Summer may be over, but the Sandy Hook peninsula’s early days of the offseason have been anything but uneventful… On Sept. 18, the National Park Service (NPS) and the American Littoral Society (ALS) welcomed scientists, naturalists and volunteers of …
The grass is not always greener on the other side. The lack of rainfall and high temperatures this summer have taken a toll on lawns across the state, according to Bill Hlubik, professor and agricultural and resource management agent for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station… Hlubik said most lawn grasses in New Jersey and the Northeast are pure stands or mixtures of bluegrass, fescues and perennial rye grasses, which are cool season turf grasses that go into dormancy when it gets hot and dry. While in dormancy, the grass will slow down its metabolic processes and conserve energy until better conditions return… “Some lawns will revive once adequate rainfall and cooler temperatures return. However, for lawns that were previously struggling, the current drought and heat may be the final smack-down to take weak lawns out of contention for the 2016 season,” he said… Throughout September, Hlubik recommended de-thatching lawns. Excess thatch is the dead and brown layer of rhizomes and old roots and plant tissue between the crown or base of the lawn plant and the roots, he said.
Classic rock and the aroma of hamburgers hung in the air, welcoming farmers and gardening enthusiasts to the EARTH Center for a Garden Field Day gathering… The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County was the host to the celebration at Davidson’s Mill Pond Park in South Brunswick on Aug. 15. The event featured environmental and agricultural organizations, a lush butterfly garden and, of course, the new Rutgers Scarlet strawberry… “We’ve been working on this project for two years… working with local growers to get the plants for various trials,” said Stephen Jakubiec, an incoming Rutgers senior who worked on the Scarlet strawberry… Researchers utilized more than a dozen partner farms to grow the different generations of the strawberry, capitalizing on the differing soil types in order to emphasize different traits in the plants. According to Jakubiec, the goal was three-fold… Vivian Morris, a master gardener with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, was explaining the how-to’s of building a residential rain garden to passersby. Sitting beside a larger rain garden that she tends at the EARTH Center, Morris listed the benefits they convey.
Saving money never goes out of style. For the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy, pennywise practices can go a long way toward spending less… “It’s important to save because it gives you a framework. People are looking for steps to take,” Barbara O’Neill, a Rutgers University professor and author who specializes in financial resource management, said… Having a financial goal gives direction and provides motivation, O’Neill said. She promotes a “stepping down” program whereby individuals are “not giving something up, but are finding a lower price.”… If one is buying pancakes, for example, there are a few options: At the top step is the most expensive choice- buying pancakes at a sit-down restaurant; a cheaper option is purchasing pancakes at a fast-food restaurant; another step down, saving more money, is buying frozen pancakes at the supermarket; and the least costly way to go is making pancakes at home from scratch.
A state ban on the cultivation of oyster beds in the Keyport Harbor would be lifted under a bill working its way through the state Legislature. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Passaic/Bergen), would permit the NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Eastern Oyster Reintroduction Feasibility Study to return to Keyport Harbor. The project was halted in 2010 when the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) banned the cultivation of commercial shellfish in contaminated waters… According to Dr. Beth Ravit, co-director of Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability and a researcher working on the oyster study, the goal of the project is to better understand the conditions in which oysters could flourish and then promote population growth in areas exhibiting those conditions. Ravit said the Eastern oyster provides several ecological benefits, including the ability to individually filter up to 50 gallons of water per day, as well as their propensity to fuse their shells together to create an “oyster reef.”
Kristianne Dowd of Freehold, the New Jersey State FFA president, told delegates to the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention on Feb. 4 in Atlantic City that they need to be proactive and tell their story… “If product messaging is leading to misunderstanding, we must do something about it,” Dowd said. “It is up to us to be the truth and tell our story about agriculture.”… Dowd urged the delegates to encourage high school students to choose careers in agriculture and to take advantage of CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) courses. CASE is a science-, mathand technology-based agriculture education program, according to the press release… Dowd attends Rutgers University and is studying agriculture and food sciences with aspirations of becoming an agriculture teacher.