Gardener News December 2021

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Gardener News

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping & Nursery Communities

December 2021


TAKE ONE No. 224


Tom Castronovo/Photo

By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor/Publisher Gardener News

Have you ever gotten up close with a Toro Power Max® Snow Blower? I did, and it looks to be really cool, with big-time functionality. What a machine!

This two-stage blower is equipped with hardened gears in the auger gearbox - there are no shear pins to replace. Instead, if the auger hits hard material,

the engine will purposely stall to prevent damage. It is ideal for concrete, asphalt and gravel surfaces. Snow blowers, sometimes

called snow throwers, fall into two basic categories: single-stage models and two-stage models. The difference between the two models lies (Cont. on Page 11)

2 December 2021

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December 2021 3

Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

New Jersey Now Has Pollinator License Plates Hats off to New Jersey Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, who was the Gardener News “Person of the Year” in 2014. Bateman served the 16th District in the Legislature since January 1994 when he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, and he served seven consecutive terms ending in 2007. In 2008, he was elected Senator. After 38 years of serving the great Garden State, Bateman made the decision not to pursue reelection this year. He will serve out the remainder of his term, which will conclude in January 2022. A bill that Bateman was working on for quite some time was finally signed into law on October 27, 2021. The Garden State now has special license plates expressing support for the state’s native pollinators. “New Jersey would not be the Garden State without the contribution of nature’s pollinators,” said Bateman. “From the gardens we grow to the produce we purchase at a local farmer’s market, many of our fruits, vegetables, and flowers depend on pollinators like bees and butterflies. The ‘Protect Pollinator’ license plates will ensure Jersey Grown plants and Jersey Fresh crops grow strong for generations.” Under the new law, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is required to create “Protect Pollinator” license plates, featuring a design and slogan that expresses support for New Jersey’s native pollinators.

“With a third of crops grown in New Jersey dependent on pollinators for reproduction, the creation of these plates will help the Garden State flourish,” said Bateman, who credited Jeannie Geremia with bringing the idea to his attention. Geremia lives in his district and is a former columnist for the Gardener News and the immediate past president of The Garden Club of New Jersey, Inc. Pollinators, including bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, and others, are responsible for reproduction in 90 percent of the world’s flowering plants, including food crops, by spreading pollen from flower to flower. Applicants for the license plates will be required to pay an initial fee of $50 and a subsequent $10 fee to renew the license plates. Any monies from application fees that are not used to administer the license plate program would be deposited in this fund and annually appropriated to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and to the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program. Senator Bateman has had a profound and positive impact on our agricultural, gardening, landscaping and nursery communities. I salute Senator Bateman for his outstanding character and service, and his exemplary dedication to all in the Garden State. And, thank you for this final piece of legislation. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All…

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 December 2021 Looking at the way we beautify our surroundings to be pleasing to our senses has been a consistent practice for thousands of years, ever since mankind evolved and started to re-mold the Earth. Every continent has had its landscape changed, by having its resources welled up from under the Earth’s crust and refashioned into the implements for the advancement and pleasure of humanity. Until now, it seemed this constant reworking of the terra firma and the seas to suit our senses was all fair game. But we know, in this century for sure, that unbridled changes to our habitat have very negative effects on the whole fabric of life. Our practices must align with the new realities of the planet, as resources can be depleted at alarming rates and, as a result, do irretrievable harm. It is also very clear that, if we change our ways and truly embrace sustainable practices, habits, and procedures, we can do so much better in slowing down the forces that are eroding our way of life. Climate is top of mind now among the most dynamic players in planning. There are sweeping global and national initiatives that are attempting to address climate

This column often talks about the innovation of Garden State farmers. One of the things our agricultural community is doing very well is bridging the gap between farms and the public’s understanding and appreciation of farm life. Agritourism plays a vital role in the health of our farms, where success or failure often is determined by things outside of a farmer’s control. Drought, damaging rain, invasive species, or not getting the prices they hoped for at the beginning of the season, can push farmers into the red. Agritourism, which is a $60 million industry in New Jersey, extends the season and boosts farm income. It also creates opportunities for families to have fun together. And, yes, even in the winter, you will find exciting reasons to visit Garden State farms. When it gets too cold for hiking and biking or exploring native species on the 1,000 acres of Duke Farms in Hillsborough, for instance, you can enjoy the natural beauty of winter on snowshoes and crosscountry skis if there is at least four inches of snow. Or you can view snow-covered mountains from a horse-drawn wagon on select winter weekends at Donaldson’s NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture

Different Perspectives on Property Beautification

change with broad policies that speak to one of the biggest factors needing to be addressed, which is carbon capture and sequestration. And what the public is now demanding is that the environment be seen as equally important to the desire for economic advancement. Here’s an example about carbon from my perspective as someone deeply involved in agricultural issues. Over the decades, I have observed thousands of acres of public lands owned by school districts across the state and wondered, “Why do we plant endless acres of land in suburban and rural districts with lawns but devoid of little other vegetation or flora. Why is that the common practice?” If you look at school yards of yore, you will find many more plantings and gardens, and much

less turf. What changed? Petrol and the power to manage landscapes from a tractor evolved. It’s much simpler to plant grass and have crews rolling out on riding mowers. Of course, we do need fields for sports and exercise and ceremonies. But how much is appropriate for the best use of the rest of this land? For people and the planet? Why not some managed forest to capture carbon? Or butterfly habitats to entice monarchs? The budget can be the same and the people employed can be retained, though their tasks may change slightly from simply beautifying the school yard to also managing it for carbon capture. How about foodscapes, and school farms? You might ask, “What’s a foodscape?” This term originated in geography and encompasses all the places and spaces where one might acquire

food, prepare food, talk about food, or generally gather some sort of meaning from food, according to an article by Norah MacKendrick of Rutgers University, who studies and teaches food politics, gender, and environmental risk. A school garden, or perhaps even an apiary where honey is made, would be just two of the multitude of examples of areas that could be considered part of a foodscape. We have seen great interest in recent years among New Jersey schools, with the NJDA’s Division of Food & Nutrition leading the way, in establishing gardens where students can grow food that becomes part of what they eat in the cafeteria or classroom. These gardens add an additional teaching opportunity to talk about nutrition and health, environmental impacts of food production, and even mathematics, what with all

Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman

You Can Visit Garden State Farms All Year Round

Farms in Hackettstown. Call ahead to make sure these activities are available. Or visit one of the many Garden State farms that sell Christmas trees and present stunning holiday wonderland scenes for children and adults to enjoy. As our Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher says, agritourism isn’t only about people buying products, it’s about being exposed to the experience of life on the farm. We need to create more opportunities to bring tourists onto farms by taking advantage of the substantial growth in the number of New Jersey wineries. Approximately 50 wineries hosted events this fall, and several hundred farms offered other activities, from the traditional pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and hayrides to yoga classes with goats.

A 2018 extension of a pilot program permitting special occasion events at wineries on preserved farmland ended in May 2020. My new legislation, now pending a vote by the full Assembly, would make it permanent. The program allows an owner of preserved farmland -- 42 percent of Garden State farms are on preserved farmland restricted by deed to farming -- to hold 14 special occasion events per year if the farm is in a nonresidential area and seven events at farms in residential areas. The Assembly Agriculture Committee also is considering a bill to allow licensed New Jersey producers of beer, wine and distilled spirits to sell at seasonal farm markets for off-premises consumption. Bringing the public onto the farm creates opportunities to

educate New Jersey residents about the challenges farmers face, from problems such as invasive insect and plant species to the importance of native species and pollinators in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. I’m proud my bill creating the Protect Pollinators license plate became law in October. The ten dollar fee for Protect Pollinators plates will support the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and the “New Jersey Farm to School Program.” Sometimes the challenges come not from invasive plants and wildlife but from people. The state’s high rate of residential development near farms can cause farmers and new residents to clash. That’s why the Agriculture Committee will continue to push for legislation to strengthen the legal protections provided to

the measuring of plots, counting the cost of the inputs, etc. Doing some of these things could also apply to Homeowners’ Associations, industrial parks, and business centers. Imagine taking some time during your workday to commune with the nature found in your office’s garden space. Not only would it lend a respite from the grind of the daily schedule, but the employees who work in that building would also be helping to beautify the property for passersby to see and enjoy. It can be transformational. How about your examples?

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:// farmers under the “Right to Farm Act.” The Assembly has passed a bill to allow farmers to be awarded reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees for defending against bad faith complaints under “Right to Farm Act,” and the Agriculture Committee is considering legislation to give limited civil liability immunity to farmers hosting agritourism activities. I expect we will see progress in the year ahead on legislation supporting agritourism and hope you will support it with a visit to a Garden State farm, winery, or farm market. On a personal note, I want to thank Tom Castronovo and the New Jersey Gardener News for allowing me to spend a few minutes with you each month in this column, and to wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

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.

Make the memories and tradition yours. We invite you to find your perfect Christmas Tree and make lasting memories at one of New Jersey’s local Christmas Tree Farms. Visit to find a choose-and-cut tree farm near you.

December 2021 5

6 December 2021


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Provided by Brian Schilling Director

A Look Ahead at 2022 The nearing of year’s end provides the opportunity to pause and reflect on the past and on the future. The challenges that 2021 brought us are evident, not the least of which are the vagaries of a persistent pandemic and several rounds of destructive weather. As 2022 approaches, I reflect with gratitude on the exceptional efforts of colleagues across Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) to ensure the resources and programs of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES)—and, more broadly, Rutgers University—have remained accessible to those who need them during challenging times. I look also to the future of RCE with renewed resolve and heightened commitment to an already deeply held belief in our mission. This stems in large part from observing the energy and conviction of our faculty and staff who work tirelessly across all of our service areas—from supporting commercial agriculture, fisheries, aquaculturalists, and home horticulturalists to protecting our environment and natural resources. We work every day to support positive youth development, strengthen our communities, and empower people to improve their personal health, nutrition, and wellness. All of this is done through the delivery of science-based programming. This resolve also derives from a belief in Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway’s clearly articulated vision of a university that embraces core ideals of a beloved community, academic excellence, and institutional clarity. I see in Dr. Holloway’s vision the very mission and values of cooperative extension. Effective extension work is rooted in our long-standing presence in communities across New Jersey and the formation of the trusting relationships that result. Proactively identifying the diversity of local needs, providing access to the resources of New Jersey’s land grant university, and communicating science-based information— in an effort to improve the lives of all New Jerseyans—have been central tenets of cooperative extension for more than a century. I am particularly proud of programs that cultivate community engagement and empower volunteerism, such as Rutgers Environmental Stewards, Rutgers Master Gardeners, and 4-H Youth Development. I point frequently to the fact that volunteers devote more than 325,000 hours annually (a conservative estimate) in support of various extension programs. This remarkable level of service is equivalent to 160+ full-time positions’ worth of work time! To those who donate their time, energy, and knowledge in support of extension programs, I extend my deepest gratitude. Cooperative extension has evolved with

the changing needs of those we serve and the increasing diversity of who we serve. We continually adapt our priorities to meet the challenges facing our state. With the benefit of renewed State investment allowing us to revitalize and modernize NJAES facilities—including our research farms, marine and coastal field stations, and business incubators—NJAES leadership is committed to expanding programs that address established and emerging challenges facing New Jersey residents, communities, businesses, and our natural ecosystems. Under the auspices of “NJAES Vision 2025” we are focusing our short-term planning efforts to coordinate and build impactful programs aimed at supporting the future of agriculture in the Garden State, building greater and equitable access to the health and wellness resources and expertise of your state university, and aiding communities and businesses as they adapt to changing climatic conditions. Cross-cutting all of these priorities is a commitment to drive innovation, help to build a modern and appropriately skilled workforce, demonstrate new technologies and practices, and empower people to improve their own lives, their broader communities, and the environments around them. The road ahead is not an easy one. Managing the accelerating pace of faculty retirements and planning for leadership succession in key program areas are ubiquitous and formidable challenges. So too is the need to bring greater clarity, coordination, and visibility to NJAES programs to ensure proper resource investment and their accessibility to all who need them—climate resilience and adaptation is a prime priority. With the lessons learned during the disruptions to “traditional” programs created by the pandemic, RCE will blend in-person modes of engagement with new modalities of teaching and disseminating information by purposefully applying remote learning or self-paced instructional resources when they are best suited to the needs of our intended audiences. Recognition of expanded opportunities to serve greater numbers of New Jerseyans is reflected, for example, in ongoing efforts to modernize and extend the reach of short courses and programs of the Office of Continuing and Professional Education. I close with a message of gratitude to the many partners with whom Rutgers Cooperative Extension works in service to our state and its residents. I thank also all of those who support, guide, and advocate for cooperative extension, notably our dedicated NJAES Board of Managers. I wish all Gardener News readers a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and productive 2022.

Editor’s Note: Brian J. Schilling, Ph.D., is Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Senior Associate Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and a professor of agricultural, food and resource economics.


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8 December 2021 Spicebushes are part of the genus Lindera, which is comprised of up to 100 species of both evergreen and deciduous species, that grow and can be cultivated in many areas and exhibit exceptional resistance to browsing by deer. Throughout the native woods of the Eastern part of the United States, the understory is dominated by the native spicebush, Lindera benzoin. In wooded areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, this is the dominant shrub. This sassafras relative, Sassafras albidum, is a multi-stemmed shrub reaching six to twelve feet tall with an equal spread. It is called the spicebush because the stems and leaves have a pungent fragrance. It is native from Maine to Florida and west to Kansas and Texas. In early spring before the leaves emerge, the naked stems become covered in bright yellow flowers. In the fall, bright shiny red fruits are borne in profusion and are an important food source for a myriad of birds. The fruits are then followed by bright, golden-yellow fall color. Perhaps the most important attribute of this spicebush, and other species as well, is that they are 100 percent deer resistant. There are so few plants that can lay claim to being deer resistant, but the linderas are one of them.

December 2021 9 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society By Andrew Bunting Vice President of Public Gardens and Landscapes

Spice Up the Garden, the Spice Bushes One of the most intriguing of all the species is an Asian species, Lindera glauca var. salicifolia. This has become one of my most favorite shrubs in the landscape. It can reach up to 15 feet tall, but if it gets out of control it is easily managed with a severe reduction pruning in late winter. Like the native spicebush, it blooms in early spring with an abundance of yellow flowers. The narrowly elliptical leaves have a great textural quality during the summer, then in the fall they turn an amazing bright pumpkin orange, which looks as if it has been painted with fluorescent orange spray paint! Ultimately the leaves fade to a pinkish taupe and persist for the winter, providing significant winter interest. Toward the end of the winter, before flowering, the leaves fall off. The fruits are shiny black berries that are attractive to the Gray Catbird in particular. While an abundance of fruit is

set on this species, there is relatively little seeding that occurs in the garden. Occasionally, a seedling serendipitously pops up here and there in the garden, but that is a welcome occurrence. Lindera glauca var. salicifolia combines well with other plants with great fall color, like the golden autumnal colors of the pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia, or the burgundypurple leaves of the Virginia sweetspire, Itea virgincia ‘Henry’s Garnet’, or the many cultivars of the oakleaf hydrangea with purplish-red fall color including Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’, ‘Snowf lake’, ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Amethyst’. The latest flowering salvias, including the cultivars of Salvia leucantha with their tubular white and purple flowers, make for a stunning combination. Another Asian selection is the Japanese spicebush, Lindera obtusiloba, which

is a multi-stemmed broadly spreading shrub to ten feet tall. In the garden, it has more of a bold texture due to the leaves that can be lobed or unlobed and have shapes like those of sassafras leaves. L. obtusiloba has stunningly beautiful bright, goldenyellow fall color. Blooming in March, it has an abundance of ornamental round clusters of bright yellow flowers, filling a flowering niche in the garden between the last flowering Hamamelis, witch hazels, and the earliest of the flowering cherries and magnolias. The amazing fall color really stands out against a dark black-green backdrop of coniferous evergreens like Thuja plicata ‘Green Giant’ or the Japanese red-cedar, Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’ or the Oriental Spruce, Picea orientalis, and can also be planted in the foreground of broadleaved evergreens such as Daphniphyllum macropodum and the myriad of Osmanthus heterophyllus

Certified Gardener Program Announces New Classes for 2022

A new season of Certified Gardener classes will be starting soon at the Gloucester County Office of Government Services Building at 1200 N. Delsea Drive, Clayton, NJ. The Certified Gardeners are community volunteers trained in environmentally friendly gardening. This is a year- long program that includes lectures and hands- on learning. The class meets each Wednesday from 9am to 12pm from January through May. The hands on portion of the class occurs through a variety of community outreach projects including the Butterfly House and Historic Gardens at the Red Bank Battlefield Park, demonstration gardens throughout the county, donation gardens and through educational events and classes. New for 2022-Classes will be available on-line for those unable to attend Wednesday mornings. A link will be provided, and participants can view the

lectures at their convenience. The class is open to all residents of New Jersey. Topics covered in the program include: gardening naturally, plant diseases, propagation, native plants, pruning, lawn care and more. The program also requires participants to volunteer service hours toward Certified Gardener projects, activities and events throughout the year. If you have an interest in gardening and volunteering this program is for you! Both experienced and beginning gardeners can gain valuable education and experience through this unique program. There is a $150.00 fee, which covers educational materials and speaker fees. The program is free to veterans. Those interested in joining can call the GC Office of Land Preservation at 856-307-6456 or email for more information.

cultivars including ‘Gulftide’ and ‘Sasaba’. Many other species exist, but they are often difficult to find, like the more tree-like Lindera erythrocarpa which boasts yellow fall color. In my backyard, I have Lindera reflexa which has a beautiful suffusion of orange and yellow in the fall.

Editor’s Note: Andrew Bunting is Vice President of Public Gardens and Landscapes for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is one of the most recognized horticulturists in the Philadelphia, Pa., region and a highly regarded colleague in the world of professional horticulture. Bunting has amassed a plethora of awards, including the American Public Gardens Association Professional Citation, Chanticleer Scholarship in Professional Development, Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Marion Marsh Award, and the Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. In addition, Bunting has lectured extensively throughout North America and Europe, and participated in plant expeditions throughout Asia and Africa. Learn more at andrew-bunting

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10 December 2021 Each December I enjoy highlighting a plant appropriate for the Holiday season and that is rarely considered. Obviously, Poinsettias are the plant of preference for the season. I love the colorful display Poinsettias provide, but the plants always suffer when subjected to the indoor environment of a home and rarely live to see another Holiday season. By comparison, one seasonally appropriate plant that will live for decades is the white and golden forms of Snake Plant, formerly known in botanical spheres as Sansevieria. Yes, the botanists have been busy again and the plant I came to know as Sansevieria has now been merged into the genus Dracaena. Fortunately, it still remains in the Asparagaceae or Asparagus Family. The former genus of Sansevieria had roughly 70 species, native to arid regions of Africa and southern Asia. The number of species obviously grew when it was merged with the genus of Dracaena to around 120 species. The most commonly grown form is Dracaena trifasciata, a native to arid portions of Western Africa, specifically Nigeria east to the Congo. The common name of Snake Plant evolved from the appearance of the taller forms, as The holidays are here and for some that means Christmas trees, garland, poinsettias and wreaths. Now, when many think of trees this time of year, they envision the “harder” pyramid styles of Fraser fir, Balsam fir and Douglas fir. However, if you are a true “plant geek” Nordmann fir, Noble fir, Korean fir, Grand Fir and White fir may also enter your mind. And should we want to take this to a stratospheric level, Vilmorin’s fir, Abies x vilmorinii comes to my mind. Interesting side note, Vilmorin’s epithet is in honor of Pierre Louis Francois Lévêque de Vilmorin who is famous, in my world anyway, for developing a theory of heredity in plants. Vilmorin “recognized that it was possible to select certain characteristics of a plant and develop new varieties displaying the chosen characteristics” ( Vilmorin fir is a hybrid of Greek fir, Abies cephalonica, and Spanish fir, Abies pinsapo. But I digress. While all of these tree types have a “typical pyramidal apex,” there is a tree, a broadleaf evergreen, whose outline is somewhat pyramidal, but with a softer rounded outline. Southern Magnolia, Evergreen Magnolia or Bull Bay Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, is a tree that can grow 40-60 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide. A native tree, cultivated since the mid 1700’s, this tree is often found in the wild in moist areas, in alluvial soil, under larger Morris County Park Commission By Bruce Crawford Horticultural Manager

A Holiday Plant for Seasons to Come they resemble a snake rearing-up to attack! The original name of Sansevieria has an interesting lineage to its name. The Dutch spice merchant and botanist Caspar Commelin (1668-1731) received two specimens of this species from Africa, which he grew in his garden and described in his 1697-1701 edition of ‘Hort Medici Amstelodamensis Rariorum Plantarum’. His nephew Johannes Commelin (1629–1692) created the illustrations found in the book and based upon these illustrations, the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) placed the plant in the genus Aloe. However, a professor of botany at the University of Naples named Vincent Petagna (1734-1810) thought better and believed it unique enough to have its own genus. He proposed the

name Sansevevierinia, in honor of the Prince of San-Severo, Raimondo di Sangro. The final spelling of the name was selected in 1794 by the Swiss naturalist Carl Thunberg (1710-1771) who had an impassioned interest in plants from Africa and Japan. That name held true for over 200 years until in 2017 the British botanist David John Mabberly (1948- ) proposed altering the genus based upon genetic analysis. Although the common names’ reference to snakes may not be the most appealing, it is truly an awesome houseplant. I was first introduced to this plant in 1969 at my grandmother’s funeral where it was part of the floral display. The plant was brought home, and remained in the very same pot for another 50 years, thriving with minimal care. The

upright spears of thick and rigid foliage literally emerge from the soil without any stems and slowly spread via underground rhizomes. The tall forms produce clusters of leaves reaching close to two feet tall while the dwarf forms develop rosettes of foliage to six to ten inches tall. For seasonally appropriate selections, consider ‘Moonshine’, a newer selection with silvery three to four inch wide leaves that stretch to two feet tall. The silvery to white cast of the foliage is at its best when grown in bright light. Another form that will provide an attractive splash of white is ‘Bantel’s Sensation’, featuring broad white vertical stripes on two inch wide by three foot tall foliage. For those preferring a shorter plant, ‘Hahnii’ is a dwarf rosette, patented by Sylvan Frank Hahn of

Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

Southern Charm

counterparts. Despite one of its common names, Southern Magnolia, it is actually perfectly “hardy” here in New Jersey. Some cultivars, however, are simply more cold tolerant than others, but it’s the possibilities this evergreen offers for the holidays that reminds me of the usefulness many landscape plants can have in our colder months. Continuing with the academics of this tree, Bull Bay magnolia has lustrous, large dark green leaves with fragrant, lemonscented, creamy-white flowers. Flowers happen in May and June, then sporadically throughout the summer. Following this, stunning spherical cone-like fruiting clusters happen, eventually releasing rosyred coated seeds in the fall. Fruit are described as an “aggregate of follicles, 3-5” long, splitting open to expose the red seeds.” Evergreen Magnolia appreciates a full day of sun, however it is tolerant of some shade and certainly needs protection

from desiccating winds. Planting this tree on the west side of your property should be reconsidered unless you are willing to wrap it with burlap or spray it with an anti-desiccant. An anti-desiccant helps prevent excessive moisture loss of broadleaf evergreens in the winter. Consider spraying this product before you turn your outdoor water off, as it helps provide a long lasting, protective coating, holding moisture in for several months. Essentially though, this is a relatively problem free tree. Two of the “hardiest” cultivars on the market today are ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ and ‘Edith Bogue’. ‘Bracken’s’, in my opinion, is the most cold tolerant and a fantastic cultivar to consider. I have personally seen this plant survive and thrive as far north as Boston and as far west as Ohio. Acknowledging the previously mentioned attributes, this cultivar exemplifies the best of all of them and has far less leaf drop

than other varieties. Additionally, the leaf’s indumentum, rust-colored markings on the back side of the leaf, is one of the most pronounced, offering great contrast to the foreside. Introduced by Ray Bracken of South Carolina, this should be one of the easiest cultivars to find at your local independent garden center. ‘Edith Bogue’, another hardy clone, has taken on Mother-Nature’s worst and proven its worth. I am particularly fond of this cultivar, as I have seen the original in Montclair, New Jersey. My dear friend, Stephen Schuckman, brought me to Edith Bogue’s home more than a dozen years ago and we both marveled at her tree. The “open framework” was evident on this older specimen, and while it hails from New Jersey, by way of a seedling purchased in Florida in 1917, I would have to give the nod to Mr. Bracken’s find. Christmas wreaths, bundles of greens and garland are all heightened

Pittsburgh, PA in 1941. The deep green rosettes are composed of three inch wide leaves, reaching upwards of four to six inches tall. Often called the Bird’s Nest Snake Plant, ‘Golden Hahnii’ has a broad band of yellow along the leaf margin while ‘Golden Flame’ has predominantly bright yellow foliage with a central green splash. Come summer, all of these plants can be brought outside and grown in partial sun, where they will thrive just as well as in the darker corners of a home. During this Holiday Season, consider gifting some of these wonderful selections of Dracaena. These plants have an incredibly easy culture and will provide beauty for this season and – as my grandmother served to teach me – for countless years to come! Happy Holidays! 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@ with the introduction of Magnolia grandiflora into them. There’s just something about the richness of their large glossy leaves, backed with terrific orange-rust markings, that help make your decorating “pop”. This winter, scrutinize your garden with a different eye. Pay attention to what’s in your garden and consider adding a sprig or branch to your holiday creations. The bright colored marking of mop cypress, Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ and blue spruce will add a dynamic punch to the darker bluegreen needles of Fraser and Balsam fir. And, in so doing, you may just become the envy of your friends as you showcase your more creative side.

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.

December 2021 11

ARE YOU READY? (Continued from page 1)

with the auger. Here is what I know. Single-Stage Models: The auger both pulls up and discharges the snow. The snow discharge distance is usually limited. Because the auger touches the ground, it is covered in rubber to protect the surface. Single-stage snow blowers tackle light to moderate snow falls with ease, and clear snow on pathways and driveways all the way down to the pavement. Two-Stage Models: The auger only pulls up the snow from the inside of the blower snow box. A separate component within the snow blower, the impeller, discharges the snow from the chute. This allows the snow blower to send

the snow a greater distance than with single-stage snow blowers. Because the auger does not touch the ground, it is all metal (not rubber-tipped, as with the single-stage models). Twostage snow blowers are great for handling all types of snow on any surface. A two-stage blower may be an ideal choice for those with gravel driveways since they don’t clean all the way to the ground, which helps avoid pieces of gravel flying through the air. Choosing the right fuel for your snow blower is very important. For the best starting results, use non-ethanol fuel with an octane rating of 87 or higher. And use fresh fuel less than 30 days old.

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Shawn Lipani, co-owner of Central Jersey Nurseries in Hillsborough, Somerset County, NJ, gets ready to display a new Toro Power Edge battery operated snow blower in the power equipment section of his nursery.

Fuel deteriorates over time. Deterioration begins with the most volatile compounds evaporating. Once evaporation reaches a certain point, it will be hard/impossible to start the machine. After some research, I learned that the first documented ‘snow’ machine was patented in 1869 by J.W. Elliot of Toronto, but it was never produced. The first human powered snow blower (or snow thrower) was introduced by Toro in 1951. It was called Snow Boy. The first Toro homeowner snow blower, the Snow Hound, was introduced the following year. Another way to move snow out of the way is to simply shovel and/or push it. Pushing it can be somewhat easier than lifting and throwing the snow. If you want to have the best of both worlds, then it will be to your benefit to own a snow pusher combination tool. You will be able to use this type of snow tool to both push snow and shovel it. It is designed to be able to push snow effectively, but it has the right type of blade that allows for shoveling too. Being able to do a combination of these two snow clearing methods is going to make your experience much better. Some of the most popular snow shovels sold today are ergonomic. Buying a snow shovel with an ergonomic handle will make shoveling snow significantly easier. The handle has a bent design, allowing you to position your hands differently when you are shoveling. For people with back issues, this can be convenient as it makes it easier to maintain a comfortable posture while shoveling. I’m so glad to have one of these. A traditional shovel like I had when I was a kid was almost flat, with an 18- to 24-inch rectangular blade. I was not a fan of snow shoveling. I’ve found that pushers are excellent for driveways because they clear snow faster and with less effort. I still have a traditional shovel for the smaller, tight areas where a push shovel has trouble maneuvering. A combo shovel has a slightly wider, curvier blade

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Bill MacDonald, owner of Warrenville Paint and Hardware in Warren Township, Somerset County, NJ, displays ergonomic snow shovels, traditional snow shovels, snow pushers and combo snow shovel pushers. than a traditional shovel, for both scooping snow and pushing it away. In some snow storms it’s faster and easier to use. Now we’re talking innovation. I also have one of these. As I did a little more research, I learned more than 100 patents have been granted to inventors of snow shovels since 1870. One of the first patents for a shovel that both pushed and scooped snow was given to Lydia Fairweather in 1889. Believe it or not, the first patent for a lighter, plastic snow shovel was granted in 1939 to a Robert A. Smith. I hope my snow clearing story helps with your winter readiness plans. Think Snow!!!

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

12 December 2021


NEW JERSEY & NEW YORK ts e l l by e P or t d s e oo ag all W B P od e n o i th w re i F

December 2021 13 Ic

Ba eme gg lt e Bu & d lk


Fresh Cut Trees • Poinsettias • Large Red Bows Wreaths • Grave Covers • Cut Greens • Custom Wreaths Roping • Decorations • Garland • Lights • Kissing Balls Freshly Brewed Coffee • Chocolate • Pies Cookie Trays • Live Center Pieces Custom Made Gift Baskets - Pick it out and we will make it

ed n e s or d r C Bi er De

Holiday Hours December Monday - Thursday 7-6 Friday - Saturday 7-7 Sunday 7-5

14 December 2021 With Thanksgiving just behind us and the winter holidays on their way, many of us reflect on the year we just had and think about all the things we are thankful for. I’m no different, and this year has been one of many to be grateful for. Of course, we are always thankful for our families and health, but the landscape, greenhouse, nursery, hardscape and especially the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) have so many reasons to count our blessings this year. In 2020, the NJLCA, which regularly holds monthly meetings, had only two: one in January and one in September. Little did we know it would be another winter of uncertainty, but since April 2021 we have been able to host our regular monthly membership meetings without pause. It has been so wonderful to be able to meet face-to-face with members and guests again. Although Zoom was a wonderful option during the height of the pandemic, there is nothing like seeing people up close and personal (socially distanced of course)! Sure, things are a bit awkward now…do we shake hands anymore, can we hug, how close is too close, do we wear a mask? Regardless of the initial weirdness, we came together again as if no time had been lost,

Our friend Robin lives at the Jersey shore and we have known her for over 35 years. My wife used to get on the school bus with Robin so they go way back. Our kids grew up together, went to school together, picked apples, and we have had a lot of fun with their family over the years. When their house was completed, Robin seeded her lawn with Jonathan Green products and I have consulted with her on the lawn over the years. Robin, you built this wonderful house on the edge of the golf course and it has great views. How many golf balls a week end up in your yard? Todd, too many to count! If I only had a dime for each ball. Do you need any golf balls? I’m sure you have been hit over the years. Do you wear a bike helmet when you are in the yard or by the pool? Yes I’ve been hit, and sometimes ten a day fly into the yard, especially when there is a Charity outing going on and there are some lousy golfers on the tee.

December 2021 15 The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Executive Director

Tis the Season to Be Thankful

but with all of us knowing just how lucky we are to see each other again! This year we were also excited to hold our first outdoor trade show and demo event. They say necessity is the mother of invention and I couldn’t agree more. At the time we started planning, we were still at a stage where even outdoor events were only permitted 100 people. If we weren’t going to be able to host our traditional trade show (indoors at the Meadowlands Expo Center, where we might see over 2000 people in a day), we had to figure out something outside. With that came the opportunity we had always discussed, being able to offer a space where attendees could demo the equipment! Who would have thought that we are now going to hold two big trade shows a year, with the outdoor event continuing along with our traditional indoor February

event? I’m also so very thankful for the partnerships we made and nurtured this year. Collaborating with other state associations throughout the country and the garden state has allowed us to expand our offerings and learn from others in a similar position. Furthermore, the NJLCA, who has partnered with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Turfgrass program for many years, worked so much closer this year to achieve goals, learn new things, offer scholarships and education as never before. We also partnered with the American Green Zone Alliance to offer a workshop on how attendees might transition to battery powered equipment over the next several years. We also participated in many stakeholder discussions with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

regarding the “Dirty Dirt” law and the Department of Labor regarding staff shortages. We solidified relationships with the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture and have been able to learn about the many facets of the horticultural industry that affect our members, including landscapers and growers equally. In just a year, the knowledge and insight gained from this relationship has been invaluable. Furthermore, we do have great relationships with our legislative members. NJLCA has awarded Legislator of the Year Awards to Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Assemblyman Kevin Rooney. Assemblyman John McKeon even presented NJLCA with a Joint Resolution from the Assembly and the Senate recognizing the association’s 50th anniversary. Assemblyman Robert

Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

Our Friend Robin…

Robin, wasn’t this propert y formerly farmland? Yes, this whole area was farmland and contains some weeds, like clover or pasture-type grasses, which sometime pop up when the ground is raked and re-seeded. There seems to be some traces of zoyzia that show up every few years too. Yes, zoyzia is very hard to get rid of because of its strong root system and it spreads about one foot a year if not kept in check. Zoysia is a warm-season grass that turns brown after the first frost and doesn’t really green up until late spring. I feel it really does not belong this far north, but

there must have been a good zoyzia traveling sales rep years ago, you see so much of it in various parts of New Jersey. Todd, how do I get rid of zoysia? My suggestion would be to move but I’m sure that is not an option here. I see since the house is located next to a golf course, bentgrass also creeps into the lawn areas. Let me point these bentgrass colonies out to you. These patches pop up since they have been lying dormant for years. Bentgrass properly maintained may look great on a golf course but not so in a home lawn. You have to spray out these patches with

a non-selective herbicide and re-seed. Don’t be surprised if some bentgrass returns again someday, just like the zoyzia patches. Robin, what other problems do you face maintaining a nice lawn? You also have Casey your dog, so of course you are concerned with what products you use on the lawn. Do you prefer to use organic lawn products? Sure, I use organics when I can, but when it comes to killing weeds, that’s a different story. You know our mutual friend Fran; he likes to use organics because of their dog and grandchildren too. The only option available

Karabinchak sponsored our newly introduced Landscape Licensing Bill (A5951). We also worked with Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Senator Bob Smith regarding pollinators, native plants and pesticide regulations. Most of all, I am thankful for the members and friends of the NJLCA. They have supported us as we support them. Their passion drives us every day. Their volunteerism is unparalleled. Their sponsorship and care are never forgotten. In a world that is so uncertain and frustrated right now, take time to be thankful. Have a wonderful holiday season!

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. for weed control on lawns is corn gluten. You have to use it for a few years to really get control over crabgrass and some other broadleaf weeds. We have used corn gluten in the past. I use some non-selective organic spray to control weeds in the landscape beds and cracks in the sidewalks. Todd, I did put down my last winter fertilizer in November and I noticed my lawn still looks great. I wonder if it will stay green until Christmas. Robin, the good news is winter is settling in and you don’t have to do anything to your lawn until next spring. Robin, with your hard work you do have the best lawn in town. Watch out, incoming golf ball, duck! Happy Holidays! 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:

16 December 2021

Please read The Mudlark and the Orchid, Part I and the series introduction, Orchid Delirium, at archives or at The Mudlark and the Orchid Part 2 I awoke wet. Rain had found its way through the broken brick wall of the East End warehouse I called home and drenched my bed of straw. Fumbling through my few possessions, I found a dry set of pants and shirt. “Rain’s no good for mudlarking” I thought aloud. Rubbing my eyes, I remembered yesterday’s unusual find and, lighting a small candle, looked again at it. Could it be that this brown root would one day turn into the likes of the flower I had seen in Dr. Ward’s window? I determined to visit his home again. My glass box under my coat, I made my way to Well Close Square in the rain. As I approached the house, the door opened suddenly and the gentleman I had seen yesterday caught my eye with a friendly look. Surprised, my hands lost their grip on the box. It crashed to the ground and amidst the broken glass lay my strange brown root. “There’s a good lad. What’s that you have there? “ asked the gentleman on the doorstep.

Now that winter is just around the corner, this might be a good time to talk about some of the different types of injuries and damage that can occur to fruit trees as well as other fruit and vegetable plants during the coldest months of the season. Probably the best way to differentiate between the different types is to break the winter season into thirds; early winter, mid-winter, and spring. Early winter injury to fruit trees occurs when air temperatures plummet to subfreezing temperatures before the trees have had a chance to acclimate to the colder temperatures. This type of injury is not all that common in New Jersey with one notable exception. The reason that it is not that common here is that our temperatures generally do not drop that fast. Unlike the western and mid-western parts of the United States, we generally ease into winter in New Jersey. In other areas that are prone to these sudden drops in temperature, the effects can be catastrophic. These early prolonged freezes not only kill the buds, which are the

The Garden Historian By Lesley Parness Garden Educator

The Mudlark and The Orchid

“I found it Sir, in the river. It’s a plant, innnit?” I replied. “Well, I do believe you have the right of it!” was the cheerful response. “Come inside and get dry” he offered. I hardly expected such kindness but soon found myself in a warm parlor, the fireplace lit, myself on a wooden bench, a cup of tea and a meat pie in my hands. “Crikey,” I said in a small voice, my eyes wide, as I began to look around. Throughout the parlor, on every surface was a glass box. Of every size they were, from less than a foot to twelve feet across, and all were filled with plants. “The boxes Sir, what are they called? “They are,” and here he paused for a moment, a wry smile crossing his lips, “Wardian cases.” “Named for you, were they sir?” Nodding yes, he told me of his experiments growing plants here

in Whitechapel where the air was terrible bad. He said how in a sealed bottle or case like these, plants could live and “thrive” likes he put it. Pointing to a collection of cases solemnly, Dr. Ward intoned “Mosses and liverworts, some of the oldest plants.” And there were cases of ferns. “Them’s what botany ben’s been hawking,” I added gladly to the conversation. “We are beset by pteridomania,” Dr Ward exclaimed. “That’s the love of ferns,” he added helpfully. Then, he beckoned me to the rear window which looked out onto his garden. There, along the tops of the stone fence and up and down the roof’s gables were Wardian cases. “Sedums and succulents” Dr. Ward proclaimed, arms extended toward the display. “Them’s what store water in their leaves Sir,” I offered bravely. “How do you come to

know that?” he inquired. So, I told him then about my life as a mudlark, my mum’s job as a flower seller in Covent Square and her love of plants. “Come with me,” he motioned then to an adjacent room into which light streamed through floor to ceiling shutters. Hanging on the walls, directly facing the windows were Wardian cases filled with jewels. Flowers that looked like jewels. “Your root is one of these, Henry,” Dr. Ward said quietly. “It’s an orchid.” “Right fit for the Queen,” I replied in a strangled voice. My hands, clutched together tightly, and my o shaped mouth evidenced my awe. “Care to accompany me today,” Dr. Ward asked appraisingly? “Yes Sir,” I quickly replied. “And will you leave your root here? You can visit every day and I will teach you

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

Winter Injury

following year’s fruit, but, in severe instances, can also severely injure or kill the trees themselves. A recent article in “The Good Fruit Grower” magazine spoke about a potential resurgence of the fruit industry in eastern Kansas. It went on to say that the industry had been wiped out during the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940. Over eighty years later and the industry has still not recovered! That is just one example of how devastating these early season freezes can be. By the way, the one exception I mentioned previously can occur when trees are pruned before they become fully dormant. What happens during the growing season is that the trees store energy and

nutrients within their limbs. As the weather gets colder, these nutrients travel down through the tree into the roots where they sit as stored energy. As the weather warms in the spring, these nutrients are then pushed out of the root system back up into the tree, and hopefully fuel another season of growth and production. If these nutrients are lopped off before they have a chance to be stored in the roots, then the health of the tree can be greatly compromised. Mid-winter injury generally occurs when temperatures just get so low that they kill some, or in extreme cases all, of the fruit buds. Here in New Jersey, we found that peach buds can be susceptible to damage if they go below zero for an extended period of time. Of course, this

varies from variety to variety as certain types of peaches are more winter hardy than others. Back in the winter of 1993, we had some severe cold weather where temperatures dropped to twenty below zero for a time. The only peach buds that survived that winter were the ones that had been buried under snow drifts and had been protected from the cold. Fortunately, apples are much more tolerant of cold temperatures and are generally not affected by even the coldest winters here in New Jersey. Spring freezes are the most common type of cold event that can damage fruit crops in New Jersey. These generally occur when, after a late winter warming of temperatures, the weather goes

to care for it.” I gave another nod. Dr. Ward then summoned Mrs. Critchley, his housekeeper. 30 minutes later she had plated down my hair, scrubbed my face, ears, and hands, and removed a layer of Thames mud from my jacket and boots. “Comfortable?” Dr. Ward asked as we settled into the Hansom cab, bound for I knew not where. “Bang up to the elephant is what I am, Sir” I answered smiling broadly. Satisfied, Dr. Ward motioned to the driver and the ride commenced. Editor’s Note: Lesley Parness offers a variety of presentations and workshops for garden clubs, plant societies, and horticultural gatherings. Recently retired from her position as Superintendent of Horticultural Education at the Morris County Park Commission, and with four decades of teaching environmental science and garden education, her focus now is garden history. A complete listing of her talks can be seen at lesleyparness. com and she can be reached at This column will appear in the paper every other month.

back to more seasonal colder levels, or we get unseasonably cold temperatures very late in the spring. For example, say we get a really nice week of seventy degree temperatures in March. The trees don’t know what month it is and the buds start growing. Then, suddenly, the temperature dips back into the mid-twenties for a couple of nights and there goes half the peach crop. I have seen frost on our farm as late as Memorial Day weekend, so we generally have two months where we really have to watch the temperature. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for an uneventful winter! 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.

December 2021 17

18 December 2021 In a September 1962 speech, President John F. Kennedy made a bold statement that by the end of the decade the United States would send astronauts to the moon. Quite the gamble considering Charles Lindberg first crossed the ocean in a tiny aircraft just 35 years before. As a result, the U.S. government committed $25 billion to the program, equivalent to over $100 billion today. Kennedy’s seemingly impossible challenge was not only achieved but placed the United States at the apex of science and technology. In January 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared that by 2050 (less than 30 years from now), New Jersey will derive 100% of its energy from clean sources. Just as in the space mission of the 1960’s, the technology and science has not yet been developed to achieve this lofty goal. Experts in industry and science who actually know a thing or two about energy estimate the cost of Murphy’s moonshot to be $3 trillion dollars. Murphy’s Energy Master Plan includes expanding use of electric vehicles, accelerating the growth of renewable energy (emphasizing solar and offshore wind), strengthening efficiency standards, and expanding the clean energy economy in New Jersey. The plan gushes that New Jersey is going to set the standard NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director

The Cost of Green Energy

in fighting global warming; all very laudable. However, as they say, “the devil is in the details” - the plan contains zero estimates in how much this will directly and indirectly cost the taxpayers. Recently, I attended a forum dedicated to examining the costs to implement the Energy Master Plan. Members of government, science, and clean energy representatives spoke about economic prospects, infrastructure needs, costs, and plans necessary to achieve this goal. One presenter summed up a conflict existing in the global warming debate and current energy policy. They argue that politicians and the media have oversimplified the global warming problem and the solutions. While 97% of the world’s scientists agree our planet is getting warmer, there is disagreement on what is causing the warming and how much warming to expect. Electric demand continues to rise,

the sense of public urgency is lacking, and there remains a large gap between current energy policy versus what needs to happen to achieve net zero carbon emissions. Another expert discussed California’s quest for clean energy policies, and blamed them for an August 2020 blackout power crisis that plagued the state. In California’s rush to enact strict clean energy standards without fully considering consequences, they neglected to build reserve power sources to meet spikes in demand, and existing power grids were insufficient and outdated to operate under the technology the new legislation required. Some “antiquated” but fully functioning grids were removed from service before new infrastructure could be put online. Despite the plan’s reliance on solar and wind energy, the fact remains that our energy system is dependent

on “controlled generation,” which is largely produced by coal, natural gas, and nuclear sources. Solar and wind are not controlled, and cannot exactly be predicted in output since weather plays an important role in determining productivity. Other costly infrastructure projects include updating our transmission lines. Currently, most electricity is transmitted west to east. Offshore energy will require new transmission lines running east to west. Most power grids were built in the 1950’s and 60’s, and remain a hodgepodge of various voltages and different technologies. They are susceptible to weather as well as cyber-attacks. Renewable energy will require significant upgrades to the grid. Technology investments will include construction of microgrids, battery storage facilities, and an advanced grid capable of handling renewable energy. Building owners and

cells and cell components. However, dormant seed cells have a moisture content of only about 10%, which is low enough that freezing these cells is not a problem. In fact, seeds generally survive better at -20o F than at room temperature, and storage in liquid nitrogen at -320o F is even better for long term seed survival. Seeds with an impermeable seed coat, such as lotus, can survive for over 1,000 years as determined by carbon dating, even without refrigeration. Perennial plants such as maple trees, pine trees, or cardinal flowers must make additional preparations for the cold. Thin maple leaves would never make it through a harsh New Jersey winter and these insect chewed, weather beaten, diseased leaves are discarded annually. As fall approaches, sugar and difficult to manufacture chlorophyll molecules are withdrawn into the tree trunk. An abscission zone forms at the base of each

maple leaf. Here the water transporting xylem vessels and the sugar transporting phloem tubes are plugged up. Then cells of this region, in a carefully programmed process, die and physically come apart to allow the leaves to drop off without damage to the tree, just leaving behind leaf scars. As winter approaches, herbaceous plants such as cardinal flowers withdraw as many of the valuable compounds from above ground shoots as possible. These shoots are then allowed to die and the plant retreats into ground hugging basal leaves and thickened underground stems and roots, thus potential damage to delicate structures is much reduced. However, active cells are still subject to damage if frozen hard. In fall, active cells within the trunk of a tree, or cells in the stems and roots of herbaceous perennials, pump water into adjacent spaces within the plant (extracellular

spaces). Such spaces are common in plants and animals, and in plants even the water carrying xylem vessels are devoid of protoplasm, though they are still very functional. Movement of water out of active cells obviously increases the concentration of dissolved cell compounds (solutes) and this will greatly decrease the freezing point. In addition to this dehydration process, the accumulation of sucrose (sugar) and the amino acid proline occurs in plant cells as they go dormant; these compounds apparently act as common antifreeze compounds. Dehydration and solute concentration are believed to protect active cells from freezing, down to about 20o F. Additional protection is accomplished by modifying the lipid composition of plant cellular membranes to protect them in cold weather. Plants are also protected by the synthesis of a group of water soluble proteins named

homeowners will need to update their building’s electrical systems to be compatible to handle the new clean energy technology. Already, some natural gas providers in New Jersey have introduced 20% “clean hydrogen” mix into natural gas lines. To achieve 100% clean hydrogen as a natural gas source, virtually every consumer appliance and industry equipment that relies on natural gas will need to be replaced. No one disputes the merits of clean energy. However, current costs to achieve this goal are seemingly out of this world.

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@

Woolen Blankets for Plants? By Hubert Ling

No, your plants don’t need blankets in winter; but just how do they survive? New Jersey has plant hardiness zones from 7b to 6a, with expected lows in southern New Jersey of 5o F (zone 7b) down to -10o F in northern New Jersey (zone 6a). Just imagine standing still with the wind howling and the temperature a chill -10o F; how long do you think you would last? Well, it wouldn’t be good for plant cells either, but they have several known cold weather survival mechanisms. Annual plants such as jewel weed or partridge pea simply die off and leave everything to the next generation of seeds, which are uniquely adapted to cold and drought. Active plant cells, like active animal cells, have a water content of about 80%. When frozen, without previous winter preparations, sharp ice crystals will form and destroy

dehydrins and dehydrin-like compounds. These protective proteins collect in the cell cytoplasm, mitochondria, chloroplasts, and nuclei during fall. They act like antifreeze and stabilize membranes as the cells have been deliberately dehydrated. In addition to protecting against cold damage, they appear to be active in protecting against drought and other forms of stress such as attack by fungi and insect pathogens; dehydrins can thus be considered as essential components of the plant’s immune system. Since during both cold and drought plant cells become dehydrated, it is not surprising that the same dehydrins play a role in plant protection in both situations. And you thought that all a plant could do was shiver!

Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at

New Consumer Website Launched To Promote Kitchen Minis™ Tabletop Vegetables Collection To provide further consumer awareness, and help greenhouse and retail customers sell the award-winning Kitchen Minis™ collection of edible potted vegetable plants, PanAmerican Seed® has launched a shopperfriendly website The mobileoptimized site lets consumers browse the full assortment of Kitchen Minis tomatoes, sweet peppers and hot peppers, and inspires them to harvest fresh food in a whole new way – indoors on a sunny windowsill or outside on a patio tabletop. “This year’s launch of the Kitchen Minis collection has been met with such positivity; it is reinvigorating the vegetables category with something unique. It’s also engaging millions of new plant buyers entering our market and satisfying the desire of existing veggie gardeners to have a taste of homegrown produce outside the main vegetable-growing season,” says Claire Josephson, Marketing Manager for PanAmerican Seed. “With the launch of a consumer-facing website, we’re creating a friendly online space to excite shoppers who are interested in enjoying homegrown vegetables in a non-traditional way.” The website includes plant and fruit details to help shoppers make a buying decision and exposes them to the full assortment. A “Where To Buy” page helps them find product. Retailers can contact PanAmerican Seed to have their store added to the list of locations selling Kitchen Minis. An area for recipes inspires visitors on how to use their harvested vegetables. This consumer website joins an already-enriched package of promotional resources available now online at Growers and retailers can use these FREE marketing tools to help with sell-thru, encourage visibility in stores, and enhance their outbound customer communications on Kitchen Minis. The promotional package includes downloadable signage, ready-to-post social content, sharable video commercials and more. The Kitchen Minis collection from PanAmerican Seed includes ready-grown and fruiting compact potted vegetable plants that consumers can place inside on a sunny windowsill or counter without any garden space. They can also be placed outside as a tabletop patio variety. Kitchen Minis make it possible for consumers to enjoy their own homegrown vegetables regularly, with each plant’s harvest lasting several weeks.


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December 2021 19 Growing Gardeners By Diana Dove Environmental Educator

Youth Contests Give Children a Voice We Should Hear…

Through the eyes of a child, their written words and art may express the simple but vital message that all of us need to protect our natural resources. Today’s youth and Growing Gardeners of all ages have messages to share for future generations. The National Garden Club Inc. coordinates national environmental Youth Contests inviting children and teens, in various grade levels, to share their artistic abilities and writing skills. An annual poster contest for students in grades one to five features a choice to draw either Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl. Students in grades kindergarten to nine may enter poetry; this year, it’s about birds. Art-loving youth in fourth to eighth grade, who think outside the box (no pun intended) may design an art sculpture using recycled materials. High school students in grades nine to twelve may find their voices through the use of their pens, writing essays about vital environmental issues; this year’s essay theme is to write about preventing water pollution. Youth participants submit entries through a local Garden Club. In New Jersey, local GCNJ Garden Club sponsors submit their winning entries to the respective State Youth Contest Chair by January 6, 2022. Only the top three winners per grade category are accepted at the state level. Students in other states should check their state entry deadlines with their own state Garden Club Youth Contest Chairs. The GCNJ State winners of the Youth posters, poetry, and the sculpture contests are submitted to the National Garden Club, Inc. Only the State Youth Contest Chairs may submit state winners to the National Level. The winning state High

School Essay shall be submitted to the CAR-SGC (Central Atlantic Region of the State Garden Clubs, Inc.) It’s important to read the official rules thoroughly. GCNJ Youth Contest links are on the GCNJ website at Click Youth/GCNJ Youth Contests. Do you know the slogans for Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl? The Youth Poster Contest (first to fifth grade) is a partnership between National Garden Club, Inc. and the US Dept of Agriculture Forest Service. Participants draw either Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl with the current slogan, which must be spelled correctly to be considered. Read the rules carefully. You’ll see the required poster size is 11 inches by 17 inches. Smokey Bear says, “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires!” When children create these posters, it enforces a wildfire prevention message about not playing with matches, and to be responsible around outdoor grills and campfires…all lifelong lessons. Another choice is for a student to draw a Woodsy Owl Poster with the conservation slogan, “Lend a Hand - Care for the Land!” The emphasis here is to share the environmental message of acting responsibly and taking action to protect our trees and other natural resources, and to take great care… not to litter. The Youth Poetry Contest (kindergarten to ninth grade) theme for 2022 is “Sing with the Songbirds – Exploring the Glory of Nature.” There are categories for General, Special Education students and ESL (English as a Second Language) students. National winners will be published in the annual Poetry Winners booklet. Winners may not enter two years in a row. All entries must be typed and titled; create a

title that reflects the theme but with different wording. Any poetry styles are welcome; poems do not have to rhyme. Poem entries will be judged based on the title, content, creativity, and style. The Youth Sculpture Contest (fourth to eighth grade) encourages problem solving and creative thinking while utilizing recycled items. The sculpture is limited to 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches high. Judging is based on creative choice and use of materials, self expression, the written sculpture description, craftsmanship and technique. There is an official entry form to use that requires the designer to list the materials and attach photos; you keep the sculpture. The High School Essay Contest (ninth to twelfth grade) gives high school students a voice. The essay theme is “What can we do to prevent water pollution?” The essay must be typed and titled with a precise length of 600 to 700 words. Essays are judged based on content, composition, manuscript, and require a complete cover sheet outlined in the rules. Including a photo is optional, sent in a JPEG format. The essay must be submitted via email in PDF document format, and include a “National Garden Club Inc. Release for Publication and Website form.” Essays will be published in the “CAR-SGC Review.” The High School Essay Contest is sponsored by the Central Atlantic Region of State Garden Clubs, Inc. Encourage students to enter a Youth Contest now. It’s a way to take action and educate others. Youth have so much to share. These contests give Growing Gardeners and all youth a voice…a voice we all need to hear.

Editor’s Note: Diana is an Environmental Educator who can be reached at dianadove13@ 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 and Local NJ Clean Communities for Pre-K through all grade levels and adults. Please ‘Like” the FB page of the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden she founded in Washington Borough, Warren County. Diana is Co-Youth Chair on the Board of the Garden Club of NJ and is the 2021 National Garden Club Youth Leader Award Recipient. She has a BS in Forestry & Wildlife Management, with a concentration in Biology, plus a BA in Communications from Virginia Tech. She is a former Senior Naturalist for Somerset County Parks and has been teaching since 1975.

20 December 2021

NORTHEAST DEPARTMENT NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Offspring From Walner, Muscle Hill Bring Top Prices at Lexington Sale Yearlings from New Jersey sire Walner led individual sales at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale in Kentucky recently. Walner led all stallions in gross sales at just over $7.7 million and average sales at $160,792 with three or more sold. The Walner filly Exile set the high mark for opening night going for $800,000, topping the previous record of $725,000 for a filly. Walner, along with famed sire Muscle Hill, each stand at Southwind Farms in Pennington in Mercer County. “New Jersey-bred horses continue to be in high demand as yearlings from these sires bring premium prices at this prestigious sale,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “Many agriculturerelated businesses in our state are supported by this thriving industry.”

On the second night of the five-day event, Walner colts had gross sales of more than $3.4 million for 25 yearlings. Most of Walner’s yearlings were sold in the first two nights, where the gross sales total was more than $7.2 million. Also from Walner, colt Earthquake Bi went for $620,000 on the opening night, Wall to Wall went for $525,000, filly Singeth With Joy went for $510,000, and Cyberspace went for $500,000. Muscle Hill offspring also garnered their fair share of attention with gross sales at more than $5.2 million for an average of $119,682. That included colts Detroit City going for $500,000, Cypress Hanover going for $475,000, La Dolce Vita going for $450,000, and Shiney Sunday going for $360,000. Also from Southwind Farms,

yearlings sired by Tactical Landing went for nearly $3 million. Concord Stud, based in Cream Ridge in Monmouth County, led all consignors in average with $186,429 for seven sold. Concord Stud Farm is operated by David and Robin Meirs and their family and is comprised of the 249 acres. Walner was the 2016 2-year-old Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year, when he won 9 of 10 starts, which included a win in the Breeders Crown. In 2017, he won the Stanley Dancer Memorial Division at the Meadowlands. Walner is out of Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill. Muscle Hill, recognized around the world, sired 2020 Hambletonian winner Ramona Hill. Muscle Hill was the 2009 Horse of the Year and was the Trotting World Champion as a 2-year-old and a

3-year-old. Muscle Hill also had a streak of 20 straight wins and set a single year winnings record at nearly $2.5 million. Southwind Farms’ General Manager is Laura Young and her husband, Chris Pazdan, is the Farm Manager. Along with the 235 acres at the horse facility, they also farm about 800 acres in hay and grain in Hopewell Township. A second Southwind Farms equine facility is in Gilbertsville, N.Y. The success of New Jersey race horses has led to an increase in the amount of mares that are bred here each year. The number has risen by more than 500 since 2017, reaching nearly 800 in 2021. For more information about the Standardbred Breeders Association of New Jersey go to http://www.sboanj. com/

VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Grants $324K to Vermont Specialty Crop Organizations The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) announces grants totaling $324,467 for eight projects to benefit Vermont fruit, vegetable, and value-added producers and increase consumer access to locally produced food. These grants, funded through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), were awarded to seven agricultural organizations to undertake a range of research, development, education, and marketing projects. The grants will leverage an additional $162,629 in matching funds. “We are thankful for our Congressional delegation’s continued commitment to the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which funds projects that strengthen Vermont’s agricultural economy,” said Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “This year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funding will promote industry resiliency in the face of rapid market changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, increase wholesale market opportunities for farmers, support the emerging Vermont tree nut industry, sponsor grower-led events and educational opportunities, and invest in research to improve fruit and vegetable production methods and control pests.” Since the program’s launch in 2006,

the Vermont SCBGP has invested over $3.6 million in projects to benefit Vermont specialty crop producers. The program supports projects led by producers, researchers, and agricultural service providers, including a recently completed project, Increasing the Vermont Apple Industry’s Marketing Capabilities, directed by the Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association. In this project, the Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association hired a contractor to create a long-term marketing and recruitment strategy for the association. The contractor helped the association develop and disseminate a strategic marketing plan and established partnerships with the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing, the Vermont Fresh Network, and other organizations. VAAFM awards SCBGP funds through a competitive review process guided by industry, nonprofit and government stakeholders. A stakeholder advisory committee identified the development of innovative horticultural production practices and efficiencies, pest and disease management, food safety, value chain enhancement, technical assistance, market access, and producer collaboration as funding priorities for 2021. A proposal review

committee representing a diverse set of fields reviewed all applications and convened to make funding decisions through a two-stage review process, including a pre-application and a fullapplication evaluation. After receiving detailed recommendations from the proposal review committee, VAAFM selected the following projects out of twenty-two applications representing total funding requests of over $768,357: • Addison County Relocalization Network to increase wholesale market opportunities for specialty crop farms in the Addison County region ($58,300) • Eden Ice Cider Company to establish the Vermont Holistic Orchard Management Network, a group of apple producers focused on best practices for growing apples specifically for alcoholic cider production ($4,000) • University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science to host VitiNord 2022: A pivotal opportunity for education, collaboration, and innovation among Vermont grape and wine producers ($20,548) • University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science to develop a plant-based lure for the swede

midge, an invasive pest of Brassica crops ($44,310) • Vermont Farmers Food Center to increase specialty crop sales for the Rutland region’s producers through market expansion ($52,000) • Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association to expand Vermont pure maple syrup consumption through a strategic marketing campaign ($35,825) • Vermont Tree Nut Processors to establish a tree nut processing facility in Vermont, to yield coldpressed culinary nut oils and create a vital value chain for the local tree nut industry ($23,130) Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets to strengthen local and regional specialty crop marketing initiatives ($86,354) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service awards Specialty Crop Block Grants to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. In Vermont, VAAFM administers these funds to enhance the competitiveness of Vermont and regionally-grown specialty crops, defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).”

December 2021 21

OF AGRICULTURE NEWS CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE New CT Grown for CT Kids Grant Program Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz visited Gaffney Elementary School in New Britain, CT, to announce the launch of the newly formed Connecticut Grown for Connecticut Kids Grant Program administered by Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg) in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative (FTSC). The pilot program will be funded for two years with a total of $500,000 through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). “Farm to School programming offers so many opportunities in Connecticut for producers, youth, educators, and the community,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “Teaching students about nutrition and where their food comes from, connecting them with local farmers and embracing learning about different aspects of the agriculture sector will not only enhance their education, but will shape future generations with an interest in the field. I want to thank everyone who worked on the CT Grown for CT Kids Grants program and to Connecticut’s school food service and educators who work tirelessly every day to feed our youth.” Established under P.A. 21-0002,S. 364, Connecticut Grown for Connecticut Kids Grant (CTG4CTK Grant) will be administered by Department of Agriculture through a combination of financial and technical assistance to help develop farm-to-school programs that will increase the availability of local foods in child nutrition programs, allow educators to use hands-on educational techniques to teach students about nutrition and farm-to-school connections, sustain relationships with local farmers and producers, enrich the educational experience of students, improve the health of children in the state and enhance the state’s economy. “Connecticut Grown for Connecticut Kids Grant Program directly aligns with the priorities of our agency to increase market access for farmers and growers and educate our next generation on the importance of where their food comes from,” said Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “We are excited to administer this program and eager to see the positive impact the funded projects will have in the near and longterm.” Eligible entities will be able to apply for up to $24,999 in funding with no match required for projects that fit within the four priority categories: Infrastructure, Experiential Learning Opportunities, Farm to School Planning and Pilot CT Grown Purchasing Programs. A video recording walking through how to submit your application via Salesforce will also be posted on The deadline for final submissions is December 20, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. Additional details can be found at the CT Grown for CT Kids Grant Program page.

PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Pennsylvania Phasing in Ban of Invasive Japanese Barberry The PA Department of Agriculture added Japanese Barberry, or Berberis thunbergii, to a list of noxious weeds — plants that cannot be legally sold or cultivated in the state. The popular, non-native, ornamental shrub forms dense, prickly thickets that crowd out plants and disrupt native ecosystems. It is also thought to harbor black-legged ticks that spread lyme disease. The ban on sale and cultivation took effect October 8, 2021. Enforcement of the ban will be phased in over two years to allow time for nurseries to eliminate it from their stock, find non-harmful alternatives, and develop seedless, sterile varieties that pose less threat to the environment and agriculture. Landscape and nursery businesses will receive notices of the timeline, procedures and exemption process for sterile varieties. Property owners should consider eliminating the shrubs on their land. “Many seemingly attractive plants can actually harm our environment, our food supply and our health,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Pennsylvania does not take banning the sale of a plant lightly. Prevention is the best alternative — choosing native plants that harbor pollinators and allow a healthy, natural ecosystem. Carefully considering the potential impact of what we plant can prevent lasting damage that is difficult, expensive or impossible to reverse.” Japanese barberry was originally brought to the U.S. from Japan and eastern Asia in the 1800s to be planted as an ornamental. It is widely used as a landscape shrub because of its fall coloring and resistance to deer. It has garnered attention in the past several years as a prolific invader that can easily spread into woodlands, pastures, fields and natural areas. The timeline for the two-year rollout of the ban is as follows: • November 2021 – Nursery and landscape businesses will receive notice from the department, advising them to immediately begin adjusting propagation, ordering and planting of Japanese barberry to decrease inventory. • Fall 2022 – The department will issue letters of warning to any plant merchant still selling Japanese barberry, providing a date in Fall 2023 after which remaining inventory will be subject to a destruction order. • Fall 2023 – The department will issue Stop Sale and destruction orders to plant merchants selling or distributing Japanese barberry. Merchants with questions should contact Effective October 8, 2021, the department added two other plants to the noxious weed list: garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, and Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum. These plants are generally not sold in nurseries but are invasive and common in Pennsylvania. Landowners with these plants on their property are encouraged to remove them. Find more information about noxious, controlled and poisonous plants in Pennsylvania at agriculture.

NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE New York State Agricultural Society Annual Meeting and Forum to Take Place January 6, 2022 The New York State Agricultural Society will host the 190th Annual Meeting and Agricultural Forum on January 6, 2022. The Forum, which is traditionally the oldest and largest meeting of its kind in the State, returns in-person in 2022, bringing together representatives from all sectors of the agri-food system and natural resource industry at the Syracuse OnCenter. This upcoming year’s forum will focus on “Growing a Greener Planet,” with panelists and speakers discussing research, technology, and policymaking that will help fight climate change and provide economic opportunities for stakeholders. State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball will deliver the 2022 State of Agriculture Address. Commissioner Ball said, “I am pleased we will all be able to gather in person once again at the annual Agricultural Society Meeting and Forum. At the 2022 Forum, we will be discussing the impacts of climate change on our farmers and the agricultural industry. I thank the New York State Agricultural Society for making this upcoming year’s meeting and forum possible and look forward to these important discussions on policy areas that are a priority for the State.” The full day’s program and registration information are available at

22 December 2021

Gifts for Young Nature Enthusiasts Book One, “Just like Grandpa Taught Me”, is a story about ten year old Wayne who is befriended by Newton, a rather large salamander, who also needs his help because toxic chemicals have been dumped into the pond he and his friends call home. Newton is also having a problem with the town’s bullies… that Wayne knows all too well! Book Two, “For All Creatures Great and Small…”, Dad, Dr. Jim Hage, just moved his large and small animal Veterinary practice to Lake Luzerne after the towns previous and only Vet retired. Becky and Wayne not only have an entirely new set of problems at the pond to solve they have to save the life of their friend Marty-Bull the beaver who was shot with an arrow after trying to warn them! Both books, targeting 7-12 year olds, are available on

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USDA Introduces New Insurance Policy for Farmers Who Sell Locally The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is rolling out a new insurance option specifically for agricultural producers with small farms who sell locally. The new Micro Farm policy simplifies record keeping and covers post-production costs like washing and value-added products. USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) created this new policy based on research directed by the 2018 Farm Bill, and it includes feedback from producers who grow for their local communities. The policy will be available beginning with the 2022 crop year. The Micro Farm policy is available to producers who have a farm operation that earns an average allowable revenue of $100,000 or less, or for carryover insureds, an average allowable revenue of $125,000 or less. The policy builds on other RMA efforts to better serve specialty and organic crop growers. Learn more at

December 2021 23 B o B c a t. c o m / L a r g e e x c a va t o r s B o B c a t. c o m / L a r g e e x c a va t o r s

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