speaker, provided the speaker has given them permission to cite him/her. They can provide an opinion piece that advances a theme or argument in which they have a passion. The contributing writer column must have been submitted by December 2, with the instructor copied on the email of the submission. Students will receive a grade based on the quality of the submission. This assignment is set at 100 points. As special thank you goes out to Karen Boroff, professor and dean emeritus at Seton Hall University for including Gardener News in her curriculum. Professor Boroff is an avid reader of Gardener News, picking up her copy at the Kings Supermarket in Chatham, Morris County, NJ. Besides teaching at the Stillman School of Business, Boroff has also been a visiting professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, at the Management Center Innsbruck in Austria, and at Anhui Normal University in Wuhu, China.

The Student Contributing Writer Column

Supporting Our Local Farmers By Camil Koreichi MBA student at Seton Hall University Stillman School of Business, class of 2022 Why is consuming food from our local farmers so important? Today, supermarkets and convenience shops offer a great variety of fruits and vegetables all year long… No matter if we are in the summer or the winter, it is very easy to access products that are not normally available during the current season. This is made possible because all these products travel thousands of miles across multiple borders in order to satisfy us, consumers. However, in the past decade, there has been a raising awareness on the benefits of consuming products that are locally produced. Today, we consider someone eats “local” when this person consumes products that come from a radius of 50 to 150 miles. Consuming local food is seen as a more ecological, sustainable, and healthier alternative to traditional food shopping. What are the benefits of consuming locally produced food and how can we take part of this virtuous cycle? The fact that most of the fruits and vegetables available on supermarket shelves travelled thousands of miles before it gets in our plate alters the food we eat in many ways. There are many points that will benefit the consumer directly by consuming local food. First, eating fruits and vegetables produced by local farmers is healthier and has better taste. The products are harvested at their peak of quality, but they start losing nutriments as soon as the harvesting is done. Therefore, the longer it will take for a fruit or vegetable to travel, the more nutriments will be lost, the closest the market is to the farm the healthier it is. This goes also for taste, since the local products sold at a farmers’ market have been picked only a couple days before, they will be fresher, sweeter, juicer and tastier. Another benefit for the consumer who supports its’ local farmers is that the food he consumes is safer that the food produced in industrial facilities. In the past years, we heard about many scandals related to the meat industry. When buying in a local market, it is easier to trace the products and the way they were manufactured. Consuming local products is to ensure there are as few intermediaries as possible between the producer and your plate to respect the products and enjoy their natural health benefits. As mentioned earlier, local products only travel a few miles maximum. On the other hand, imported products travel thousands of miles using trucks, cargo boats or even planes. All of these represent a very heavy

carbon footprint and a lot of pollution. Besides, in order to be able to conserve a decent quality, the products are generally protected with many layers of packaging. Consuming locally is also to reduce the use of plastic and cardboard waste by shopping next to your door with reusable bags. On the other hand, consuming locally is also protesting about the intensive agriculture methods which have dramatic consequences on the environment. Soil erosion, reduced fertility, animal mistreatment or even desertification are all consequences of industrial agriculture that threaten our ecosystems. Besides, as the fruits and vegetable are not naturally grown to reach their peak, they use methods that consume a huge amount of electricity and water to be able to harvest faster. So far, we highlighted the benefits of supporting local farmers for the consumers and the environment. However, local farming is also a different way of shopping, promoting social interactions and the support of local communities. Taking part in local farmers markets is a way to support local economy by allowing a better remuneration of the producers surrounding us. The money invested in a local market has way more impact for a territory than when this money goes into the pockets of supermarkets and major brands. Local markets and businesses not only provide jobs and opportunities for the community but the money that is spent locally is more likely to keep circulating in your area and invested in local stores which reinforces the local economy. On the other hand, consuming locally produced food is a way to reconnect with the pleasures of human interacting while shopping. Instead of flying through your Walmart shopping list with your headphones to buy the same products, farmers markets are also a social gathering. There is a pleasure in browsing from one tent to the other discovering new products and exchanging with the farmers. Those people have a great knowledge and expertise on how to produce the food but also the best ways to consume it. You will learn new recipes and techniques that take part of your community’s culture and savoir-faire. As space permits, Gardener News will try and showcase these submissions. Thank you for your submission, Camil.


GardenerNews.com

January 2022 21

NORTHEAST DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEWS NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE USDA Grants Will Fund Seven New Advanced Research, Education, and Marketing Projects New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that more than $1.2 million in funding will support seven advanced research, education, and marketing projects to help specialty crop farms across New York State grow and remain competitive. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets secured the grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant program. New York’s specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, maple syrup, and honey, and are among the state’s most valuable agricultural products. Since the USDA began the program in 2006, New York State has been awarded $16.3 million for 155 specialty crop projects across the state. Commissioner Ball said: “New York’s specialty crops are critical to our state’s economy, environment, and way of life. The Specialty Crop Block Grant program supports the strength of these crops by investing in

research, encouraging innovation, and helping our agricultural community remain competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. It is programs like these that help to ensure the continued strength of New York’s agricultural industry for years to come.” The Specialty Crop Block Grant program is administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in coordination with the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI). NYFVI recommended $480,000 be provided to Cornell University for five grower research and education projects. Cornell University was also awarded $460,000 for research on identifying alternatives to neonicotinoids and chlorpyrifos for controlling insect pests in New York’s specialty crops. In addition, $190,000 from the Specialty Crop Block Grant program will also support the marketing and promotion of New York’s specialty crops at tradeshows.

NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Joe Atchison III Named New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher announced the appointment of Joe Atchison III of Cherry Hill, N.J., as the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. Atchison has been the Director of the Division of Marketing and Development and will continue in that role as well. “Having worked for the Department of Agriculture for over 16 years, Joe has a wealth of experience in department operations and has served admirably in his capacity as Division Director,” Secretary Fisher said. “We look forward to working more with him in this leadership role.” Atchison directs a division which handles promotion of New Jersey’s agricultural products via several programs, most notably, Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables; conducts Food Safety Modernization Act and other

critical inspections; administers several regulatory programs including organic and dairy registration; administers USDA Specialty Crop Block and other promotional grants; licensing and bonding; coordinates the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention; and oversees several equine programs including New Jersey Sire Stakes. “I’m honored to be named Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary, the State Board, the dedicated people at the Department and our state and federal partners to promote and support our farmers and advance the agricultural industry in the Garden State,” Atchison said. Atchison is a Rutgers University School of Business graduate, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management.

2022 Annual N.J. State Agricultural Convention is February 8 – 9, at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City For more information, please visit https://www.nj.gov/agricultur

MAINE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 2022 Maine Agricultural Trades Show Goes Virtual After carefully assessing potential risks to public health amid a sustained surge of COVID-19, the Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announced today that the annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show (ATS) will be held online instead of in-person the week of January 10, 2022. “After listening to concerns raised by our industry’s stakeholders, it became clear that transitioning to an online event is the safest option during a surge in COVID-19 for this year’s Agricultural Trades Show,” said Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural

Resources Director Nancy McBrady. “While we are disappointed we will not be gathering in person as planned, we look forward to celebrating our agricultural community and its many contributions to the State of Maine virtually.” The State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show is sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. It typically takes place every January and is a place for farm, agricultural and related sectors to network and connect around business needs and trends. Producers and consumers alike visit this three day show to get professional

expertise, learn about technologies and to gather information on the agriculture industry. The event offers promotion opportunities for agricultural service providers, equipment and supplies, and organizations to exhibit on the trade show floor. It also includes a conference offering presentations about current topics, research and business trends, certification courses and annual meetings focused on agriculture, natural resource management and food systems. Learn more at https://www.maine.gov/dacf/ard/ market_promotion/ag_trade_show.shtml


22 January 2022

GardenerNews.com

New Jersey Legislation Watch PROHIBITS SALE AND USE OF GAS-POWERED LEAF BLOWERS IN N.J. SENATE, No. 4273 STATE OF NEW JERSEY 219th LEGISLATURE INTRODUCED DECEMBER 13, 2021 Sponsored by: Senator BOB SMITH BILL STATEMENT This bill would prohibit, beginning one year after the bill’s effective date, the sale or distribution of gas-powered leaf blowers within the State for use or operation in New Jersey. The bill would also prohibit, beginning four years after the bill’s effective date, the use of gas-powered leaf blowers within the State. As defined in the bill, “gas-powered leaf blower” means a leaf blower that has a two-stroke or four-stroke engine and uses gasoline or a gasoline and oil blend as fuel. Any person who violates the bill’s provisions would be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each offense. In the case of a continuing violation, each day during which the violation continues would constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense. The bill authorizes State and local law enforcement agencies to have the exclusive authority of enforcing the bill’s provisions. The bill also incentivizes the enforcement of the bill’s provisions by permitting any penalty recovered to be retained by the enforcing government entity. Gas-powered leaf blowers emit high rates of pollutants, including, but not limited to, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, unburnt gasoline, and fine particulate matter. For example, the amount of carbon monoxide emitted from a typical backpack gas-powered leaf blower for just one hour is equal to the amount of carbon monoxide emitted from the tailpipe of an automobile operating for over eight hours, and, for the other pollutants, the amounts are even greater. The chemical pollutants that gas-powered leaf blowers emit may contribute to smog formation and acid rain. In addition to environmental consequences, gas-powered leaf blowers are also associated with occupational health concerns. Gas-powered leaf blowers generate noise at a decibel level capable of causing hearing loss in a short amount of time, and gas-powered leaf blowers send dust and other small particles into the air for considerable distances, including, but not limited to, animal feces, trace quantities of heavy metals such as lead, and allergens such as pollen and mold. There are affordable alternatives to gas-powered leaf blowers, including electric leaf blowers, which are quieter and safer to operate and less harmful to the environment.

Please address comments and concerns about S4273 to SenBSmith@njleg.org

Full Moon January 17, 2022 Eastern Daylight

Reminder: Minimum Wage Increase January 1, 2022 As a reminder, New Jersey’s minimum wage will increase from $12.00 per hour to $13.00 per hour for most employees on January 1, 2022. This is part of the regularly scheduled increases under the law. The minimum wage is then scheduled to increase by $1.00 every year until it reaches $15.00 in 2024. This wage will then continue to adjust every year based on the consumer price index.


GardenerNews.com

January 2022 23

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24 January 2022

GardenerNews.com

BEAST OF THE NOR’EAST

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W H E N A N O R ’ E A S T E R R OA R S I N , YO U N E E D A B E A S T O F A S N OW B LOW E R TO R OA R BAC K .

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ERICA’ S AM

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*Based on average Traqline unit share for snow blower market from 2013 – October 2017

NUMBER

AMERICA’S

ONE SNOW BLOWER BRAND

POWER CLEAR®

COMMERCIAL

21” SINGLE-STAGE SNOW BLOWERS AVA IL A BL E IN 60V BAT T ERY A ND GA S POWER TO BLAST SNOW

POWER TRX HEAVY-DUTY

All the power to break through heavy, wet snow in no time and throw it up to 40 feet.

MORE ROOM FOR WHAT MATTERS

28” I 32” TRACKED TWO-STAGE

Sleek, compact design for easy storage and quick use.

SELF-PROPELLED HYDROSTATIC TRANSMISSION TRACKS PROVIDE INCREASED STABILITY FOR TOUGH SLOPES AND STEEP TERRAIN

SNOWMASTER® 24” SNOW BLOWERS

NEW! BATTERY

POWERED

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POWER CLEAR®

LIGHTNING FAST

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Tear through snow and ice in record time with the powerful engineered auger.

W UPE THERPACE KEEP

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Y

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SNOW BLOWERS

T

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You control your speed with the Personal Pace® Self-Propel System.

POWER MAX®

24” I 26” TWO-STAGE SNOW BLOWERS AVA IL A BL E IN 60V BAT T ERY A ND GA S BUILT 2X STRONGER Hardened gears and no shear pins to break or replace in the cold.

TRIGGLERLESS STEERING Self-propelled, triggerless steering for smooth turns. (Select models)

21” COMMERCIAL SINGLE-STAGE EXTENDED LIFE PADDLES AND REINFORCED HANDLE

POWER MAX® HD

28” I 32” COMMERCIAL TWO-STAGE CAST IRON SKID PLATES AND DRIFT CUTTERS

GRANDSTAND® MULTI FORCE™

WITH BOSS® 48” OR 60” SNOW BLADE, 48” SNOW BLOWER OR 55” POWER BROOM

POWER MAX® HD

28” I 30” I 32” HEAVY-DUTY TWO-STAGE POWER UP Optimal performance and years of dependable use with Toro Premium 4-cycle OHV engines.

NIGHT VISION Your visibility will never be clearer with the LED headlight.

Find Your Local Dealer at WWW.TORO.COM/DEALER

on average Traqline share snowblower blower market 2013-March 2021. †Based†Based on average Traqline unitunit share forforsnow marketfrom from 2013-March 2021.