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Gardener News

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping & Nursery Communities

October 2021


TAKE ONE No. 222

A Children’s Garden Begins with Just One Seed…

Tom Castronovo/Photos

By Diana Dove Environmental Educator Gardener News A school garden is an exciting place to learn and can have a profound positive effect on children. Creating a school garden

was the focus of a sixth-grade community service project. Nearly 25 years later, it has become much more than originally envisioned. When networking with the community, this all-volunteer, educational school project grew into a not-for-profit, award-winning pollinator garden known as the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly

Garden (KNMBG.) You will find the garden in front of Memorial Elementary School, in Washington Borough, Warren County, N.J. It’s nestled inside the heartshaped circular driveway at the school’s entrance. A quarter-acre grassy slope has been transformed into critically important pollinator habitat. It’s available to classes as an

outdoor learning lab encouraging outdoor-based lessons. The public visits the garden on weekends or after school. In the 1996-97 school year, the sixth graders of Memorial School were to complete a community service requirement. Starting a school garden was suggested. At the time, I was a sixth-grade

parent, attending a Washington Borough PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) meeting. A teacher asked for parent volunteers to start a school garden…I raised my hand. I founded the garden’s volunteer planning committee, which met in October 1996 and formulated a plan of action (Cont. on Page 11)

2 October 2021

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POW E R EQUIPMEN T 18 Hamilton Rd., Hillsborough, NJ 08844 (908) 359-4652 •

October 2021 3

Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

Let Us Pray

Prayers are needed for the agricultural, gardening, horticultural, and landscaping communities. July 2021 has earned the unenviable distinction of being the world’s hottest month ever recorded, according to new global data released by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. On top of the extreme heat, heavy rain and storms that wreaked havoc on the Garden State recently have stressed out our farmers and growers even more. By now you all know about the recent tornado outbreak. A monster touched down in Mullica Hill, in Harrison Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, devastating the state’s largest dairy farm, Wellacrest Farms. Another South Jersey agricultural landmark, Grasso Farms, also in Mullica Hill, was devastated by the same tornado. In the central part of the state, cornfields were flattened and pumpkin patches were under water. In the northern part of the state, mums were blown around like confetti at a birthday party. Statewide, tomatoes suffered sunscald due to the baking hot sun. Several people told me about their tomatoes having a tough white core in their center. This occurs from either excessive heat or improper fertility. With all the rain, I’m betting the fertilizer washed and/or leached right out of the soil. I also heard and witnessed first-hand that tomatoes weren’t really red this summer. I know from schools and from a few farmer friends that the pigment (color) development in tomato fruit occurs in the very final stages of ripening and is temperature-sensitive. The red pigment lycopene and yellow pigment carotene are the two pigments that give a tomato fruit its color. Temperatures above 85°F tend to slow or even halt the production of these two pigments. I’m sure that many of you will be looking for newer varieties that are less prone to white core development if you had problems this year. Hopefully next year you will be able to maintain a better fertility program that will encourage a good foliage cover, which will supply ample amounts of potassium. This will help with best management practices for preventing the disorder. I’m a fan of Espoma Organic Tomato-tone. The USDA is available to help farmers and livestock producers recover from the storms by providing technical and financial assistance. Producers are encouraged to immediately contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to report storm damage to farm structures, crops and livestock. This information will assist the FSA in identifying the need for, and subsequently requesting, a Secretarial Disaster Declaration. A Secretarial Disaster Declaration would immediately trigger the availability of low-interest FSA Emergency Loans to eligible producers in all primary and contiguous counties. To assist producers in identifying programs that can aid in recovery, the USDA has published a brochure, Disaster Assistance Programs At A Glance.

The brochure is a quick reference guide to available Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency disaster assistance programs. Find your local FSA office at and find the Disaster Assistance Programs At A Glance at For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at, and should apply under SBA declaration #17143, not for the COVID-19 incident. To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance. gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800621-3362. Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or emailing Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 4, 2021. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 6, 2022. We also need to pray for our landscape company owners. Many of their laborers are out on unemployment. This has made it very difficult for them to keep a timely schedule servicing properties. Many of these company owners have expressed to me that property owners are giving them a hard time. Let’s face it. When you are paid more money by the government to stay home rather than work, why would you work? The labor shortage in our industry is unprecedented. I am hoping and praying that my agricultural and horticultural industry friends have a successful and prosperous fall harvest and fall landscaping season. My gardening friends always seem to adapt. When you are out in our industry world this fall, please thank the farmer, the garden center owner, and the landscapers who are working on your property. It will mean a lot to them. Please also tell them that you will be praying for a better 2022.

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

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4 October 2021

Summer is, of course, officially over by October and it is now time that we turn our thoughts and actions to the seasons ahead of us. Our spring this year was glorious, and summer brought its distinct rewards of an abundance of crops. Our gardens, as well as our state’s farms, overflowed with the usual crops we point to here in the land of Jersey Fresh. The drastic and chaotic changing of the seasons, however, is a natural phenomenon of living in the Northeastern part of our country. Unlike some areas where warm is the norm or cold never gets old, we get to experience the whole spectrum of temperatures and weather patterns that mark not only the time of the year, but also what culinary and entertainment elements take center stage in our communities. Truly, it is a fun and adventuresome notion that we are, at one moment, drenched in the summer rays of the sun and then, before long, are heading toward being whipped by winter winds, not knowing exactly when this will occur. In New Jersey, we often experience autumns where it seems in one week that summer has

consumers and you can see why those who came before us originated New Jersey’s nickname of the Garden State. So here is where I want to send out a bit of a reminder. Do not think that the end of summer and the beginning of autumn means that you’ve seen all the Jersey Fresh produce and other phenomenal farm products produced by the diverse and talented farm operations in our state. To paraphrase a man who has at least two ballparks named in his honor in New Jersey, Yogi Berra, it’s not over ’til it’s over. And we have a long way to go.

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

Two Bites of the Apple

fully ended, only to have a surprise “heat wave” of a couple days where it seems summer is blessing us with one last encore. The supply of Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables that always marks a highlight of the agricultural year creates, in our minds, a “calendar” of farm products. In the spring, we look forward to the all-too-short seasons of strawberries and asparagus. We also get our first taste of “hothouse” tomatoes, teasing the coming of field tomatoes later. Heading into June, and certainly as we approach the Fourth of July, we begin anticipating sweet corn and blueberries on our backyard barbecue tables. Then we turn our attention to peaches, the sweetest, juiciest ones around. While we, rightfully so, often think of autumn

as a time to take in agritourism, such as pumpkinpicking, corn and other crop mazes, hayrides, and animal attractions, the autumn agricultural season in New Jersey also has its particular farm-fresh products that come to mind. Now, as the early-morning frosts loom on the horizon, we can truly begin to conjure up the next wave of crops that will come from our state’s farms in fall and winter. These crops include apples, snap beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (including Chinese cabbage), caulif lower, cranberries, escarole, endive, melons, rutabagas, an array of various squashes, parsley, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and turnips, and on and on. With many farmers, and now many more residents, canning what comes from their fields and gardens

earlier in the year, this is the season where we can have all the products and the experiences that New Jersey farms can serve up to you. We are truly fortunate that amidst all the development, residential and commercial, our farms are still here in the most densely populated state in the nation. The later-season agricultural fare is the perfect complement to all the (perhaps) more well-known fresh produce items that come from our farmers’ fields in spring and summer. This all helps to lead to the 100plus produce items that come from New Jersey annually and make us a powerhouse in the industry. Add to that the fact that our horticulture side – fall plantings, bushes, Christmas trees, poinsettias, and cut or dried flowers – continue showing up as offerings for

USDA to Survey Fruit Growers about Chemical Use In the next few weeks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey fruit growers in 12 states, including Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, for its biennial Fruit Chemical Use Survey. This survey will collect information on bearing acreage, pest management practices, fertilizer types, acres treated, application rates, pesticide application, acres treated, and rates applied to more than 21 fruit crops. “Growers benefit from providing this information because it is used to re-register products for their use, to illustrate the industry’s environmental practices, and to assure the quality of U.S. food to consumers here and around the world,” said King Whetstone, director of the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office. “I encourage every grower to take the time to respond if they receive this survey.” The Fruit Chemical Use Survey will provide much needed information about the current crop production practices used in the United States. The results of this survey will paint a detailed picture of pesticide use and other pest management practices used by the fruit growers across the nation. To conduct the survey, NASS representatives will contact selected Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey growers to collect the survey information. The results of this survey will be available in aggregate form only, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by federal law. Survey results will be published in NASS’s online database, Quick Stats, in July 2022. This database and all NASS reports are available on the agency’s web site: For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at (800) 498-1518.

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://

NASS to Send 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey This Fall This October, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will mail its first Hemp Acreage and Production Survey. The survey will collect information on the total planted and harvested area, yield, production, and value of hemp in the United States. The Domestic Hemp Production Program established in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) allows for the cultivation of hemp under certain conditions. The Hemp Acreage and Production survey will provide needed data about the hemp industry to assist producers, regulatory agencies, state governments, processors, and other key industry entities. Learn more about this inaugural survey at SupportSupport NJ Agriculture Support NJ Agriculture NJ Agriculture

October 2021 5


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Secretary of Secretary Agriculture of Secretary Agriculture of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher Douglas H. Fisher Douglas H. Fisher

Governor Phil Murphy

Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher

6 October 2021


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Rutgers Cooperative Extension Phone Directory Atlantic County Phone: 609-625-0056 Bergen County Phone: 201-336-6780 Burlington County Phone: 609-265-5050 Camden County Phone: 856 216 7130 Cape May County Phone: 609-465-5115 Cumberland County Phone: 856-451-2800 Essex County Phone: 973-228-2210 Gloucester County Phone: 856-224-8040 Hudson County Phone: 201-915-1399 Hunterdon County Phone: 908-788-1339 Mercer County Phone: 609-989-6830

Middlesex County Phone: 732-398-5260 Monmouth County Phone: 732-431-7260 Morris County Phone: 973-285-8300 Ocean County Phone:732-349-1246 Passaic County Phone: 973-305-5740 Salem County Phone: 856-769-0090 Somerset County Phone: 908-526-6293 Sussex County Phone: 973-948-3040 Union County Phone: 908-654-9854 Warren County Phone: 908-475-6505

Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director

What is Agritourism, Why Are People Attracted to the Farm, and Where to Go?

What is agritourism? defines agritourism (agriculture plus tourism) as “the practice of touring agricultural areas to see farms and participate in farm activities.” There are other names for agritourism– “agritainment,” “rural tourism,” and “farm visits.” All are a form of commercial enterprise that links agricultural production and/or the processing of agricultural products with tourism to attract visitors to farms and other agricultural businesses for the purpose of entertaining, educating, selling farm products, and creating a meaningful customer experience. The fall season is the most popular time of year for visiting agritourism farms. The notion of a “simpler life” and nostalgia attracts many people to farms. Some remember stories of past generations of the family who were actively involved in farming. Maybe grandparents or a great uncle had a farm or gardened and raised animals. Perhaps stories were told around the holiday table of eggs collected daily from the hen house or the family cow being milked for morning cereal. It wasn’t that many generations ago when Americans were predominantly involved in some sort of agricultural employment. Movies or television shows depicting rural life or farmers paint a picture of a type of heaven-on-earth with vast landscapes or relaxed people and easy-going lifestyles. Remember “Field of Dreams”? It wasn’t heaven – it was Iowa. After that movie became a hit, everyone wanted to walk through a corn field. Hence, the corn maze was born and “build it and they will come” became more than a movie line. It became an income for agritourism businesses. Many agritourism farms started with a simple corn maze. However, agritourism has reached heights that no one could have imagined during the business model’s infancy. Today, activities most widely available at agritourism farms include petting zoos, hayrides, u-pick crops, children’s play areas and discovery activities, destination mazes, pumpkin patches, festivals, holiday attractions, school field trips, corporate team building events, farm stores, on-farm dining, nature viewing, and educational activities. Some farms have tried to incorporate additional elements such as amusement rides, monster truck events, concerts, and other non-agricultural offerings. However, these activities have been met with some push-back from some groups and local officials. Most people visiting a farm prefer farm-based activities and want a more wholesome family experience. Agritourism and rural tourism activities have been

popular for over two decades, with increasing numbers of businesses and consumer demand. On-farm visits in the form of agritourism experiences, activities, and a diversity of farm products are one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry. The popularity of agritourism has soared over the past year and a half due to the pandemic. People have sought outdoor activities that they consider lower risk for COVID-19 exposure. Since farms generally comprise significant acreage, the ability to spread out and ensure social distancing in areas like u-pick pumpkin fields, apple orchards, or corn mazes is easily achieved. It is a good idea to check out the venue before heading to the farm to see if they require reservations or advanced ticket purchases. Many farms implemented these procedures to promote customer safety and to ensure an enjoyable experience free of overcrowding and long wait times. Pre-planning and selecting a farm that accommodates family preferences and needs based on age-appropriate activities will help to make the trip a success. So where do you go in New Jersey for a family fun agritourism experience? How do you learn about local farms to visit? One resource is the Visit NJ Farms website: The site has an excellent listing of farms offering activities, farmers markets, nursery and greenhouse plants, chooseand-cut Christmas trees, pick-your-own crops, and wineries across the state. Farmers across the Garden State self-populate this website to indicate their location, what they offer, and other important information needed before visitors come to the farm. Additionally, many county economic development departments in New Jersey are creating their own local tourism maps that include local farms with public offerings. Being on a working farm can result in some wonderful experiences and lasting memories. Farmers do their best to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for visitors. However, visitors must do their part to ensure a safe farm visit. Wearing proper clothing and shoes and bringing weather protection (sunscreen, hats, rain ponchos, etc.) can be key to an enjoyable experience. Hiking boots will help you trek through a field while carrying a pumpkin better than Stiletto heels will. Also, monitor children and clean and sanitize hands after activities, especially when around farm animals. As the fall season approaches, so too do the opportunities for enjoying the Garden State’s agritourism venues and experiencing the beauty and bounty of our state’s farms.

Editor’s Note: This month’s contribution was written by Michelle Infante-Casella, Agricultural Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Gloucester County.


October 2021 7

LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITY NEWS NJDEP has extended 100% online pesticide credits (CEUs) for applicators with recertification periods ending Oct. 31 2021 and now 2022

NJDEP has extended 100% online pesticide recertification credits (CEUs) for applicators with 5-year recertification periods ending Oct. 31 2021 AND now 2022 (NOTE: if your recertification periods ends in 2023 or beyond, you will still be held to only acquiring 25% of your recertification credits via online means, as of now). “Based on the current COVID 19 public health emergency, the Department has extended an interim policy allowing 100% online CEUs for remaining credits to accommodate for applicators whose 5-year recertification cycle ends October 31, 2021 and 2022. Numerous online CEU courses are available and the Department continues to work directly with course providers to maintain an adequate number of online courses and CEUs while ensuring providers adhere to minimal online modality standards including student ID verification and class monitoring. Based on this interim policy, license recertification dates will not be extended. The Department anticipates that those licenses expiring in 2023 and beyond will be held to the standard maximum of 25% online training CEUs, however further policy adjustments will be considered based on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” Learn more at

National 4-H Hall of Fame Laureates Announced

4-H has announced the names of the twenty individuals who will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame during a special ceremony to be held on Tuesday, October 12 at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The National 4-H Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Laureates who will be honored for excellence in citizenship, leadership, character and career accomplishments include: Daryl Buchholz, Kansas; Stephen L. Censky, National 4-H Council; Bryan Chadd, Arizona; Louisa Bauer Cole, New Jersey; John E. Dooley, Virginia; Karen L. Hinton, Nevada; Nancy Kissel, Wisconsin; Mike Klumpp, Arkansas; Julie Best Landry, North Carolina; Jeffrey D. Orndorff, West Virginia; Rev. Dr. Clementa Carlos Pinckney; South Carolina; Katherine M. Rickart, National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (NAE4-HYDP); Dr. Robert M. Ritchie, Indiana; Jan Scholl-Kennedy, Pennsylvania; Carol Schurman, National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals; Dr. Janice A. Seitz, Illinois; Sandra Clarkson Stuckman, Michigan; Darrel Thomas, National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals; Bette Jo Clinton Van Kavelaar, Delaware; and Harlene M. Welch, Kentucky. Each laureate was selected for the National 4-H Hall of Fame because of his or her significant contribution to 4-H, the nation’s premier youth development organization that serves over six million youth nationwide. 4-H programs in every state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia as well as 4-H’s three national partners – National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (NAE4-HYDP); National 4-H Council, and the Division of Youth and 4-H of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)/USDA, nominate outstanding individuals for this honor. The National 4-H Hall of Fame was created in 2002 as a 4-H Centennial project to recognize and celebrate those people who have made a significant impact on 4-H and its millions of members for over 100 years.

The Passing of a Cook Campus Icon: Bruce ‘Doc’ Hamilton The SEBS Community is mourning the loss of Bruce ‘Doc’ Hamilton who died on Tuesday, August 31. Bruce was a Rutgers Alum from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science, going on to Penn State for his MS and PhD. He returned to the faculty in June of 1966 to teach classes on Plant Materials and Residential Landscape Design, in the Department of Horticulture and Forestry and then later joined the Department of Landscape Architecture when that was formed. As an undergraduate, Bruce was a member of the cooperative living group at Rutgers that later became Helyar House. Bruce and his wife Ellen were the first Residence Counselors at the Helyar House. Bruce was also the chair of the faculty advisory committee for Alpha Zeta. He was, first and foremost, a very gifted instructor who valued student education far and above advancing his own career, and he took great delight in teaching,

mentoring, and guiding students into meaningful careers. From 1991 to 2005, he also served as the Director of Rutgers Gardens, laying the groundwork for a university public garden. He retired in 2006. In 2016 Rutgers Gardens launched the Hamilton Award, the university’s national horticulture recognition—named for and inspired by ‘Doc’ Hamilton. “He was one of the more unique and committed people we had on our faculty, “said Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor Mark Robson and Doc Hamilton’s graduate assistant from 1977 to 1979. “Adored by many, he was a generous, kind and thoughtful person, an advocate for many causes and a superb teacher.” Bruce gave 100 percent to Rutgers, his time, his energy and his heart. His family is hopeful that a public memorial will take place late in October to celebrate his life.

8 October 2021

October 2021 9

Some varieties of plants become pigeonholed into specific categories and on occasion it is difficult for even experienced gardeners to break free of this mindset. Cyclamen is a plant that readily comes to mind as befitting of this conundrum. Most people think of Cyclamen as a somewhat finicky winter-blooming houseplant. Unfortunately, we fail to notice the various hardy selections that serve as easily grown candidates for the woodland garden. Cyclamen is a member of the Primulaceae or Primrose Family, with 23 species native to Europe, south through the Mediterranean and east to the Caucasus and Iran. Cyclamnos was the Latin name for the plant, which the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) tweaked to create the genus name in 1753. The name Cyclamen has in roots in the ancient Greek Kỳklos meaning circle, a reference to the circular tuber from which the plants develop or the curled floral stems. Of the hardy selections, Cyclamen hederifolium is probably the most readily available and easiest species to grow. Named and described by the Scottish botanist William Aiton (1731-1793)

with shrubby and rocky regions from Southern France to eastern regions of Turkey, including many Mediterranean islands, plants flourish in zones 5-9. Consider planting tubers near the edge of walkways in well-drained woodland gardens, allowing the plants to be fully appreciated. There is no shortage of additional species of Cyclamen that the ardent gardener can add to their garden, although many are more accommodating of container culture and overwintering in a cool greenhouse. Obviously, Cyclamen hederifolium and its hardy cousins offer a far longer period of color and interest than those confined to a home as houseplants. This fall, take notice of these wonderful plants in bulb catalogues or garden centers and add several selections to your woodland garden.

Morris County Park Commission By Bruce Crawford Horticultural Manager

Cyclamens for the Woodland Garden in 1789, the species epithet serves to describe the foliage, as Hedra is from the Latin for ivy and Folium for leaf. The heart-shaped green and silver foliage does indeed resemble that of English Ivy. Typical to the genus, the flowers have five petals that are attached to the rim of an inverted cup containing one female style and five male stamens. This downward orientation is intended to protect the organs from harsh weather conditions. The flower stems or peduncles initially appear as coiled springs atop the ground and the process of flowering and setting seed is a fun dance to watch. The spring-like peduncle slowly uncoils upward in a counterclockwise rotation until reaching its full height of four to six (sometimes up to eight) inches, with a shepherd’s hook at

the top, orienting the flower bud downwards. As the bud opens, the pink, rose, or white petals reflex backward, which combined with the downcast orientation of the flower gives the flower a cheerful, gravity-defying appearance. Flowers typically appear in midSeptember through November, although I have noticed plants starting to bloom in mid-August of late. Plants are pollinated by hoverflies, small moths, bees and other insects that are able to enter the inverted flower. Once pollinated, the dance reverses and the peduncle coils clockwise back on itself, bringing the seed pod gently back to the soil surface. Here it remains until the following July, when it splits open and the seeds are exposed in the urn-like pod. This marks the beginning of the last part of the dance.

The seeds have a sweet, sticky mucilaginous coating that serves as a modified elaiosome to attract and feed ants. The ants take the seed, either back to the colony to feed the larva or to be consumed en route to the colony. The ants do not harm the seeds, but merely serve as the plant’s dance partner to move the seed to promising new locations to germinate. The tubers of Cyclamen hederifolium are among the largest of the genus, growing to dinner plate sizes of 10 inches in diameter. The brown, circular tubers are usually flattened, with the upper surface depressed into a cup. When planting the tubers, place them so the top is roughly one inch below the soil and at a slight angle, preventing water from accumulating in the cup. Native to woodlands, along

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@

What is a White Panicle Aster? By Hubert Ling W h it e Pa n icle Aster or lance leaf aster, Symphyotrichum lanceolatum has leaves which are 3-5 inches long, narrow, and lance-shaped, thus the common and species name. A panicle is a cluster of extensively branched, stalked flowers. The genus name Symphyotrichum means clusters of hairs, and most members of this genus are rather fuzzy except for the white panicle aster. This aster grows up to 4-5 (-8) feet tall; it is one of the last blooming asters in our area, thus it is especially valuable as a late season food supply for insects and a variety of other animals. White panicled aster and New York aster are sometimes referred to as Michaelmas daisies since they both bloom during the

feast of St. Michael, which is September 29th. With the mean frost date of October 15, not so long ago, it would seem that September 29th is about the last date a flower could bloom if it is to set seed successfully before frost. Since killing frosts would often occur before this date, it is hard to understand what advantage a plant has blooming in late September through mid-October. This plant, however, is generally doing all the right things since it is one of the most widely distributed asters in North America. It is found in all of southern Canada. It also grows in all the lower 48 US states and in much of Mexico. In NJ, it is found in most of the counties both north and south. The base number of chromosomes in this plant is 8, but varieties of this species have been found with 32, 40, 48, 56, and 64 chromosomes. An estimated

40% of plant species are well known to have several sets of chromosomes (polyploidy), a habit that is rare in most animals except fish. White panicle aster flower heads are ½ to ¾ inch in diameter, with 20-40 ray flowers to the outside and 20-40 central disk flowers which start out yellow but age to purple. The ray flowers are fertile but only have pistils, while the disc flowers have pistils and stamens. Ray flowers are generally white, but occasionally blue or purple flowers are found. The entire panicle can measure 8 inches by 4 inches, contain up to 100 flower heads, and can produce a nice display especially if you have several plants clustered together. The flowers mature into small fruits (achenes), each with a tuft of hairs that help distribute the seeds through the air. There are about 150,000 tiny seeds per ounce. Asters may be difficult

to identify down to species. White panicle asters can be distinguished from other white asters by the height of the plant, the numerous ray and disc flowers in each flower head, the mediumlarge numerous flowers, long narrow sessile leaves, panicles which have conspicuous leafy bracts, and the lack of hairs along the midrib of the lance shaped leaves. The stems may be hairless or have lines of fine white hairs. This plant grows best in low moist areas in part shade to full sun. It can tolerate a wide range of soil types from gravel to clay to loam. White panicle asters develop numerous rhizomes and thus a single plant can send up several shoots and cover a large area. Propagation is by seed or by dividing the rhizomes. Asters, especially white panicle asters, are an important component of

a properly functioning ecosystem. The nectar and pollen are important to many types of bees, butterflies such as the painted lady, flies, skippers, and wasps. The plant is also a host for aphids, leaf beetles, true bugs, the pearl crescent butterfly, and numerous moths. Several mammals are fond of eating asters, such as cattle, horses, sheep, deer, groundhogs and rabbits. White panicle asters are easy to grow, and some find the tall plants weedy. If, however, you have an area set aside in your garden for informal tall plants, this former component of the tall prairie will fit right in with its former tall grass companions and give your yard a uniquely rare look. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at

10 October 2021 There’s a lot more to New Jersey aquaculture than clams and oysters. That’s not to downplay the pleasure Garden State shellfish bring to our tables. Shellfish aquaculture also is restorative to our waterways and coastal environment, as well as our economy. It is an industry older than the state, dating back to the days when Native Americans visited the shores of New Jersey bays and rivers every summer to harvest clams, oysters, and other fish to eat and to preserve in salt for the long winters. Commercial oystering dates to the mid-1800s, and at its peak, oyster beds covered 12,000 acres of Barnegat Bay bottom. After bacteria and water pollution decimated the oyster beds in the 1950s and 1960s, they have come back. Today, Barnegat Bay produces seed oysters for beds from Long Island to Delaware Bay. The watercleansing capability of shellfish makes them critical to the health of other fish habitats that are hard hit by excessive plankton and red tides. To sustain the health of our bays, we must be advocates for the oysters and clams and the baymen and women making aquaculture work in New Jersey. Recently, I attended an aquaculture tour sponsored by the New Jersey Farm Bureau. The purpose of the tour was to educate our state’s legislators and their staffs about New Jersey’s vibrant shellfish industry, as well as to see first-hand an interesting project that restores oyster reefs in the Barnegat Bay. My typical experience with an oyster usually involves a little wedge of lemon and a touch of cocktail sauce. Who would have known that this anonymous little bi-valve and its millions of brethren are playing a big role in helping Barnegat Bay become cleaner and revive its ecosystem. Barnegat Bay is an estuary – a mix of salt water from the Atlantic Ocean and fresh water from the rivers and groundwater draining into it. This mix of water is important because it provides a habitat for marine and other wildlife which live there. They depend on the bay for food and shelter and as a “nursery” for raising their young. It wasn’t long ago when the bay was infused with high levels of nitrogen and other pollutants associated with water run-off entering the bay. Environmentalists considered the bay “dead,” as fish, crabs, shellfish, and other creatures disappeared. In their place came large Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman

NJ Aquaculture Is Good for All of NJ

I recently toured some of the oyster facilities on Barnegat and Great Bays and the Delaware River with members of the State Farm Bureau and the New Jersey Agricultural Society and heard their pleas for adopting protections of their unique circumstances to keep New Jersey competitive in this rapidly expanding industry. As the baymen and women pointed out, the areas used for nurseries, packing facilities, and markets are on dry land and almost never zoned for aquaculture use. Like farms on land, these properties are non-contiguous, but unlike land farms, aquaculture facilities are not considered for farm assessments. Consider what’s at stake. There are at least 28 aquaculture farms in the Garden State, with total sales estimated at $5.8 million, according to the state Department

of Agriculture. These farms are diverse, producing sport and game fish, food fish, and molluscan shellfish. The state has the secondhighest number of molluscan farms in the Northeast and ranks third in sales. The demand is there for this industry to grow significantly and add lots of jobs along the chain, from seeding to consumer. We live in a major transportation hub that could open markets internationally to New Jersey baymen and women. After all, fishermen harvest tuna in the waters off New Jersey that are offered at markets in Tokyo 24 hours later. Our baymen and women face stiff competition from other states that have more business-friendly aquaculture policies. That’s why we need to look at bringing aquaculture facilities under the

protection of the Right to Farm Act and Farmland Assessment. Aquaculture feels the pressure of development along our shores in the same way farmers do. If we want to see these operations thrive, we cannot expect them to pay property taxes and rental rates comparable to land where residential development is taking place. The Assembly Agriculture Committee will be looking hard at these and other ways to support Garden State aquaculture in the months ahead, including regulations such as the one that bans oystering on Sundays. You can support Garden State aquaculture by stopping by your local fish market or restaurant and purchasing locally caught fish and shellfish. You will be supporting our bays and jobs, as well as enjoying a delicious meal.

NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director

Stewards of the Sea

algae blooms, which in turn blocked sunlight from reaching submerged plants called eelgrass. Fish, shellfish, crabs, and other bay animals depend on eelgrass beds for food and shelter and safety from predators. In their place arrived large populations of Bay Nettle Jellyfish. Fortunately, New Jersey’s legislature took notice and enacted a series of laws that significantly helped restore the bay to where sea creatures and native vegetation are making a comeback. This restoration has enabled an active clam and oyster industry, which would have been unheard of 20 years ago. Our first stop on the tour involved motoring out to the leased bay area farmed by Forty North Oyster Farm. Indicative of how the bay has become much cleaner, we saw a flock of pelicans (Yes!

Pelicans!) flying around the bay. Pelicans will only appear in areas where the water is clear. We could easily see the sandy bottom of the bay. Matt Gregg, the owner of Forty North, greeted us in his waders and educated us about his farm. A large swath of the bay hosted hundreds of mesh bags that contained thousands of oysters in various stages of growth. The bags protect the oysters from rays, crabs, and starfish. Gregg explained that he buys his seed oysters from Rutgers University, grows them in a nursery, and then sends them into the bay to mature on the farm. They are ready to harvest in 12 to 14 months. Oysters and other shellfish sustain themselves on algae, thus serving as nature’s water filter. As they feed, oysters can filter 100 gallons of water in a day, pulling

excess nitrogen, particulates, and algae out of the water. This improves water quality and clarity, which in turn helps create habitat for sea grasses important to sustain habitat for marine life. Our second stop was to Parson’s Clam and Oyster nursery. Dale Parsons is a fifth-generation bayman who farms clams and oysters. In addition to his seafood business, Parsons founded Parsons Oyster Reef Recovery Program and is creating oyster reefs in the Barnegat Bay. In cooperation with Stockton University and Barnegat Bay Partnership, Parsons spawns and cultivates oyster seed in seawater vats. To survive, the tiny oysters need to attach themselves to shells or other hard objects to grow. To facilitate the shells needed to support this endeavor, Parsons instituted a shell recycling project

You also can support farming and our environment by helping fight invasive species such as the Spotted Lanternfly, which has now shown up in all 21 New Jersey counties. These invasive planthopping pests feed on sap from over 70 plant species. They excrete a sugary honeydew while feeding, which results in mold covering the plant and anything nearby. While they are not harmful to people, they can be devastating to agriculture and a large nuisance to your own backyard and garden. If you spot the Spotted Lanternfly, take a photo of it and report it to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at (833) 422-3284. For more information, visit the Agriculture Department website at agriculture/. Until next time, keep buying Jersey Fresh.

Editor’s Note: Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling is Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the New Jersey State Assembly. He can be reached at 732-6953371 or AsmHoughtaling@, or by mail at 802 W Park Ave, Ste 302, Ocean Township 07712. where he obtains shells from local restaurants. Once the larval oysters are growing on the shells, they are returned to the bay where a reef will form to provide habitat for marine life and dampen the wave activity that causes erosion and other problems. As these oysters reproduce, the reef will continue to expand and sustain itself and will also help maintain the bay into perpetuity. I never cease to be amazed by the ingenuity of New Jersey farmers. They rightly wear the mantle, “Stewards of the Land.” I’m glad that also includes the sea.

Editor’s Note: Al Murray is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society. Established in 1781, the Society is New Jersey’s oldest organization whose purpose is to advocate, educate and promote on behalf of New Jersey’s agricultural industry. Mr. Murray previously spent his entire career at the NJ Department of Agriculture, serving as the Assistant Secretary. He can be reached at njagriculturalsociety@

October 2021 11

A Children’s Garden Begins with Just One Seed… (Continued from page 1)

with a goal to engage students in gardening by spring. Several years later, our planning committee would form the garden’s not-for profit organization, the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden, Inc., to ensure sustainability and longevity of the project. Since groundbreaking in May 1997, thousands of students of all ages have gardened here, in hands-on, cross-curricular lessons, scout activities, special events, and community service projects. Teens return to volunteer as Green Team Teen Leaders. Tracking youth community service hours from fifth grade through high school is beneficial when applying for Junior High or High School National Honor Society, and for jobs, college, and scholarships. Fundraising began with custom engraved brick orders, grant writing and sponsor donations. Our garden plan met the USDA requirements for the WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program) Grant Program. A Wizards Basketball game funded a 175-foot long brick garden path. But our garden needed a name. On Feb. 14, 1997, the school district’s speech teacher, Karen Nash, passed away of breast cancer at the age of 40. She had written original butterfly stories for some of her speech lessons. It was said, “She planted the seed of speech in her students.” When one of her stories, “Caterpillar Dreams” was read at her funeral, an idea emerged… to make the school garden a Butterfly Garden. The story described a caterpillar who struggled for survival and eventually flew free as a beautiful butterfly. A proposal was written, then

approved by the sixth-grade teachers and the school board, the school’s social worker, on our committee and announce naming the garden “The Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly that her husband, Tomas Gonzales, was a gardener and an artist, and he might agree to draw the map. He joined the Garden.” planning team, making this a turning point for the garden project. Volunteering his expertise, he drew the garden’s design, and for nearly 25 years, continues to serve as our task manager and plant consultant, bringing consistency to the project. The sod was removed by a parent, Mr. Hollenbeck, who owned a backhoe. We amended our clay soil with several tractor-trailer loads of compost. Tomas brought established plants from his yard, we purchased others from local nurseries, and we asked the Warren Hills High School FFA (Future Farmers of America) and Mr. Ruppell to help by germinating seeds in their greenhouse. We had received native seeds from gardeners after a post in a gardening magazine. Memorial School classes signed up to garden during class time and sixth graders met their community service requirements. We initiated a Youth Garden Club for Grade 3 through The PTO planning committee combined garden 6 students as garden stewards. Our teachers are an ideas from sixth graders, and recommendations from the important part of this project. Our earliest Garden Club National Gardening Association and the National Wildlife Teacher Advisors were Mrs. Jody Higgins, Mrs. Jean Federation, meeting the requirements for a schoolyard Henshaw, and Mr. Brian Butler. wildlife habitat garden providing: places to raise young, In our third year, the Warren Garden Club sponsored cover, a source of water, and food. Sustainable gardening our Youth Club and we joined the Garden Club of New practices would be followed to protect the soil, air, and Jersey. When our volunteers formed an Adult Garden Club water (info: Now, we needed someone to chapter, we renamed our Youth Club the KNMBG Youth draw the garden map. Gardeners of Memorial School. How fortunate we were to have Mrs. Leala Gonzales, Besides gardening, youth gardeners (Cont. on Page 14)

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October 2021 13

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14 October 2021

A Children’s Garden Begins with Just One Seed… (Continued from page 11)

learn: floral design, wreath-making, and have competed in National Garden Club Poetry Competitions, Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Poster Contests, and more. Some of their garden and environmental art has been displayed in their Youth Community Outreach exhibits for town events. Once the first phase of the garden was complete, Tomas and the KNMBG Butterfly Garden were recognized in a worldwide environmental community service award program that involved ATT employees. Tomas was awarded “The ATT International Champion of the Environment Award.” Every plant had a purpose. Following schoolyard wildlife habitat garden guidelines, we emphasized selecting native plants. We became familiar with the “no-plant list” provided through the WHIP program and carefully selected non-invasive plants with a pollinator and wildlife benefit. Over the years, over 200 plant species that are beneficial to wildlife have been planted. What are the garden’s features? If you visit our garden from the top entrance in front of the school building, you’ll see the Welcome Patio with an announcement board and garden maps. Standing tall you will see a Sweet Gum Tree that shall be dedicated to Evan Murray, Warren Hills High School’s #18 football player. You’ll see the green KNMBG entrance sign with a hand-crafted butterfly, surrounded by a bed of colorful orange and yellow zinnias, marigolds, and salvia. The Brick Path tells many stories through the engraved bricks lining the path. At the end of the path is the Signature Garden. It’s an eight-foot-wide butterfly, shaped in river stones with wings filled with dark pink

vinca. It represents our original idea of creating the garden in the shape of a butterfly. Later we decided it would be too difficult to maintain with young gardeners. The path has an inviting curve down a slight incline into the heart of the garden. In the growing seasons, you are surrounded by birds, butterflies, and bees busily feeding on plants that are beneficial to wildlife including nectar plants for pollinators. When flowers are in bloom, it looks like a painting with mass plantings of Mexican Sunflowers, Salvia, Purple Coneflowers, Joe-pye weed, Cup flower and more. Then there are host plants, common milkweed and tropical milkweed, for the monarch caterpillars, and parsley and dill for our Black Swallowtail caterpillars. You know…the Black Swallowtail is our state butterfly.

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There is a Grey Garden with artistically laid rock terraces and silvery-blue leaved plants such as lavender, dianthus, rattlesnake master and more. Nearby is a mature Alberta Spruce Tree. The Bell Garden is in view with a historic school bell. Extensive stonework gives the garden character. Landscaping stone outlines the garden beds, designed by Tomas Gonzales, and is constructed along the slope to prevent soil erosion. There were two sections where Tomas taught the skill to others. Eagle Scout landscaping projects were completed during the pandemic, laying patios and landscaping stone. The benches in the garden are sponsored by donors. There are three bird-feeding stations, a butterfly puddling basin lined with a pool liner, river rocks and sand, and a memorial sundial. (Cont. on Page 19) Over the years, many of our customers have become good friends. Horticulture, specifically gardening, seems to be a gateway for other conversations. And while politics, religion and money sometimes present themselves (three things my parents told me to avoid talking about with friends), travel, entertainment and other hobbies have often been talked about too. One particular customer, now more of a friend, has for the past few years shared his love of gardening and the rewards he reaps from his own toils. Robert, or “Lefty” as we affectionately refer to him in our community, has been spoiling our team with the likes of kale, Swiss chard, Bok Choy, fall carrots, “Cucs” and my favorite, sugar snap peas, for some time now. His passion for gardening seems to be a lifelong love and his abilities almost always pay off amply. Lefty loves all things nature. Over the years we have talked birding, insects, hiking, waterways, native plants and most recently… Pineapple Husk Tomatoes. The genus Physalis has many common names including Husk tomato, ground cherry, strawberry tomato, Chinese lanterns, tomatillo, bladder cherry and Cape gooseberry just to name a few. Members of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), along with eggplant, potatoes, peppers and tobacco, are flowering

Now that the days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting cooler, our thoughts generally turn to harvesting our crops that were planted last spring. But the fall season is also the time to plant many crops. So, while we are usually “all hands on deck” trying to harvest as much as possible as fast as possible, we still have to try and make time to plant a few crops as well. Some of the vegetable crops that we grow have relatively short seasons. And if these crops are also somewhat resistant to cold weather, then they can be excellent choices to grow into the fall. Crops like radishes, beets, and turnips are excellent crops to grow in the fall. All three of those crops do not take that long to mature (radishes, for example, can be harvested less than a month from planting). These crops also tend to perform much better with cooler weather, as opposed to the hotter months of mid-summer. Many leafy greens are excellent candidates to grow during the fall. They perform well during the cooler months of spring or in the fall. And again,

October 2021 15 Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

Friendship is a Gift

plants having nearly 100 species. While most parts of the plant are toxic, including the papery husk, the fruit is described as both sweet and tart. In cultivation, these plants are not self-fertile, hence the need for other plants to be nearby for them to set fruit. Held in high regard for their strong economic importance as food and drug plants, recently, because of Lefty’s generosity, I became enamored with his Husk Tomato Pineapple type. Listed as an herbaceous perennial, this tomatillo type is only hardy in zones 8-10. Small, sweet fruit encased in papery husks (the calyx), these delicious fruits are easily grown from seed and appreciate full sun. Most of the species are indigenous to the Americas and Mexico, and many have been introduced worldwide. Lefty’s Husk Tomato Pineapple, Physalis ixocarpa, is apparently an

Eastern European relative of the more common Mexican tomatillo. These plants grow in a bushy habit and their prized ½ inch golden fruit have a distinct pineapple flavor. While our team found them delicious on their own right, popping them out of their husks and into our mouths, many add them to salsas, sauces, jams, pies and salads. Lefty’s tomatillo type seemed to fair better than his more traditional tomato types this year, a complaint echoed by others too. Quick to share some of his secrets growing this unique fruit, he attributes much of his success to his own compost recipe. A mixture of straw that we help supply, oak leaves collected from a nearby river bed, grass clippings and Bumper Crop soil, he liberally adds to and turns his compost weekly. Starting in July and mixing through the fall, his devotion

to his garden “keeps a retired man busy,” he exclaimed. Protecting his “black gold soil,” Lefty covers it for the winter with a tarp to help keep it moist, but not wet. Finally, Lefty pointed out that having his plants growing in cages makes it easier to spot the fruit when it ripens and falls to the ground, a tip most plant forums share. Robert and his wife both have a passion for gardening. While her interests may be more centered on growing milkweed for the monarchs, they both enjoy their sunflowers and dahlias. Coincidentally, the day after receiving this culinary treat, I had the opportunity to visit JBJ Soul Kitchen, part of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, a non-profit Community Restaurant that serves paying and in-need customers. “All are welcome to enjoy a meal with us, regardless of your ability

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

Fall is for Planting

they generally do not take that long to mature. If you have ever tried to grow lettuces, you will know that they do not do that well during the middle of summer. They grow very rapidly then and tend to bolt prematurely and quickly develop a bitter taste. In the fall however, lettuces grow more slowly and keep a nice, sweet flavor longer. Also, red lettuces develop a brilliant rich red color when they are grown during cooler weather. While some greens such as kale and Swiss chard do well in cooler weather, because they take longer to mature, these should be planted no later than the beginning of August here in central New Jersey. Garlic is another crop that we plant during the fall. I am not

sure how early it can be planted, but I know from experience that it can be planted as late as December and still turn out OK. I am guessing that the ideal time is probably late-October or earlyNovember, but definitely before the ground freezes. One of the challenges here is that if the ground does become wet, it takes much longer to dry out than it does during the summer. Therefore, if the ground is dry and in good workable condition, it is a good idea to take advantage of it and prepare it for planting. We plant our garlic on raised beds covered with black plastic mulch. This mulch not only assists with weed control, but also helps with warming the soil somewhat during the winter and spring.

This year, we prepared our beds in August just in case we have an overly wet fall. We will stick the cloves in the beds in early-November and then start harvesting green, or immature, garlic in early-June. It should be fully mature then by mid-July. While late-August and earlySeptember are technically not fall, it is still pretty late in the growing season and that is when we plant our strawberries. We contract with a grower to grow strawberry plants from rooted cuttings for us. Once their root systems are developed enough, we transplant them into raised beds covered by plastic mulch. We actually utilize both black and white plastic mulch. The black mulch allows the strawberries to mature 10 days to two weeks

to pay.” It is a dining experience staffed by volunteers who are friends and neighbors giving back to their community. Truly an unforgettable experience, showing kindness, dignity and respect to all who enter; those associated with this cause were all compassionate and earnest. In front of the restaurant were a series of very large, raised beds chock-full of assorted vegetables and herbs. Among the mix was a small tomato type, that while not the same as previously described, I could not help but be reminded of my pineapple flavored gift. Perhaps a sign to appreciate all that we have in life? Grateful for our friends and family and a gentle reminder to always try to be kind and “Pay It Forward.”

Editor’s Note: Bob LaHoff is co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center and Florist in Union County, a member of the Union County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, past member of Reeves-Reed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331. earlier than the white plastic mulch. This then enables us to spread out our harvest season during the following spring and summer. After planting, we allow them to grow during the fall. Then, before winter sets in, we cover the strawberry plants with white fabric for the winter. This covering helps to protect them from cold injury during the winter. Then in the spring, once they start to blossom, we remove the covering so that the bees can pollinate them. And if everything goes as planned, we start harvesting strawberries in mid-May. Happy fall! 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.

16 October 2021


morris county park commission

The FrelinghuysenArboretum

Gardener News!

4th annual tree symposium


Sponsored by the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Four Zoom presentations—Sign up for all four & get one free! Each program eligible for 1 Master Gardener CEU credit

Conifers for Today’s Gardens*

Bob Iiames, Jr. speaks about his passion for dwarf and unusual conifers—ones that change color, need no pruning, and tolerate shade. Bob grows over 400 specimens in his Ohio garden. Tuesday November 2, 7 pm • $15


Conifers as Living Sculptures*

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! What didn’t happen? Here we go again on a wild rollercoaster ride thanks to Mother Nature. I do really like Mother Nature but give her an inch and she takes over your whole yard. Let’s review what happened to many lawns this year. I guess spring is the best place to start. As usual, it was cool and wet for a lot of March and April. This disrupted spring clean-ups and traditional first applications of lawn fertilizer and control products. The first one that comes to mind is crabgrass preventer. There was a lot of crabgrass breakthrough this summer due to this on-off, hot-cold weather pattern. If you have recurring crabgrass problems, consider doing a second application next year in mid- to late-May to carry crabgrass control through the summer months. Crabgrass will be killed with the first frost in your area, usually by mid-October in New Jersey. In May, we saw a number of days that where much hotter than usual. Broadleaf weeds were abundant and weed-and-

Christie Dustman is an award-winning Boston landscape designer who argues that conifers provide key artistic moments to modern gardens. Her garden was featured in Fine Gardening magazine. Tuesday November 9, 7 pm • $15 Conifers: Fastigiate and Dwarf Types—Anything but Dull!* Robert LaHoff covers cultural information, the difference between fastigiate and columnar types, and how to make the right choices for your garden. Bob is co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center. Tuesday November 16, 7 pm • $15 Conifer Propagation & What to Look For When Buying Conifers* Ted Hildebrant, a third-generation nurseryman, discusses propagation by seed, cuttings, and grafting; plus how to choose conifers for your landscape & recognize pests and other problems. Tuesday November 23, 7 pm • $15 353 East Hanover Avenue • Morris Township, New Jersey • 07960 *Pre-registration is required

Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

What happened this year? feed applications had mixed control problems due to weather. How many of you did not follow the basic rules for best broadleaf weed control? Do not mow for two days before or two days after application; apply to a damp-dew lawn so the granules stick to the weeds; and no irrigation or expected rainfall for two days after application so the granules are not washed off of the weed leaves. I bet you missed one of these tips and thus, you experienced poor weed control. Nutsedge was out of control this year. Why? Who knows? I believe a lot of nutsedge is introduced from mulch that we apply to our landscape

areas, perhaps the birds help to spread it, too. However, it seems that nutsedge follows a revolving pattern each year, which makes no sense. We find some here, some there, and then in another spot next year. This is a tough one to control. I suggest a spray labelled for use to control nutsedge and try to control it in its early growth stage in early summer, not in late summer. I noticed that some lawns were ignored during summer months. An application of fertilizer was skipped or delayed for three, four, five, six weeks. I’m actually guilty of this crime. I had a bag of lawn fertilizer in my shed since June and just put it down in lateAugust. I guess I got lazy.

I also made a bad mistake, too, I refilled my spreader with fertilizer on the lawn but I didn’t spill any. When I walked the empty bag to the trash can and came back to the spreader, I was horrified. I had left the shut-off plate open and a six-inch pile of fertilizer was under the spreader. Oh no! So, I quickly tried to scoop up all I could, got a rake and raked it out. Then I started watering it heavily. I knew I was going to burn the lawn no matter what I tried. Sure enough, a few days later, a large brown spot appeared and it even became five feet long, since some of the fertilizer moved when I watered it, killing more lawn. Ouch! The moral of this story is,

fill your spreader on a blanket on your driveway so if there is some spillage, you can easily clean it up and put it in your spreader and save your lawn from burns. I should have started this years ago. It’s still not too late to re-seed areas of your lawn from summer damage and this month is a great time to apply winter lawn food. Grass plants and roots grow vigorously during cool fall months and fertilizer helps that process to prepare the lawn for winter. If you already applied fertilizer in early fall, do it again, your lawn will love it. This second application will have our lawn looking great, perhaps even green up to Christmas and you’ll be the envy of your block with the best lawn in town!

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:

October 2021 17

Fall into a Beautiful Lawn!

Discover the “Jonathan Green” Difference on your lawn today. Available at garden centers and hardware stores in your area. Ask for a free copy of our Lawn guide. 9/21

18 October 2021 In the past five to 10 years, there has been a growing interest among gardeners to add plants to their gardens that attract a multitude of pollinators. The butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa, and other native milkweeds have been becoming more and more popular in the garden because they play an important role in supporting butterflies, especially the threatened monarch butterfly. Throughout the spring and summer, this perennial that reached one to two feet tall has bright orange flowers. Just finishing flowering in the garden are a host of ornamental onions, Allium. These differ from the large globe-like Allium that bloom in May in that they remain perennial for the summer with clumps of dark green basal leaves and, like all members of this genus, are truly deer resistant. Allium lusitanicum “Summer Beauty,” has abundant globes of lavender flowers in the summer and reaches 1.5 feet tall. It attracts native bees, honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies and pollinating wasps. In my gravel garden in Swarthmore, I grow Allium “Millennium,” with rosepink flowers. “Medusa” has lavender-purple flowers. A tremendous garden phlox is Phlox paniculata “Jeana.” This summer-flowering phlox blooms for several months and is covered with an abundance of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society By Andrew Bunting Vice President of Public Horticulture

Pollinators in the Garden

flower heads covered in small, fragrant, pink flowers, which are a magnate to a myriad of butterflies and the Rubythroated hummingbird. And “Jeana” has great resistance to powdery mildew, which ravages most cultivars of garden phlox. A great native of the Midwestern prairies is the rattlesnake master, Eryngium yuccifolium. Blooming in June to September, this very drought-tolerant perennial will reach up to five feet tall. At the base, it sets a rosette of serrated leaves and then towering above the foliage are wiry stems with a spray of white thimble-like flowers. This stalwart native has an architectural quality. The rattlesnake master attracts an abundance of pollinating bees, wasps, and flies. Of course, one of the best and most attractive of all the perennials to attract pollinators is the host of coneflowers, Echinacea. Over the last 20 years, the coneflowers have had an amazing renaissance in American gardens.

Over this period literally hundreds of species, hybrids and cultivars have been selected and promoted for their beauty and ability to attract a variety of pollinators, including longtongued bees and butterflies, such as fritillaries, monarchs, painted ladies and swallowtails. The purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, now comes in many colors including the original purple, such as orange, yellow, pink, white, and even red. At a recent trip to a local nursery in New Jersey, they recommended two exceptional cultivars, “Kismet Intense Orange” and “Kismet Red.” Other exceptional cultivars included from the plant evaluations conducted at the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware are “Pica Bella,” “Sensation Pink,” “Santa Fe,” “Snow Cone,” “Glowing Dream,” “Fragrant Angel,” and “Julia.” There are also some other great species including the Tennessee coneflower, Echinacea tennesseensis, with

rose-pink flowers or the pale pink coneflower, Echinacea pallida, with long drooping petals and shuttlecock-like flowers and Echinacea paradoxa with black-eyed Susan-like yellow flowers with a black center. Coneflowers, when they are finished flowering, also become a great food and seed source for the American Goldfinch. And, without a doubt, the best-of-the best for the pollinator garden are the mountain mints, Pycnanthemum. Pycnanthemum muticum grows in sun or shade but thrives best in full sun. It quickly turns into relatively large colonies in the garden by expanding by underground stems. Reaching three feet tall, it is a great perennial for the front of the border. The foliage and flower bracts are a smokey-white and the flowers have small globular heads with very tiny flowers that are highly attractive to many pollinators. There are some large masses in the Entrance Garden at the

Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College that are literally buzzing with activity when they are in flower. The leaves have a minty fragrance when crushed and Pycananthemum is truly deer resistant. Also great pollinator plants are the Virginia mountainmint P. virginianum and fine foliaged species, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium. Editor’s Note: Andrew Bunting is Vice President of Public 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

Sustainability Is Key Focus After Flower Show Departs FDR Park In pursuit of increasing Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS)’s mission to create healthy living environments, PHS worked with numerous partners and alongside Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Streets Department to ensure that FDR Park and its users would enjoy lasting benefit from the Show’s usage of the park beyond the official Show dates. Every year, thousands of items from the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show such as plants and exhibit infrastructure are re-purposed or donated to organizations and community groups throughout the Philadelphia region. This thoughtful postShow process gives a second life to plants, exhibits, and hardscape items from the Show, further benefitting local nonprofits, schools, community gardens, industries in need, and other locations while helping to spread PHS’s mission of using horticulture to advance health and well-being. This season in addition to its annual

donations, PHS made a significant “horticulture investment” in FDR Park, refreshing its infrastructure, providing a variety of plants and shrubs, installing new park visitor elements, and building on the environmental health of this cherished park. “PHS is thrilled that the Philadelphia Flower Show could contribute to the beautification and enhancement of one of the city’s most beloved parks. We are so happy that we can offer such a great array of items to support the work of our partners at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Friends of FDR Park, and the local South Philadelphia community who helped to make the 2021 Show a success.” said Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events. The Boathouse, one of the iconic attractions of FDR Park received a face lift with a newly painted ceiling and graffiti removal. Graffiti removal and

restorative treatment also occurred at one of the park’s most recognized landmarks, the Olmsted Pavilion. Throughout the footprint of the Flower Show, walkways were newly paved to improve accessibility for park users. Philadelphia Flower Show sponsor, Subaru of America bequeathed the infrastructure for its Camp Outback mini-park, consisting of 75 boulders,15 trees, 50 shade perennials, and a bench. Subaru also donated two additional benches made from recycled Show packing material. Six additional benches were donated from the Fairmount Park Conservancy’s exhibit in addition to many other items to upgrade the park’s infrastructure such as gravel, paver stone, fencing, and water containers. In addition, PHS helped enhance the horticulture at this historic park with donations totaling over 2,000 annuals, perennials, native plants, and trees for FDR Park to create new gardens at the

park. An additional donation of 20 pallets of Belgard stone and pavers will help create borders around the new gardens and newly paved surfaces. Tree pruning and fertilizing also took place to maintain the long-term health and safety of the tree canopy in the park. To complement the arboriculture, PHS executed lawn grading and reseeding for the majority of the 15 acres of the Flower Show grounds with plans to return for a second reseeding in the fall to ensure proper weather for the seeds to establish. Come springtime 2022, the lawn will emerge lush and green. PHS will continue to offer consultative support to FDR Park to ensure FDR Park thrives and remains an important anchor of the local community. PHS’s work to sustain FDR Park exemplifies the organization’s mission of using horticulture to advance health and wellbeing for the Greater Philadelphia region. Each year, the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) tries to give back to our communities by performing a service project. Generally, the project is aimed at helping schools, non-profits and/or causes close to our hearts. In past years, we have restored wetlands for endangered birds, created outdoor classrooms and greenhouses for schools, rehabilitated the grounds of a Boy Scout camp, assisted in setting up an urban farm and much more. Project values have ranged from $15,000 to over $100,000, between donated materials and labor. Volunteers and donors come from our giving and generous membership, willing to provide materials, skilled and unskilled labor and even meals. In return, these wonderful people get the satisfaction and joy of seeing their work make someone’s life better. This year, for the 20th anniversary of the tragedy that occurred on 9/11 and changed our country forever, we agreed to take on a project brought to the association by Board Members Richard Andreu and Shawn Kukol, who run the Service Project Committee. The Township of Lyndhurst, at the time of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the

October 2021 19 The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Executive Director

A Labor of Love

Pentagon, immediately erected a small monument to honor those lost during the events that unfolded, including so many members of the police and fire departments. It was a brick podium inscribed with the names of the victims from the township and depicting the twin towers on the front of the memorial. For the 20th anniversary, Rich, a resident of Lyndhurst, and town leadership felt it time to rejuvenate and update the memorial and make the entire area adjacent to the ambulance corps a 9/11 memorial park. The design, dreamed up by Rich, includes a pentagonshaped seating wall, which surrounds two pieces of reclaimed stone representing the twin towers. There are paver walkways throughout the park, along with plantings, accent lighting, a grassy area, and several gorgeous trees.

The project took three days, and we installed over 1,200 square feet of Cambridge Pavingstones, about 50 feet of segmental retaining wall, two 300-pound reclaimed stones, 3,300 square feet of sod, three flowering cherry trees, many yards of mulch and river rock, a dozen or so boxwoods, and over 50 perennials. Low-voltage outdoor lighting was also installed to highlight the project, as was irrigation to keep everything healthy. The estimated value of the 9/11 memorial we installed in Lyndhurst was over $75,000. The township was an immense help, running to get extra materials and arranging for lunch and refreshments each day (seriously, if you’re ever in Lyndhurst, you must visit Michaels Salumeria, Michaels Riverside and Villa Italia… all excellent food!) Richard Andreu (Exclusive Stoneworks)

and Shawn Kukol (Horizon Landscapes) oversaw the entire project and worked as hard as anyone. Employees from Exclusive Stoneworks, Horizon Landscape, R & J Land Care, Al D. Landscaping, and Yellow Wagon Landscape worked hard to complete the project. Cambridge Pavers donated the pavers and wallstone, along with SiteOne, who also donated plant material and lighting. DeBuck’s Sod Farm donated the sod and B & B Organic Recycling donated hardwood mulch. Franks Truck Center provided breakfast each day and Braen Supply donated base materials for the paver walkways. Stonehouse Nursery also provided poly sand and Stellato Funeral Home donated the memorial monument with the names of those residents lost on 9/11. New Jersey Deer Control will also provide a year of service at no charge. Each year, it amazes me how

so many people and companies come together to create these beautiful and meaningful projects. Thanks to the hard work and donations of our members, we are able to provide these service projects to our communities and make them a better, more beautiful world. We’re able to highlight the talents and generosity of our members and we are all able to feel great about donating services to our friends and neighbors throughout the State of New Jersey. If anyone has an idea for a future service project in New Jersey, please feel free to reach out to us at Have a wonderful Halloween! Editor’s Note: Gail Woolcott is the Executive Director for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. She was presented with a community service award from the Borough of Fairview for her assistance in leading the 9-11 Memorial Park project and the Legislative Champion of the Year award from the Federation of Employers and Workers of America. She is currently the State Licensee Chair on the National Association of Landscape Professionals International Certification Council.

A Children’s Garden Begins with Just One Seed… (Continued from page 14)

There is a mystery in the garden that causes some people to stand in the garden path, staring at the Bird Bath Drip Basin. What they don’t know is that Tomas’s design includes a rain barrel at the top of the garden with a pipe that leads under the path to the stick with an embedded hose that drips a drop at a time, into the rippling water of the bird bath basin. Now you know! There are stone steps around a bird feeder that leads you to the top of the garden, where the Freedom Trees are planted during the year that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 attack. They are part of a National Tree Registry through the National Garden Club, Inc. On the Anniversary of Sept. 11, these trees were dedicated in a Tribute to Heroes ceremony at the garden in a moving candlelight ceremony. There is a Butterfly Feeding Station on a pedestal in a Memorial Garden Section for Mrs. Henshaw… surrounded by lantana, zinnias, and marigolds. Looking toward the center of the garden, there is a circle of benches for a class to gather. An oak beam arbor once stood

there, but now, 25 years later, we are about to start a fund for a gazebo, which will serve as a wildlife observation site. A red garden shed was constructed by a parent, Paul Radice, and it safely stores our tools for easy access. Each garden element is important and each has a story. The garden is both a NABA (North American Butterfly Association) Certified Butterfly Garden and a Certified Monarch Garden. Our garden contains host plants for caterpillars, and nectar plants for adult butterflies. All are free of pesticides. For Monarch Certification, milkweed plants must be included in the garden (info: Growing this garden with children has brought together many diverse people of all ages and enriched the quality of our lives. Countless young gardeners have learned lessons of a lifetime and gained an understanding of their connection to the environment. Along the lower fence is a soft grass section where I saw a little

boy eagerly guide his grandparents into the garden, pulling them by the hand, carrying a picnic lunch and blanket. I heard him exclaim, “Welcome to my garden, come see what I planted!” Karen Nash not only planted the seeds of speech in her students, but she inspired GROWING GARDENERS. It begins with just one seed. Editor’s Note: Diana is an Environmental Educator who can be reached at She co-teaches, “Wildlife & Litter” programs with her husband, Mike. They offer this and Wildlife Education booths, free, with kids’ crafts, fully funded by County & Local NJ Clean Communities for Pre-K through all grade levels and adults. Please ‘Like” the FB page of the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden she founded in Washington Borough, Warren County. Diana is Co. Youth Chair on the Board of the Garden Club of NJ and is the 2021 National Garden Club Youth Leader Award Recipient. She has a BS in Forestry & Wildlife Mgt, with a concentration in Biology, plus a BA in Communications from Virginia Tech. She is a former Senior Naturalist for Somerset County Parks and has been teaching since 1975.

20 October 2021

NORTHEAST DEPARTMENT DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Delaware Agriculture Secretary Urges Farms to Participate in USDA Agricultural Labor Survey Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse urges producers across Delaware to participate in USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) upcoming Agricultural Labor Survey scheduled for release in mid-October. The survey will collect information about hired labor from nearly 90 Delaware farmers. “Over the past year, we have seen a major change in labor policies that will impact agricultural producers who hire farm labor,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “I realize that this is a hectic time for our farmers, but the best way for farmers to be heard and shape future policy is to participate in these surveys.” USDA and the U.S. Department of Labor use statistics gathered in the Agricultural Labor Survey to establish minimum wage rates for agricultural workers, administer farm labor recruitment and placement service programs, and assist legislators in determining labor policies. The survey asks participants to answer various questions about hired farm labor on their operations,

including the total number of hired farmworkers, the total hours worked, and total base and gross wages paid for the weeks of July 11-17 and October 10-16. To save time and money for producers, participants can securely respond to the survey at instead of mailing the forms back. “By asking about two separate time periods each time we collect data during the year, we can publish quarterly data and capture seasonal variation,” said King Whetstone, Director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Northeastern Regional Field Office. “This approach reduces the number of times we survey farm businesses while ensuring that accurate and timely data are available.” As with all NASS surveys, the results of this survey will be available in aggregate form, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. NASS will compile, analyze, and publish survey results from more than 2,000 farmers and ranchers across the 11-state Northeastern region in the November 24 Farm Labor report.

PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Department of Agriculture Opens $500,000 Program to Improve Urban Agriculture Infrastructure, Food Sovereignty Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced the opening of the 2021-22 PA Farm Bill’s $500,000 Urban Agriculture Grant Program to grow agricultural infrastructure in urban food deserts to improve access to fresh, local food and provide opportunities for hands-on learning and communitybuilding. With improved agricultural infrastructure, urban growers can prioritize access to sufficient, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods for their community. “Access to sufficient, healthy, fresh, and culturally appropriate food is a basic right of all people,” said Redding. “With increased agricultural infrastructure in urban areas, growers can prioritize food access and security for their community, effectively growing food sovereignty across the commonwealth.” The $500,000 Urban Agriculture Grant Program will provide grants to improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas, the aggregation of product, sharing of resources, and support for community development efforts. In the first two years of the program, the Wolf Administration invested $1 million in urban agriculture which has leveraged an additional $1 million in local investments through matching dollars. In total for the first two years, the Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Program has funded 70 projects in 16 counties. (2019-20 funded, 2020- 21 funded)

Two types of grants can be awarded: “microgrants” and “collaboration” grants. Microgrants of up to $2,500 in matching funds can be used for one-time projects or a single entity applicant. Collaboration grants (up to $50,000 in matching funds) demonstrate cooperative or regional efforts which share resources, aggregate agricultural products or producers, promote the sharing of resources among agricultural entities, and support community development. “In July, I had the opportunity to travel and visit urban agriculture projects across the state and see the true impact of urban gardens on their community,” added Redding. “Urban agriculture is about more than growing food to nourish bodies, it’s nourishment for the soul and fertilizer for healthier, happier, brighter communities. Urban agriculture is about growing access to fresh, nutritious food while simultaneously providing opportunities for personal and community growth through shared purpose and passion.” The 2021-22 Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program opened September 13, 2021, and closes on October 15, 2021. The PA Farm Bill is a comprehensive set of programming and funding for Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. For more information about the Pennsylvania Farm Bill visit

MAINE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Maine Slows Spread of Emerald Ash Borer with Continued Ash Movement Restrictions The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Maine Forest Service (MFS) has issued an Emergency Order to restrict the movement of ash from areas likely to harbor emerald ash borer (EAB). This order is in response to detections of EAB in northern Cumberland County and is in addition to the state quarantine rule on EAB. Both the order and the quarantine exist to help slow the spread of EAB within Maine. Moving ash infested with EAB can spread this invasive insect to new areas. An estimated 90 percent of Maine’s ash trees are outside of Maine’s currently regulated areas. Ash is an important cultural resource for the Wabanaki, an important street tree and a valuable timber species, accounting for around four percent of Maine’s hardwood forest inventory. EAB threatens all ash tree species (excluding mountain-ash) and will have significant ecological and economic impacts on the state. Although pesticide treatments can protect individual trees, there are no practical means to control EAB in forested areas. What does the order do? The order limits the movement of ash trees for planting and ash tree products such as logs, pulpwood, green lumber, and hardwood firewood from the order area. What is the order area? The order area covers Albany Twp, Lovell, Norway, Otisfield, Oxford, Stoneham, Stow, Sweden, and Waterford in Oxford County. This order area is in addition to areas described in the existing state quarantine, Maine DACF, Agriculture Rules, Chapter 275, which includes areas in Maine and other states and Canada. How does this impact firewood movement from out-of-state into Maine, such as wood harvested or processed in New Hampshire? Despite the spread of EAB into Maine, the ban on movement of untreated firewood from out-of-state into Maine remains. Many tree-killing insects and diseases in addition to EAB can be moved with firewood. We urge everyone who uses firewood to choose local or heattreated firewood. If I’m only moving ash tree products within the order or quarantine area, do I need to worry about spreading EAB? EAB is not found everywhere within the order and quarantine areas. The MFS and our partners concerned with the future of ash trees in Maine encourage those involved in moving ash tree material within the regulated areas to follow Best Management Practices to reduce the spread of EAB. More information on EAB can be found on the department’s EAB website at https://www.maine. gov/dacf/php/caps/EAB/index.shtml

October 2021 21

OF AGRICULTURE NEWS VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Be on the Alert: Cyber Criminal Actors are Targeting the Food and Agriculture Sector with Ransomware Attacks By The FBI, Cyber Division and the Vermont Intelligence Center - September 1, 2021 Summary Ransomware attacks targeting the Food and Agriculture sector disrupt operations, cause financial loss, and negatively impact the food supply chain. Ransomware may impact businesses across the sector, from small farms to large producers, processors and manufacturers, and markets and restaurants. Food and agriculture businesses victimized by ransomware suffer significant financial loss resulting from ransom payments, loss of productivity, and remediation costs. Companies may also experience the loss of proprietary information and personally identifiable information (PII) and may suffer reputational damage resulting from a ransomware attack. Threat Overview The Food and Agriculture sector is among the critical infrastructure sectors increasingly targeted by cyber attacks. As the sector moves to adopt more smart technologies and internet of things (IoT) processes the attack surface increases. Larger businesses are targeted based on their perceived ability to pay higher ransom demands, while smaller entities may be seen as soft

targets, particularly those in the earlier stages of digitizing their processes, according to a private industry report. In a ransomware attack, victims’ files are encrypted and made unavailable, and the attacker demands a payment for the decryption tool and key. As of 2019, sensitive data files are commonly exfiltrated prior to encryption, and the attacker demands a payment not to publish the sensitive data on a “name-and-shame” website. This double extortion potentially gives the attacker more leverage to ensure payment, based on the potential damage caused by a significant data breach of sensitive information. What you can do Cyber criminal threat actors will continue to exploit network system vulnerabilities within the food and agriculture sector. This is a short list of steps that can be implemented to mitigate the threat and protect against ransomware attacks: • Regularly back up data, air gap, and password protect backup copies offline. Ensure copies of critical data are not accessible for modification or deletion from the system where the data resides. • Install updates/patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as they are released.

• Use multifactor authentication with strong pass phrases where possible. • Use strong passwords and regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts, implementing the shortest acceptable timeframe for password changes. Avoid reusing passwords for multiple accounts. • Require administrator credentials to install software. • Install and regularly update anti-virus and antimalware software on all hosts. • Only use secure networks and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. Consider installing and using a VPN. • Consider adding an email banner to messages coming from outside your organizations. • Disable hyperlinks in received emails. For additional resources related to the prevention and mitigation of ransomware, go to https://www. as well as the CISA-Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) Joint Ransomware Guide. is the U.S. Government’s new, official one-stop location for resources to tackle ransomware more effectively.

MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE State Agricultural Officials Announce Winners of 2021 Massachusetts Tomato Contest Massachusetts agricultural officials joined tomato farmers from across the state on the plaza of the Boston Public Market for the Commonwealth’s 36th Annual Tomato Contest. Designed to increase awareness of locally grown produce, this year’s contest drew 77 entries from 15 farms across the state. The contest is sponsored by MDAR, the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association and Mass Farmers’ Markets and was hosted by the Boston Public Market Association. “We are fortunate in the Commonwealth that farmers grow dozens of varieties of one of the most anticipated and popular crops of the season — tomatoes,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux. “The annual tomato contest celebrates this delicious summertime favorite and allows us to highlight the hardworking farmers who grow them every year.” After the entries were judged by a panel of food writers, chefs, produce experts, and state officials on flavor, firmness/slicing quality, exterior color, and shape, MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux announced that the top prizes went to farmers from the City of Agawam, and the Towns of Montague, Raynham, and Pepperell. “The Boston Public Market is thrilled to host the return of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural

Resources’ Tomato Contest - a celebration of a bountiful season that we eagerly anticipate each year,” said Cheryl Cronin, CEO of the Boston Public Market. “Now more than ever, as the Market strives forward in our mission to support New England producers, we’re proud to honor the hard work, dedication, and the fruits of the labor of our local farmers.” Of the 7,241 farms in Massachusetts, 517 farms annually produce more than 6.3 million pounds of tomatoes on 569 acres of land with a value of approximately $13.89 million. An additional 16.8 acres of tomatoes are grown in greenhouses with an approximate value of $4.1 million. Tomato Contest Winners Slicing Category: 1st Place – E Cecchi Farms in the City of Agawam’s Feeding Hills neighborhood with a BHN872 tomato. 2nd Place – Langwater Farm in the Town of Easton. 3rd Place – Ward’s Berry Farm in the Town of Sharon. 4th Place – Langwater Farm in the Town of Easton. 5th Place - E Cecchi Farms in the City of Agawam’s Feeding Hills neighborhood. Cherry Category: 1st Place – Red Fire Farm in the Town of Montague with a chocolate cherry tomato.

2nd Place – Red Fire Farm in the Town of Montague. 3rd Place – Greenhouse By the Sea in the Town of Orleans. 4th Place – E Cecchi Farms in the City of Agawam’s Feeding Hills neighborhood. 5th Place – E Cecchi Farms in the City of Agawam’s Feeding Hills neighborhood. Heirloom Category: 1st Place – Freedom Food Farm in the Town of Raynham with a moonglow tomato. 2nd Place – E Cecchi Farms in the City of Agawam’s Feeding Hills neighborhood. 3rd Place – Russell Orchards in the Town of Ipswich. 4th Place – Langwater Farm in the Town of Easton. 5th Place – Anawan Farm in the Town of Rehoboth. Heaviest Category: 1st Place – Kimball Fruit Farm in the Town of Pepperell with a pineapple tomato weighing 2.550 pounds. 2nd Place – C & C Reading in the Town of West Bridgewater. 3rd Place – Sienna Farms in the Town of Sudbury. 4th Place – Ward’s Berry Farm in the Town of Sharon. 5th Place – E Cecchi Farms in the City of Agawam’s Feeding Hills neighborhood.

22 October 2021

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BUY DIRECT! One of NJ’s Largest Growers Of Plants & Flowers! & Garden Center

Six Acres Under Glass 40 Acres of Outdoor Mum Production Full Service Garden Center

HUGE SELECTION OF HARDY MUMS Pansies • Cabbage & Kale • Fall Decorative Items

Oldwick Lamington











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287 Bridgewater North Branch


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Solberg Airport


Whitehouse Station


202 Old



4 Coddington Rd. Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889 • 908.534.7710


24 October 2021








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








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



Sleek, compact design for easy storage and quick use.


















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








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


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

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







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

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

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

on average Traqline unitshare share for market fromfrom 2013-March 2021. † Based†Based on average Traqline unit forsnow snowblower blower market 2013-March


Profile for Gardener News

Gardener News October 2021  

Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping and Nursery Communities

Gardener News October 2021  

Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping and Nursery Communities

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