Gardener News January 2023

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Gardener News proudly bestows our 2022 “Person of the Year” to Pat Barckett, for his dedication to outdoor living communities in the

Pat Barckett

Garden State. Pat has volunteered a tremendous amount of his time toward the landscaping and outdoor communities.

He has been a member of the

has served on the Social Committee since day one.

Currently he is chairman of the NJLCA Golf Committee, and serves on both Trade Show Committees.

Pat is a hands-on guy. He constantly strives for perfection. He takes running events very personally, and it shows. The outdoor industry (Cont. on Page 14)

January 2023 No. 237 Read the Gardener News Online at
Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping &
Gardener News Gardener News Proudly Serving the
New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) since February 1984. From 1998 to 2004 he served as an associate director. From 2008 to 2009 he held the treasurer position. Pat Tom Castronovo/Photo 2 January 2023 G arden C enter d ire C tory 18 Hamilton Rd., Hillsborough, NJ 08844 (908) 359-4652 • GARDEN CENTER HARDWARE LANDSCAPE MATERIALS NURSERY STOCK POWER EQUIPMENT Got Rock Salt? Hall’s Garden Center & Florist 700 Springfield Avenue, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 908.665.0331 | We Do… & Calcium, Snow Shovels, Firewood & Propane. 601 Union Ave. Middlesex, NJ Celebrating Our 75th Anniversary Thank you for a wonderful 2022 season. The Biondi Family See you in March!

Around The Garden

Big News! A $1,000 Scholarship. And a New President

First and foremost, I am very proud to share with you some BIG NEWS that one of the Gardener News featured columnists recently received.

Congratulations are in order for Gail Woolcott, Executive Director of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA), and a featured columnist in the Gardener News. Gail received the New York State Turf & Landscape Association “Person of the Year” award on December 1, 2022 at the Westchester Manor in HastingsOn-Hudson, NY.

Gail and the NJLCA have worked hard together with the New York State Turf & Landscape Association (NYSTLA) on blower bans, legislative issues, and education for the last several years. Because of multiple members on the border counties of New Jersey and New York, NJLCA and the NYSTLA have many synergies and help create a stronger voice to advocate for the outdoor living industries in both states. Gail also received a proclamation from the Westchester County Board of Legislators proclaiming December 1, 2022, as “Gail Woolcott Day” in Westchester County. Furthermore, she also received a proclamation from the Office of the Westchester County Executive recognizing and honoring Gail Woolcott for her resolute commitment to promoting landscaping and the landscaping industry in Westchester County.

The NYSTLA is a professional trade organization operating in New York State. The basic purpose is to promote professionalism in the landscape industry through continual education.

The NJLCA is a community of professionals who are dedicated to advancing the integrity, proficiency and continued growth of the landscape and outdoor industry. They do this through education, training and legislative advocacy.

NJLCA represents the entire outdoor industry in New Jersey, including landscape contractors, landscape architects, sod growers, nurseries, growers, garden centers, horticulturists, floriculture and the industries that supply them.

Gail will make her next big outdoor industry appearance at Landscape New Jersey in the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, Hudson County. This is a one-day outdoor industry marketplace and educational event. The Landscape New Jersey 2023 Trade Show will feature hundreds of exhibit booths displaying the latest trends in plants, outdoor industry products, hardscapes, equipment, and more. A great educational program offering pesticide, tree, and fertilizer recertification credits is available, plus business-related seminars.

Please join me in congratulation Gail in person as thousands of landscape and outdoor professionals gather on March 1, 2023 for this exciting day of industry fun and education. Learn more on how you can meet and visit with Gail and congratulate her in person at

Let’s move on to some agricultural news.

Any high school senior who has participated in New

Jersey 4-H or FFA, and is interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, is eligible for this $1000 Scholarship.

The Gladys “Beth” Pool Memorial Scholarship was established in 2021 to honor the memory of Beth Pool. Beth was a dairy farmer and an agricultural advocate from Gloucester County. Alongside her husband and family, Beth owned and operated Sebowisha Farms, a dairy farm where they milked Holsteins and raised their own crops. Beth’s passion for the agricultural industry was evident when she gave farm tours for school children to learn and experience the world of agriculture.

Aside from her hard work on the farm, Beth dedicated her time to serving others. She served on the New Jersey Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee (NJFBWLC) for 30 years, for which part of that time she served as 1st chair. For ten years, she represented the Northeast serving on the American Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Leadership Committee. Beth also participated in many school programs through the Ag Education Committee of NJFBWLC. Beth also served as a 4-H Leader in Gloucester County, teaching children how to cook and sew, and was a member of the Gloucester County 4-H Fair Association, most notably running the food concession stand that served thousands of people during the Fair.

Students interested must submit the completed application along with an essay on how agriculture “feeds your soul” and a letter of recommendation from a 4-H Leader or FFA Advisor. The application, essay and letter are due by April 1st. The Scholarship winner will be selected and notified by April 30th. For more information, please visit

The New Jersey Farm Bureau has a new president.

New Jersey Farm Bureau President Allen Carter has been with Tuckahoe Turf Farms since 1984 and currently serves as the farm manager. Tuckahoe Turf Farms produces turf grass for residential and municipal sales, and also produces and installs turf grass on many of the professional ball fields in the northeast. Allen has been a member of the Cape May County Board of Agriculture since 1987 where he has served as director, treasurer, vice president and president. Allen was appointed director to the New Jersey Farm Bureau in 2005 before being elected 1st vice president in 2013. Allen is also active in several other organizations including Cape Atlantic Conservation District, Coastal Resources Conservancy as president, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Advisory Board of Cape May County, Cultivated Sod Growers of New Jersey as vice president, Cape May County 4-H Foundation, Turf Producers International committee for creation of National Sod Checkoff Program, and is an active life member of the Tuckahoe Volunteer Fire Company. He has also served on the New Jersey Agricultural Society Board, Rutgers-NJAES Board of Managers, and the Cape May County Covid-19 Business Recovery Task Force. Allen also is a graduate of the New Jersey Agriculture Leadership Development Program.

I hope everyone has a great 2023. We all need it!

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

Note: Tom Castronovo is January 2023 3
Editor’s executive

Most people, when speaking of agriculture here in the Garden State, would mention all the amazing and varied farm products, such as fruits and vegetables, as top-of-mind.

It’s true that our state, with its Jersey Fresh branding, is known just about everywhere on the Eastern Seaboard and points west as growing the most fabulous produce to be found. Our sugar-sweet corn is legendary, our tomatoes the most sought after in the U.S.A.

Where we rank, for instance, in the production of blueberries, cranberries, peppers, spinach, eggplant, and even arugula, is nothing but miraculous given that we live in the most densely populated state in the union.

The list of fruits and vegetables for which New Jersey ranks in the Top 10 nationwide shows what we expect from our awesome growers and how appreciated their products are among consumers.

However, what you might not be aware of is another major agricultural ranking where our state and its growers shine as brightly.

Horticulture, nursery, and sod are categories of plant materials that, while folks likely know of a nearby grower, they might not realize how robust this entire sector is.

It is hard to watch or listen to the news these days without hearing about inflation and its effect on the economy. From gas and diesel prices to home prices to labor rates, it seems as if everything has gone up in price from just a couple of years ago.

Unemployment is low, although the published numbers do not account for all the people who have removed themselves from the labor force and are no longer working or even trying to work, but that is another story. There are long waits to purchase vehicles, which then only sell over the sticker price, and now that life is returning to normal after the pandemic, people are starting to travel more, which is in turn, leading to much higher prices across the entire travel industry.

Are food prices up? The answer to that question is almost positively yes, but probably not as much as in other areas of the economy. The prices of the commodity grain crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans are up somewhat. And these higher prices will usually cause meat prices to increase as well. But for most of the perishable fruit

NJ Dept. of Agriculture

New Jersey Agriculture’s Powerhouses

New Jersey farmers in the horticultural sector are known around the globe for their pioneering work in the production of new varieties of shrubs and flowering plants. These growers are also responsible for multiple innovative techniques that have been embraced worldwide.

These include: double-wall poly coverings; our Rutgers turf grass program, the most successful in the nation; leading producers of plugs; containerized rolling delivery systems; and poinsettias, mums, Easter flowers, and vegetable plants.

Broken down even further, we are number four in the nation in floriculture, shipping millions of dollars’ worth of beautiful flowers into places like New York City, including highly perishable, delicate, fresh flowers like dahlias,

peonies, and lilies. Our Christmas tree growers have been recognized for their excellence, and their trees have been featured at the White House and the Rockefeller Center holiday display.

Just the dollar values of sales at the farmgate score over a halfbillion dollars, making this the highest-sales sector by dollar value of our agriculture. This figure multiplies exponentially when one begins to unpack the value-added aspects.

Flowers are winding their way into the hands of floral designers who create stunning wedding venues with table arrangements and room displays in splashes of greenery to amaze guests.

Major venues such as business campuses, hotels, and restaurants feature our plants trucked into their lobbies and offices.

Even the new World Trade Center has trees that were specially grown here in New Jersey and lovingly, permanently installed in the reflection garden.

Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Philadelphia Eagles), and others use our turf grasses.

So, as with all of agriculture in the Garden State, the horticulture, greenhouse and sod sector is composed of amazing and talented farmers who can grow just about anything.

How do you know our growers produce it? One good way is to look for the Jersey Grown label next spring when you visit your local garden center.

Modeled on the well-known Jersey Fresh brand, when you buy Jersey Grown, you’ll know you are supporting our growers and your local economy.

The Town Farmer

Food Inflation

and vegetable crops, prices did not really increase all that much. Sure, there were exceptions to this throughout the 2022 growing season. For example, California had some weather issues during the summer months, and a couple of regions were delayed in harvesting lettuce during the fall. This caused the wholesale prices to quadruple during the month of November. A freeze back in March did some damage to the fruit crop in the Eastern United States. This lack of supply put some upward pressure on fruit prices for the season. Also, as you are probably aware, Avian Influenza made its presence felt during the past year, and in turn caused the prices of chicken, turkey and eggs to fluctuate wildly throughout 2022. But

as significant as these events were, they and other similar types of events are really not that uncommon in agriculture. There is always something happening somewhere. When these events are localized, they do not really affect the agricultural markets too much. But when they are more widespread, they can impact markets on a greater scale.

These events are generally short lived. They also tend to even themselves out over time. If growers don’t get enough of a return on their investment, they will plant less, which should drive prices higher. And if a crop is seen to be a good moneymaker, growers have a knack for overplanting their way to unprofitability. The bottom line with all of this

is that when markets are left to their own devices, and the laws of supply and demand are allowed to act in an unfettered manner, this usually benefits the consumer. Growers are tempted just enough by the potential of high returns to ensure that there is enough over-supply in the marketplace to keep prices from rising too much.

Maybe farmers have done too good of a job with this. According to the USDA, in 1960 the United States population spent 17.5 percent of its income on food. Today, that number has fallen to 9.6 percent. That means that America’s food dollar goes almost twice as far as it did sixty years ago. And that is without factoring in the huge increase in the amount

These plants you buy are more acclimated to our soils and our climate and will have a better chance to thrive in your yard.

Another growing phenomenon coming soon is “Jersey Natives,” plants which you will be hearing more about in the coming months. These plants are all native to New Jersey in the wild and reflect an affinity for this state’s growing conditions.

Once again, it’s all about local and all the benefits of buying from your nearby growers. It’s all Jersey and we are mighty proud!

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

of food consumed away from home, which if it were cut back or eliminated, would surely stretch that amount even further.

The bottom line to all of this is that the American Public has never had an easier job feeding themselves than they do today. We have one of the most abundant food supplies in the world, and it is as affordable as it has ever been. As long as we don’t allow ourselves to screw this up, it should continue. As consumer tastes and market conditions change, farmers will adapt and change with them. Happy New Year everyone!

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. 4 January 2023
January 2023 5 Governor Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher Phil Murphy for
shopping for
you’re shopping for JERSEY GROWN nursery stock, you
the trees,
flowers Governor Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher Support NJ Agriculture JERSEY GROWN Nursery Stock JERSEY GROWN Sunflower Birdseed JERSEY GROWN Firewood JERSEY GROWN Annuals & Perennials Made With JERSEY GROWN Wood Birdhouses & Bird Feeders
trees, flowers quality, and Garden soil
GROWN know the trees, and
for quality, pest free, and the Garden climate and
shrubs, plants and
checked for quality, disease, are pest free, and accustomed to the Garden State’s climate and soil conditions.

Atlantic County

Phone: 609-625-0056

Bergen County Phone: 201-336-6780

Burlington County Phone: 609-265-5050

Camden County Phone: 856 216 7130

Cape May County Phone: 609-465-5115

Cumberland County Phone: 856-451-2800

Essex County Phone: 973-228-2210

Gloucester County Phone: 856-224-8040

Hudson County Phone: 201-915-1399

Hunterdon County Phone: 908-788-1339

Mercer County Phone: 609-989-6830

Middlesex County Phone: 732-398-5260

Monmouth County Phone: 732-431-7260

Morris County Phone: 973-285-8300

Ocean County Phone:732-349-1246

Passaic County Phone: 973-305-5740

Salem County Phone: 856-769-0090

Somerset County Phone: 908-526-6293

Sussex County Phone: 973-948-3040

Union County Phone: 908-654-9854

Warren County Phone: 908-475-6505

From the Director’s Desk

Rutgers Outreach

A Look Ahead in 2023

I extend my best wishes to Gardener News readers for a healthy, happy, and fulfilling 2023.

The year ahead promises to be one of ongoing transition as Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) continues to face significant faculty and staff retirements across all program areas. At the same time, we have our eyes on the current and future needs of the state as we plan for and respond to these inevitable changes.

Reflecting on the idea of change, I am often struck by the adaptability of our land-grant system, a venerable institution created in 1862 that was described by a former Rutgers University Chancellor as “America’s greatest innovation.” Land-grant universities defy the glacial pace at which many large organizations, universities included, adapt to changes around them. This is in large part due to cooperative extension.

A few years ago, West Virginia University President Gordon Gee and Stephen Gavazzi, an Ohio State University professor, wrote Land Grant Universities for the Future: Higher Education for the Public Good. A passage in the book’s foreword immediately resonated with me: “Universities that are not engaged with their communities in the 21st century will soon find themselves disengaged from any meaningful relevance to the citizens of the United States.” A concept embedded in the book is the notion that cooperative extension is a proverbial ‘front door’ at land-grant universities and the means through which they remain connected to the needs of people and communities—or in other words, remain relevant.

Rutgers–New Brunswick recently launched an ambitious Academic Master Plan centered on the four key pillars of community engagement, student success, scholarly leadership, and innovative research that will help the university navigate forward. Hearing firsthand the words of Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway and Rutgers–New Brunswick ChancellorProvost Francine Conway about the essentiality of community engagement and service for the common good reinforced my deeply rooted belief in the modern-day relevance and importance of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Words were matched by actions as Drs. Holloway and Conway engaged with the communities served by RCE and New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), including at a cranberry harvest, a county fair, and a meeting of the NJAES Board of Managers.

Staying on the theme of change and looking ahead…practically speaking, what can you expect to see in 2023?

While the State-appropriated NJAES ‘base budget’ (which primarily funds NJAES faculty and staff salaries) remains a challenge, recent

supplemental State funding has supported critical investments in experiment station infrastructure modernization and programs that align with New Jersey’s evolving needs. These investments span the state, from the Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp in Sussex County to the Aquaculture Innovation Center in Cape May County. I am pleased to report that these investments will continue in 2023 and advance our ability to stimulate innovation and economic growth, build a skilled workforce, demonstrate new technologies, and empower people to create positive changes in their lives and communities.

The pace of retirements at NJAES, and specifically within RCE, will remain daunting as the year progresses. The silver lining, however, is that hiring approvals were granted this fiscal year for critical extension specialist and county faculty positions slated for 2023. Several extension specialist searches are already underway, including those in the areas of turfgrass pathology, livestock/ animal agriculture, farm viability, and climate resilience. Eleven searches have been approved for county agent/educator positions in agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development, and family and community health sciences. Of likely special interest to Gardener News readers is the approval of a county agent position to lead statewide home horticulture programs within RCE. Gratitude for these much-needed approvals is owed to the efforts of many, including Executive Dean/Director Laura Lawson, Chancellor-Provost Conway, county partners, and the NJAES Board of Managers.

The NJAES Vision 2025 plan was created to focus efforts to strengthen programming to support the future of agriculture in New Jersey, promote community health/wellness and development, and support adaptation to changing climate conditions. I report this month on one initiative in particular: a statewide farm viability project supported by NJAES, New Jersey Farm Bureau, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and agricultural leaders (including the state and county boards of agriculture) from across the state. A response to the remarkable challenges experienced in 2022 by many sectors of New Jersey agriculture, this unified effort seeks to focus attention on the challenges affecting the current and future viability of the state’s agriculture industry and identify strategies to address them. NJAES will take guidance from this initiative in terms of needed research and extension programs.

I close with a thank you to Tom Castronovo for the opportunity to write this monthly column and bring news, useful information, and additional updates from Rutgers Cooperative Extension throughout the year to come. 6 January 2023 r U t G er S n J ae S/ r C e
Editor’s Note: Brian J. Schilling, Ph.D., is Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Senior Associate Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
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Rutgers Equine Science Center Hosts

‘Evening of Science and Celebration’

The Rutgers Equine Science Center hosted its 2022 “Evening of Science & Celebration” in early November in New Brunswick, NJ. Sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center, this year honored Octavia Brown and Stoneleigh Farms with annual awards.

Brown received the 2023 “Spirit of the Horse” award for her stalwart support of the equine community, and her long-time commitment to the advancement of Equine Assisted Services nationwide.

The 2022 winner of the “Gold Medal Horse Farm” award is Stoneleigh Stables of Branchburg, NJ, owned by Chrisie and Chris Van Cleef. The award, part of the New Jersey Equine Environmental Stewardship Program, gives recognition to outstanding equine farms for their dedication to environmental sustainability and management.

The Center also announced the “Ronald S. Dancer Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will be named after former New Jersey Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, who passed away in early 2022.

Assemblyman Dancer served as the assemblyperson from New Jersey’s 12th Legislative District, as the Deputy Republican Leader in the New Jersey Assembly, and in the New Jersey General Assembly since 2002. He was a former horseman, trainer, driver, and the son of the late Hall of Fame harness horse racing

driver Stanley Dancer. Assemblyman Dancer professionally raced and trained harness horses from 1968 through 1998.

The scholarship will be given to an undergraduate student majoring in Animal Sciences with an equine emphasis, who has dedicated their time through service and leadership, just as former Assemblyman Dancer did throughout his entire career.

Further information about the establishment of the memorial scholarship will be provided in the coming weeks on the Equine Science Center’s website.

The Equine Science Center is a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Its mission is “Better Horse Care through Research and Education” in order to advance the well-being and performance of horses and the equine industry. Its vision is to be recognized throughout New Jersey as well as nationally and internationally for its achievements in identifying issues in the horse industry, finding solutions through sciencebased inquiry, providing answers to the horse industry and to horse owners, and influencing public policy to ensure the viability of the horse industry. For more information about the Equine Science Center, call 848-932-9419 or visit esc.

Jason Grabosky Honored by the Society of Municipal Arborists

Professor Jason Grabosky, in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, received an award of honorary membership from the Society of Municipal Arborists, at their annual Partners Luncheon during their annual conference this year is Seattle, Washington. Grabosky was nominated by a Natural Resource Coordinator in Ohio for his outreach work to urban forestry professionals and volunteers on a national/international level.

It’s nice to receive validation for our work from the folks to whom we try to be of service,” said Grabosky. “ The fact that this comes from a national/international society from a nomination by an urban forester originating in the Midwest just provides one more small piece of evidence that extension folks at Rutgers have impacts well beyond our “back yard”.”

The Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA) is an organization of municipal arborists and urban

foresters that was founded in 1964. They are a professional affiliate of the International Society of Arboriculture and have members from across North America and beyond representing tree care consultants and commercial firms, nonprofit organizations, and citizen volunteers who actively practice or support municipal forestry.

SMA’s mission is to build the confidence, competence and camaraderie of professionals who manage trees and forests to create and sustain more livable communities. They work to promote a thriving and inclusive society of engaged learners through the promotion of the core values of integrity, collaboration, service, inclusivity, global perspective, and innovation. SMA produces a bi-monthly online magazine, hosts an annual conference, and runs the Municipal Forestry Institute – leadership training for urban forest managers.

Rutgers Food Innovation Program Appoints Five Advisory Board Members

The Rutgers University Food Innovation Center (FIC), an award-winning program in food business incubation, acceleration, and economic development, has announced the creation of an Advisory Board consisting of globally-recognized leaders in the food industry.

The FIC, which has been in operation for over 20 years with extraordinary success, has identified the need to create its first formal Advisory Board to identify new strategic opportunities to better serve the food industry going forward. Each advisory board member is a leader in the food industry and brings a unique and diverse set of perspectives to the Center, and a global depth and breadth of expertise. The advisors will help provide strategic guidance to FIC’s senior leadership team, including Nolan Lewin, FIC’s Executive Director.

Lou Cooperhouse, president & CEO of BlueNalu, will serve as chair of the Advisory Board and was formerly cofounder and executive director of the FIC. Other members of the Advisory Board include: Andrew Gellert, president of Gellert Global Group; Takis Solomos, partner of Elikonos Capital Partners; Brian Choi, managing partner and CEO of The Food Institute; and Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, senior associate director, Rutgers University NJAES and co-founder and administrator-in-charge of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center.

The Food Innovation Center at Rutgers University is a unique food business incubator and accelerator that is a unit of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). The Center supports established early-stage entrepreneurs and existing food companies from concept to commercialization. Combining years of industry expertise and the advanced technologies offered by Rutgers, we provide business, marketing, food safety, product design and scale up expertise within FDA and USDA certified facilities to help companies successfully build and grow their business. More information can be found at https:// January 2023 7 r U t G er S n J ae S/ r C e
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Happy New Year Gardener News readers! I hope you all had a great holiday season with your loved ones. When I think of the new year, I see it as a fresh start or a blank slate.

Many people make resolutions to make positive changes or to explore a new hobby or get in shape. Some see it as a perfect time to start a new business venture or to expand their current operations. That is why in this edition I would like to talk about programs and loans that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides for beginning farmers and ranchers. FSA can help you get started, or grow your operation, through a variety of programs and services, from farm loans to crop insurance, and conservation programs to disaster assistance.

Before you begin your new farm venture, you must sit down and come up with a plan. With any agricultural operation, there are many moving parts and it can be overwhelming just thinking about them all. Thankfully FSA can guide you to resources to help build your business plan. FSA provides free technical assistance and can help you develop a conservation plan for your land. We also have the SCORE

USDA Farm Service Agency

Resources for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

Mentorship Program that links new farmers with established farmers to share knowledge, ideas, information, and best practices so you do not have to learn from mistakes that can be very costly. Many beginning farmers are unsure of how to finance their new farm. FSA is here to help with that as well! FSA has many low interest loan options for beginning farmers, from Farm Operating Loans to Farm Ownership Loans or even Microloans. FSA’s Direct Farm Operating Loans provide an essential gateway into agricultural production by financing the cost of operating a farm and has a maximum loan amount of $400,000. Farm Ownership Loans offer up to 100 percent financing and are a valuable resource to help farmers purchase or enlarge family farms, improve

and expand current operations, increase agricultural productivity, and assist with land tenure to save farmland for future generations.

The Farm Ownership Loan has a maximum loan amount of $600,000. The focus of Microloans is on the financing needs of small, beginning farmers, and niche and non-traditional farm operations, such as CSAs for example. Microloans have a maximum loan amount of $50,000. This year, the USDA launched a new online tool to help farmers and ranchers better navigate the farm loan application process. Farmers can access the Loan Assistance Tool by visiting farm-loan-assistance-tool and clicking the ‘Get Started’ button. The Loan Assistance Tool is the first of multiple farm loan process improvements that will be

available to USDA customers on in the future.

There is always risk when starting a new business, especially one in agriculture. Beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for certain benefits designed to help as you start your operation. Some of these benefits include exemption from paying the admin fee for certain policies, use of the previous producer’s production history, and an increase in the substitute Yield Adjustment which allows you to replace a low yield due to an insured cause of loss. One of FSA’s most popular programs is the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. NAP provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops for low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occurrence due to natural

disasters. By participating in NAP, you may also be eligible for emergency loans, grants, and future emergency programs. Here at FSA, we want you to start your New Year with a positive step forward towards your goal of farm ownership. With our loans, programs, and technical assistance our team is here to help. To receive the most up-to-date FSA information, you can visit the website. If you prefer to visit our team in-person at your local FSA office, we are open Monday-Friday except for major federal holidays. You may also reach out to me directly at or call/ text me at 609-226-2459. Again, I want to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year!

Editor’s Note: Bob Andrzejczak is the State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in New Jersey. He can also be reached at 609587-0104 during regular business hours. For more information, please visit state-offices/New-Jersey/ sed-biography/index

No Birds Without Native Plants

Actually without native plants there would also be almost no butterflies, amphibians, mammals, reptiles, etc. You get the picture. This is because many animals rely on native plants or insects for food and 90% of insects are specialists which rely on specific native plants for survival.

Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware has shown that 96% of North American terrestrial birds rely on insects to feed their young, even though the adults may be seed eaters. A single clutch of chickadees will require 6,2409,120 caterpillars before they leave the nest.

The average yard in the US can be described as an ecological desert. The ideal concept of a suburban yard has been to emulate an English park with wide expanses of lawn, a few

scattered trees, and a bunch of highly sculpted non-native foundation plantings near the house. However, increasingly it has been recognized that to maintain ecological diversity in our native fauna, we must plant a wide range of native plants. Doug Tallamy has suggested that 50% or more of our yard vegetation should be native plants in order to support nesting birds; just remember the 6,240 caterpillars needed by a pair of chickadees. Since the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) maintains that 2/3 of wildlife have disappeared since 1970, it is in our interest to share our living space with the rest of God’s creatures.

We need not give up all our treasured green lawn space or our favorite rhododendron, but we should consider converting much of our unused lawn into habitat for the other living creatures which have been crowded out of existence due to huge warehouses, unused shopping malls, and empty giant corporate buildings that

sprawl all over NJ. Private lawns in the US comprise a larger acreage (about 40 million acres) than all the National Parks put together. Much of this acreage can be returned to ecologically productive and beautiful native plants.

The perfect well-manicured average US lawn, as reported by the Audubon Society, uses 10X more chemical pesticides than farmland. In addition, large amounts of herbicides and artificial fertilizer are applied to lawns in the search for perfection. Increasingly the NJ DEP has been reporting that fertilizer runoff is causing overgrowth of bacteria and algae in our lakes and rivers. This leads to subsequent dieback of the algae, oxygen depletion in the water, and fish kill-off. The persistent stench that this will lead to has to be experienced to be believed.

The NJ DEP has been doing regular tests for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in NJ. In 2021, 55 tests were done and 23 waterways in NJ were closed

to swimming or fishing. In 2022, 37 HABs were reported and again Round Valley near me was closed to swimming.

If we want our parks back, we need to take immediate remedial action. We should cut back on non-essential chemical applications to our lawns and fields, and we may have to consider treating run-off water before releasing it into streams and lakes. Inexpensive ponds and impressively beautiful man-made marsh gardens have been used effectively for many years in southern states to purify water, and these may also work well here especially in the warm seasons when algal bloom problems are prevalent.

However, while waiting for the state to fix the problem, each homeowner can be part of the solution. I just added my yard to the site. I have about 200 native species of plants and regularly enjoy viewing butterflies, hummingbird moths, snakes,

turtles, skunks, opossums, foxes, toads, hummingbirds, and many other birds.

Native plants’ roots penetrate down several feet to loosen the soil and thus introduce rain deep into the soil and sharply reduce runoff. Perennial native herbs, shrubs, and trees sequester carbon and can seriously reduce greenhouse carbon-dioxide emissions. Native plantings do not require fertilizer, rolling, frequent liming, pesticides and need little watering.

Consider adding your yard to our growing Homegrown National ParkTM movement and help be an active part of the solution to global warming instead of adding to our current ecological crises in NJ and in the world.

Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is Horticultural Co-Chair of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at milhubling@ January 2023 9

USDA NASS Conducting Surveys

Bee and honey production, disposition, and income

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact beekeepers during the bee and honey production, disposition, and income Inquiry to gather information on colony numbers, honey production, stocks, and sales. The information helps evaluate conditions from year to year, and promote programs designed to ensure the viability of beekeepers and agricultural pollination services. NASS will conduct the survey in January and February 2023, collecting data from more than 8,500 beekeepers nationwide.

“The survey results provide a statistical benchmark on U.S. honey production and value,” said King Whetstone, director of the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office. “The information will allow the USDA, beekeepers, and any other interested parties to analyze data on a state-by-state basis and monitor changes in honey production and value.”

To ensure all survey participants have an opportunity to respond, NASS will contact producers who do not respond online or by mail to conduct telephone interviews. NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.

Results of this survey are published annually in the Honey report, which will be available on March 17, 2023.

Commercial floriculture survey

At the beginning of December 2022 the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) began conducting the 2023 Commercial Floriculture Survey (2022 production year) with approximately 2,700 producers throughout all eleven states in the Northeast. Growers will be asked to provide information on production area, sales of floriculture commodities, and the number of agricultural workers on their operations. Growers can complete the survey by mail, phone, or online at If NASS does not receive a grower’s completed questionnaire by January 30, a representative may reach out to arrange an interview.

“This information helps growers, buyers, government agencies, and others who can use the data to identify state and national trends, make plans, and determine the industry’s impact on farm income and the economy,” said King Whetstone, director of the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office. “By participating in the survey, floriculture growers ensure that NASS can provide accurate data on floriculture production, thereby enabling USDA and the industry to be more responsive to domestic and international markets and consumer needs.”

This floriculture survey is a census of commercial floriculture operations that annually produce and sell at least $10,000 worth of fresh cut flowers, potted flowering plants, foliage plants, annual bedding and garden plants, herbaceous perennials, cut cultivated florist greens, propagative floriculture material and unfinished plants.

Beginning last year, the survey went from covering the 17 main producing states to all 50 states, with the top 28 (AL, AK, CA, CT, CO, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, IA, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI) published individually and the remaining states combined into an “other states” total.

In accordance with federal law, survey responses are kept confidential. Survey data will be available in aggregate form only to ensure that no individual producer or operation can be identified. NASS will publish the survey data May 25, 2023.

In the Chef’s Corner

Local Winter Flounder & Parsnip Chowder

Happy New Year to the Gardener News family. It was busy season filled with long hours in the kitchen and countless meals served, but it also included the deep satisfaction of being part of many wonderful holiday memories made. I am not quite sure how 2023 is here already, but I am excited to have the clean slate of a new year in front of us. May it be a healthy and prosperous one for all.

One of my favorite recipes at this time of year is Local Winter Flounder & Parsnip Chowder. This hearty variation calls for winter flounder that has an open season for fishing in New Jersey from March 1 through December 31. This fish is most abundant in our state’s northern and central nearshore coastal areas including the Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay, Navesink River, Shark River, Manasquan River and parts of Barnegat Bay. If you don’t fish, I recommend you go to a good fish market that brings in fresh fish daily. If flounder is out of season, substitute with haddock.

Onto the other star ingredient in this dish: Parsnips are not as sweet as their more popular cousin the carrot (both are in the Apiaceae plant family along with parsley), but instead have a unique earthy flavor that can be described as somewhat nutty and spicy. Parsnips can be harvested after first frost, but before the ground freezes and they store very well, making them a good winter staple for those

who like to eat local and support local growers. Although the ingredient list seems to be a long one, you may have many of these items already at home. You will need 1 pound of flounder (or haddock) fillets cut into 2” x 2” pieces, 1 pound of diced parsnips, ½ pound of diced potatoes, 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 chopped onion, the juice of half a lemon, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped celery stalk and 1 sprig of fresh thyme. Liquid ingredients needed are ½ cup of sherry, 1 cup of fish stock, 2 cups of vegetable stock, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Start by peeling the parsnips and cutting them into ¼-inch thick slices, followed by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into ½-inch dice. Place both in a bowl of water to prevent discoloring. In a large saucepan or kettle, melt two tablespoons of butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the onion, lemon, thyme, garlic, celery and carrots, and cook all together until wilted and golden. Add the parsnips, turnips, potatoes, fish stock, vegetable stock and sherry. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Then, whisk in the milk and cream. Keep warm, but do not boil. Stir the vegetable mixture.

Finally, add the winter

flounder and stir together in the pot. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Just before serving, stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Top each serving with ground pepper and chives. On a cold winter’s day, it does not get any better than this!

As a side salad, my choices are either a Pear Salad with Gorgonzola or a Kale Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette. I am partial to the pear salad, since anything with gorgonzola is a treat. You will need four cups of washed salad greens, 2 cored pears, ½ cup of dried currants or raisins, 2 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese, 1 cup of roasted walnuts, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and ¼-cup of light olive oil.

Divide the lettuce onto chilled plates and top with sliced pears and the currants or raisins. Crumble the cheese evenly over the salads and top with halved walnuts. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, rice vinegar and olive oil. Whisk together and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Drizzle half over the salads and serve the rest on the side.

To round out the meal, I like to add a crunchy French baguette from Calandra’s Bakery to dip into the chowder. Yum! And finally, my wine recommendation would be a good butter oaked chardonnay to stand up to the richness of the chowder. I hope you enjoy!

Editor’s Note: Andy Lagana is a

at Crystal Springs

Hamburg, Sussex County, N.J. For more information on its culinary program, visit 10 January 2023
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2022 Person of the Year

(Continued from page 1)

is very fortunate to have Pat. Volunteers are necessary and extremely helpful for a healthy outdoor community. People from all walks of life donate their time and effort to various causes, day and night, every day of the year. The big question is, who will make that happen? Volunteers like Pat can.

Pat is full of fresh and spontaneous enthusiasm. He always has a cheerful and willing spirit, and a sustained commitment to the community he serves.

Pat has passion for the outdoor industry and everyone who is committed to it. He always says that he is proud that everything he does for the outdoor industry is a friendship and a partnership, not a job.

Richard Goldstein, president of the NJLCA, said he was pleased to hear that Pat Barckett was chosen for

this prestigious award as the 2022 Gardener News Person of the Year. “Pat Barckett has been a great ally to the NJLCA and the landscape and outdoor industry for many years,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein also said “There couldn’t be a more deserving person,” and added, “Pat Barckett is an integral part of the industry and truly understands the wants and needs of the contractor. He tirelessly gives back and is always a calm place in the storm (literally and figuratively).”

Pat has been in construction sales for over 42 years. He started his career in the concrete industry. Pat then started selling Bobcat at Contractors Supply in Englewood, NJ in November of 1983.

In July of 1992, Pat joined Bobcat of North Jersey, and became director of Sales and Marketing in 1998. Vincent

Ryan, founder, president, and owner of Bobcat of North Jersey said “Pat Barckett is highly regarded in the construction equipment industry as a consummate sales professional. He is a key and valued member of our Leadership Team and is largely responsible for bringing us to our current status as a Premier Dealer in the Worldwide Bobcat Network.”

Ryan added, “More than that, to me and to all of our many customers and associates, Pat Barckett is a good friend, always ready to help out. Pat is also a doting and proud father and family man with a refined sense of work-life balance. It has truly been an honor to know and work with him for these many years and I look forward to our continued success.”

Pat grew up in Passaic, Passaic County, NJ. He graduated from Montclair

State with a BS degree in Marketing.

This paper now wholeheartedly salutes Pat Barckett for his belief in volunteering, devoting his free time, having an industrywide reputation for education and wellness toward the landscaping and outdoor industries, having the highest standards of business acumen, equipment management expertise, attention to safety and community involvement, and for his passion for protecting and watching over all facets of the Garden State agricultural, gardening, landscaping, nursery, and outdoor living sectors.

Pat Barckett also deserves to be recognized for being a good friend to everyone that he meets.

Gardener News began the annual “Person of the Year” cover story in 2008. Gardener News will annually bestow our

“Person of the Year” award to a person who performs exemplary outstanding service to the agricultural, farming, gardening, landscaping, nursery and outdoor living 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 14 January 2023
Gardener News is published and disseminated monthly. *Whether you are looking to promote your business, a sale or event, celebrate an expansion, enhance your image or maintain relationships with customers, Gardener News can help meet your advertising goals. Germinated in 2003 Gardener News is written by amazing, credentialed industry professionals, industry leaders and brilliant industry specialists. Gardener News covers local, national and regional farming, forestry, horticultural, landscaping and outdoor industry news. We also feature a wide variety of interesting reading material and great educational tips. Gardener News Gardener News is the leading Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping and Nursery industry publication, both online and in print, in the New Jersey metropolitan area. SIGN UP TODAY for an E-Newspaper Subscription It’sFastandEasy! Please visit the top right-hand corner of

With an increasing interest to add native plants to the garden, there is a definition or a distinction called provenance that is worth understanding.

Many plants have a very broad native distribution. For example, the red maple, Acer rubrum, is native into Maine and even southeastern Canada, and then extends West to Minnesota and south to Louisiana and east to Florida and inhabits all those states in between. Throughout that massive range, for all intents and purposes, the red maple in Maine, Pennsylvania and Florida will look very similar. However, in those different parts of the range of red maple, those populations will have developed genetic variations so that they can adapt to local conditions and habitats. These genetic variations sometimes might be visible variations, but often are variations that include heat tolerance, tolerance of wet soils, etc. that are specific to location and are referred to as the provenance.

From purely a conservation perspective, maintaining local provenance populations supports the local ecosystem and protects the local biodiversity. Additionally, with planting projects such a meadow restoration or reforestation of a local area, it is valuable to try to have plants of the same local provenance

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Why Does Plant Provenance Matter?

to match the local genetics of the existing native plants of the region.

If possible, when planting new native plants in our local region, it is worthwhile inquiring if the plants being sold are of a local provenance.

It is likely that most local purveyors of plants don’t know the provenance of their plants, but I have seen particular nurseries that feature native plants sometimes offer a variety of local provenances.

Provenance will continue to play an important role in the selection of adaptable plants for the home garden, public gardens and landscapes, and for street trees. Plants with a broad range like that of the red maple will likely have northern populations and southern populations. In theory, the northern populations will exhibit greater tolerance to cold temperatures while the southern provenances will be tolerant of heat. In this area, the winters of 1977 and 1979 were historically very cold.

During this period the popular street tree the willow oak, Quercus phellos, suffered considerable dieback. Most likely those trees growing in Society Hill were grown from acorns in the southern parts of the U. S. and therefore did not have cold tolerance as part of their provenance and genetic makeup. The northern part of the range for willow oak is actually northern Philadelphia and into central and southern New Jersey. Therefore, it would be prudent to grow acorns from these populations for willow oaks with greater cold tolerance.

For decades the most popular river birch to be used in the landscape was Betula nigra Heritage™. This selection was made by seed harvested in the St. Louis, Missouri area. It has been suggested that Heritage™ is most likely a relatively good cultivar to use for more northern climates due to the cold winters where the seed was originally collected.

Betula nigra Dura Heat™ is a selection that was made from seed from a Florida source and is promoted in regions with hot summers.

With significant changing climates and increasingly hotter summers, provenance within certain species that exhibit more tolerance to heat will become critical. It has been theorized that certain native trees in the greater Philadelphia area like the white oak, Quercus alba, may not survive long-term due to the continually increasing temperatures. It might be necessary to introduce a selected cultivar or even southern provenances to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The white oak extends as far south as the panhandle of Florida and west into east Texas. Most likely both of these provenances have much greater heat tolerance.

It will probably take some time before specific provenances of species are widely available in garden

centers. However, the plant introduction industry that is making new plant selections has increasingly been aware that provenance matters to support local ecosystems, as well as to introduce new cultivars that might exhibit any of a number of attributes including tolerances to heat, cold and drought.

Editor’s Note: Andrew Bunting is Vice President of Horticulture 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 andrew-bunting

USDA Scientists Produce Nanobodies in Plant Cells that Block Emerging Pathogens

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) recently announced that plants could be used to produce nanobodies that quickly block emerging pathogens in human medicine and agriculture. These nanobodies represent a promising new way to treat viral diseases, including SARS-CoV-2.

Nanobodies are small antibody proteins naturally produced in specific animals like camels, alpacas, and llamas.

ARS researchers turned to evaluating nanobodies to prevent and treat citrus greening disease in citrus trees. These scientists are now using their newly developed and patented SymbiontTM technology to show that

nanobodies can be easily produced in a plant system with broad agricultural and public health applications. As a proof-of-concept, researches showed that nanobodies targeting the SARSCoV-2 virus could be made in plant cells and remain functional in blocking the binding of the SARSCoV-2 spike protein to its receptor protein: the process responsible for initiating viral infection in human cells

“We initially wanted to develop sustainable solutions to pathogens in crop production,” said ARS researcher Robert Shatters, Jr. “The results of that research are indeed successful and beneficial for the nation’s agricultural system. But now we are aware of an even greater

result – the benefits of producing therapeutics in plants now justify the consideration of using plants to mass produce COVID-19 protein-based therapies.”

AgroSource, Inc. collaborated with USDA-ARS to develop the plant-based production system. They are currently taking the necessary steps to see how they can move this advancement into the commercial sector.

“This is a huge breakthrough for science and innovative solutions to agricultural and public health challenges,” said ARS researcher Michelle Heck. “This cost-efficient, plant-based system proves that there are alternative ways to confront and prevent the spread of emerging

pathogens. The approach has the potential to massively expand livelihood development opportunities in rural agricultural areas of the nation and in other countries.”

This research collaboration is in response to the White House’s Executive Order on advancing biotechnology and biomanufacturing innovation for a sustainable, safe, and secure American bioeconomy.

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 U.S. agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact. January 2023 15

And the 2022

The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) is excited to announce our 2022 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.

The NJLCA first presented awards to individuals and companies who have provided outstanding service to the industry and support of the NJLCA. Associate of the Year went to Braen Supply; Contractor of the Year to Chuck Bacon, Greenleaf Lawn and Landscape; Distinguished Service Award to George Futterknecht, Wood Landscapes; Budding Contractor Award to R & B Landscaping; Legislator of the Year to New Jersey Senate President Nicholas P. Scutari; Nursery of the Year to Stone House Nursery; Innovation Award to Glenn Ehrgott, Performance Trailers for the Fast Load Ramp; Landscape Innovation Award to Richard Andreu, Exclusive Stoneworks for his Fire Hydrant Fountain; Volunteer of the Year to Marco Barrera, Horizon Landscape Co.; Customer Service Award to Jakob Salman, Cedarwood Landscaping; Community Service Award to Richard Cording, CLC Landscaping; MVP Award to Doug Rosenbaum, Native Fields Landscaping; Team Player Award to Yesenia Sotomayor, Kodiak Landscape and Design; Making a Difference Award to Brian Schwartz, I Want to Mow Your Lawn; and the Spotlight Award to Anthony Tarantino, R & B Landscaping.

2022 NJLCA Landscape Achievement Award Winners:

Blue Mountain Landscaping, LLC (Bridgewater, NJ) won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: $50,000-100,000 for the Mt. Bethel Project, designed by Felix & Jeffrey Escobar.

Canete Landscape (Wayne, NJ) won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: $25,000-50,000 for

the Riverhouse 11 Grilling Station project, designed by Dave DaCosta. Canete also won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Up to $25,000 for the Smith - Front Slope and Staircase Replacement project, designed by Kelly Tuttle. Finally, they won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: $50,000-100,000 for the Matthews - Pool Plantings & Lower Yard Screen project, also designed by Kelly Tuttle.

DiTomaso Landscape Group (Oakland, NJ) won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000 for the Allendale Residence project, designed by Len DiTomaso.

Exclusive Stoneworks (Lyndhurst, NJ) won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation: Lighting for the Cambridge Heights Lighting project, designed by Rich Andreu.

Farmside Landscape and Design (Sussex, NJ) won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000 for the Lakeside Superhost project, designed by Miles Kuperus, Jr. Farmside also won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000 for the Lakefront Family Paradise project, also designed by Miles Kuperus Jr.

Greenleaf Lawn and Landscape Inc. (Pennington, NJ) won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation: Lighting for the Navazio Lighting Project, designed by Russell Klockner.

Horizon Landscape Company (Wyckoff, NJ) won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: $25,00050,000 for the Cahill Residence project, designed by Christopher Tanzola.

Limone Farm and Gardens (Haledon, NJ) won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation without Pool: Up to $25,000 for the Ciongoli Landscape project, designed by Andre Limone. Limone also won the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation without Pool: $25,000-50,000 for the Ram Reshma Project, also designed by Andre Limone.

New Jersey Landscape 16 January 2023

The NJLCA Today

Winners Are...

Monello Landscape Industries (Wayne, NJ) won the of Merit in Landscape Installation without Pool: $50,000100,000 for the Natural Stone Fire Pit Built Into Rock Ledge project, designed by the Monello Team. Monello also won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Design for Seaside Luxury Design, designed by Jarret Bernard.

Scenic Landscaping (Haskell, NJ) won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-500,000 Outdoor Living Modern Pool Backyard project, designed by Devin Short. Scenic also won the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: Over $500,000 for the Hidden Spa Garden Oasis project, also designed by Devin Short.

Siciliano Landscape Company (Red Bank, NJ) won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: Over $500,000 for the Black Point Residence project, designed by Alan Tufts.

Sponzilli Landscape Group (Fairfield, NJ) won the Merit in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-500,000 for the Marchese - Florham Park project, designed by Andrew Lastella and Jason Sponzilli.

Tode Landscape Contractors, Inc. (Oakland, NJ) won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-500,000 for the Salamone Project. Tode also won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation: Lighting for Fox Project. Finally, they won the Award of Distinction in Landscape Maintenance: Residential for Goldstein Residence, site supervised by Alan Hamann.

Vander Sluys Landscape Development, LLC (Wyckoff, NJ) won the Award of Merit in Landscape Maintenance: Residential for the Carriero Residence project, site supervised by Justin Vander Sluys.

Congratulations to all the 2022 NJLCA Landscape Achievement Award winners!

Editor’s Note: Gail Woolcott is the Executive Director for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. Gail received the New York State Turf & Landscape Association 2022 “Person of the Year” award on December 1, 2022. Gail also received a proclamation from the Westchester County, New York Board of Legislators proclaiming December 1, 2022 as “Gail Woolcott Day” in Westchester County. Gail has also been presented with a community service award from the Borough of Fairview, New Jersey 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 can be reached at 201-703-3600 or by emailing

Contractors Association January 2023 17

Unique Plants

25 Years of Bliss

Recently my wife and I celebrated our 25th “Silver” wedding anniversary, and the responsibility and pressure of properly acknowledging such a milestone was placed squarely on my shoulders.

The silver anniversary symbolizes brilliance, radiance, and the value of a long-lasting marriage, for which I am not only grateful, but blessed to have found that one special person who truly understands me, my soulmate! So, I knew the culinary arts, natural surrounding and a bit of “pampering” were all necessary.

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), located in Hyde Park, New York, sets the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. Their locution, “Food is at the heart of our existence,” the sheer joy and talent their students have can be tasted in every forkful. Reservations at their American Bounty Restaurant, securing a table overlooking the kitchen, my wife, an accomplished cook, was in her glory. Following a firstrate meal, we meandered around campus and happened upon an “Egg” adorning an “Egg.” Let me explain. “The Egg” (physical building) is an extraordinary dining venue where nearly 700 students can dine both indoors and out. It is a far cry from Brower Commons, the College Avenue dining hall at Rutgers University, my Alma mater. Here, students can munch on artisanal sandwiches, sushi and wood-fired pizzas using local, responsible, and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. A giant, eight foot “Egg” sculpture stands at the entrance of this building. “Clad in highly reflective chrome finish, and designed by Dillon Works of Mukilteo, WA, the 1,100-pound art installation brings The Egg to life through a visual representation of

one ingredient professional chefs cannot do without.” Supporting this “egg” horticulturally, were magnificent common Pawpaw trees, Asimina triloba. The largest edible, native fruit trees to North America, “A pawpaw’s flavor is sunny, electric, and downright tropical: a riot of mango-bananacitrus that’s incongruous with its temperate, deciduous forest origins.” A perfect plant to compliment the architecture, it reminds one of their surroundings and showcases amazing yellow fall color.

Less than an hour drive from the CIA, we made our way to an iconic resort in the Hudson Valley, a gorgeous property founded by the Smiley Family in 1869. Once a summit for some of the most progressive thinkers, visionaries, educators, leaders, philanthropists, and brightest minds; politicians, religious leaders, thespians, and authors gathered to discuss world issues and improve humanity. Clearly the Smiley’s were ahead of their time. A Victorian castle some 90 miles north of New York City, this was a “bucket list” experience put off for far too long. 40,000 acres of pristine forest and a National Historic Landmark, this resort offers farmto-table cuisine too. 85 miles of scenic hiking trails, guided if desired, the outdoor activities and scenery provided a kaleidoscope of autumnal color. Situated south of the Catskill Mountains, on the crest of the Shawangunk Ridge, this property is “chockfull” of plant material, particularly conifers and birch protruding from ancient rock formations.

Before our initial early morning hike, we had time to appreciate the hotel’s foundation plant material. I say “we,” but my wife will tell you she humored me by watching my excitement identifying plants. Flowering viburnum,

hellebores, hydrangea types, larch (a deciduous conifer), and winterberry were all represented. Along our hike were huge populations of maple, oak, three needle pine, Eastern hemlock, witchhazel, and a low, prolific blue flower. Spotted knapweed, Centaurea stoebe, is a member of the Aster family and native to eastern Europe. This shortlived perennial is a “conspicuous invader” in the Hudson Valley. Asking our guide what his favorite time of year is, without hesitation he said, “June 1st, that’s when all the native mountain laurel blooms. The entire valley glows with a white halo!” The highlight of our trek was a pileated woodpecker, skimming over our heads, en route to “Bert Smiley’s” lookout. Quaere Monumentum Circumspice, “To seek his monument, look about,” a vantage point that had us gawking at our Victorian hideaway, the lake’s namesake, and its “Tower” simultaneously.

As I reflect on our magical weekend, there is simply no other person I would rather walk through life with. Our weekend nourished both our souls and provided a wonderful escape for such a celebration. A magical setting, not to be outdone by the likes of Brigadoon, we took to heart the resort’s words… Exploration, Inspiration and Conservation.

Finally, acknowledging our “silver anniversary”, I did have a little help from a famed French jeweler. A “Magical Necklace” made my wife happy and reminded me of the Herend China, Rothschild Bird Pattern, I grew up with. “A 19th century tale about Baroness Rothschild, who lost her pearl necklace in the garden of her Vienna residence. Several days later it was found by her gardener, who saw birds playing with it in a tree.”

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.

Gardening Insights Survey

Despite extreme spring weather and growing economic concerns in 2022, gardeners have a positive outlook for 2023. Axiom’s newly released Gardening Insights Survey found homeowners in several age groups and experience levels are looking forward to spending more time and money next year. In fact, more than 80% of those surveyed said they plan to spend the same or more money in 2023 than they did last year. 88% expect to spend the same or more time gardening next year as they did in 2022.

The research, conducted by Axiom, a Minneapolisbased marketing firm serving the horticulture, landscaping, and construction industries, found that men report they’re spending more money than women, with nearly 87% of males saying they’ll spend the same or more in 2023. Younger gardeners are likely to spend more money too, with Gen Y and Gen Z homeowners leading the way.

Newer gardeners are showing signs of growing into the hobby. 48.5% of first-time gardeners and 52.5% of those who’ve been gardening for 2- to 4 years say they will be spending more time in 2023. “We see that as encouraging news,” says Kathleen Hennessy, chief marketing officer at Axiom. “This could be a sign that the industry is on track to keep many of the millions of new gardeners who entered the market during COVID. Based on positive feedback from first time gardeners, those who are newer to gardening, Gen Y, and Gen Z respondents, it appears that pandemic gardeners are hooked, and their interest, time and spending will continue to grow.”

Big box stores are taking a bigger bite of the garden spend. When asked where homeowners purchased most of their plants in 2022, Independent Garden Centers came in second, behind The Home Depot. “IGCs drop to third among those who spent more money in 2022 — this is a switch from our last survey,” adds Hennessy.

When asked what factors may have had homeowners gardening less in 2022, 17% said being back in the office was a diversion. Nearly 15% said bad weather affected how much time they spent in the garden. 35% say they were working on indoor and outdoor home improvement, maintenance, and repair projects.

If they spent less money, where did those funds go? More than 22% said groceries. Nearly 19% spent funds on home improvement projects. 15% said they spent more money at the gas pump and 14% said they were traveling more. 18 January 2023
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January brings chilly temperatures, snowfalls, and for the gardener, the pleasure of hunkering down in the warmth of a home with a gardening book! Afterall, why venture into the garden when there are but a few stalwart evergreens to enjoy. However, with a little thought the garden can display plenty of interest. For instance, I have long been a fan of plants with exfoliating bark. In fact, I have found many a gardener who appreciates the bark of Japanese Dogwood, botanically known as Cornus kousa

Cornus kousa is a member of the Cornaceae or Dogwood family and is native to Japan, Korea and central China. The number of species is the subject of some confusion since it ranges from around 60-80 and this range varies depending on the source. The genus name was selected in 1753 by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1798). It stems from the Latin Cornu for horn or horn shaped, as in the word Cornucopia! However, Linnaeus was not referencing a horn of abundance, but rather the bony horns of animal antlers, referencing the dense wood of Dogwoods. The common name

Perhaps you have a second home, a place down the shore, or a pied-aterre. Keeping houseplants watered there is a challenge.

Maybe the houseplants are for someone who can no longer care for them, but you can when you visit. Maybe you want to green up a dorm room for a busy student. Maybe you just want to decorate with the beautiful glass containers available for growing plants in! Selecting plants that can grow in water is the answer to this challenge.

Here are some tips for growing plants in water. Clear glass is beautiful, and you get to see the roots, but using an opaque container will prevent algae from forming. If you do use a clear glass container, drain, and clean as needed. Another option is using leca, small baked clay balls. They provide oxygen to the plant by retaining water and releasing it slowly, reducing the growth of algae. Glass and gel beads harbor algae. You can also add a small piece of deactivated charcoal to keep the water clear and clean smelling.

Watertight pottery, porcelain and other materials are also suitable for growing house plants in. Do not use copper, brass or lead which may corrode when reacting to fertilizer and cause plant damage. Think: vases –use one with a narrow neck when needed to keep the plant upright; jarsyour favorite wines and sauce bottles easily repurpose; glasses – save that chipped stemware and plant it; test

Morris County Park Commission

Bark for the Winter Garden

of Dogwood may have developed from the old English Dag, meaning to pierce or stab, and is the root of the word Dagger. Once again, a reference to the hardness of the wood.

The species epithet of ‘kousa’ is derived from a Japanese word for Dogwood. Initially named by the German physicist, biologist and botanist Heinrich Bürger (1806-1858), the description was incomplete and was properly described by the British diplomate and amateur botanist Henry Fletcher Hance (18271886) in 1866.

In youth, Japanese Dogwood is rather upright in habit and although it is certainly not unattractive, it does lack the grace of maturity. With age, the plant develops a more rounded habit with the branches assuming

an arching, vase-shaped habit. The rich green foliage provides a great backdrop for highlighting the flowers. The flowers begin to emerge in early May, but do not develop their full potential until mid- to late-May. The true flowers are located in a central ½” diameter boss of small green florets, but it is the four leafy white bracts that attract everyone’s attention. In general, the bracts are 1½” long by ¾” wide and are slightly overlapping at the base. Like the leaves, the bracts come to a sharp point at the tip and are perched on 2-3” long floral stems called petioles, allowing the flowers to float above the stems. Following petal drop, the globe-shaped berries slowly develop. The seeds and fleshy coating fuse into a compound berry called a syncarp

that grows to 1” in diameter. Resembling small soccer balls, the berry color changes from green to deep red by late August, remaining attractive for a month before falling.

While the fruit is developing in August, the dark gray outer bark of the larger stems is beginning to exfoliate, revealing the very attractive light tan inner bark. Although to some this process looks troubling, it is simply the natural process of the trunk enlarging. As the bark ‘pops’ off, it develops a wonderful pattern of light and dark bark. Even though the process of exfoliation begins in late August, the bark remains attractive throughout the winter and it is not until the following spring that the under-bark gradually darkens as it transitions into the outer layer

The Garden Historian

Second Home Houseplants

tube sets - trendy now and excellent for propagating.

Always use water that has been boiled, filtered, or drawn the day before, in order for the chlorine to dissipate. Rainwater is good too.

Get your grown-in-water collection going by using cuttings or rinsing the soil from the root ball of an existing potted houseplant. The first method will take time to establish. The second is best done with small plants with smaller root systems.

Avoid placing plants in areas of your home located near a heat source like a fireplace, woodstove, heat pump, or radiator.

Here are 10 plants for growing indoors in water.

1. Golden Pothos, Epipremnum aureum – This vigorous, vining plant with heart shaped, creamy mottled leaves is virtually impossible to kill. A spiller, place it up high so that it can do its thing. It thrives in bright, indirect light.

2. Wax Plant, Hoya carnosa –

A lush, trailing plant with thick, succulent-like leaves, it may produce fragrant porcelain flowers if it is happy.

3. Chinese Evergreen, Aglaonema species – These come in a wide variety of patterns and colors including green, yellow, pink, white and red. Started from a 6” long stem, they grow into “no fuss” water plants as long as you keep them out of direct light.

4. Dumb Cane, Dieffenbachia species – Wear gloves when clipping Dieffenbachia stems as the toxic sap can cause skin irritation. Keep it in bright light but out of direct sun.

5. English Ivy, Hedera helix – If you are starting with a cutting, clip the stem where it’s still green and pliable, avoiding sections where the stem is woody as they won’t root as easily or quickly. Ivies come in all kinds of shapes, with interesting leaf margins and variegations. Adapts to light and can handle a cool room.

6. Heartleaf Philodendron,

Philodendron hederaceum – Its robust nature makes it perfect for growing in water. Its glossy, heartshaped leaves and stems cascade 4+’. Occasional pinching will maintain a bushy habit. Keep in bright light, but away from direct sun. It grows best in temperatures above 70 F.

7. Lucky Bamboo, Dracaena sanderiana – Actually, it’s a kind of Dracaena whose thick stalks are often arranged in bundles of two or more with many woven, braided or curled into intricate shapes. These low care plants thrive when grown in water and do best sited in bright, indirect light.

8. Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum – Spider plants, with their arching variegated foliage, produce ‘pups’ or ‘babies’ that can be clipped and rooted in water to make new plants. Keep them out of direct sun and keep your pruners handy as they reproduce rapidly.

9. Coleus, Solenostemon scutellarioides – Beloved for their

that will subsequently peel come August.

If you wish a red bracted form, consider the cultivar Scarlet Fire©! Released by Dr. Thomas Molnar of Rutgers University, the bracts look at their best in a sunny location, as they actually appear to ignite on fire, much as the name suggests! True of all Japanese Dogwoods, they perform best in full sun or light shade in well-drained yet moist soils throughout zones 5-8.

Exfoliating bark may be merely one of the garden merits for Cornus kousa, but it certainly provides a touch of winter interest that many plants lack. Granted, it is not an asset everyone appreciates, but for many gardeners the colorful bark patterns help get us through those long and cold days of January!

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@

plethora of color, pattern, size, and form, a simple 6-8” long stem cutting will get you started. Coleus does best in average room temperature and away from direct sun.

10. Sweet Potato Vine, Ipomoea batatas – This vigorous vine can trail for 4-5’. Its heart-shaped leaves can be lime green, burgundy, bronze, or black, and its foliage shape is also varied which adds layers of interest.

Growing in water solves the second home houseplant problem. But it’s also so easy and mess free, that you just may adopt it everywhere you call home.

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 This column will appear in the paper every other month. January 2023 19



Dr. Amar Patil Named Director of NJDA’s Division of Animal Health

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher announced the appointment of Dr. Amar Patil as Director of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health. The appointment was approved by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture at its monthly.

Dr. Patil has been the Director of the NJDA’s Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (AHDL) since July 2021, and before that was the lab’s Assistant Director from November 2011 to July 2021. He started with the NJDA as a Research Scientist in the Division of Animal Health in October 2007.

“Dr. Patil has been a key part in the success of both the AHDL and the overall operations of the Division of Animal Health, and he is certain to continue and expand his fine work in this new Division Director position,” Secretary Fisher said. “He has all the qualities to be an effective director and will ensure the continuity of the division and laboratory working cohesively.”

During Dr. Patil’s work with the laboratory, the AHDL received ISO 17025:2005 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, making it one of approximately two dozen such labs in the United States and the only one in New Jersey, that offers veterinary diagnostic testing.

With that accreditation, the AHDL is able to conduct more types of tests and significantly reduce the time it takes for results to become official, especially important when responding to disease outbreaks and other emergency situations, such as the recent detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in New Jersey.

Animal Health is one of five primary divisions that make up the Department of Agriculture, along with the in-but-not-of State Agriculture Development Committee. The Division protects and monitors livestock for disease and other threats and administers the Humane Standards for the Care and Keeping of Livestock, which govern the minimum standards of humane care for livestock animals in New Jersey.

Dr. Patil succeeds Dr. Manoel Tamassia as the division director. Dr. Tamassia left the post in August for a position with the World Organization for Animal Health.

Delaware Sees Increase in Potbellied Pigs Running At Large, Owners Reminded to Secure Animals

Delaware has been experiencing a significant increase in potbellied pigs running at large in residential and rural areas, including on state lands. Running at large, these pigs pose a nuisance to landowners, increase the threat of establishing feral pig populations, damage natural resources, and risk carrying endemic diseases –such as salmonella or even swine flu – that can spread to both people and animals.

People selling potbellied pigs entice pet owners with marketing terms such as micro pigs, teacup pigs, mini pigs, pocket pigs, and pygmy pigs. New pet owners believe they will have a cute little piglet to love, but as these animals age, the pigs can grow quite large while becoming hard to handle and difficult to contain. Potbellied pigs can weigh between 70 to 200 pounds and can live upwards of 15 to 20 years.

Since 2016, there has been an increase in potbellied pigs running at large in the state. A significant contributor has been the unimpeded pipeline of pet pigs becoming strays. Owners who can no longer manage these animals are likely to relinquish ownership and allow them to roam.

As potbellied pigs are a nonnative species, swift action will be taken to mitigate any threats they pose to Delaware lands, livestock, natural resources, and human health. The pigs will be dispatched immediately if they are found at large on stateowned lands, including state forests, state wildlife areas, and state parks. Due to the ability of potbellied pigs to reproduce at a very young age, the state must ensure that a feral pig population

does not become established, which could rapidly lead to the spread of disease and property damage.

Male potbelly pigs can breed as early as eight weeks of age, and the females can become pregnant at three months. Owners are encouraged to spay or neuter their pet pigs to prevent unintended litters. In addition, neutering male potbellied pigs can help to decrease behavioral issues, including aggression and the innate need to roam when a sow or other animal is in heat.

Potbellied pigs found at large due to a constituent complaint will be assumed to be stray, and the Delaware Department of Agriculture will determine the disposition of such animals. Pet owners are encouraged to utilize visible animal identification, such as an ear tag, so if a potbellied pig is found by the public, it can be reunited with its owner.

Potbellied pigs can live indoors or outdoors, or a combination of both. However, when outdoors, potbellied pigs require a secure pen where they cannot escape and run at large. It is recommended that owners use hog panels available at local agriculture supply stores, along with wooden or metal t-supports. If the animals are not on a cement-floor pen, part of the fencing should be buried underground, so the pig does not root in the dirt, slip under the fence, and escape.

If you are a potbellied pig owner and need guidance on securing and housing your animal, spaying or neutering, or animal identification, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 302-698-4561. 20 January 2023
The Northeastern Association of State Departments of Agriculture convenes the following 10 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

2023 PA Farm Show National Anthem Contest Winners

Announced; Schuylkill County Youth Wins Most Votes

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced the singers who will perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” daily and at special events during the 2023 Farm Show. Six-yearold Mia Bixler, of Schuylkill Haven in Schuylkill County, received the most social media votes in the 2023 PA Farm Show National Anthem contest, ‘Oh, Say Can You Sing?’. She will kick off opening day, January 7, singing live from the GIANT Expo Hall in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.

“The 2023 Farm Show theme, Rooted in Progress, celebrates our agriculture industry’s grounding in tradition that feeds our nation’s and Pennsylvania’s future,” said Redding. “Nothing demonstrates our roots better than the Star-Spangled Banner, and our bright future better than one of our youngest Pennsylvanians. Young Mia and a talented cast of singers from across Pennsylvania will set a tone of unity and pride in commonwealth and country as we start each day of the 2023 PA Farm Show.”

A panel of judges selected 20 finalists from among 39 entries. Finalists’ videos were posted on Facebook for fan voting to determine the winners, who will sing each morning and at special events during the week.

Contest winners will sing in the GIANT Expo Hall at 8:00 AM each day of the 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show, from January 7-14. Performances can be heard throughout the complex.

The 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show will feature a return of fan-favorites like the 1,000-pound butter sculpture, Farm Show Food Court and Farm Market, sheep shearing, weaving, lumberjacking, and hundreds of other competitive agricultural events, cooking demonstrations at the PA Preferred® Culinary Connection, and one millionplus square feet of hands-on agriculture education opportunities and chances to engage with the people who power Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry.

To stay up to date on PA Farm Show news, visit


82nd Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show Kicks Off January 10

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Agricultural Trades Show, the state’s largest farmer-focused event, returns to the Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive, Augusta, on January 10-12, 2023. This year’s event is the first in-person gathering since 2019. The previous two years featured exclusively online attendee experiences. DACF’s Agricultural Resource Development Division is the show organizer and announced plans for

the 2023 edition.

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.


$900K Now Available in Dairy Farm Innovation and Alternative Management Grant

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC), hosted by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets announces $900,000 in funding through the new Dairy Farm Innovation and Alternative Management Grant. With a focus on climate and community-forward production strategies, this grant offers funds for farmers, producer associations, and technical service providers to implement projects that enhance the resilience of our Northeast regional food system. This grant opportunity closes Thursday, February 2, 2023.

“Innovation is a key component to the future success of our dairy industry, and we are excited to open this grant for our hard-working farmers to explore,” Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts said. “This investment in Vermont and our region recognizes that diversification and sound business management may make all the difference in a farms successful transition into the 21st century.”

Potential grant projects may range from creating new models for collaborative and cooperative milk production to increasing new and young farmer engagement, developing green technologies to improving appropriate farmscale technologies, and developing alternative business ownership and management models to creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Open to applicants in 11 Northeast states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, the Dairy Farm Innovation Grant supports farmers in taking a whole farm system approach and increasing collaboration with other farms or dairy sector stakeholders.

Individual grants of $15,000 to $75,000 are available with a 25% (cash or in-kind) match commitment required, totaling a $900,000 investment in innovative and alternative management systems across the Northeast. To build upon previous investment, projects coming from farmers who have received Grazing Transition, Forage Enhancement, or Alternative Farm Management Technical Assistance will receive priority access to $400,000 of the available grant funds.

The Center’s investment and project strategy promotes innovation and resiliency for regional production of dairy products across an 11-state Northeast region. To date, the NE-DBIC has received $38.7 million from the USDA-AMS Dairy Business Innovation Initiative.

For more information on NE-DBIC and the Dairy Innovation & Alternative Management Grant, visit: www. January 2023 21 DEPARTMENTS OF AGRICULTURE NEWS

As I write this month’s article in late November, the temperature went up to 59 degrees today, WOW! I thought I would recap some of what took place, and unusual questions or situations I heard during 2022.

Last summer’s drought was a real doozy, one to remember for the times. I’m not sure I saw a month as dry as July 2022. Many lawns turned “toasty” brown. August did not bring us much rain, but at least the humidity dropped. Fortunately, many of these drought-stricken lawns came back to life in the early fall. This shows the importance of growing a healthy lawn over the long-run. Many homeowners inquired about seeding during these hot summer days, I’m not sure why. I guess they didn’t want to see bare spots or wait until the fall to apply grass seed. I would suspect they had limited success.

At the Jersey shore, a homeowner did not have irrigation and he spread some of our grass seed in late spring. His original lawn was wiped out by July’s drought but the new seed he used stayed green.

Turf ‘s Up

Let’s Look Back at 2022

He said he thought it was weeds at first. This fall he had an irrigation system installed and his lawn looks great. Speaking of irrigation, about an inch of water per week during the growing season is required for a healthy lawn, whether this comes from rainfall or irrigation. This year was a hard and expensive year to keep ahead of the hot, dry summer months with irrigation. When using a sprinkler, remember that an inch of water over 1,000 square feet (50 ft. x 20 ft.) will amount to about 625 gallons over the course of a 3-4 month (12-16 weeks) dry season. This can amount to 7,000 to 10,000 gallons of irrigation water for each 1,000 square feet of lawn, WOW! Time to stop irrigating

in order to reduce the watering bill. Remember, a healthy growing lawn does not need so much irrigation.

Spotted Lanternflies extended their reach further into New Jersey. I visited a friend along the Jersey shore and for the first time experienced how much they have infiltrated. They were flying all over the place, very disturbing. Spotted Lanternflies also appeared at my office in Farmingdale. They are unforgiving and we all need to keep a vigilant watch throughout the year to reduce the populations!

One of the highlights this year was visiting the NJLCA golf outing at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg. What a

wonderful place with so many golf courses, restaurants, beautiful gardens and green spaces. Crystal Springs prides itself on offering as many farmto-table ingredients as possible. They source foods from local farms and even grow many of their own vegetables on sight for maximum freshness. Also, I met the founder of Faith American Brewing Company, Kelsey Grammar, with my future son-in-law Josh, what a treat. I’ll have to plan a stay at Crystal Springs in the future.

I checked in with my other friends Paul, Robin and Fran, and their lawns held up pretty well this past year, kudos to them all! On our website we still get repeated questions on what to do with “my lawn.”

It seems like lawns are still a difficult thing to keep green. Fortunately, you do not have to worry about your lawn this month, but it is never too early to think about your lawn strategy for the year ahead. Did you make a New Year’s resolution for your lawn? Did you get any holidays gifts like a new spreader or gift card to buy some fertilizer?

Remember, during the growing season from March to November your lawn needs to be fed regularly to stay healthy, green and strong. If you only fertilized one or twice last year, please plan on a few more timely feedings. Those lawns that bounced back after the summer drought surely have been well taken care of over the years. Maybe these homeowners have read my articles. 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: 22 January 2023 The Premier Gardening Monthly Newspaper Number 237 Published Monthly Reserve Ad Space Website: E-Mail: Staff Executive Editor/Publisher ..... Tom Castronovo Art Director ................. Susan F. Kessel Advertising .................. Tom Castronovo Gardener News is published monthly by Gardener News, Inc. 16 Mount Bethel Road #123 Warren, NJ 07059 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
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#123, Warren, NJ 07059. (c) 2023 Gardener News, Inc. January 2023 Contributing Writer Hubert Ling January 2023 Columnists Tom Castronovo Todd Pretz Gail Woolcott Andrew Bunting Brian Schilling Peter Melick Bob LaHoff Bob Andrzejczak Douglas H. Fisher Bruce Crawford Andy Lagana Lesley Parness Advertise in the Gardener News Please visit and click on the Advertising Link in the center of the Navigation Bar to view our Media Kit. We can be contacted through our Contact Us Form, also on the Navigation Bar. Thank you! Full Moon January 6, 2023 Eastern Daylight
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