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Gardener News Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping Communities

October, 2017


TAKE ONE No. 174

A Generational Agricultural Family

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Kevin Beneduce, Justen Beneduce-Hiles, and Mike Beneduce, Jr. chat in the tasting room at Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, Hunterdon County, N.J. By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor As the old saying goes, it takes a family to support the agricultural and horticultural industries. Agriculture and

horticulture are big business. The industry has been around for thousands of years. And everybody knows that youth are the most important part of the survival of the agricultural and horticultural industries. You have to love working

outdoors and focusing on environmental stewardship. Mike, Sr., and Casey Beneduce own the Great Swamp Greenhouses, an independent garden center in Gillette, Morris County, N.J., and Beneduce Vineyards, a vineyard and winery in

Pittstown, Hunterdon County, N.J. Mike, Sr., and Casey Beneduce’s children – Mike, Jr., Justen, and Kevin – are the Beneduce family’s youthful future. The name “Beneduce” means “good leader” in

Italian. The Beneduce family tries to live up to their name by employing sustainable practices in all aspects of their businesses, setting high standards for quality in their respective industries, working with their local communities, (Cont. on page 13)

2 October, 2017


Plan Your Fall Landscape With Us! Pumpkins & Gourds Corn Stalks Garden Mums Fall Decorations Hay & Straw Harvest Baskets Scarecrows

All Grown in our Family Owned Greenhouses

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4 October, 2017 As we move into fall, the harvest of so many crops heads into full swing. Apples, squashes, cauliflower, cranberries, leeks, and so much more. That’s the fruit and vegetable side of things, where our farmers are still reaping the benefits of their labor. It is a glorious time – crisp, cooler air, perhaps even a little chill here and there in the early-morning and evening, and thoughts of the holidays from October through December, leading up to ringing in a new year on the calendar, bubble up in our consciousness as we head toward the ensuing winter. There is, however, something else that goes on in the world of plants this time of year. This is the second opportunity in each year to plant landscape trees and shrubs with great success. The reward comes next spring, as your home and garden pop and sparkle with foliage you sowed this month or, in some cases, even later in the fall. Trees and shrubs add so much to the aesthetic and actual value of your property that planting them is truly worth the time, effort and NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture

Perfect planning prevents poor plant performance money expended. However, timing is crucial to success. How many times have you seen plantings made in the hottest part of the summer months just languish and die? This past summer, I saw five shovelready, good-sized trees with large root balls lying on the side of a local road in one of the hottest stretches of midJuly. Five days later, not once having seen anyone watering them, and still not planted, workers came by and picked up the nowdying trees, like so many casualties on battlefield, and carted them away. This kind of waste of plant life, due to ill-timed concepts of planting, happens all the time, and it is truly unfortunate. I have seen neighbors install the same kind of plant five years in a row, and watched

them die five years in a row, usually because they did not use the right material at the right time in the right location. Remember back to our high-school days, when teachers and coaches would tell us the “Five Ps” – Perfect planning prevents poor performance. We are informed by experts at the university level who have the following suggestions as part of the plant-planning process: First: Base your plant selection on the functional role of the plant. Second: Be sure the tree or shrub has been grown with care. Good nursery stock has been pruned and trained to develop a good canopy, or form, as well as a strong root system. Third: Fall planting is fine for containerized and

Look Who’s Reading the Gardener News!

It’s in the news

Tom Castronovo/Photo

U.S. Army Veteran, and Open Road Auto Group Chairman and CEO W. Rodman Ryan looks over the September Gardener News in his new corporate offices in Bridgewater, Somerset County, N.J. Open Road Auto Group, one of the most respected automobile dealership chains in the country, currently owns and operates over 25 automotive facilities including 18 dealerships throughout the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, representing Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Smart, Subaru and Volkswagen. Mr. Ryan opened his first dealership in 1972 out of a two-bay garage in Edison, Middlesex County, N.J.

bag-and-burlap deciduous plants and narrow-leafed evergreens. They can be planted as long as the soil can be worked. Fourth: Know your soil for drainage and aeration, and ask your garden supply dealer about the ability to adapt or conform to these conditions. When planting for a landscape, make sure the plant is put in well-drained soil. Dig the hole a foot wider than the shape of the bare-root system. Don’t plant too deep. If you know the depth of the hole where it came from, shoot for that depth and maybe just a little bit more at its new location. And here’s the Jersey Grown pitch: The Department of Agriculture developed the Jersey Grown program so that growers could highlight

plant material grown in New Jersey, signifying that it is accustomed to the state’s soils and growing conditions, and has been inspected for quality and to assure that it is pest- and disease-free. So, choosing Jersey Grown plant material is yet another step you can take toward ensuring success in your landscape. There is more to know, and sure, it sounds like a lot to consider. But it will become second nature once you tackle a few projects and see the successful results. Remember, the value of your toil in this matter will pay dividends for not only years, but decades into the future. 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:

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6 October, 2017


Rutgers Gardens Names Jeff Jabco the Winner of its National “Hamilton Award” for 2017 Rutgers Gardens has named Jeff Jabco, director of grounds at Swarthmore College and coordinator of horticulture at the Scott Arboretum, as the 2017 recipient of the Hamilton Award, the horticulture award inaugurated last year by the Gardens. The Hamilton Award recognizes “an unsung hero, a quiet leader, or patient mentor in the field of horticulture,” and was named for and inspired by former Rutgers professor and Gardens director Bruce “Doc” Hamilton. Bob Lyons, chair of the Rutgers Gardens Advisory Board since 2014 and professor emeritus of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, expressed his excitement at the selection of Jabco as the 2017 recipient of the Hamilton Award. “Few horticulturists have the respect and admiration from as many peers as does Jeff Jabco, who is nationally known and has a well-earned reputation for maintaining the exceptional aesthetics of the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College.” Since 1990, Jabco has been the coordinator of horticulture at the Scott Arboretum, part of the 425-acre campus of Swarthmore College, PA, which appears on lists of the “most beautiful college campus” in the U.S. of several leading publications like Forbes, Travel and Leisure, and Garden Design magazine. Jabco previously served southeastern Pennsylvania as a horticultural extension agent with Penn State University Cooperative Extension. He has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Penn State University and a master’s degree in horticulture, plant breeding and plant pathology from North Carolina State University. He has taught generations of students, interns and garden enthusiasts who have passed through Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, PA, where he has been an instructor for the past 32 years. “Jeff is a teacher with a passion for his discipline. His classroom style is engaging and gregarious, in an enthusiastically tempered way; he makes all students feel immediately welcome whether his classroom resides outside amongst the plants or within the conventional four walls,” added Lyons. Quiet Jabco may be, but his dedication to and renown in the field of horticulture speaks volumes, explained Bruce Crawford, director of the Rutgers Gardens since 2005. “I’ve met Jeff on several occasions. In spite of the beautiful gardens that he oversees and continuously enhances at the Scott Arboretum, to wide acclaim, he always presents a calm, low key and very approachable demeanor.” Crawford praised the Rutgers Gardens Advisory Board’s award selection committee for choosing a candidate who “certainly embodies all the professional qualifications and passion necessary to be a recipient of its national horticulture award.” “Like ‘Doc’, who inspired the Hamilton Award, Jeff is more than happy to share his knowledge and passion about plants and enjoys mentoring interns, testimony that one of my former students who interned at the Scott Arboretum shared with me on numerous occasions,” added Crawford. The Hamilton Award was unveiled in 2016, which proved to be a banner year for the Rutgers Gardens. It celebrated its centennial anniversary and also became the latest ASHS Horticultural Landmark, joining an elite group of horticultural sites like the New York Botanical Garden, the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., and Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia, which received the society’s first Horticultural Landmark designation. The Horticultural Landmark designation has “raised the profile of Rutgers Gardens as a leading public garden” in New Jersey and the region, added Crawford. A largely self-sustaining operation, Rutgers Gardens is open 365 days a year and is one of the few botanical gardens in the U.S. that does not charge an entrance fee. It hosts a wide range of public activities to help provide support for the care of over 180 acres of both maintained and natural areas.

From the Director’s Desk

Rutgers Outreach Provided by Larry S. Katz, Ph.D. Director Master Food Preservers Share Their Passion One Jar at a Time Who doesn’t love homemade jam on toast on a cold winter morning? How about serving your garden’s green beans at the Thanksgiving table? Or opening that jar of Jersey peaches in March? Well, Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Department of Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS) trained FCHS Master Food Preservers “can” help. FCHS Master Food Preservers are volunteers with a passion for food, and food preservation– canning, freezing or dehydrating. Cooperative Extension Master Food Preservers have been active in many states across the nation for years; the first class in New Jersey with 21 people from 11 New Jersey counties and one in Pennsylvania took place in 2016. The training was 15 hours of hands-on workshops over three weeks, with an additional five-hour workshop seven months later. FCHS Educators Daryl Minch, Sherri Cirignano, and Alexandra Grenci, from Somerset, Warren and Hunterdon counties, respectively, lead the project and provide the training. The volunteers loved gaining new knowledge, practicing food preservation skills, and sharing their enthusiasm and experiences with fellow classmates. Then they were ready to volunteer for Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) at events and classes to educate the public. The FCHS Department started this initiative to help meet the growing public demand for classes and information on home food preservation. Interest in home food preservation has increased as more people plant home gardens, participate in CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) or buy from local farm markets. People wanted to store the extra food to enjoy later in the year. FCHS wanted to ensure that people use safe practices and scientifically-tested recipes when canning at home. Unfortunately, the public has shared many stories about canning using unsafe practices. This is alarming, since improperly canned food may make you sick or even result in death. Education about safe methods is essential. So, what are some of the common food preservation mistakes and their solutions? First and most important is to make sure you follow a scientifically-tested recipe or directions. The web has lots of recipes, but not all are safe. Your best resources are Cooperative Extension, universities, government entities or companies focused on food preservation. An up-to-date resource list is available on the NJAES food preservation webpage, Another key problem is not acidifying tomato products. Tomatoes have a pH of close to 4.6, in between high and low acid foods. To ensure product safety, add acid to all tomato products such as crushed, juice, or salsa, when using either the water bath or pressure canning methods. Add one tablespoon of bottled lemon juice or one-quarter teaspoon of citric acid to each pint jar before adding the tomato product and processing. Add two tablespoons or half a teaspoon citric acid to each quart jar. While not a safety issue, improper freezing results in a lower quality product that does not taste or look as good. Many people skip blanching vegetables to speed the process, but almost every vegetable will be better when blanched. Consult a good resource for directions. FCHS Master Food Preservers are able to clearly answer these and other questions at events or classes. They help expand the outreach of FCHS. Since the summer of 2016, FCHS Master Food Preservers have volunteered their time at public events and workshops. They enjoy talking about food preservation and sharing their knowledge. So far, 12 volunteers have given about 320 hours of their time to this project in nine counties. This volunteer time is worth $8,291, according to the Independent Sector which values a volunteer’s hourly equivalent at $25.91 per hour. They created and/or staffed displays at county fairs and Rutgers Day. A Sussex County team designed a food preservation display at the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show in August that won Best in the Vegetable Display. Great job! FCHS Master Food Preservers also helped people learn to freeze veggies, fruit and jam; dry produce; can strawberry, mulberry, and tomato jams; can tomatoes, salsa, and pickled beets; and make herbed butter. Yum. Contact your local RCE office ( about available home food preservation classes. Helpful information is also on the NJAES food preservation webpage, including a list of reliable food preservation resources, including recipes, hot topics, and key principles for safety and quality. If you would like to expand your knowledge and skill in home food preservation and share that knowledge with others, then consider becoming a volunteer. Visit the NJAES food preservation webpage for information or to leave your name for notification about the next training. FCHS Master Food Preservers are off to a great start in New Jersey and their outreach will continue to grow each year. We’d love for you to join our FCHS Master Food Preserver team. Editor’s Note: Daryl Minch, Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Health Sciences, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Somerset County, serves as the lead project coordinator for the FCHS Master Food Preserver Program.


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A Delicious Addition to your Garden Winter hardy vines are typically not a plant that most gardeners appreciate. They require supports and the added penance of frequent pruning and training to keep them within bounds. Traditionally, vines promise only one season of floral interest, with perhaps some added ornamental curiosity provided through seed or autumn color. Of course, there is always the exception, and in this case, it is a genus that most gardeners have yet to seemingly discover: Actinidia, more commonly known as Kiwi. Actinidia is a member of the Actinidiaceae or Kiwi Family, and consists of 40-plus species found throughout China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Kiwi vines are dioecious, with some plants sporting only female flowers, while the balance display male. In fact, it was the radiating arrangement of the styles on the female

flowers – the styles are the stems connecting the ovary to the stigma – that inspired the genus name. The English botanist John Lindley (17991865) studied the flowers and in 1836 crafted the genus name from the Greek Atinos, meaning “ray.” It seems the radiating arrangement of the styles resemble light rays emanating from the sun and became the basis for the genus name. Kiwi is best known by the non-hardy Chinese species Actinidia deliciosa, whose fuzzy three- to four-inch long fruits grace the fruit section in grocery stores. Unknown by many gardeners is the more northern species of Actinidia arguta that is hardy to -40 degrees F. It is native to forests and moist locations throughout Eastern Asia, China and Japan. The plant was described in 1867 by the Dutch Botanist Friedrich Anton Wilhelm Miquel (1811-1871). The species epithet is from the Latin $UJnjWXV, meaning “sharp,” and refers to the dentate margins of the heart-shaped foliage. In

fact, the three- to five-inchlong foliage provides many ornamental assets, since it is glossy, disease free, possess attractive red petioles or leaf stems and turn shades of rich yellow come fall. The vines are vigorous and can scramble through trees to upward of 100 feet in length in their native terrain, although it can easily be restrained to a more modest 20 feet through judicious spring pruning. As the plants mature, they also develop very attractive exfoliating tan and cinnamon brown bark, a winter attribute that most people overlook. The five petalled flowers dangle below the foliage in clusters of three or more in mid-May into June. The oneand-a-half-inch-long fruit ripen in mid-October. Looking like green grapes, they lack the fuzzy skin and can be eaten skin and all. The taste is also far sweeter than its cousin, although the crop can be lost to an early frost. As good as this sounds, it gets better! Actinidia kolomitka is native to the Amur River

Rutgers Dining Services Chefs and Healthy Dining Team Serve up Tomatoes and Trivia at Great Tomato Tasting The 2017 annual Great Tomato Tasting event took place on August 30th at Rutgers Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown, NJ. A highlight of the event was a chef demonstration by Rutgers University’s Dining Services. Chef John Ackermann and Chef Tommy Alicino, accompanied by Rutgers Healthy Dining Team (HDT) members/IFNH Student Ambassador Madeline Holt and Carly Harris, entertained the crowd with a taste testing of delicious and creative tomato recipes and tomato trivia. Each chef demonstrated a recipe that showcased tomatoes in innovative ways. Chef John demonstrated a Sweet NJ Corn Custard topped with Smoked Snyder Farm Tomato Balsamic Glaze and Shaved Smoked Dehydrated Tomato followed by a taste testing of the recipe. People in the crowd could not resist coming back for seconds of this sweet and savory treat. The delectable corn custard was drizzled with a delectable balsamic glaze and topped with a sprinkle of dehydrated tomato. Chef Tommy’s recipe, Intensified Jersey Roma Tomatoes with Puffed Farro and Herbed Feta, showcased a fun and tasty way to enjoy a nutritionally dense ancient grain. Puffed farro, feta cheese, and different herbs filled a roasted tomato. It was served atop a bed of arugula and finished with a balsamic dressing. In between the chef demonstrations, Carly Harris and Madeline Holt, two members of RU HDT and the IFNH Student Ambassador program, entertained the spectators with Tomato Trivia. Carly and Madeline quizzed the crowd on everything from tomato fun facts, tomato nutrition, tomato recipes, and even some bonus questions about Rutgers then and now. When a participant answered a question correctly, he or she would win a prize. Prizes donated by the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences included Rutgers-themed pens, wallets, mugs, and even umbrellas. Rutgers alumni, agricultural enthusiasts, and children of all ages had a chance to enjoy this year’s Great Tomato Tasting Event.

Valley, dividing Eastern Russia from Northeastern China. Also hardy to -40 degrees F, it grows to a more restrained 20 feet in cultivation. The species epithet of kolomitka was authored by the Russian botanist Carl Johann Maximovich (18271891) in 1856, and was the name given to the plant by local populations along the Amur River. Unique to this species is the coloration of the foliage, which is especially prominent on the male-flowered forms. In May, the newly emerging foliage begins to develop lightgreen splashes at the tips of the foliage, which gradually turn to white and then to pink, with all three colors appearing at once in late-May and earlyJune. The colors appear best in light shade to full sun, although the foliage may burn in full sun during periods of drought. As the summer progresses, the colors gradually revert back to nearly all green. Another unique trait is the fruit; similar in shape and taste to Actinidia arguta, it ripens in early-

September, allowing it to be harvested safely before frost. The hardy Kiwis prefer soils that do not become excessively dry and are slightly acidic. Full sun or light shade is ideal. If you wish to grow the plants for fruit production, it is best to pair one male to every five to eight female plants. With foliage, bark, fragrant flowers and amazing fruit, these species of Kiwi are a delicious addition to your garden! Editor’s Note: Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth; is the managing director of the Rutgers Gardens, a 180-acre outdoor teaching classroom, horticultural research facility and arboretum; an adjunct professor in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; regularly participates in the Rutgers – Continuing Education Program; and the immediate pastpresident of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at (732) 932-8451. For more information, please visit

RUTGERS COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PHONE DIRECTORY Atlantic County Phone: 609-625-0056 Bergen County Phone: 201-336-6780 Burlington County Phone: 609-265-5050 Camden County Phone: 856 216 7130 Cape May County Phone: 609-465-5115 Cumberland County Phone: 856-451-2800 Essex County Phone: 973-228-2210 Gloucester County Phone: 856-307-6450 Hudson County Phone: 201-915-1399 Hunterdon County Phone: 908-788-1339 Mercer County Phone: 609-989-6830

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

8 October, 2017

RVCC Enactus Integrates Hydroponic Farm Wall Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. The Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Enactus Club is one of 535 institutions in the United States competing in entrepreneurial-based projects across a broad spectrum. The RVCC Enactus club was proud to be one of only 20 teams in the country to receive the Unilever Bright Future Project Accelerator grant. With this grant, the team pursued the global initiative of “zero hunger,” one of the 17 United Nations goals for sustainable development. The Enactus team has a three-pronged approach to hunger, helping the most vulnerable. They work throughout the year on a 22,000-square-foot garden that was established in 2012. Just this past year, it has provided 26,000 meals to the food insecure. On top of that, working with Walmart, Zeno Group and Shoprite, they have been able to collect 4,000 pounds of food. This enabled the team to provide over 3,000 meals to those in food insecure homes. Also this year, under the guidance or the Enactus club advisor Professor Tracy Rimple, the Enactus team was able to launch a vertical hydroponics garden. Project Leads Steven Monahan and Morgan Stabler used strategic-procurement techniques to find the right system and worked effortlessly to make these plans come to fruition. This garden was constructed with the cost-effective innovative designs by Bright Agrotech, known as the ZipGrow Farm Wall. Incorporating a vertical indoor hydroponic garden to the existing hunger project known as Plant2End Hunger, this Enactus club now has a threepronged approach to help those in need. This year they have been producing lots of organically grown fresh herbs and vegetables and will now continue throughout the cold winter indoors at RVCC. Not only are they seeking to produce food, but they are also seeking opportunities to teach others about this technology and aid in implementing similar systems for the sustainability of individual families in need. This past semester, they were able to teach students on campus from many different disciplines about the future of farming and its potential in urban areas throughout New Jersey. For example, on Earth Day, they held a campus-wide presentation of this system to showcase the concept of vertical gardening and the impact it is having at RVCC. After testing various growing media throughout the summer to start their seeds, they’ve found that soil-less plugs were the most efficient and effective way to sustainably plant and produce a high yield throughout the year. Everything they grow is being donated to a food pantry in Manville, My Neighbor’s Ministry. When asked about this technology, mechanical engineering student Steven Monahan stated: “I see major changes coming for the future of agriculture that will include automated vertical hydroponics systems that can be put onto the sides of buildings and skyscrapers. It is inevitable that the engineering of these new hydroponics systems will also incorporate robotics, possibly powered by AI. They will monitor everything from pH to temperature and will also be able to perform manual crop chores. I also think that this will open the door to precision agriculture for cities and suburbs to provide fresh and locally grown food for everyone.” The team’s project created a scalable Tom Castronovo/Photo solution for food security because it used only Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, center, joins RVCC students Morgan a small amount of space, but it also yields Stabler, left, and Steven Monahan in front of the RVCC greenhouse, which is a high amount of production. Depending how well the Farm Walls keep up with part of the Christine Todd Whitman Science Center in Branchburg, Somerset on expectations, they claim that they will either County, N.J. The students showed Senator Bateman some Buttercrunch lettuce invest in more farm-walls which can then that was planted in a soil-less pod, and a soil-less growing media matrix. Both further increase their yield, or they will expand on their sustainable agriculture garden are designed to mimic soil. in various other ways. RVCC student, Morgan Stabler stated: “We are continually seeking for better ways to increase food security in our local communities, whether it be with existing projects, or with entirely new opportunities.” Now that they have incorporated the vertical indoor hydroponic garden into the fold, it will produce organically grown, fresh herbs and vegetables throughout the year. With the Plant2End hunger campaign, alongside the other RVCC Enactus projects such as the Iluminut, More Than Me, Big Dan’s Bike Shop, Leading Women Entrepreneurs, Golden Lion Consulting, and many more, they will continue helping the community and advancing the college club. The RVCC Enactus team excelled at the regional competition in Washington, D.C., and was flown out to Kansas City to compete in nationals this past spring against some of the most prestigious four-year schools in the country. Having placed third in their league at nationals, they did not move on to the next round. However, progress made on projects such as these is what will increase their success in the competition this coming year. The team has about 30 students involved in 10 projects. RVCC is’s number-one ranked Community College in New Jersey and has become a great place for students to learn and experience agriculture in the Garden State. Editor’s Note: Steven Monahan is Vice President of Communications for Enactus at Raritan Valley Community College. He is part of the Honors college, on the Dean’s list, a member of PTK, and a Galileo Scholar. He participates with the local Rotary club, volunteers, and also works as a manager at Pilot Travel Center/Subway in between. Text him @ 908-246-7151.

October, 2017 9 Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

$15 An Hour! Are You Kidding Me?!

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I’m outraged that one of the gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey wants a $15-an-hour minimum wage. In my opinion, this will cause the agricultural and green industries to suffer tremendously. First off, how much will you be willing to pay for annuals and perennials like geraniums, mums, pachysandra, petunias, poinsettias, salvia or vinca flower? How much will you be willing to pay for shrubs or trees like arborvitae, azalea, dogwood, holly, hydrangea, lilac, ornamental grass, rhododendron, or spruce. Normally, all of the above need to be grown, fed, watered, and handled by human hands. Human hands cost money to the grower. And all of these costs are passed on to the consumer, which is you. Now, if the minimum wage is raised to $15 an hour, what is going to happen to the cost of goods, or should I say plant material? What about the people that are cutting your lawn? They will all get raises, too. How much more will you be willing to pay to have your lawn maintained? What about the people that are safely pruning your trees. How much can you afford to pay a tree company? Here’s another problem. How much more will an employer in the green industry have to pay for a foreman or a supervisor? How much more will an employer have to pay someone with a driver’s license to drive around the laborers? How much more will an employer have to pay someone that is already making $15 an hour, that has been with the company for several years? Now, add time-and-a-half to that after they work for 40 hours. Can you see where I’m going with this? It’s going to get expensive. What about agricultural goods like corn, eggplant, onions, peppers and tomatoes? A visit to the farmers market and farm stands will get more costly, too. How much will you be willing to pay for fresh produce? Now, it gets even better. The higher the payroll, the higher the payroll taxes the employer has to pay the state. And the higher the payroll, the more an employer has to pay into Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Who benefits? I think this is a sneaky way for the state and the insurance companies to make more money. Although freshly harvested produce isn’t taxable in New Jersey, almost everything else in the green industry is. So, the higher the green industry owners have to mark up their services to cover the hourly wage increase, the higher the sales tax numbers go up. Another sneaky way for the state to make money. On another note, are labor organizers behind this campaign for a $15 minimum wage increase. The higher the pay, the more dues money from the employee’s paycheck. With all this talk of a minimum wage increase, some agricultural and horticultural operations in New Jersey have begun to automate. Yes, robots. Some growers of annuals are installing automated plug transplanters, automated watering tunnels, and automated tagging machines to stay competitive. A $15-an-hour minimum wage will encourage all the growers to automate. This will certainly eliminate jobs. Some nurseries already have robots picking shrubs and loading them up for delivery. Speaking of jobs, when was the last time you visited a QuickChek store? I love QuickChek. You walk in the door and order your meal on a computer screen. Then you take the receipt to a selfcheckout lane. The only human to interact with me is the person making my food. Reduced jobs. When was the last time you dined at Panera Bread? The same thing, you walk in the door and order your meal on a computer screen, and pay for it on the spot. You then sit down, and your meal is served to you after being plated by a food preparer. Reduced jobs. How about Starbucks? I have recently begun ordering my Tall Peppermint Mocha on my cell phone. All I have to do is walk in and pick it up in the Mobil Order holding area. No more waiting in line to interact with a cashier/sales associate. An app on my cell phone has taken away jobs. If the minimum wage is increased in New Jersey, many jobs in the green industry will be lost to automation. Many jobs will also be lost to green industry business shutting down because of cost increases. There’s only so much money to go around. If the consumer cuts back because the costs rise, something will have to give. Please think about what a $15-an-hour minimum wage will do to my beloved agricultural and green industries. Basically, everything we purchase will go up. Who wins by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour? The 2017 election for the Governor of New Jersey will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Right now, our agricultural and green industry isn’t broken. Vote wisely! As always, I hope you find the information in the Gardener News informative and enjoyable. Until next time…Keep the “garden” in the Garden State. -Tom Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and

10 October, 2017

GCA Announces Best Garden Center Bathroom Award Winners, Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery Takes the Gold Garden Centers of America (GCA) is honoring four IGC retailers that have raised the bar for the industry, setting the example of exceptional bathrooms as the winners of the seventh annual GCA Best Garden Center Bathroom Awards. A panel judged this year’s entries from indies nationwide on the bathrooms’ creativity and comfort to the customer’s overall shopping experience. This year’s Gold Winner, Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery in Tucson, AZ, will enjoy one free registration to the 2018 GCA Summer Tour in Seattle, WA, and a plaque for display in-store to tout the award to its customers. Other recognitions this year include one Silver Award and two Merit Awards. Gold Award Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery, Tucson, AZ - Since starting its 4-acre expansion project five years ago, the goal that has guided the new face of Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery is to cater to a new generation of gardeners. Mesquite is turning the attention to making younger gardeners feel special, including their experience in the store’s bathrooms. The newly refurbished facilities are conveniently located just as customers enter the store. Phase one of the IGC’s expansion added stalls in the women’s and men’s bathrooms, along with a handicap-accessible restroom. Designed to be elegantly durable, the new restrooms are each distinguished by a slight variation in decor, as consistent elements of marble, limestone, ceramic and glass tie them all together. Marble countertops, glass sinks and ceramic accent wall tiles work together to create a contemporary, chic ambiance Large copper garden pots double as tasteful trash receptacles. During phase two of the expansion, Mesquite’s snack shop and beverage boutique will open next door to the store. Silver Award Wingard’s Market, Lexington, SC - Until recently, customers of Wingard’s Market used the original bathroom in the 100-year-old Wingard residence, which has served as the retailer’s gift shop for the last eight years. Now, as part of recent additions to the house, two new spacious bathrooms are available to shoppers. Garden art and potted plants aren’t just interior accents - they’re for sale. Metal flowers and decorative mirrors on the wood paneling dress up the space. Tissue paper dispensed from woven baskets on the wood flooring is easily, and appealingly, within reach. In a nod to its past, a Wingard family photo and written history of the store take customers back in time. Merit Awards The Garden Mart, Mukwonago, WI - The Garden Mart, a gold winner three years ago, recognizes the importance of updating its store bathroom on a regular basis. This year’s winning concept creates a sense of serenity with its Zen garden design. Ivy hand-painted around the door symbolizes strength for all who enter. Trickling water from the waterfall fountain filters out background noise, as the sun-inspired wall art invites customers to gaze in relaxation. There are no paper towels here - the bathroom is stocked with cloth towels, placed in a tin next to the sink, as a special touch. Breezy Hill Nursery, Salem, WI - Breezy Hill Nursery’s upgrades turned its once cold, uninviting restroom into a warm, comfortable space for customers to enjoy. The non-functioning urinal, which is unable to be removed, is concealed with a stylish shoji screen that contributes to the tranquil atmosphere. Harsh light from fluorescents is softened with a tabletop lamp. A red poppy painting enhances the look and feel of the bathroom, brightening up the space with a pop of color. A potted tree brings a touch of nature inside.

Indian Meal Moth: Fall and Winter Garden Seed Storage Habits Increase Its Population! By William A. Kolbe B.C.E. I always enjoy writing about pests that are common in the professional pest management industry, but also enjoy writing about those that can be found or actually “stem” from the garden. Pun intended. The Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctella) Hubner 1831 is one of those stored product pests that is easily recognized and often hard to control. Part of the reason is that this insect is found throughout the entire globe, except Antarctica. There is a factoid in our industry that this insect is native to North American because corn or maize was the primary crop of the American Indians and this was the number-one pest they dealt with. The literature says this insect originated in Asia. Those of you that grew corn, sunflowers, pumpkins, flowers that

seeded for dried flower arrangements, oats, grains and even those that have nut trees may experience this pest moth when you bring the seeds and grains home for storage. I was once called to a home of an interior decorator. She had hundreds of Indian meal moths (IMM) flying around in her kitchen. We found about 20 pomegranates that she was using for decoration. Every one of them was infested with larvae of the IMM. When we told her she had to dispose of them, she refused. I was stunned. Being a Board Certified Entomologist, I figured she would listen to me. After a while, she came around and threw them out. Indian meal moths can be and are usually found outdoors (summers) in New Jersey and surrounding states. In addition to seeds and grains from gardens, this insect does often set up house in homes where people feed birds. As you know, sparrows

love to kick out seed from bird feeders and seeds drop to the ground. Once they start to age, here come the Indian meal moth females to lay eggs and start an infestation. Many times, people will forget about that 30-pound bag of bird seed they got on sale, leave it in the garage or basement, and voila, here come the IMMs. The eggs of the IMM are about 0.5 mm in diameter and are laid singly or in clusters. The young larvae are white with a brown head, with older larvae usually yellowish-white with green or pink tinges depending on diet. The larvae have five pairs of prolegs. The larvae grow to about 12 mm in length at maturity. The larvae pupate in a silk cocoon or unprotected. Adults are five to 10 millimeters in length with a wingspan of 16 to 20 millimeters. The outer half of their forewings is bronze, copper, or darkgrey in color, while the

upper half are yellowishgrey, with a dark band at the junction between the two. The entire life cycle of this species may take between 30 to 300 days. Adults do not feed and are generally short-lived (around 7 days). The adult moths fly at dusk and during the night. One year, while visiting my in-laws, I found adult IMMs flying in their kitchen. After going through all the stored products, I found them infesting a partially opened jar of nuts my father-inlaw had bought. He forgot about them and left them in the cabinet. I tightened up the lid and brought the jar back to use in my Basic Pest Control School. On a break, my boss came to the back of the room, opened the jar and starting eating the nuts. It didn’t take him long to realize it was for training and not for consumption. I often take a PT 4 Allure (IMM pheromone trap) with me shopping. I

put the lure in my pocket and very often IMM adults will be landing on me. I do get a lot of looks and stares. Storage and sanitation practices in the supermarket? Bottom line, keep all your garden seeds, grains and nuts sealed in air-tight containers and you’ll be just fine! Key to controlling this pest is to find and dispose of the infested products. Editor’s Note: William A. Kolbe, BCE is Director of Technical and Training for Viking® Pest Control based out of Warren, NJ . He is a Board Certified Entomologist and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Entomology with a minor in Ecology from the University of Delaware. Bill is a member of The Denville NJ Community Gardens. His career in Professional Pest Control started in June 1974. He can be reached at 732-356-3100 or visit

October, 2017 11

Black Gold? Native Food Plants 2 By Hubert Ling What American wood can sell for $450 a board foot? It’s black walnut Juglans nigra! Unusual slabs with wild grain and colors are prized for furniture or gunstocks and can cost over $2,000. Before you rush out to collect walnuts or buy thousands of walnut seedlings, first note that walnuts take 50 to 75 years to mature, need rich, wellwatered soil, and spread out over 3,000 to 4,000 square feet. In addition, the highly prized grain is not present throughout the wood; it is only found where major branches emerge or when a burl is present. American black walnut heartwood is a rich chocolate brown to almost black. There are often areas of rose-brown and light brown interspersed with darker areas. Young sapwood is almost white, which makes As I write this column, we are being inundated by horrific news footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the devastating effects it had on the Central Gulf Coast region of the United States. Because it is still somewhat new, most of the stories, as they should be, are focused on tales of human tragedies, survival, destruction, heroism and the like. But as we become a week or two further removed from the actual event, I am sure that many stories will emerge concerning the storm’s devastating impact on agriculture as well. And while Texas is being hit with too much rain, the exact opposite is true up in Montana. I recently had the opportunity to visit some friends who raise beef cows, wheat, hay and barley in central Montana. There, they are experiencing a very severe drought. Although they normally do not get that much rainfall there anyhow, (about 14 inches per year), this season has been much drier than normal. They have what I would call “normal worries” concerning their drought situation. These would obviously include lower yields

interesting two-toned pieces of wood. Mature walnut trees are valuable enough that poaching occurs. However, thieves have been apprehended through the use of DNA, which is distinctive in each plant or animal. The wood is very resistant to decay and ranks up there with chestnut, black locust, and cedar. Walnut wood is stable after drying, is moderately heavy, and can be split and worked easily. If given the right conditions – rich neutral soil, enough water, and sunlight – black walnuts can grow one to two feet per year. Mature trees normally reach 75 to 100 feet. The trees are generally disease-resistant but may be attacked by the European canker, thousand cankers disease, and the nuts may be damaged by the walnut husk fly. Propagation is by promptly planting fresh nuts, which must then be subjected to a moist cold treatment of up to 120 days

before sprouting. American black walnuts receive rave reviews from many nut connoisseurs. The nuts have a strong, distinct, intensely nutty, smoky flavor which is prized in cookies, cakes, and fudge. They also make a unique crunchy toping for meat dishes and are a savory snack. The nuts are packed with well-balanced nutrition, have the most protein of any commercial nut, and are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. As the nuts grow on the tree, they are very well protected by a thick, extremely bad tasting, protective coat (fruit coat husk). As the nuts mature, the greenish coat turns yellow and later matures into a dark brown-black tarry mass. Native Americans and hobbyists have used the young nut husks for a yellow-brown yarn dye and mature fruits yield a dark brown-black dye. The husks will also stain fingers and almost anything they touch.

Extracting the nutmeats from the fruits is a labor of love which few attempt commercially. Nuts have been removed from their protective coats by using a hammer, by passing the nuts under a rotating car tire supported about one inch above a metal mesh, or by simply letting them rot slowly (a process which can take months and may result in poor tasting nuts). After the nuts are released from the fruit husks you are still faced with one of the thickest and strongest nut shells, reminiscent of a coconut. I have generally found hitting the nuts with a hammer produces very small nut fragments at best and a nut paste at worst. It is surprising to note on the internet that American walnut nutmeats are only priced at $14 per pound. If I were paid to do the job, I think I would ask for $1,000 a pound. The very heavy nut shells are not a complete waste, since they can be ground up to

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

Severe Weather and Agriculture of wheat and barley, and also, because there is very little pasture left to sustain the cows now, they are being forced into using up existing stocks of hay that would have sustained the cows through the winter. These are the types of usual worries concerning droughts that most farmers are used to dealing with. If you ask almost any grower in the United States during a particularly dry time period, you will hear these same basic concerns. Then there are some other issues that they have to deal with because of the extreme drought, some things that those of us here in the East have probably never even considered. Because of their remoteness, they have to be almost entirely self-sufficient in terms of almost everything.

This includes fire prevention and suppression. Because of the severely dry conditions, while they are combining their wheat and barley, they are extremely concerned about an accidental spark igniting a fire. An accidental fire could not only burn up the crop and equipment on that particular farm, but could also spread to thousands of acres as well in a relatively short amount of time. Because of this risk, while they are combining, they carry a tank with several hundreds of gallons of water along with a pump and nozzles to apply it in case of a fire. They also have a separate tractor hooked up to a chisel plow so that if a fast moving fire does occur, they can try and bury any fuel

ahead of the fire so that the fire then burns itself out due to a lack of fuel. Also, those who are members of the local volunteer fire company often take a fire truck home with them when fire dangers are so dire. The other big issue there is having enough water for their livestock. Unlike here in the East, where a good supply of abundant water is almost an afterthought, in Central Montana, it is the single most limiting factor in terms of cattle grazing and production. During the late-spring through fall seasons, the beef cows are generally spread out on land where they graze on the grass or vegetation that is there. During these seasons, the cows are not actively fed but are left to forage on their own. Then, during the

produce a moderately-hard abrasive for metal polishing and cleaning jet engines. The processed hulls are also used in cosmetics, oil well drilling, gas mask filters, and as inert fillers in explosives. Walnut trees have one troubling property. The roots release the toxin juglone, which severely inhibits the growth of many plants, including pines, birches, apples, tomatoes, and azaleas. Juglone has been used as an agent against parasites, ringworm, and cancer but the American Cancer Society states that there is no scientific backing for any of these claims. If you have the room and time, you might consider a field full of American walnut trees as a present to your grandchildren. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is the Horticulture Chairman for the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at

fall before winter sets in, they are generally brought in to a somewhat compact confined area where they can be easily fed hay during the long and extremely cold winter months, until there is enough vegetative growth to support them again in the spring. But where those cows are placed during the summer is extremely dependent upon having a reliable water source there for the cows to drink from. And during dry seasons like this one, at least in Montana, they could sure use a couple of inches of rain from Texas. And I bet the folks in Texas would be happy to let it go! Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is currently the Mayor of Tewksbury Township. He also served as a director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau and is a past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Peter has also been featured on NJN, News 12 New Jersey and on the Fox Business Network.

12 October, 2017

Now accepting tree branches, limbs, trunks, brush and wood chips.


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Bocci, Cricket, Horseshoe and Pond Clay. Baseball Infield Mix OK, so it’s gone once again. Summer, and all its glory. Gone are the long, warm days, the sounds of whistles and waves along our beautiful shoreline. For fall is upon us, which to me means cooking season. Yes, I cook my butt off all summer at the restaurant, but I am talking about cooking at home for family and friends. The grill is still the tool of choice for the month of October, at least. The last of the last tomatoes and tomatillos are finishing out in the garden and preparations for a long winter are in full effect. The recipe I am writing about this month is one that I ran a few times over the summer at the restaurant, and it was well received. My mother-in-law had mentioned early on in the summer that I might try something with quinoa. Quinoa is an “ancient grain” that is very healthy and has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years, especially among the younger, hipper types. It reminds me of couscous in the sense that it takes on whatever flavor you add to it, yet it is quite bland by itself.

October, 2017 13 1 Tbsp. good quality olive oil

From the Deep By Craig Korb Executive Chef

An Ancient Healthy Grain In other words, cook it in a flavored stock such as chicken broth or vegetable stock to give it some initial flavor. Then, you can add all sorts of things to it, such as roasted vegetables, toasted nuts, baby spinach, roasted garlic, crumbled cheese such as feta, good olive oil or just some fresh herbs, to name but a few. By itself it is very plain, but jazzing it up really makes this grain shine. The recipe I am giving you is a two-part recipe, one being the cilantro-chimichurri and the other being the quinoa. This recipe is a bit funky but very delicious nonetheless. You can find quinoa at most grocery stores and it comes in white, black and red. I prefer the red variety personally. It is generally located near the rice at the store. Quinoa also makes

a great cold salad, which is perfect if you have leftovers. Do yourself a favor and give this new (old) grain a chance. It is also quite healthy as well, for all the healthconscious folks out there. So good luck, always have fun and enjoy! Cilantro-chimichurri (serves 4, easily) 1 bunch fresh cilantro 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley 2 Tbsp. red wine or sherry vinegar 1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste 1 pinch of red pepper flake, optional 1/2 cup of good quality olive oil, possibly a little more method-combine all ingredients

except for olive oil in a food processor or blender and pulse together while slowly adding the olive oil until the mixture begins to come together like a pesto -add just enough oil to get it to all spin together and combine nicely -set aside you will also need4 fresh tuna steaks, or swordfish steaks, about 6 to 8 ounces per piece Quinoa with vegetables 1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked according to the directions, using chicken stock instead of water 1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved 1 cup of fresh corn, cut off the cob 2 large handfuls of baby spinach salt and pepper to taste

method-in a medium sauté pan heated to a medium heat, add the olive oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan -add vegetables and cook until spinach is just starting to wilt -add quinoa and toss together until well incorporated with the veggies -season with salt and pepper put together-cook your tuna steaks to desired temperature and serve over the quinoa and veggies -top each tuna steak with a spoonful of the cilantrochimichurri sauce and serve the rest on the side in a bowl. ENJOY! Editor’s Note: Craig Korb is executive chef at The Crab’s Claw Inn, Lavallette, New Jersey. He has an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors degree in Food Service Management from Johnson and Wales University. For more information visit or phone (732) 793-4447.

A Generational Agricultural Family and always treating employees with respect and fair pay. After working in the industry for 45-plus and 33 years, respectively, Mike, Sr., and Casey are slowly transitioning the Great Swamp Greenhouses operation over to two of their children, Justen and Kevin. They are also transitioning Beneduce Vineyards over to Justen and Mike, Jr. All three children will have equal

shares in both businesses after Mike Sr. and Casey officially retire. Mike Sr. teaches his children the ins and outs of business that he has learned over the years and pushes them to embrace his entrepreneurial spirit and to see the bigger picture for the future. Casey manages all of the accounting and office work for GSG year round and works seasonally in the showroom.


Mike Beneduce, Jr., left; Mike Beneduce, Sr., second from left; Casey Beneduce, center; Justen Beneduce, second from right; and Kevin Beneduce.

(Continued from page 1) Great Swamp Greenhouses (GSG) was built in 1978 by Michael Beneduce Sr., who learned the business from working at his grandfather’s farm stand, “Amato’s” in Madison, Morris County, N.J. It has grown from a small business with a few bays of plants to an impressive, full-scale garden center open all year long and employing 15 full time employees and up to 45 part time employees seasonally. When GSG wasn’t able to expand on their current Gillette property to keep up with the demands of growing, Mike, Sr., and Casey purchased a 51-acre farm in Pittstown, and erected 10 greenhouses and a large storage barn. When the oldest two children of the family, Justen and Mike, were going to college, they did research on what crops could be grown on the rest of the land. They found that grapevines were well suited to their microclimate and

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Justen Beneduce plays with her loving dog, Zoey, in one of the greenhouses at the Great Swamp Greenhouses in Gillette, Morris County, N.J. decided to plant a vineyard on site. After four years of tending the young grapevines, Beneduce Vineyards opened its doors in 2012 and has been quickly gaining local and national recognition. The vineyard employs eight full time employees and up to 35 part time. Beneduce Vineyards currently has 16 acres of vineyards in production. Their main white varieties

are Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, while plantings of red grapes include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and an Austrian red named Blaufränkisch. The vineyard also features Estate Grown Lavender, which increases the biodiversity of the farm. And it’s great for their bees, as 50 percent of the lavender profits go to a local charity every year. The winery (Cont. on pg 18)

14 October, 2017

FLORIST 700 Springfield Avenue Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 Phone: (908) 665-0331 Fax: (908) 665-9804 email:

October, 2017 15

16 October, 2017 It’s October and officially pumpkin-picking, hot cocoadrinking, football-watching season. However, as much as we are missing the warmth of the summer, there is still time for landscaping and planting. This time of year is excellent for planting trees and shrubs, as well as relocating them. The soil is still warm and the weather will allow for root growth before the frost hits. You may also want to plant or repair grass, as well as spring flowering bulbs, such as allium, daffodil, your favorite tulips, grape hyacinth, Siberian squill, fritillaria, English bluebell, gloryof-the-snow, winter aconite or double snowdrops. For both landscape contractors and gardeners alike, when you have completed all your fall planting, don’t worry, there is plenty for you to do to keep your landscaping juices flowing. Spend your cool and sunny days visiting one of the many places that New Jersey boasts to see fall blooms, seasonal color and more. Rutgers Gardens (New Brunswick) is one of the greatest places to see what is growing, blooming and changing in landscapes. Take a guided or After a season of landscape care that may just be wearing us out, many people ask the question, “How can we minimize maintenance?” There may be areas which are just too tough to mow or spaces that you may want to eliminate some lawn. One idea may be to let these areas go more natural, and now is a perfect time to start that process. By eliminating some lawn area or reclaiming a hard-to-maintain space, we can add to the aesthetics while minimizing the maintenance of our properties. Planning is, of course, the first step as we identify where these renovations will occur and then plan what plants we are going to use. While designing, we need to decide what we will install to bring us stability as well a beautiful color display this spring. With the adequate rainfall of this past summer, we can probably jump right into adding to and eliminating any old and plants that are past their prime. Our next task will be to check the areas for drainage and percolation. Any water standing for more than six hours needs to be remedied. The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Director of Operations

Pumpkins, Football and Landscapes! self-guided tour through the 180acre botanic garden, consisting of designed gardens and plant collections. Some of the items in bloom in October include: Mountain Fleece, Russian Sage, Narrow-Leaf Ironweed, Winterberry, Holly Olive, along with some gorgeous fall foliage. Reeves-Reed Arboretum (Summit) offers 13.5 acres of historic and contemporary gardens and six acres of woodland forest. They provide guided tours on Saturdays and workshops, one of which is their Square Foot Gardening Basics. In addition, some of their attractions include their Art in the Garden exhibit of outdoor sculpture, spectacular fall foliage, as well as the Perennial Border’s final performance of autumn blooms. New Jersey Botanical Gardens (Ringwood) includes 96 acres of specialty gardens

surrounded by 1,000 acres of woodlands. The drive to the NJBG will treat you to masses of fall foliage before even arriving. Once there, quite a few installations are still in bloom or of interest in October, including the Annual Garden, Perennial Border, Wildflower Garden, Azalea Garden, Magnolia Walk, Octagonal Garden and the Winter Garden. The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (Morris Twp.) is a regional center for horticultural activities and offers gardens, open fields, woodland and groves of flowering trees. On the first Sunday of October, the Arboretum will offer a guided tour, or you can tour the grounds on your own during open hours. Several children’s programs are available, but of special interest to landscape contractors and home gardeners are lectures by

authors Larry Weaner on “The Liberated Landscape” and Jenny Rose Carey on “Shade Gardens.” Furthermore, the Arboretum hosts meetings of many different garden clubs and horticultural societies from throughout the state. Leonard J. Buck Garden (Far Hills) is comprised of alpine and woodland gardens situated in a 33-acre wooded stream valley. In addition to self-guided tours through the variety of naturalistic gardens, the Garden offers several events in October. The first will offer a workshop on cleaning and sharpening garden tolls, including loppers, pruning shears, shovels, spades and trowels. In addition, they are offering a flower and garden photography workshop for both digital and film cameras, taught by a nature photographer. Learn how to take photos of the excellent landscaping you have completed.

The Landscaper By Evan Dickerson Landscape Professional

Is This Too Much, Or Not Enough? Drains and or regrading should be a proper fix. We have found many sites that had plant failures due to poor soil conditions. This could be something as simple as plants raised out of the ground and planted in berms which did not hold moisture. Many times, tight, rocky soils are the reason. If so, more excavation, soil replacement and the possible installation of drainage could help make these berms less needed. A soil test is the only way to know for sure what is going on in the soil and what amendments are needed to balance the soil and keep plants healthy. The soil test recommendations and amendments can be addressed when this excavation process takes place. Proper hydration is a key component to be included in this process as well.

Now that the major plants have been planned, be sure to include the first signs of color, spring flowering bulbs. The simplest installation of bulbs must be thoughtfully laid out for location, color, size and blooming period. Location becomes important since most bulbs are deer and rodent candy. If reclaiming an area or letting a site go more natural, then using a mix of bulbs that will naturalize is a good first step. Daffodils, Grape Hyacinths, Allium, Crocus, Dwarf Iris, Frittilaria, Puschkinia, Winter Aconite, Snowdrops, Lillies of the Valley and Scillas are good choices for any areas that deer frequent. Letting the bulbs claim these naturalizing areas in early-spring will make it an easier task of getting plants to

sustain the natural look through the season. Adding perennials and ground covers can tie these concepts together for seasonlong coverage and color. Not all areas using bulbs have to be natural. They can enhance your existing landscape in a variety of ways. Planning out what garden areas will have bulbs incorporated will make for a smooth procedure. We like to plant bulbs tighter than recommended to ensure a blast of color when spring arrives. This is a matter of taste and design. With spring bulbs there are almost as many height differences as there are varieties. This affords you the chance to create pockets of color that seem to come and go as the different height bulbs bloom. Mass planting and color diversity can make a spectacular start to your season

Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve (Medford) offers public gardens, collections, and preserved natural areas. Spanning more than 200 acres, the Arboretum offers visitors a diverse horticultural array of designed gardens, landscaped grounds, meadows, natural woodlands and wetlands, and one of the most extensive plant collections — including natives — in all of southern New Jersey. The Medford campus consists of the Atrium Garden, Courtyard Gardens, Private Gardens, a Meditation Garden, Katzell Grove, which provides an off-road walkway through a grove with 48 trees of 14 different species, almost all of them native to this area. Therefore, do not lament the passing of the summer, look forward to the fall and the many adventures you can have in the landscaping arena. Visit one or all of these spectacular places and spend time enjoying the fall season. Happy Halloween to all! Editor’s Note: Gail Woolcott is Director of Operations for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. She can be reached at (201) 703-3600 or by emailing come spring. The blooming period can set off the final elements in the design. If there is enough room to extend the blooming period late into the spring, then there will always be color emerging from within the planted areas. The blooming period can be as simply manipulated as using different styles of tulips in an area and letting them emerge at different times, creating waves of color or using the different varieties within these areas to create a mixture of sizes, heights, color and blooming period. This would apply to your naturalizing areas as well. A little experimenting now will go a long way toward helping to minimize those seasonal landscape tasks. As always, your landscape professional can be a valuable resource in accomplishing this goal. Editor’s Note: Evan Dickerson is owner of Dickerson Landscape Contractors and NaturesPro of North Plainfield. He has been pioneering the organic approach to plant health since 1972. Evan can be reached at 908-753-1490

October, 2017 17

18 October, 2017

A Generational Agricultural Family itself is insulated with 85-percent recycled material and was recently retrofitted with all LED lights, reducing energy usage by over 80 percent. Mike, Jr., who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornell University in 2010 with dual B.S. degrees in Viticulture/Enology and Plant Sciences, is the winery’s vineyard manager and winemaker. Justen is the event director and handles

most of the marketing. In addition to Mike’s dual degrees, he also gained experience working at Sawmill Creek Vineyards in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where he was trained in the arts of pruning and canopy management by a 4th generation grape grower. He is a Certified Sommelier under the Court of Master Sommeliers, and remains an active professional member of the international

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Mike Beneduce, Jr., looks over the vineyard at Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, Hunterdon County, N.J.

(Continued from page 13) gastronomic society the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Mike, Jr., volunteers on the Board of Trustees for Valley Crest Preserve, a nonprofit farm dedicated to sustainably growing and donating fresh produce to people in need. He has served as Chairman of the Garden State Wine Growers Association and continues to push for an increase in the quality of wine made in New Jersey. Justen is also the General Manager of GSG. Some of her duties include overseeing all departments, ordering all retail, scheduling/hiring, and managing employees on a daily basis. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences from Rutgers University in 2008. She founded Sign of Hope, a non-profit serving orphaned, deaf and other underprivileged children in Zambia. She spent the entire summer after graduating college instituting programs there with the money she

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Kevin Beneduce moves plant material in the nursery section of the Great Swamp Greenhouses in Gillette, Morris County, N.J. raised for the foundation. Kevin graduated with a B.S. in Landscape Design and Construction from Penn State University in 2014. He spearheaded the solar panel, shade cloth, and automated irrigation projects that have greatly reduced GSG’s energy and water usage. He recently started training under their current grower, John Doherty, to eventually become Head Grower for GSG.

GSG works with the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge to preserve the ecology of the swamp. GSG planted a native area, under the direction of the Wildlife Refuge, as a bird and wildlife habitat. They also try to educate consumers on harmful invasive species. The future of agriculture and horticulture may very well lie in scientific progress, and economic interventions, but neither of (Cont. on pg 20)

‘How does your garden grow?’ By Brian Bosenberg All the flowers, all the colors All in a perfect row First the seeds And then the water Keeping a little space Daisies here, roses there Each one has their place So your new garden is done and it is time to enjoy. Sit back, grab a drink and embrace the beauty as it transforms in front of you. Wait…transforms!? Unlike buildings, nature is forever changing. Seasons change, plants grow, animals inhabit, it is spectacular to observe. The down side is the seasons change, plants grow, animals inhabit… How do we allow nature to express herself, yet not take over? Maintenance! This will most likely entail more than just mowing the lawn. First step is to determine your expectations. If you expect your garden to look

exactly as it did when it was installed or even a year later, that expectation needs to change. You need to accept the fact that the landscape will change regardless of how much you maintain it. Now that we understand that, ask yourself how much time and money am I willing to devote to maintaining my property? This question should be asked during the design phase. If you are realistic about your ability to care for the project once you have completed it, you will be less likely to be disappointed in the effort involved in doing so. Things to consider: Plants, how often will they need pruning, watering, and treatment for pests? If the right plant for the right place has been selected, this can help reduce repeatedly pruning to avoid outgrowing its allotted space or having to protect it in the winter or spray for pests. But it is not just the plants that need care, walkways and patios that are dry-

laid will require spraying or weeding throughout the growing season. Wet-laid patios may experience frost heaving and breaking joints that will need repair. Gravel driveways always need raking in the spring after the snow plows have pushed the loose stone off to the side. Pools and other water features need opening, closing and seasonal maintenance. Deer, mice, and groundhogs, they are part of the landscape, but perhaps need to know their limits with spraying or fencing. There are many things to consider, ensuring you will enjoy your landscape when it is completed. Small projects can be self-maintained if you have the time and enthusiasm. Larger projects will require the help of one or more contractors. A New Jersey Certified Tree Expert should be consulted for the health of your trees and the safety of the individuals using the space. Pool care specialists can assist with opening and

closing the pool as well as advising on the general care throughout the year. Irrigation contractors can open and close the system each year and make repairs or additions to the system. Electricians and plumbers will care for the water and electric need for pools, lights, irrigation, etc. If your property is farmland assessed, you may need a farmer to manage your fields or a forester to manage your forests. Landscape contractors can vary greatly; selecting the one who meets your needs is critical. Is it just mowing the lawn and collecting the leaves, or do you need the complete care of plants, hardscapes, irrigation, pest management and more? And as time progresses, plants may simply outgrow their place. A large tree may be removed and now the surrounding plants will no longer have the shade they need to survive. Or a tree that was installed 15 years ago will grow and shade

plants that once received more sun. The landscape will need to change with the circumstances around it. This is an opportunity to freshen things up, but also reminds us that the landscape is constantly changing and we must adapt our care and expectations to change with it. Your garden grows and changes. Take care of it and it will bring you many years of joy as you watch it transform. (nursery rhyme - https:// html/) Editor’s Note: Brian W. Bosenberg is a practicing landscape architect licensed in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maine and Vermont, and a principal in the firm of Bosenberg & Company Landscape Architects, Far Hills, N.J. He can be reached at 908-234-0557, or It is not too late to apply grass seed to your lawn and have successful results. Early in the fall is always best, but there is still time to develop a thicker, greener lawn. It certainly is more desirable to apply grass seed now then waiting for next spring, when weeds and cold weather can really hamper your efforts. Even though nighttime temperatures can be less than 60 degrees, the soil temperature is probably five to 10 degrees higher. Newly planted grass seed likes warm soil. The grass roots reach down deep to establish the plant before winter weather sets in. Proper soil preparation is key to growing a successful lawn. Please do not just throw grass seed over your existing lawn. Instead, rake areas to be seeded vigorously to loosen the soil or rent a seeding machine for best results. Be sure not to bury newly planted grass seed more than one-quarter inch in depth. A few times a year, I hear from homeowners who planted their grass seed too deeply and little grew.

October, 2017 19 Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

Have you seeded your lawn yet? Once seed is applied, turn your rake over and gently swish it back and forth to barely cover the seed. By this time of year, we may even experience our first frost, but lawns will still grow with sunny days ahead. The first frost is very welcome; it will kill any existing crabgrass. First, the crabgrass leaves turn purple and then brown a week later when completely dead. These areas can benefit from newly planted grass seed to fill in bare spots. Remember, your lawn can only be as good as the grass seed you sow, so always buy quality seed! What about your soil pH? We have discussed this a number of times over the years. Do you know your pH, and have you tested it?

Soil test kits are available at many stores. Shame on you if you haven’t tested your pH, as this is critical to growing a healthy lawn. Cool-season grasses like soil pH values between 6.2 to 7.0 for optimum growth. Mostly likely your soil pH is low and would benefit from an application of calcium. The traditional way to raise pH was to apply limestone. Today there are a number of calcium-enhanced products that speed up this process, those which contain humates and/or other plant additives. Calcium helps to develop cell walls and prepare grass plants for winter, while reducing disease potential. Fall is such a great time to grow lawns and some of you may have already fertilized in early-fall,

either when seeding or not. A second application of fall lawn fertilizer is great at this time. Many times this second application will keep your lawn green throughout the rest of the year if it does not get too cold in December. Be sure to use a fall-winter fertilizer formula which is not too high in nitrogen. You will find that nitrogen is the first number listed on the bag. Too much nitrogen can lead to snow mold disease problems later in winter and spring. Weed control in lawns at this time of year is generally limited to broadleaf weeds. Provided weeds are actively growing and soil temperatures are above 55 degrees, you can successfully control many

types of broadleaf weeds. Some of these weeds may be masked by the better looking lawn areas, scan you lawn to see where they are growing. If you only have a few weeds here and there, perhaps spot spraying is best. If you have a lot weeds, a broadcast application of a weedand- feed type granular combination product would be best. Why not give your lawn its last feeding for the season and clean out as many weeds as you can before next year? Keep mowing your lawn as long as it needs it into late-fall. Be sure your mower blades are sharp and in good working order. Leave clippings on the lawn, provided they are not wet or developing clumps, which may kill existing grass. You’re all done, time to go watch a football game. 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:

20 October, 2017 As I discussed last month, there are myriad problems facing the urban or municipal forester. Poor soils, de-icing salt, limited planting space, and the ever growing threat from exotic pests and disease keeps those of us responsible for the urban forest very busy. Many older towns and cities have trees at or past maturity, and those trees will eventually decline and die. These trees, such as London plane, red oak, and sugar maple, were planted when conditions were far different than they are today. As our towns grew and became more populated, the stress imposed upon our trees also grew. As my colleague always reminds me, it is very difficult to grow a forest tree in the built environment. Yet, with the rushed American lifestyle keeping our blood pressure up, tree-lined streets provide a calming influence. I believe it is in our nature to feel comfortable surrounded by trees, and people seek out towns and cities with “forested” streets. In addition, trees provide shade that not only helps keep cities cool, Tree Notes By Steve Schuckman NJ Certified Tree Expert

Trees for the Urban Forest but also increase property values. As our older trees begin to senesce, replacing them is of utmost importance for the community. But it has become more and more difficult to find truly urban-tolerant trees that will survive to old age. The concept of allees, of one species on any given street, should not be practiced, as evidenced by what happened with American elm and now ash. Species diversity is the rule, to avoid devastating loss due to pests or disease. The idea of planting only “native” species is also impractical, as first you have to define “native” and then find said trees that are urban tolerant. Sugar maple is a native tree, but it is not a good street tree for many reasons. So are hickory and white oak,

but just try to find them in a nursery, and they are almost impossible to transplant. So urban foresters must use species that work, and sometimes these species are exotics. We also must use species appropriate for planting under wires or in small spaces, and these trees will never be large shade trees. Some of my favorite and successful large shade trees are not common street trees. Rarely seen, hardy rubber tree, Eucommia ulmoides, has worked very well, as it is salt and drought tolerant, and so far pest-free. Two elms I use are Ulmus parvifolia, Lacebark elm, and U. propinqua “Emerald Sunshine.” The latter is VERY urban tolerant (it was tested in Oklahoma!),

and both are resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. Emerald Sunshine is more medium in size, but like all elms grows fast. While no longer planting red and pin oak due to Bacterial Leaf Scorch, I instead have been planting swamp white oak, Quercus bicolor, Willow oak (Q. phellos), and Bur oak (Q. macrocarpa). All become large trees and seem so far to be good street trees. One of my favorite trees is black gum or tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica. Not common as a street tree, it tolerates poor soils and for me has grown quite well. Add burgundy fall color, and you’ve got yourself a winner. For small trees under wires or in small spaces, things get a little tough. I

have had great success with Acer buergeranum, trident or duckfoot maple. Fast growth, beautiful bark, and blazing fall color make this a great garden tree, too. Cornus mas, Cornelian cherry, is not a cherry at all…it is a dogwood! Stays small, with early-spring yellow flowers, bright red fruit, and gorgeous bark. Also another good garden tree, it is not common but really, really tough. I plant it whenever I can find it. I keep experimenting, and yes, sometimes things don’t work. But when I look back at trees I planted that are doing great, well…maybe I will live long enough to see MY urban forest. Editor’s Note: Steve Schuckman is owner of First Mountain Aboriculture, which provides horticultural consulting and community forestry services. He is currently the consulting forester for Bloomfield, Hawthorne, Maplewood, and Montclair, in New Jersey. He is also a New Jersey Certified Tree Expert. He can be reached at

Agricultural Family Grants Available for A Generational (Continued from page 18) Gleaning Organizations New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher announced on September 7, 2017, that the Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Gleaning Support Program Grant. A total of $100,000, subject to availability of funds, is anticipated to be accessible to eligible non-profit organizations. Eligibility requirements include being a nonprofit entity operating in New Jersey with evidence of a gleaning program for a minimum of two years within the past three calendar years. Gleaning Support Program funds should be used to support “gleaning activities,” such as harvesting produce from New Jersey farm fields, collecting gleaned locally grown products, and distributing those products to New Jersey organizations to help feed our state’s hungry. The Public Notice, Eligibility Requirements and Application are posted here grants/gleaninggrants.html. The funding for the grants comes from the State Food Purchase Program, for which Governor Christie and the Legislature allocated $6.8 million dollars this year to be distributed quarterly to the state’s six food banks to purchase healthy food, with a high priority on buying locally grown produce from New Jersey farmers. For questions, call the Division of Food and Nutrition at 609-292-0337.

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Blaufränkisch grapes at Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, Hunterdon County, N.J. these approaches will succeed without buy-in from those who matter most – young entrepreneurs, who are the future of this great industry. Plenty of evidence shows us that agriculture and horticulture provides youth a viable way to harvest success and grow a sustainable future. The trend is growing. Support for this sector is increasing. The list of reasons is endless.

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, Editor’s Note: Tom and education to the Castronovo is executive agricultural, gardening and editor and publisher landscaping communities of Gardener News. through this newspaper and Tom’s lifelong interest in The entire Beneduce family are educational role models in agriculture and horticulture. A special Gardener News thank you goes out to Mike, Sr., and Casey for engaging and encouraging their children to follow in their footsteps.

October, 2017 21 Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

My Own, Private, 5K Fall Classic Having been an avid runner for most of my life, my first footrace came when I was just 5 years old. On a beach, down the Jersey shore, I completed that 5K run, 3.1 miles, and really never looked back. Having had some national experience and success at the high school level and a brief stint in college, today I run just so I can eat what I enjoy. For a good part of my life, I was focused on the finish line and my coach’s stopwatch. Today, I find my time better spent appreciating the scenery. I have a loop, from our home, that is exactly 3.1 miles and it has me running botanical names in my mind while striding to reach the next point of interest. Leaving our driveway, even before I get off our street, there is a small grove of Sassafras, Sassafras albidum, on my left. A native tucked into the woods, I appreciate their interesting leaves, in three distinct shapes, that have reliable yellow, red and purple fall color. Not to mention their small pendant clusters of dark-blue fruit. As I begin the hardest part of my run, a half-mile uphill climb, I really need to keep my mind focused and myself motivated. Fortunately, there is plenty for me to look at. Black walnut, Juglans nigra, prove that not much can grow under them as their roots produce a toxic chemical called juglone. Yellow-green fall husks, hanging in the tree, help identify this in the fall. Just past the initial incline are a few Shellbark hickory, Carya laciniosa. My friend and fellow columnist Stephen Schuckman, aka “The Dr.,” reminds me never to transplant this and only grow it from seed because it’s so finicky. Russet yellow-orange fall color and an ability to survive juglone have made these companion trees for the black walnut. Another reward to help see me to the top of this hill is Lilac Chastetree, Vitex agnuscastus. Along the roadside are a few larger plants that I love to run my hand through. Aromatic, compound, palmate, grayish-green leaves, with fragrant lavender flowers smell so good. The fragrance these leaves have, when lightly bruised, lingers on my hand for at least a quarter mile or so until I get to the top of the hill. Cresting the top and turning towards home, I am met with an enormous Sugar maple, Acer saccharum, sitting on someone’s front lawn. Forty feet tall and wide, who can deny the stateliness of a mature hardwood tree? Complete with a dense, rounded crown, its yellow-orange fall markings are a beacon for all. This tree is primarily responsible for all the vehicular traffic migrating toward New England to witness outstanding fall color. Having earned my half-mile descent, at this point I eagerly await a mass of yellow alongside the railroad tracks. Bright yellow flowers, an almost prairie-like experience, stand atop stiff, narrow-leaved stems about three feet tall. Goldenrod, Solidago speciosa, is as tough a plant as you’ll ever see. Rhizomatous, this herbaceous perennial blooms all summer and into the fall. My friend and colleague, Eileen Ferrer, classifies this native as not invasive, but rather “successful” in gardens today. A euphemism for sure. Making a left and heading for home on our county round, another slight incline has me looking ahead. Passing a front lawn, I marvel at several Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima, whose presence is as much obnoxious as it is fascinating to me. An invasive species, this small colony is well on its way to becoming a larger one quickly. Just past this and quite honestly, behind our home, is a state recognized Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa. Beyond the bell-shaped, orchid-like white flowers of late-spring lie large slender seed pods held against giant ovate-oblong leaves, about a foot long. My dear friend and esteemed plantsman, Mike Jones, refers to these seed pods as “Johnny Smokers,” while others nickname Catalpa the cigar tree. As I run beneath this giant, I wonder what this tree has seen in its lifetime? Today my finish line is not marked with a white line but rather, by a magnificent pond cypress, Taxodium ascendens “Nutans” at the west end of our property. A tree whose texture is so soft and ingratiating, yet a virtually indestructible tree. “Nutans’” cylindrical outline is draped with pendulous, delicate fern-like foliage. In October, it is these russet colored leaves which say to me, “Welcome back.” For most, exercise is about keeping your body sound. For me, it goes beyond that. After all, “A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world.” (John Locke). 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, 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.

22 October, 2017

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Monarchs and Black Swallowtails By Jeannie Geremia Garden Club of New Jersey What a wonderful feeling, as we’re in the middle of our great Monarch migration, to realize that we are impacting the Monarch population in a positive way. This past summer has brought us more butterflies including Monarchs than we’ve seen in several years. The combined efforts of innumerable organizations – including non-profits, governmental agencies, educational institutions and the public – has succeeded by providing milkweed (Monarch’s sole host plants), habitat, and nectar plants through the growing season to frost for Monarchs and other pollinators. We can only hope that their journey to Mexico to their over-wintering sites will be storm-free and we’ll see this special Monarch generation safely return to the states next spring. The whole process is nothing short of a miracle as the Monarchs that make this journey are programmed differently from their nonmigratory generations and is explained in detail in the newly released New Jersey Monarch Conservation Guide from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 2017. This is a well researched 27-page guide obtainable at dep/docs/monarch-guide. pdf. Those of us who have taken further steps to insure the survival and growth of our pollinators by specifically protecting them in butterfly habitats are continually rewarded by seeing a butterfly safely hatch out. You may say “let nature take its course,” but it is an ongoing dilemma when you know you have the wherewithal to protect them from a wide variety of predators. A case in point is my friend, Terry Holman, who reported seeing six fat Black Swallowtail caterpillars on her parsley this past summer with a praying mantis lurking

nearby. Terry felt that the Black Swallowtails were way too big to be dinner for the mantis, but much to her horror found just two and a half Swallowtail caterpillars and a nowobese praying mantis. My nerves just can’t take this possible calamity and so I am “addicted” to rescuing Black Swallowtails and Monarchs from this fate by maintaining two butterfly habitats. The wonderful result of having butterfly habitats is the satisfaction that you have safely helped a caterpillar reach its final stage of life by emerging from its chrysalis as a glorious butterfly when, odds are, in the wild they have less than a 10-percent chance of ever becoming a butterfly. I am happy to report that I am never without Black Swallowtails in some stage of their life cycle year round. A male Black Swallowtail greeted me at breakfast this morning and since it’s cool and he has to pump fluid into his wings and dry off, I’ll release him later in the warmer sunshine. My first Monarch hatched out yesterday, and I was happy to release this beautiful female, wondering if she was in the generation that migrates. My Monarch caterpillars arrived in August as I was perplexed with seeing Monarch butterflies and Black Swallowtails flying around our community garden that’s filled with milkweed, dill and rue, but scarcely a caterpillar to speak of on any of these host plants. It didn’t take long to discover a culprit----stink bugs! Yes, my gardening friends, the lowly stink bug who decimates fruits and vegetables also takes out Black Swallowtail and Monarch caterpillars. As if they don’t have enough enemies with praying mantises, assassin bugs, wasps, spiders and birds. I witnessed a large stink bug attached to a dying Black Swallowtail caterpillar on its third instar and two small stink

bugs attached to a huge Monarch caterpillar that promptly ended its life. I immediately checked out the swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, donated by Leonard Buck Gardens in our municipal rain garden and happily found seventeen Monarch caterpillars that made their journey to my butterfly habitat and are encased in newly made chrysalises or still munching on milkweed I’ve provided. Lastly, I want to share the experience that Florence (Fuddy) Vidam, Sussex County Master Gardener and President of the Central Sussex Garden Club, related to me as she staffed our educational exhibit in the Conservatory at the New Jersey Sussex State Fair this year. Fuddy related that a 10-year-old girl, accompanied by her father, visited our Pollinator Center educational exhibit, and proceeded to talk to Fuddy, non-stop for 25 minutes. The little girl breathlessly exclaimed how she intended to be an ornithologist or an entomologist and told Fuddy the “ins and outs” of collecting butterflies along with her other observations on wildlife. The 10 year old’s passion was palpable and Fuddy gave the girl a Monarch Highway poster, whereupon she received 20 thank you’s. Fuddy said, “You would have thought I gave her a Porsche” and proclaimed that here is a future Nobel Prizewinning biologist in the making. Volunteerism, so worthwhile! Editor’s Note: Jeannie Geremia is The Garden Club of New Jersey First Vice President, GCNJ Wildlife Habitat Chair, and is a National Garden Clubs, Inc. Accredited Life Flower Show Judge for the GCNJ. Jeannie is a member of Neshanic Garden Club, The Raritan Township Historic Committee and the Raritan Township Board of Health. Jeannie’s email address is:

N.Y. Apple Association Announces 2017 Crop Forecast New York really is the Big Apple and the state’s apple growers are now demonstrating why, as pickers statewide begin harvesting a forecasted 28.0 million cartons – or 1.1 billion pounds – of apples over the coming weeks. The 2017 crop forecast was developed at U.S. Apple Association’s Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference Aug. 24-25, and updates U.S. Department of Agriculture’s July forecast, reports New York Apple Association (NYAA). NYAA reports that while New York’s 2017 apple crop will be of average size for the state, the crop size is about the only thing that will be average this year. The state has generally had favorable weather for bloom and during the growing season, so apple fans – wholesale and consumer alike – will find ample supplies of all their favorite New York state apples and cider this fall. Fruit size and finish are expected to be good. “New York state grows more apples than any other state east of the Mississippi River, our state is made for growing apples,” said NYAA President Cynthia Haskins. “There is no reason for New Yorkers and other East Coast buyers to look any further than their own back yard for great tasting apples and apple cider.”

PA Adds 33 Farms, Nearly 3,000 Acres to Nation’s Leading Farmland Preservation Program Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board recently announced that it added 2,999 acres on 33 farms in 12 counties to the more than half a million acres and 5,100 Pennsylvania farms permanently preserved for agricultural production. “Farmland is a precious natural resource that is increasingly threatened by development,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Farm families are the original stewards of that precious natural resource, and Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program supports their efforts to keep their valuable land in agricultural production for future generations.” The board announced preservation of farms in 12 counties: Berks, Blair, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Perry, Snyder, Union and York. The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, as it is formally known, identifies properties and slows the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. It enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, or development rights, from owners of quality farmland. Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county and local governments have invested nearly $1.4 billion to preserve 539,180 acres on 5,169 farms in 59 counties for future agricultural production.

Farmers are Using Additional Methods to Access the Internet In 2017, USDA-NASS added two additional methods that farmers could select for accessing the Internet. Fiber-optic and mobile Internet service for a cell phone or other device are the two access methods added to the Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report. Fiber-optic was used by 8 percent of the farms, and mobile Internet service was used by 17 percent. However, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection continues to be the most common method of accessing the Internet, with 29 percent of the farms in the United States using it, down from 30 percent in 2015. A satellite connection, at 21 percent, remained steady from 2015. Other reported methods of accessing the Internet include cable modem service, dialup service, and other or don’t know. Cable modem service is at 15 percent, up 3 percentage points from 2015. Dialup service is at 2 percent, down 1 percentage point from 2015. Other or unknown is at 8 percent, up 3 percentage points from 2015. Nationally, 73 percent of farms have computer access. Of those farmers having computer access, 72 percent, up 1 percent from 2015, own or lease a computer. Computer usage for farm business at 47 percent nationally, is up 4 percentage points from 2015. A new question in 2017 reported 39 percent of producers nationally use a tablet or smart phone for farm business.

24 October, 2017

October, 2017 25

SPRAY TECHNICIAN NEEDED Small, growing company (NJ Deer Control) is looking for a backpack spray technician. Tech is needed to spray landscapes with a natural deer repellent. Must enjoy working outdoors. Landscape/spray tech experience is a plus, but not required. Valid driver’s license is a must. Paid training period then $14-$15 hourly pay with 30-40+ hr work week available! Please send resume for possible interview.

The Premier Gardening Monthly Newspaper Number 174 Published Monthly Reserve Ad Space Phone: 908.604.4444 Website: E-Mail: Staff Executive Editor/ Publisher . . . . Art Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tom Castronovo Justin Kukuc Tom Castronovo

October Columnists Tom Castronovo Gail Woolcott Bob LaHoff Larry Katz Craig Korb

Todd Pretz Douglas H. Fisher Steve Schuckman Peter Melick Evan Dickerson

Contributing Writers Bruce Crawford Brian Bosenberg Hubert Ling Daryl Minch

Jeannie Geremia William A. Kolbe B.C.E. Steven Monahan

Gardener News is published monthly by

Full Moon, October 5, 2017 Eastern Daylight

TIP OF THE MONTH When selecting a pumpkin, turn it over and place pressure on the bottom with your thumbs. If it flexes or gives, your pumpkin is not fresh. Choose one with a solidly attached stem. A green stem indicates that it has been freshly harvested. Do not lift or carry a pumpkin by the stem because it can easily break. If you live in an area where frost is a concern, make sure the pumpkin has no frost GDPDJHĘŠZKLFKOHVVHQVLWVVKHOIOLIH/RRNDWWKHWRSRIWKHSXPSNLQVSHFLILFDOO\DURXQGWKHVWHP,I the color is dull, the pumpkin has frost damage. For cooking, the best selection is a cheese pumpkin, pie pumpkin, or a sugar pumpkin. These are smaller than the large jack-o-lantern pumpkins and the flesh is sweeter and less watery.

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Gardener News October 2017  

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