Could urban farming provide a much-needed oasis in the Tulsa food desert?

Oklahoma ranks among the worst in the US for national fruit and vegetable consumption, and has one of the lower average national hourly wages: US $7.25… Tulsa, a city of nearly 400,000, is considered one of the nation’s worst food deserts (places with officially "low access" to supermarkets). "Urban farming is one piece of many bigger issues like structural inequality, pollution, health issues, and investment in these communities," says Laura Lawson, dean of the office of agriculture and urban programmes at Rutgers University. "People can get involved in the community, and that is a really great thing, but it is not going to resolve the larger community problems that are shaping the food desert issue."

Read the entire article at The Guardian »

Rutgers is leader in designing new varieties of turf grass

SEPTEMBER IS prime time for starting or renovating lawns, and it may be the only time that homeowners give lawn grass a second thought… New Jersey has stepped up, claiming a nationally prominent role in designing new grass varieties for temperate climates around the world. The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station maintains several sites at which turf grass is grown, managed and studied, but the heart of the breeding operation that produces new breakthroughs is a 206-acre site in Adelphia (Howell Township), much of it presenting an unbroken expanse of mowed "lawn." "They call this the country club," says William Meyer, director of the Turfgrass Breeding Project for the past 20 years. "It may look like one big lawn, but there are actually 40,000 3-foot by 5-foot plots of individually distinct grasses. And each one is rated every month."

Read the entire article at NJ.com »

Rutgers Gardens Celebrates Centennial With Ambitious Growth Plan

Rutgers Gardens, a treasured oasis that draws thousands for classes, weddings and walks in the woods, is about to receive a rare honor and is on the cusp of a major facelift as it celebrates its centennial… "There is a huge demand for public space, public gardens, nature, greenery," said Bruce Crawford, director since 2005. "I know that we could easily get to a quarter million visitors in 20, 30 years, if things go like we think they’re going, so we have to plan for that."

Read the entire article at Tap Into »

Rutgers turfgrasses prized at Baltusrol, PGA event site

When the world’s top male golfers gather at the legendary Baltusrol Golf Club this week, they will be playing on numerous turfgrasses developed by Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at My Central Jersey »

On fertile ground

Each nutrient brings its own specialty to the soil profile and, ultimately, to the adept superintendent’s management practices. Knowing the roles of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – often abbreviated as NPK – in the soil profile takes a superintendent a long way in maintaining optimal course conditions. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – often abbreviated as NPK – are the primary nutrients that superintendents need to successfully manage in order to sustain turf health. Superintendents have gained knowledge of nutrients and the management practices that surround them to improve playability and adhere to industry standards, says Dr. James A. Murphy, specialist in turf management at Rutgers University’s Department of Plant Biology & Pathology.

Read the entire article at Golf Course Industry »

Plant invaders threaten North Jersey landscape

As peak gardening season lures North Jersey homeowners to landscape supply centers, they buy and cart home many shrubs and trees that – just over the state line in New York – are prohibited in suburban yards… Steven Handel, an ecology professor at Rutgers University, is a member of the state’s Invasive Species Council, which was created in 2004 and issued a report listing steps the state should take to reduce invasives. "To stop selling these invasives would be a big step forward," Handel said. "And there are some beautiful native plants that are low maintenance and protect our preserved natural areas. "Our job as educators is to let the public know there are better plants to use in their yards than the ones that have traditionally been used," he said. "A yard can look green and lush – but still be dangerous."

Read the entire article at The Record »

Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County has Added 18 New Master Gardeners

Pictured from left to right: Bob Pickus, Jayne Sullivan, Josie Bellina, Carol Piechoski, Christine Anderson, Leontien Rotteveel, Nancy Perfect, Lorraine Lennox, Elizabeth Egan, and Diane Kummings. Not pictured: Valerie Bragg, Dolores Ciarrochi, Marian D’Amico, Heidi Davis, Richard Eluk, Susan Lazarchick, Jacqueline Scott and Domick Zema.

Pictured L-R: Bob Pickus, Jayne Sullivan, Josie Bellina, Carol Piechoski, Christine Anderson, Leontien Rotteveel, Nancy Perfect, Lorraine Lennox, Elizabeth Egan, and Diane Kummings. Not pictured: Valerie Bragg, Dolores Ciarrochi, Marian D’Amico, Heidi Davis, Richard Eluk, Susan Lazarchick, Jacqueline Scott and Domick Zema.

The NJ Agricultural Experiment Station and Rutgers Cooperative Extension announce the addition of 18 new Master Gardeners to its Atlantic County program. These Master Gardeners have completed 60 hours of intensive classroom instruction and will fulfill 85 volunteer hours over the coming year.

The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Atlantic County spearhead over a dozen educational gardening projects throughout the county. As a part of the national Cooperative Extension System, the Master Gardener program was designed to increase the availability of University-based horticulture information to local communities and individuals. Rutgers Cooperative Extension offers Master Gardener programs in many of the New Jersey Counties. They also maintain the Rutgers Cooperative Extension helpline, which is open Monday-Friday, mornings and afternoons during the late Spring to early Fall, and mornings only early and late in the season. The helpline not active from November – January.

Contact the Atlantic County Master Gardener program for more information.

Ethel A. Jacobsen First-Graders Harvest Garlic Scapes From Schoolyard Garden

It’s spring harvest time at the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School garden in Surf City. Last week Joanne Kinsey, Family and Community Health Sciences educator at the Cooperative Extension of Ocean and Atlantic Counties, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, joined the school’s first-graders and teachers Sarah Esarey and Kelly Turner to harvest garlic scapes – for eating and for learning… After experiencing the outdoor classroom firsthand, Kinsey remarked, "The kids were fantastic and really enjoyed working in the garden and tasting the garlic scape pasta. I totally enjoyed the entire experience, the pasta was delicious, and I hope to be invited back again."

Read the entire article at The Sandpaper »

Rutgers 250: NJAES All-Star Variety of the Month – Dogwood

Rutgers 250 variety, ‘Rutpink’ Scarlet Fire™ dogwood tree blossom. Photo by: Dr. Tom Molnar, Rutgers NJAES.

Rutgers 250 variety, ‘Rutpink’ Scarlet Fire™ dogwood tree blossom. Photo by: Dr. Tom Molnar, Rutgers NJAES.

Scarlet Fire™ Extends Ornamental Dogwood Season

The Rutgers 250 All-Star Variety for June 2016 is the ‘Rutpink’ Scarlet Fire™ dogwood tree. This is the first Cornus kousa variety released in over 45 years to the ornamental nursery market. Rutgers plant breeder Tom Molnar, continued the decades of work started by renowned breeder and professor emeritus Elwin Orton in the 1970s.

Scarlet Fire™ is a gorgeous deep pink to fuchsia-bracted dogwood tree, known for its deep, consistently pink bracts that contrast beautifully with its dark green foliage. This tree blooms in late May to early June, making it one of the latest-blooming dogwood tree varieties developed at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

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Cresskill environmentalists rolling out rain barrels in attempt to save water

Cresskill’s Environmental Commission is inviting residents to attend a Rain Barrel Making Workshop on June 15 at borough hall. Organizers hope there will be a flood of support for the concept of conserving water in rain barrels… New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson of Rutgers University said that North Jersey is in an abnormally dry spell right now: "The groundwaters are low. March and April were very dry. May was average. We will have to hope for timely rains and conditions that are not too hot." Robinson, who is an advocate for rain barrels and smart lawn watering, said such measures are important because "it makes people aware of the finite nature of fresh water that’s out there…people put too much water on their lawns."

Read the entire article at The Record »