Reporting on the latest research, methods, tools, plants,
Annual subscription rate: $15.00. Single issues: $1.50 each.
books, etc., for vegetable, fruit, and flower gardeners,
Payments in U.S. funds only. For more information or a free
gathered from hundreds of popular and technical sources,
sample, visit our web site or send us an e-mail message.
worldwide. The gardening news YOU can use!
We welcome ideas, clippings, and reviews from readers.
Published monthly (as PDF files delivered as attachments to
Each time we use materials submitted by you, we will add
e-mail messages) by Greg and Pat Williams, 750 Black Lick
one extra issue to your subscription.
Rd., Gravel Switch, KY 40328 U.S.A. E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://users.mikrotec.com/ gwill/.
Annual index included in the December issue.
Copyright 2012 by Greg and Pat Williams
VOLUME 29, NUMBER 11
Various Pharmaceuticals Can Be Taken Up by Crop Plants
surveys based on combinations of distribution features ofpharmaceuticals and edible parts of various crops . are
In an article published in 2011, a group of investigators in
needed to evaluate the human health risk of the pharma-
Japan presented evidence showing "that various pharmaceuti-
ceutical chemicals intake through the food supply.
cal chemicals remain in . many recycled manure[s] producedfrom biosolids and livestock wastes in the marketplace." In a
In other words, there is a potential problem that has been
more recent paper (referenced below), the same investigators
uncovered here, but additional research is needed to determine
report that several pharnaceutical chemicals selected for "high
the magnitude of that problem. And effective methods for keep-
usage and frequent detection in . recycled manure or reclaimed
ing pharmaceutical chemicals from getting into farm and gar-
wastewater" accumulate in the leaves and stems of at least some
den soil have not yet been seriously contemplated. We've said
crop plants (peas and cucumbers were used in the laboratory
it before and will repeat it here: it seems prudent, in the ab-
study conducted by the investigators) exposed to the chemicals
sence of evidence that pharmaceutical contamination is innoc-
in artificially contaminated irrigation water.
uous, to investigate the source of manure or compost you add
The pharmaceutical chemicals included in the study were
to your soil (where it did originate and how was it handled?).
trimethoprim, sulfamonomethoxine, sulfamethoxazole, sulfa-
Reference: Rumi Tanoue, Uri Sato, Miki Motoyama, Shuhei
dimethoxine, crotamiton, gliclazide, carbamazepine, losartan,
Nakagawa, Ryota Shinohara, and Kei Nomiyama, "Plant Uptake
cyclophosphamide, acetaminophen, ketoprofen, diclofenac, and
of Pharmaceutical Chemicals Detected in Recycled Organic
indomethacin. Most of the chemicals accumulated in measur-
Manure and Reclaimed Wastewater," Journal of Agricultural
able concentrations in both aboveground and underground tis-
and Food Chemistry 60
(41), October 17, 2012, 10203-10211.
sues of pea plants with exposure to the chemicals for a short
(American Chemical Society, 1155 16th St., N.W., Washington,
period (72 hours). Only losartan, diclofenac, and indometha-
cin were not
detected in aboveground tissues following short-term exposure to the chemicals. Likewise, most of the chemi-
American Academy of Pediatrics Paper on Organic Foods
cals were found in measurable concentrations in the sap of cu-cumber plants exposed to the chemicals for 24 hours.
The recent paper by Dr. Joel Forman and Dr. Janet Silverstein
In their discussion of the "environmental relevance" of their
(the official journal of the American Academy of
findings, the investigators state:
Pediatrics), titled "Organic Foods: Health and EnvironmentalAdvantages," is well worth reading for its far-ranging discus-
In actual agricultural lands, once pharmaceutical chemi-
sion of several issues related to organic food production. It in-
cals enter soils, they are subjected to transport and biodeg-
cludes sections on the definition and regulation of organic foods,
radation. However, carbamazepine has the potential to re-
nutritional investigations of organic and conventional foods,
main in the agricultural land soils for extended period[s]
pesticide contamination of organic and conventional foods, en-
of time. [some] pharmaceutical chemicals . may have
vironmental impacts of organic and conventional food produc-
relatively high bioavailability because of their weak soil
tion methods, and pricing differentials between organically and
adsorption characteristics. Consequently, there is the po-
conventionally grown foods. (Rather strangely, the paper has
tential accumulaton of these compounds in edible plants
much to say about hormone supplementation for farm animals
at environmentally relevant concentrations, and investiga-
yet neglects the issue of genetically modified food.)
tion of agricultural fields is needed.
Below we excerpt from the Abstract of the paper; the com-
Pharmaceutical chemicals in the pea seeds and cucum-
plete paper is available free as a PDF file at http://pediatrics.
ber fruits consumed by human beings were not deter-
mined in this study. On the basis of our data, it is therefore
2579. Nearly 70(!) references are included.
difficult to evaluate the potential risks of human exposureto residual chemicals in food crops. However, our plant
In terms of health advantages, organic diets have been con-
uptake study revealed that many pharmaceutical chemi-
vincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pes-
cals have the potential to be taken up by shoots of edible
ticides associated with human disease. Organic farming
plants. In addition, it was revealed that [some] pharma-
has been demonstrated to have less environmental impact
ceuticals . could be easily transported to plant shoots. In
than conventional approaches. However, current evidence
contrast, . [others] tend to accumulate in roots. screening
does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or
Material published in HORTIDEAS is based on factual information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed. All actions takenwhich are based on this material are solely the responsibilities of readers/users. Any corrections are welcomed.
HORTIDEAS (ISSN 0742-8219) is published monthly in the United States of America by Gregory and Patricia Y. Williams.
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
deficits from eating organic compared with conventional-
for the Northeast
, a copiously illustrated 148-page book that is
ly grown foods, and there are no well-powered human
described on its back cover as follows:
studies that directly demonstrate health benefits or diseaseprotection as a result of consuming an organic diet. Studies
This guide covers some factors to consider when planting
also have not demonstrated any detrimental or disease pro-
and implementing critical area seedings and conservation
moting effects from an organic diet.
plantings. The use of native species, diversity, and the con-cern for the spread of invasive species is emphasized. It
We find it quite interesting that the mainstream news reports
points out the importance of soils and building and main-
on this study have emphasized the conclusion of the paper's
taining soil quality as an integral part of all conservation
authors that no "meaningful nutritional benefits" of organic
plantings. It addresses the need for other measures to con-
food compared to conventional food have been shown, while
trol erosion where needed to withstand high velocities of
giving little attention to the authors' conclusions that organic
water and to divert water to facilitate successful seedings.
food production has less adverse environmental impact than
It stresses mulching as an integral part of most critical area
conventional food production and that the pesticide-residue
seedings and plantings. The guide is divided into sections
burden of organically produced food is lower than that of con-
based on the steps in conducting conservation plantings,
ventionally produced food. Alas, the underemphasis on envi-
starting with planning, [and then covering] selecting plant
ronmental impact probably accurately reflects a considerably
materials, purchasing plant materials, . [and] installing
greater concern among individuals with their own health than
the planting .
with the health of the environment in general. And we can onlyspeculate that the underemphasis on pesticide residue differ-
Some of the other publications offered by the Big Flats PMC
ences between organic and conventional food might reflect con-
include the following: Pollinator Friendly Plants for the North-
cerns about offending advertisers with vested interests in con-
(60 pages), Native Wildflower Seeding Rate Calculator
tinued large-scale pesticide usage.
for Conservation Plantings
, Cover Crop Resources: A LiteratureReview
, Wildflower Plant Characteristics for Pollinator Bene-
2013 UMass Extension Garden Calendar
ficial Plant[ing] in the Northeastern United States
, A Compre-hensive Guide of Cover Crop Species Used in the Northeast
From a news release provided by the University of Massachu-
(45 pages), Vegetating with Native Grasses in North-
setts Extension Service:
eastern North America
(135 pages), Ease of Establishment andPersistence of Native Wildflowers after Four Years
, Field Studies
. Our 2013 calendar continues UMass Extension's tra-
for Establishing Native Wildflowers to Increase Pollinator Habi-
dition of providing gardeners with useful information. This
, and Germination Requirements of Native Wildflowers
year's calendar includes tips for creating colorful container
equally broad range of topics is covered by the publications of-
gardens, featuring helpful "recipes" of plant combination
fered by several of the other Plant Materials Centers.
ideas for sun and shade. For pictures and details, go to
"Prepare Drought-Stressed Trees for Winter"
A brief description accompanies each month's featured
plant. As always, each month features:
From a North Dakota State University news release dated Sep-
- an inspiring garden image
tember 20, 2012, edited by Rich Mattern:
- daily gardening tips for Northeast gardening conditions- daily sunrise and sunset times
This past year has been one of the driest on record. The
- phases of the moon
effect of drought on crops and livestock is extensive and
- plenty of room for notes
has been well-publicized, but drought conditions also im-
- low-gloss paper for easy writing.
To order, send $12.00, payable to UMass, to Garden Cal-
What can you do now to help assure their survival now
endar, c/o Mailrite, 78 River Rd. S., Putney, VT 05346.
and through the coming winter?
Shipping is $2.50 for the first calendar and $2.00 for each
"The simplest answer, of course, is to water trees now
additional calendar. Bulk orders are available; for an order
and keep them well-hydrated right until the soil freezes,"
form, go to the web site given above.
says Joe Zeleznik, North Dakota State University Extension
For more information, contact the UMass Extension Land-
Service forestry specialist. "Tree roots continue growing as
scape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program at 413-545-
long as the soil temperature is above 40 degrees. Therefore,
getting water to the trees now is critical for helping themcope with the bitter cold weather temperatures to come.
Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Web Pages
Focus on those trees that are most susceptible to winter in-jury, which are conifers and newly transplanted trees."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's NRCS web pages de-
The roots are deeper than those of lawns and are more
voted to plants offer lots of information for anyone interested in
widespread than many homeowners realize. The watering
plants that are particularly useful for soil and water conservation
should be slow, deep, and extensive (edge of the drip lines
(and, in many cases, also provide wildlife food and habitat) at
of the trees and beyond). Check to be sure the water has
scales ranging from the backyard to the large farm. The entry
penetrated to a depth of at least six to nine inches.
One rule of thumb is to use 10 gallons of water for each
plantsanimals/plants/, where you will find links to pages
inch of tree diameter (caliper), according to NDSU Exten-
devoted to regional Plant Materials Centers (27 in all, around
sion Service horticulturists Ron Smith and Tom Kalb. They
the country) and to the PLANTS Database, which provides
advise watering once per week using nonsaline water and
standardized data on plants of the U.S., including names, range
continuing to water as long as dry weather persists. Using
information, images, identification keys, and more.
water with a high salt content can stress the trees even fur-
Each Plant Materials Center offers its publications as freely
ther and cause more harm than good.
downloadable PDF files. These include some substantial docu-
Adding mulch around trees also can help keep moisture
ments! For example, the Big Flats PMC located at Corning, New
in the soil and protect the trees from the drastic tempera-
York, offers A Guide to Conservation Plantings on Critical Areas
ture swings that especially come in February and March.
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
U.S.D.A. Research on Horticultural Crops
‘Tangerine Dream' was passed along to Burpee Seed Com-
pany through the team's cooperative research and devel-
The following is excerpted from "Fruits and Veggies for Now
opment agreement (CRADA) partner, Pan American Seed
and in the Future," by Sharon Durham, originally published in
Company. "It is a fun-looking plant that grows prostrate,
the October 2012 issue of Agricultural Research
, from the U.S.
with green foliage and attractive, upright-oriented, orange
Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
fruit," says Stommel.
"We are also working on miniature bell peppers for dual
Potatoes–a kitchen staple
culinary and ornamental use. Plants have black or greenfoliage and cherry-tomato-size bell peppers, which we be-
In Beltsville, Maryland, plant geneticist Kathy Haynes is
lieve will be very popular for the home garden and com-
breeding potatoes with higher levels of carotenoid. Haynes,
mercial specialty markets," he says.
who is with the Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegeta-bles Laboratory (GIFVL), in cooperation with Beverly Clevi-
dence, who is with the Food Components and Health Labo-ratory, is developing yellow potatoes with higher carot-
Also at GIFVL, geneticist Kim Lewers is striving to im-
enoid levels for fresh consumption. she . double[d] and
prove strawberries and is conducting field trials in several
triple[d] carotenoid levels normally found in ‘Yukon Gold'
states under materials-transfer agreements with collabora-
potatoes, a yellow-fleshed variety familiar to consumers.
tors. While Lewers's focus is on yield, fruit quality, and dis-
Several carotenoids are involved . Of these, lutein and
ease resistance, she is testing some of those strawberry cul-
zeaxanthin are of keen interest for eye health; they appear
tivars in a new production system designed to extend the
to protect against age-related macular degeneration and,
growing season in the northern and eastern United States.
perhaps, cataract formation.
Strawberry is the highest value-per-acre crop that can be
"Zeaxanthin is the one I am most interested in at this
grown in this country, but most strawberries are grown in
point because there are fewer sources of it in the diet than
California and Florida. Lewers would like to expand the
lutein. Both lutein and zeaxanthin are very high in dark-
crop's range to more locations.
green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale–vegetables
"I am trying to make strawberries available locally all
that people don't tend to eat a lot of," says Haynes. "My
along the East Coast, as much of the year as possible, with
thinking is that if we can elevate their levels in potatoes,
as little pesticide residue as possible, and we are develop-
which people do eat a lot of, then we could make a signifi-
ing a production system that supports that," says Lewers.
cant impact on the human diet.
"Common strawberry diseases that can affect yield and
"We have a new potato named ‘Peter Wilcox', which is
quality are mainly Botrytis
and anthracnose. In our research
a purple-skin, yellow-flesh potato introduced in 2007, says
fields, we use no fumigants and no fungicides, and our
Haynes. "It is being grown a lot for use in roadside-market
program is known for disease resistance. The soils in our
niches. The overall carotenoid levels in that potato are
Beltsville fields have a natural population of microbes after
about 15 percent higher than they are in ‘Yukon Gold' po-
a decades-long period with no fumigants and fungicides.
Because we don't use anything to protect our strawberries,
More recently, Haynes and her colleagues have, with help
we know that if they still survive and do well it's because
from wild potatoes, produced a potato that has even high-
they are resistant or tolerant."
er carotenoid levels. The potatoes most people can pur-
In an effort to extend strawberry production beyond the
chase in the grocery store are tetraploids, meaning they have
normal local strawberry season of mid-May to mid-June,
four sets of chromosomes. Most wild potatoes are diploids,
Lewers, along with ARS colleagues John Enns, a horticul-
possessing two sets of chromosomes, and are often small
turist, and George Meyers, with Research Support Services,
and lumpy, unlike the potatoes consumers purchase.
created a production system that uses low tunnels to cover
"What we found in the diploids is that those with intense
the rows of strawberry plants.
yellow flesh have about 13 times more carotenoids than
These tunnels provide a long row of shade and rain pro-
‘Yukon Gold'. So we thought we would be able to cross
tection. Rain is bad for strawberries because the two most
them with tetraploid potatoes to produce potatoes that have
important diseases, Botrytis
and anthracnose, thrive in the
13 times the carotenoid levels and look like grocery store
occurs in cool, wet conditions, and anthrac-
potatoes. But it didn't happen that way," explains Haynes.
nose occurs in hot, wet conditions.
"We ended up with tetraploids that have only two to three
"This tunnel system has evolved, We have various sen-
times the carotenoids present in ‘Yukon Gold' potatoes–
sors that measure environmental factors inside and out-
not what we were hoping for. Still, the carotenoid levels
side the tunnels, such as temperature and relative humid-
are higher than in current varieties on the market." .
ity," explains Lewers. "High tunnels have been used byothers, but they were problematic because the humidity is
A Pack of Peppers
higher in the tunnel, which causes more Botrytis
powdery mildew, another strawberry disease. But in low
At GIFVL, geneticist and research leader John Stommel
tunnels, the humidity is the same as outside the tunnel
is developing peppers to have a dual purpose–culinary
when the sides of the tunnel are up–a good thing because
and ornamental–for use in a high-value niche market.
that doesn't facilitate disease under the tunnel.
Stommel and his colleague Robert Griesbach, now with
"The Maryland peak strawberry season is usually mid-
the ARS Office of Technology Transfer, are not strangers to
May to mid-June, but our strawberries start earlier and con-
the arena of developing novel peppers, having produced
tinue through the summer and fall. So we have a whole
‘Tangerine Dream', ‘Black Pearl', and ‘Lil' Pumpkin', among
new season. Monthly yields in the low tunnels can be as
high as those from the same cultivars when they are grown
"One of our first releases, ‘Tangerine Dream', which pre-
in California, where they were developed.
ceded the All America Selections award winner ‘Black
All of the strawberry plant material developed in Lew-
Pearl', is a dual-purpose culinary ornamental," says Stom-
ers's research program has been and still is freely available.
mel, "‘Tangerine Dream' is orange, banana-shaped, and
The plants are not patented, so they are available without
about three inches long."
special license to any nursery that wants to grow them.
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
"These are truly a gift to the taxpayer and the industry.
Below are excerpts from a University of Illinois Extension
Also, our material is known for having better flavor. Grow-
news release dated September 21, 2012.
ers call it the "eastern" flavor, and some California breed-ers now request our material and expertise about selecting
Fallen apples from homeowners' fruit trees might con-
cultivars that would impart different desirable traits," says
tain patulin, a toxic chemical produced by fungi such as
. Consequently, the fruit should
not be eaten or used in baking.
Apples, Both Good and Bad
"While pasteurization, which heats the product to 180°,
will destroy live microorganisms, it has no effect on heat-
Below are excerpts from an Ohio State University news release
stable patulin toxins. Consequently, damaged apples should
dated October 2, 2012, written by Martha Filipic.
not be used by homeowners, even for canning, jelly mak-ing, or in pies," said nutrition and wellness educator Dru-
Eating an apple a day might in fact help keep the cardi-
ologist away, new research suggests.
Banks said the fungi gain easy entry into the fruits that
In a study of healthy, middle-aged adults, consumption
have been bruised or damaged by insects.
of one apple a day for four weeks lowered by 40 percent
The Food and Drug Administration has set a maximum
blood levels of a substance linked to hardening of the ar-
tolerance level of 0.5 parts per billion (ppb0 patulin con-
tent, according to U of I Extension local foods systems and
Taking capsules containing polyphenols, a type of anti-
small farms educator James Theuri. [According to Theuri,]
oxidant found in apples, had a similar, but not as large,
"This is why consumers who have apple trees should ab-
solutely not use apple drops, or bruised, damaged fruits.
The study, funded by an apple industry group, found
It's better to be safe than to be sorry,"
that apples lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL–low-
U of I Extension Specialist Masbah Kushad stressed that
density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol. When LDL cho-
this is a message that is important for homeowners who
lesterol interacts with free radical to become oxidized, the
have apple trees. "Reputable commercial growers are aware
cholesterol is more likely to promote inflammation and
of the patulin risk and do not sell dropped or rotten apples
can cause tissue damage.
or use them in cider production."
"When LDL becomes oxidized, it takes on a form that
Theuri warned that patulin is a toxin for which con-
begins atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries," said
sumers have almost no tolerance. "Patulin toxins are high-
lead researcher Robert DiSilvestro, professor of human nu-
est in moldy apples; the more mold growth, the more patu-
trition at Ohio State University and a researcher at the uni-
lin toxin. Fruit quality must be a top priority when select-
versity's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Cen-
ing fruit for sale or processing," he said.
ter. "We got a tremendous effect against LDL being oxi-dized with just one apple a day for four weeks."
A Repellent for Pesty Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles
The difference was similar to that found between people
with normal coronary arteries versus those with coronary
The multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis
artery disease, he said.
imported into North America to help control crop pests such as
The study is published online in the Journal of Func-
aphids, but it has developed into a nuisance that aggregates in
the winter inside buildings, including houses. And it has also
DiSilvestro described daily apple consumption as sig-
become a pest in vineyards, infesting grapes and producing
nificantly more effective at lowering oxidized LDL than
chemicals that can taint wine and grape juice–even just a few
other oxidants he has studied, including the spice-based
beetles can result in unacceptable products. Available insecti-
compound curcumin, green tea, and tomato extract.
cides are often inadequate for completely eliminating the bee-
"Not all oxidants are created equal when it comes to this
tles from grapes at harvest time, so the search is on for better
particular effect," he said.
ways to prevent infestations. Some chemicals have been iden-
DiSilvestro first became interested in studying the health
tified that repel the beetles (including terpenoids from catnip
effects of eating an apple a day after reading a Turkish study
oil and grapefruit seeds, camphor, menthol, and DEET); of these,
that found such a regimen increased the amount of a spe-
only DEET is effective over long periods of time, and there are
cific antioxidant enzyme in the body.
ongoing controversies about the potential effects of DEET on
In the end, his team didn't find the same effect on the
human health. A fast-acting repellent that could be applied just
enzyme, but was surprised at the considerable difference
before harvest and keep beetles away from the grapes during
the apples had on oxidized LDL.
harvest might be ideal.
For the study, the researchers recruited nonsmoking
Researchers in Canada have been testing potassium metabi-
healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 60 who had a
sulfite as a repellent for H. axyridis
. This chemical is already
history of eating apples less than twice a month and who
commonly added to some food products (including wine), so it
didn't take supplements containing polyphenols or other
would probably not be controversial if applied in vineyards. In
laboratory trials, the researchers have demonstrated that potas-
In all, 16 participants ate a large ‘Red Delicious' or ‘Gold-
sium metabisulfite repels H. axyridis
. And in field trials, the
en Delicious' apple purchased at a Columbus-area grocery
numbers of beetles on grape vines that were sprayed with po-
store for four weeks; 17 took capsules containing 194 milli-
tassium metabisulfite were significantly lower (by up to 50-60
grams of polyphenols a day for four weeks; and 18 took a
percent) one day after spraying than the numbers of beetles on
placebo containing no polyphenols. The researchers found
unsprayed vines. Also, applying potassium metabisulfite to
no effect on oxidized LDLs in those taking the placebo.
grapes one day prior to harvest did not
result in abnormalities
"We think the placebos account for a lot of the effect
in the wine made from the grapes.
from apples, but we did try to isolate just the polyphenols,
The question that now needs to be answered is whether ap-
using about what you'd get from an apple a day," DiSil-
plying potassium metabisulfite just before harvest can reduce
vestro said. "We found the polyphenol extract did register
the numbers of H. axyridis
on grape vines sufficiently to avoid
a measurable effect, but not as strong as the straight apple.
detectable tainting of the resulting wine or juice. It is knownthat more than 1,000 beetles per ton of grapes is typically ac-
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
ceptable. In addition, it would be interesting to homeowners
First, because the bug overwinters beneath the bark of stand-
bothered by aggregating beetles to find out whether potassium
ing dead trees rather than fallen trees, you can cut nearby dead
metabisulfite has any potential as a fumigant to force evacua-
trees to (perhaps) reduce your local BMSB population in the
tion of the beetles from inside buildings. We hope to report
more about these possibilities in the near future.
Second, Gill has seen considerable parasitism of BMSB egg
Reference: Erik J. Glemser, Lisa Dowling, Debra Inglis, Gary J.
masses by native wasps. Possibly with time the beneficials will
Pickering, Wendy McFadden-Smith, Mark K. Sears, and Rebec-
help bring BMSB populations down.
ca H. Hallett (School of Environmental Sciences, University of
Also, BMSB apparently does not
find many flower species
Guelph, 50 Stone Rd. E., Guelph, Ontario, CANADA N1G 2W1),
that are commonly used as cut flowers very attractive as food.
"A Novel Method for Controlling Multicolored Asian Lady
But amaranth is highly attractive to BMSB (without showing
Beetle (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Vineyards," Environmental
much visible damage) and might be suitable as a trap plant to
(5), October 2012, 1169-1176. (Entomological So-
draw the beetles away from other crops. Noteworthy BMSB
ciety of America, 10001 Derekwood Ln., Suite 100, Lanham,
hosts (which can sustain appreciable damage) are sunflowers
Gill has been testing a woven material to exclude BMSB
Urban Vegetation Density and Childhood Asthma Incidence
from high tunnels containing high-value host plants. Perhapsfabric row covers might successfully prevent damage to BMSB-
Childhood asthma incidence rates are increasing in devel-
susceptible field-grown plants. If you have experience with
oped countries, and the reasons aren't clear. One factor might
non-chemical techniques that can reduce BMSB damage, let us
be urban vegetation, which could be beneficial by reducing air
know so we can share them.
pollution. However, an extensive recent study of metropolitan
Reference: Stanton Gill, "Still Raising a Stink Over the BMSB,"
areas in Texas has failed to find statistically significant correla-
The Cut Flower Quarterly 24
(4), Fall 2012, 12. (Association of
tions between the density of urban vegetation and local rates of
Cut Flower Specialty Cut Flower Growers, M.P.O. Box 268,
incidence of childhood asthma. Perhaps other influences on
Oberlin, OH 44074.)
childhood asthma rates are more important than air pollutionin the metropolitan areas in the study. It is also possible that
"Microgreens Are Mighty"
childhood asthma rates in those areas have been increased
bythe seasonal presence of pollen released by plants into the air.
The following is excerpted from a news release provided by
At any rate, based on the study's results, planting more urban
the University of Maryland, titled "UMD Researchers Show
be expected to reduce local rates of childhood
Microgreens Are Mighty" and written by Sara Gavin.
Reference: Monica Ann Pilat, Amy McFarland, Amy Snel-
Researchers with the University of Maryland College of
grove, Kevin Collins, Tina Marie Waliczek (Dept. of Agricul-
Agriculture and Natural Resources and the U.S. Department
ture, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666), and Jayne
of Agriculture recently completed a study to determine the
Zajicek, "The Effect of Tree Cover and Vegetation on Incidence
level of nutrients in microgreens compared to their mature
of Childhood Asthma in Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Texas,"
(5), October 2012, 631-637. (American Soci-
What are microgreens exactly? They are tiny, immature
ety for Horticultural Science, 1018 Duke St., Alexandria, VA
versions of vegetables, herbs, and other plants harvested
anywhere from a week to two weeks after germination thattend to be about one to two inches long with the stem and
An Exception to the "No Tree Wound Dressings" Rule
leaves still attached.
Assistant professor Qin Wang and graduate student Zhen-
For years, we've been reporting that tree wound dressings are
lei Xiao with the College's Department of Nutrition and
unnecessary following pruning or damage. A recent article by
Food Science participated in the study, which looked at
the technical resource manager of the International Society of
nutrients like Vitamins C, E, and K, and beta carotene . in
confirms this advice–but Wes Kocher
25 different types of microgreens, including cilantro, cel-
notes that wound dressings have been shown to be effective, at
ery, red cabbage, green basil, and arugula.
least in some cases, against oak wilt due to the fungus Cerato-
Their research ultimately discovered that the microgreens
. Additional preventive measures when prun-
contained four to 40 times
more nutrients than their mature
ing oak trees include avoiding periods of increased activity of
sap beetles (typically from February through June) and disin-
It has long been speculated that microgreens packed a
fecting pruning equipment with a 10 percent solution of bleach
potent punch of antioxidants, but until now, no research
before moving to the next tree. Also, be sure that you don't
existed to support the theory.
leave the pruned materials, allowing the oak wilt fungus to in-
Because microgreens are so delicate, they are not recom-
cubate under the pruned trees.
mended for cooking and should be eaten raw with minor
Reference: Wes Kocher, "Tree Wound Dressings," Arborist
washing . As a result, they only have a shelf life of two
(5), October 2012, 72-73. (International Society of Ar-
days and are difficult for the average consumer to come by.
boriculture, P.O. Box 3129, Chanpaign, IL 61826.)
Wang, Xiao, and U.S.D.A. researchers also looked at pos-
sible ways to increase production and lower the cost of
(A Little) Good News about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
microgreens by examining the effects of different tempera-tures, packing techniques, and washing conditions. The
The brown marmonated stink bug (BMSB) is definitely
team is currently testing how the tiny greens respond to
stinker (see, for instance, HortIdeas
, November-December 2010,
various light exposures.
page 125) that continues to cause problems for various crops as
. While Wang taste-tested all of the microgreens in the
it spreads through the eastern U.S.–not to mention its pen-
study and found them to be quite flavorful, particularly the
chant for invading buildings! So far, the news about BMSB has
young purple radish, she advises consumers to use moder-
been almost all bad, but recently University of Maryland Ex-
ation. "I would say adding it to your sandwich, soup, or
tension Specialist Stanton Gill reported a few good (or at least
salad, it will definitely taste better than if you eat it alone,"
not completely bad) observations regarding the BMSB.
Xiao said, "They are really good food enhancers." .
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
4-H Program Improves Ag/Hort-Related Science Literacy
though not considered to be alternatives to school, nonfor-mal education programs can expand school curriculum of-
The following is excerpted from "4-H Boosts Youth Scientific
ferings and complement classroom teaching.
Literacy with ANR Water Education Curriculum," by Martin H.
Smith, Katherine E. Heck. and Steven M. Worker, California Ag-
ANR's Strategic Vision 2025
(4), October-December 2012, 158-163. It is 2012The Regents of the University of California. We are pleased to
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
see that the 4-H organization is committed to science education
(ANR) connects the research base of the university to local
that complements formal schooling–future growers (and con-
communities throughout the state. Its Strategic Vision 2025
sumers) will need to have considerable acquaintance with sci-
charts a course of action for the role ANR will play in "im-
entific methodologies in order to adequately evaluate and choose
proving California's future by providing leadership and in-
among their options with regard to food production and con-
novation through research, education, and service" over
sumption. In particular, we believe that a better public under-
the next 15 to 20 years.
standing of science is needed to pave the way for truly sustain-
Scientific literacy is a key issue targeted for applied re-
able horticulture and agriculture.
search, education, and extension efforts. the universityhas committed to improving scientific literacy among Cali-
Twenty-first-century society is highly dependent on sci-
fornians. The Initiative's plan describes the need to devel-
ence and requires a scientifically literate population. Indi-
op and implement science programs that use active-learn-
viduals who lack fundamental science knowledge and skills
ing strategies, involve schools and community-based edu-
risk being unqualified for many careers and unable to par-
cation programs, and increase civic engagement among tar-
ticipate fully in society. In particular, citizens need to un-
get audiences, particularly youth.
derstand scientific concepts and theories in order to address
Water supply and quality for agricultural, urban, and
important issues such as public health, water quality, agri-
environmental systems are additional focal concerns out-
culture, transportation, communication, and energy con-
lined in ANR's Strategic Vision 2025. Specifically, the Ini-
tiative to Improve Water Quality, Quantity, and Security
Research has revealed, however, that scientific literacy
suggests that the following issues need attention: water
in the U.S. is low. Miller ["Civic Scientific Literacy in Europe
availability due to competition among different sectors of
and the United States," World Association for Public
the population, short- and long-term climate changes that
will affect water supplies, the degradation of water quality,
JMiller.pdf] found that only 28% of U.S. adults have a
and legal and regulatory decisions that will affect water
level of scientific understanding necessary to function as
availability, use, and quality.
citizens in modern society, and scientific literacy amongyoung people is also undesirably low. Nationally, assess-
4-H Youth Development
ments have shown stagnant or declining science scoresamong school-age youth. The 2005 and 2006 National As-
The National 4-H Youth Development Program has pro-
sessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for 4th,
vided nonformal educational opportunities to youth ages
8th, and 12th graders showed poor science achievement at
5 through 19 since its establishment by Congress in 1914,
all three grade levels. These trends are not distributed
and it is one of the largest community-based youth organi-
equally across the population; science achievement tends
zations in the world. Using strategies that engage youth in
to be higher among male than female students, white and
hands-on, learner-centered projects and programs, 4-H staff
Asian American than black and Latino youth, and those
and adult volunteers serve as nonformal educators and de-
from high-income than from low-income households.
liver 4-H projects and activities that address the interestsof young people and help the needs of their communities.
Learning in nonformal programs
California 4-H is the youth education program of UC ANR.
The 4-H program offers a wide variety of educational op-
Achieving higher science literacy among the school-age
portunities that reflect its diverse membership. Normally,
population will require a variety of complementary strate-
more than 50% of all 4-H members participate in science
gies, including nonformal science programs that occur out-
projects and activities, ranging from geology and minerals
side of school. On average, U.S. citizens spend less than
to soil conservation, from forestry to wildlife and fisheries,
5% of their lives in classrooms, and a growing body of evi-
from computer science to animal and veterinary science.
dence demonstrates that most science is learned outside of
In California, over 130,000 4-H youth were enrolled in sci-
school. Science learning outside of school might actually
ence, engineering, or technology programming during the
be more effective than learning in classroom settings. Non-
2009-2010 school year .
formal learning environments generate excitement around
Outcome data from evaluation show that 4-H plays a
science that encourages learners to explore and interact
vital role in helping U.S. youth contribute to their commu-
with the subjects and to think of themselves as able to use
nities. 4-H youth are almost twice as likely as other youth
science in everyday life.
to make community contributions; additionally, they have
Adult staff members or volunteer educators usually lead
higher measures of civic duty, civic voice, and participa-
nonformal education programs with youth. These oppor-
tion in volunteer activities. Likewise, youth who partici-
tunities can occur in a variety of venues, including after-
pate in 4-H are more likely than other people to have a posi-
school and school-enrichment programs, clubs, camps, or
tive attitude toward science.
museums. Nonformal education programs emphasize learn-
Youth who have more exposure to 4-H science, engineer-
er-centered strategies that engage participants to develop
ing, and technology programs are more likely to agree that
their knowledge and reflect on how science takes place in
science is their favorite subject . youth engaged in 4-H
the real world. Learner-centered strategies engage youth
science programs take higher-level science coursework in
in an active manner through hands-on activities that in-
high school compared with young people outside of 4-H.
volve problem solving, critical thinking, and active reflec-
Furthermore, youth in the California 4-H program are more
tion. This is in contrast to more traditional classroom-
likely to report that programs they participate in after school
based approaches such as lectures and demonstrations. Al-
and in the summer increase their interest in taking more
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
science courses as they get older, as well as their interest in
teens to have a successful experience teaching younger
pursuing science as a career.
youth are provided. Teens have been shown to be extreme-ly effective teaching science to younger youth; they relate
California 4-H SET Initiative
well to younger audiences, are optimistic in their roles ascross-age teachers, and engage in science content and proc-
In 2007, National 4-H Headquarters developed the 4-H
esses with children in an active manner.
Science Mission Mandate. Grounded in research that indi-cates the importance of community-based programs in im-
Testing the curriculum
proving youth scientific literacy, this mandate establishedprogrammatic priorities to help guide state 4-H programs'
A school enrichment program was used to pilot test
efforts to develop and implement new, research-based cur-
There's No New Water!
and collect preliminary outcome
ricula, as well as develop staff and volunteers, partner-
ships, evaluation, and funding sources.
Modules one through four of the curriculum [including
In 2008, California 4-H launched its 4-H Science, Engi-
The Natural Water Cycle, Human Interventions in the Water
neering, and Technology (SET) Initiative as a direct response
Cycle, Water as an Available Resource: The Urban/Rural
to the National 4-H Science Mission Mandate. The SET
Interface, and Mapping Natural Watersheds] were imple-
Initiative has youth scientific literacy as its overarching
mented once per week for one hour over an eight-week
goal and aims to improve existing 4-H SET programming
period with students in two ninth-grade earth science
and develop new programming that aligns with the inita-
classes in a north-central California urban high school.
tives outlined in ANR's Strategic Vision 2025. One major
The curriculum was offered in lieu of the students's regu-
focus of action is the development and implementation of
lar class instruction. Modules five and six [Service Learn-
effective SET-based curriculum materials that align with
ing Projects in Your Watershed and Teens Teaching Young-
UC ANR priorities and support county-based 4-H SET pro-
er Youth] were not offered due to time constraints.
A retrospective pretest survey was used to examine
changes in content knowledge. Participants self-reported
There's No New Water!
how much knowledge they believed they had gained incontent areas related to water resources.
In response to the Strategic Vision 2025, ANR academic
A second survey was used to investigate youths' per-
staff developed the youth science curriculum There's No
ceived gains in various life skills from participating in the
[M. Smith, S. Worker, and M. Kelly, et al., Na-
tional 4-H Council, Chevy Chase, Maryland, 2010]. This
Six UC Davis undergraduate students were recruited as
peer-reviewed curriculum . focuses on increasing scien-
volunteer educators to implement There's No New Water!
tific literacy by engaging middle and high school youth in
with participating youth in the pilot program. They were
hands-on, inquiry-based science activities that include op-
trained over a 10-week period in effective science-teach-
portunies for real-world applications of knowledge and
ing strategies and all of the curriculum activities.
skills through service learning. The sequenced activitiesbuild learners' knowledge and skills by emphasizing inter-
related concepts, support state and national science stan-dards, and are applicable for use in schools and community-
Participants were asked eight retrospective questions on
based education programs.
content knowledge . to ascertain their perceived level of
There's No New Water!
was developed using the back-
knowledge gain. On a scale of 1 (poor) to 4 (excellent), re-
ward design method, which involves identifying learning
sponses to all eight questions revealed a statistically sig-
objectives and indicators before designing activities. Once
< 0.01) increase in self-perceived knowledge
the objectives and indicators were outlined, the curricu-
gain using a paired t
-test of the means .
lum design team, consisting of ANR academic staff and uni-
The 20 questions on the second survey related to life
versity undergraduates, formed subgroups focused on spe-
skills, including wise use of resources, social skills, com-
cific content areas. Each subgroup then engaged in an itera-
munication, and responsible citizenship . Participants rated
tive process that involved reviewing relevant literature,
their levels of knowledge gain using a scale from 1 (not at
drafting and pilot testing activities, and collecting forma-
all) to 4 (a lot). The means for their responses ranged from
tive data (qualitative information on content and processes
2.3 (a little) to 3.1 (some), with the greatest perceived gains
used) for revisions.
reported around citizenship and helping.
. The major themes of There's No New Water!
ority issues in California and nationally: water distribution
Success and future of the program
and availability, conservation, and quality. Topics includethe natural water cycle, watersheds, human interventions
The preliminary learner outcomes from the pilot test sup-
in the water cycle, the urban/rural interface, and topo-
port previous researchers' assertions on the importance of
graphic mapping of watersheds in different geographic lo-
nonformal science education programming and how such
programs can expand school curriculum offerings and com-
A unique feature of There's No New Water!
is the oppor-
plement classroom teaching. The outcomes are also con-
tunity for youth to engage in their community through serv-
gruent with the goals of the California 4-H SET Initiative,
ice learning. guidelines help youth identify water-related
the National 4-H Science Mission Mandate, and ANR's Stra-
issues in their communities and develop projects to ad-
tegic Vision 2025 to strengthen curriculum materials and
dress them. This application of learning is particularly ger-
programming for youth in science. They also address the
mane to improving scientific literacy and also workforce
ANR Strategic Vision 2025 directives on improving citi-
preparedness; engaging youth in inquiry relevant to their
zens' understanding of water issues, why and how to care
communities has been shown to increase their interest in
for the environment, and ways to conserve natural re-
science. [There are also] age-appropriate activities on
water resources designed for implementation by teens with
The preliminary results presented build a case for an in-
elementary school youth. Research-based strategies that help
depth evaluation of There's No New Water!
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
nonformal contexts, including 4-H clubs, after-school pro-
stump for two to three weeks. The seedlings, grafted, and
grams, and camps, using multiple measures to improve
stump-sprout plants were transplanted into five-gallon bags
the validity and reliability of the findings. The curriculum
approximately five weeks following planting the seeds. Cul-
is currently being implemented through county-based 4-H
tural practices consisted of standard recommendations for
programs in California, as well as in 4-H programs in num-
growing greenhouse tomatoes for fresh market production
erous other states. It is available for purchase through the
National 4-H Program's Curriculum Resource Library (web
Fruit was harvested twice per week for 19 weeks. Mar-
ketable yield was determined by weighing fruit gradedmedium or large during the first three weeks and during
A Way to Reduce the Net Cost of Grafted Tomato Plants
the remaining 16 weeks of harvest to reflect the effects ofthe early growth interruption of grafted and stump-sprout
The following is excerpted from "A Novel Approach for Cost-
plants on yield.
Effective Production of Grafted Tomatoes," by Hanna Y. Hanna
Results indicated that during the first three weeks of har-
(Professor, Louisiana State University, Red River Research Sta-
vest, seedling plants produced greater yields than grafted
tion, Bossier City), Louisiana Agriculture 55
(3), Summer 2012,
or stump-sprout plants, and the differences were cultivar-
18-19 (published by the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Sta-
related. ‘Quest' was the only variety that produced similar
tion, P.O. Box 25100, Baton Rouge, LA 70894-5100).
yields as a seedling during the first three weeks of harvest.
Tomato plants propagated by all three methods produced
Grafting tomato plants is an old cultural technique prac-
similar yields and fruit weight in the remaining 16 weeks
ticed since the early 1900s in Japan, South Korea, and other
of harvest. The apparent reason for yield advantages of the
Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The use of grafted
seedling plants during the first three weeks of harvest was
plants was not common in North America until late in the
their uninterrupted growth during the seedling stage. Propa-
last century except in home gardens and by small organic
gation method had no specific influence on fruit quality
tomato growers in the southeastern U.S. Surveys conduct-
ed in 2006 showed the number of grafted seedlings in North
The study indicates that producing productive plants from
America was more than 40 million, indicating a change of
the stump sprouts is feasible and can be used to reduce
this trend. Tomato growers want to grow grafted plants to
losses associated with discarding the bottoms of plants used
control soil-borne diseases, increase yield, improve plant
in grafting. Plants grown from the stump sprouts and the
adaptation to less-than-optimal environmental conditions,
seeds both produced similar yields after the first three
and extend the harvest season.
weeks of harvest. The most apparent reason for reduced
Grafted tomatoes consist of two plants fused together.
early-season yield of the stump-sprout plants was their late
The bottom plant is the rootstock, which in most cases is a
growth. A simple remedy for that is to allow the stump-
hybrid tomato variety that has diverse genetic makeup that
sprout plants to grow for five weeks after initiation before
makes it resistant to soil-borne diseases and nematodes.
transplanting in the grow bags or selling commercially.
The top part of the grafted plant is called the scion, and in
This technique is normally followed in producing trans-
most cases it is a hybrid variety with desirable productive
plants from seeds.
The botanical components for producing plants from the
Home gardeners who have limited space and grow to-
stump sprouts are similar to those for producing plants
matoes in the same spot every year can benefit greatly from
from seeds. The stumps are left with the root system and
growing grafted plants to control soil-borne diseases . Pro-
the cotyledon leaves, both essential components for pro-
ducing grafted plants is costly, however, because of inten-
ducing plants from seeds. This technique should eliminate
sive labor input for propagation, optimizing the environ-
wasting a valuable part of a good hybrid tomato variety
mental conditions for healing the grafts, longer periods need-
and allow for the repeated use of the seedling containers
ed for producing the transplants, and the additional costs
filled with valuable potting mixtures. The grafting process
of the rootstocks.
should be timed to allow both the grafted and stump-sprout
The practice of grafting tomato plants leads to discard-
plants to grow for at least five weeks before planting in the
ing the stumps of the scion cultivar after removing the tops
grow bags or selling commercially.
for grafting. In most cases, the stumps are the remains ofcostly hybrid cultivars that were planted in multi-cell trays
Purchased Firewood Can Spread Tree Pests
filled with commercial potting mixtures. The stumps havewell-developed root systems that supported the scion plants
Researchers affiliated with Colorado State University and
for approximately three weeks before cutting the tops for
Northern Arizona University bought more than 400 bundles of
grafting. If productive plants can be generated on the stumps,
firewood at stores in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyo-
they can be used at the same farm or sold to other growers
ming between 2007 and 2009, then monitored emergence of
as nongrafted hybrids for returns that can defray part of the
live insects from the bundles. Over a period of a year and a half,
insects emerged from 47 percent of the bundles (ranging from
A greenhouse study was conducted . to determine the
one to 520 insects per bundle, with about 11 insects per bundle
feasibility of producing productive plants from the stumps.
on average). Typically, the greatest numbers of insects emerged
Seeds of the hybrid tomato varieties ‘Geronimo', ‘Quest',
from pine, fir, and mixed-conifer bundles. Most of the emer-
and ‘Starbuck' (scions) and the hybrid tomato variety ‘Maxi-
gent insects were beetles (mainly bark and ambrosia beetles);
fort' (rootstock) were planted to produce seedlings for the
wood borers also emerged in lesser numbers. Bundles contain-
grafting process. The tops of the three [scion] varieties and
ing wood showing previous or current symptoms of insect dam-
the rootstock were cut at three weeks of age above and
age was most likely to harbor live insects.
under the cotyledon leaves. Both plant parts were held to-
The researchers conclude that "the risk of moving live native
gether using a silicon clip. The bottoms (stumps) of the
or nonindigenous insects in untreated firewood is high because
three [scion] varieties were kept under the same growing
insects emerged up to 558 days from purchase date." They
conditions of the remaining seedlings to generate sprouts
note that purchased firewood also might be implicated in the
from the buds existing in the angle between the cotyledon
spread of fungal diseases of trees. And so they recommend that
leaves and the stump. One sprout was allowed to grow per
"firewood intended for sale should be treated to eliminate live
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
insects and pathogens in a manner that is uniformly accepted
percent of human food, worldwide. These crops are implicated
across North America. Firewood movement across state lines
in high average global rates of soil erosion because their soils
is a national issue that should be regulated at the state or feder-
are typically tilled frequently, although reduced tillage methods
al level . in our four-state survey, depending on the state, 29-
have been developed for some of the crops. Both conventional
87 percent of firewood came from out-of-state sources." Most of
and reduced tillage methods need considerable energy inputs.
the firewood in the survey actually had evidence of insect
Water pollution is also problematic with annual crops.
activity (frass, tunneling, or exit holes), and 76 percent had
Next, the authors discuss "putative perennial grain benefits,"
bark present, which can aid insect survival. On the positive
which include the following: enhanced soil and water conser-
side, no new exotic tree pest insects turned up in the survey.
vation; reduced runoff and resultant water pollution; energy
But some walnut firewood bundles bought in Colorado were
savings due to less-frequent tillage (estimated variously as being
found to harbor the fungus associated with thousand cankers
needed every three to five years or maybe even only once in
disease. Not addressed by the survey is the likelihood that any
many years); improved soil health contributing to improved re-
insect pests in transported firewood will become established at
sistance of crops to pests and pathogens; more efficient utiliza-
a new locale.
tion of precipitation and/or irrigation; boosted sequestration
What can be done to reduce the potential threat? The research-
(in root systems) of carbon; and enhanced wildlife habitat.
ers suggest that debarking and drying of freshly cut firewood
Then there is an assessment of breeding work on perennial
could help, but the effective drying time would depend on the
grains. Currently, there are no commercially available cultivars.
particular insect pests in the wood. One year of drying would
Because perennial-trait genes are typically found on more than
allow emergence of many pest insects prior
to sale and trans-
one chromosome, genetic engineering has not been used, and
port; two years would allow emergence of additional pest in-
breeding to date has relied on conventional methods (either im-
sects prior to sale.
proving wild perennials or crossing annual grain crops with
Reference: W.R. Jacobi (Dept. of Bioagricultural Sciences and
wild perennials). Researchers are currently working on peren-
Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
nial versions of sorghum, sunflower, wheat, Lesquerella
80523-1177), J.G. Hardin, B.A. Goodrich, and C.M. Cleaver, "Re-
oilseed, and rye. Typically, perennial wheat yields have
tail Firewood Can Transport Live Tree Pests," Journal of Eco-
not been higher than 60-75 percent of annual wheat yields,
nomic Entomology 105
(5), October 2012, 1645-1658. (Entomologi-
with diminished yields after the first harvest; also, low gluten
cal Society of America, 10001 Derekwood Ln., Suite 100, Lan-
levels makes conventional bread baking with perennial wheat
ham, MD 20706-4876.)
impossible. Perennial rice cultivars have also so far exhibitedrather low yields.
A Balanced Appraisal of the Potential of Perennial Grains
Next is a discussion of "challenges to perennial grains." Be-
cause perennials generally must allocate more energy to vege-
Seriously considering the development of perennial
, as op-
tative structures than do annuals, the yields of the former can
posed to long-ubiquitous annual
, grains was initiated by Wes
be lower than those of the latter, but this might be offset by the
Jackson at The Land Institute in Kansas over three decades ago.
typically longer annual growing periods of perennials com-
For several years, Wes and his students were almost alone in
pared to annuals. Additional major concerns are development
championing perennial grains as having the potential for con-
time, pest/disease/weed problems, and farmer profitability,
tributing to considerably more sustainable cropping systems
described by Pimentel et al. as follows:
than are possible using annual grains. The basic idea was to usethe natural prairie as a model for agronomic practices–an idea
. current estimates of the successful breeding of peren-
that was apparently just too radical for the agricultural estab-
nial grain crops are at least 25-50 years away, although an
lishment to consider, at least for a considerable time. But now
upland perennial rice could be ready for cultivation in 5-
some university laboratories are engaged in research on peren-
10 years. consistent institutional support and long-term
nial grains, and it is becoming increasingly common to see pre-
commitment are critical .
dictions in the mainstream media that perennial grains will
Temperate perennial grain crops may face disease and
eventually displace annual grains and reduce the environmen-
insect pest management problems similar to tropical peren-
tal impacts of agriculture.
nial crops, largely because pathogens will have access to
At first glance, it would appear that Wes Jackson is being
living tissue year-round. In particular, leaf and stem rusts
vindicated, and that the road ahead will not be a steep one for
and viruses . could present significant barriers .
the widespread adoption of perennial grains. But a closer look
Because a perennial crop may be slow to establish and
reveals that the highly positive publicity largely reflects infor-
then remains in the ground for multiple seasons over multi-
mation disseminated by those (including Jackson) who are di-
ple years, they are more susceptible than traditional annu-
rectly involved in research and development of perennial grains
als to weed invasion, particularly during the establish-
and therefore have vested interests in publicizing the best fea-
ment period .
tures of perennial grains and minimizing the worst features.
One of the fundamental concerns over widespread adop-
What is needed in order to obtain a credible picture is a bal-
tion of perennial grain cultivation is that they may not be
anced assessment by well-informed individuals who do not
economically viable for farmers, or viable only in specific
have such vested interests. Such an assessment has recently
contexts, such as mixed crop-forage operations. Yet others
appeared: David Pimentel, a respected commentator on agricul-
contend that the reduced inputs needed for perennial
tural ecology, and several colleagues have published a paper in
grains may make them more profitable for farmers.
the peer-reviewed journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environ-ment
on the advantages and
disadvantages of perennial grains
Reference: David Pimental (College of Agriculture and Life
compared to those of annual grains. Below we summarize the
Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853), David Cerasale,
major points of this paper; if you are at all intrigued by this
Rose C. Stanley, Rachel Perlman, Elise M. Newman, Lincoln C.
topic, which we think could be of the utmost importance for
Brent, Amanda Mullan, and Debbie Tai-I Chang, "Annual vs.
future food production, you should read the entire paper (and
Perennial Grain Production," Agriculture, Ecosystems and En-
even some of the dozens of references it includes!).
, October 15, 2012, 1-9. (Elsevier Science Publish-
Pimentel et al. begin by establishing the current significance
ers B.V., Journals Dept., P.O. Box 211, 1000 AE, Amsterdam, THE
of annual grains (including cereals, oilseeds, and legumes): they
require 60-80 percent of total cropland and yield around 80
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
Online Databases on U.S.D.A.-Sponsored Organic Research
Holistic Integration of Organic Strategies and High Tunnels
for Midwest/Great Lakes Fruit Production
A Cornell University news release ("Research Team Tackles
Addressing Critical Pest Management Challenges in Organic
Top Pests That Scourge Organic Crops," by Stacey Shackford,
October 23, 2012) recently alerted us to two amazing on-line
Creating an Organic Plant Breeding Center
resources for organic growers that we had previously missed.
Mental Models and Participatory Research to Redesign Ex-
Here's the clue in the release that enabled our discovery:
tension Programming for Organic Weed Management
Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Cooperative
A $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agricul-
Improving Weed and Insect Management in Organic Reduced-
ture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture Organic
Tillage Cropping Systems
Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative will fund a
Alternative Post-Harvest Washing Solutions to Enhance the
four-year project that will . [fund] an interdisciplinary
Microbial Safety and Quality of Organic Fresh Produce
team of eight Cornell breeders, plant pathologists, ento-
Developing Adapted Varieties and Optimal Management Prac-
mologists, economists, and extension specialists ."
tices for Quinoa in Diverse Environments
Development and Participatory Implementation of Integrated
We figured that the NIFA had funded other organic research
Organic Pest Management Strategies for Crucifer Vegetable Pro-
as well, and at the Institute's web site, we found a news release
duction in the South
titled "U.S.D.A. Awards 14 Grants Supporting Research and
Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture with Added Grow-
Marketing of Organic Agriculture" and dated October 22, 2012.
er and Consumer Value
Here is an excerpt from that release:
Co-Creating Research and Extension Objectives for Organic
Management of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
The grants disbursed today include more than $14 mil-
Development of Non-Antibiotic Programs for Fire Blight Con-
lion in 2012 grants through the Organic Research and Ex-
trol in Organic Apple and Pear
tension Initiative (OREI). This program focuses on helping
Finding the Right Mix: Multifunctional Cover Crop Cocktails
producers and processors who have already adopted organ-
for Organic Systems
ic standards to grow and market high quality organic ag-
Overcoming the Market Barriers to Organic Production in
ricultural products. OREI's priority concerns include bio-
logical, physical, and social sciences–with an emphasis
Host Plant Choice of Colorado Potato Beetle and Variation in
on research and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers
Defoliation and Yield Losses among Organically Grown Com-
with whole farm planning. For more OREI information, visit
mercial Potato Varieties
Using Winter Cover Crops to Enhance the Organic Vegetable
Industry in the Mid-Atlantic Region
In addition, the grants disbursed today include more than
Organic Blackberry Production Systems for Improved Yield,
$3 million through the Organic Transitions Program (ORG).
Fruit Quality, and Food Safety in Fresh and Processed Markets
In 2012, ORG focused on environmental services provided
Vermicompost-Based Media to Enhance Organic Vegetable
by organic farming systems that support soil conservation
Seedling Vigor, Yield, Crop Quality, and Grower Profitability
and contribute to climate change mitigation. Practices and
Sustainable Systems for Cucurbit Crops on Organic Farms
systems to be addressed include those associated with or-
Enhancing Productivity and Soilborne Disease Control in In-
ganic crops, organic animal production (including dairy),
tensive Organic Vegetable Production with Mixed-Species Green
and organic systems integrating plant and animal produc-
tion. More information on the program can be found online
Organic Stone Fruit Producton: Optimizing Water Use, Fer-
tility, Pest Management, Fruit Quality, and Economics
The OREI and ORG grants are disbursed as authorized
Using New Alternatives to Enhance Adoption of Organic Ap-
under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008,
ple Production through Integrated Research and Extension
also known as the Farm Bill.
No-Till Organic Vegetable Production in Western Washing-
Fiscal year 2012 OREI awards include . [several mil-
ton: A Planning Proposal
lion dollars in grants to researchers at eight universities].
Plant Breeding and Agronomic Research for Organic Hop Pro-
This year, NIFA also awarded $4.3 million in continua-
tion awards to previous OREI awardeees. These awards
Management Practices for Organic Orchard Nutrition
allow past grantees to build on prior research accomplish-
Integrating Weed Management and Fertility in Organic High-
bush Blueberry Production Systems to Optimize Plant Growth,
This year, NIFA also awarded $330,000 in continuation
Yield, and Grower Return
awards to previous ORG awardees.
Effects of Organic Fertility Management on Crop Health and
Phytochemical Content of Vegetables under Open Field and
The two web pages given above have links to "Abstracts of
High Tunnel Production
Funded Projects" (both previous and current). Actually, those
Crop Diversification Complexity and Pest [and] Beneficial Or-
links provide access to much more
than abstracts! They access
ganism Communities in Humid Tropical and Subtropical Cli-
the U.S.D.A.'s Current Information System (CRIS) database, re-
trieving titles, dates, principal investigators, and institutions
Integration of Organic Production Systems for Summer Pro-
for all projects that have received grants in the OREI and ORG
duction of Tomato and Pepper in Alabama
programs, plus links to "View" more information about each
Use of Resident Biological Resources for the Management of
project. Currently, CRIS lists 105 OREI projects and 52 ORG
Replant Disease in Organic Tree Production Systems
projects. Below we list some of the projects with high relevancefor organic horticultural production.
ORG projects:Agricultural Greenhouse Warming Potential and Soil Carbon
Sequestration in Organic and Long Term Rotational Systems
Improving the Safety and Post-Harvest Quality of Field Grown
Optimizing Cover Crop Selection and Management to Enhance
Leafy Greens: Assesment of Good Agricultural/Production Prac-
Agronomic and Environmental Services in Organic Cropping
tices along the Farm to Fork Continuum
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
Evaluating the Potential of Winter Cover Crops for Carbon
University of Illinois professor of agricultural law A.
Sequestration in Degraded Soils Transitioning to Organic Pro-
Bryan Endres and his wife are both lawyers, so, between
the two of them, they've read a lot of legal documents, but
Effect of Cover Crops, Soil Amendments, and Reduced Tillage
when they became members of their local Community Sup-
on Carbon Sequestration and Soil Health in a Long-Term Or-
ported Agriculture (CSA) [farm], even they struggled to
ganic Vegetable System
understand the agreement they were asked to sign. Endres's
Water Quality Evaluation of Long-Term Organic and Conven-
experience as a consumer led him to develop simple con-
tional Vegetable Production under Conservation and Conven-
tracts that can clarify expectations, avoid misunderstand-
ings, and protect farmers and their customers.
Integrated Organic Production of Summer Vegetable Crops
CSAs create a partnership between local farmers and
under Small Farm Environment in Southeastern U.S.
consumers who become members or subscribers in sup-
A Systems Approach to Optimize Organic Crop Production:
port of the farms by purchasing "shares" in the farms. De-
Enhancing Soil Functionality and Plant Health to Suppress
pending on the agreement, the share might be a box of veg-
Plant Diseases and Pests
etables, eggs, flower, or other produce delivered to the
Grafting to Improve Organic Vegetable Production in Field
consumer each week.
and High Tunnel Systems
"Some CSAs are highly organized, very professional,"
Flea Beetle Control Treatment Demonstration in Western Wash-
Endres said, "In my own CSA, the member agreement we
signed had elements of legality, but it was very unclear.
Out-of-Season Small Fruit Production for Improved Profit-
Even simple things like how much money we needed to
ability of Organic Farming
send in and when to send it weren't clear in the member-
Ecological Soil Community Management for Enhanced Nutri-
ship agreement. It got me thinking that the membership
ent Cycling in Organic Sweet Cherry Orchards
agreement is a key part of the CSA, and an unclear mem-
The Activity and Suppression of Soil-Borne Pathogens and
bership agreement can create a barrier to people joining
Pests in Organic vs. Conventional Plots with Conservation vs.
CSAs. It's actually a contract between the farmer and the
CSA member who wants to get the vegetables every week,
Nutrient Dynamics, Soil Biota, and Functional Biodiversity
so a well-written and clear contract is much better for every-
at an Organic Farm
Cropping Intensity and Organic Amendments in Transitional
Endres said this year's drought conditions offer a perfect
Farming Systems: Effects on Soil Fertility, Weeds, Diseases, and
example of the need for a clear membership agreement. "If
your CSA didn't have irrigation, it's unlikely you received
Development and Implementation of Organic Pest Manage-
a lot of vegetables, and you might be severely disappoint-
ment Strategies for Lowbush Blueberries
ed if your expectations aren't met," he said. "The purpose
Biological Buffering and Pest Management in Organic Farm-
of the membership agreement isn't to make it more legalis-
ing Systems: The Central Role of Organic Matter
tic, but to formalize the expectations of both parties and
Integrating No-Tillage with Farmscaping and Crop Rotations
explain in better detail that as a CSA member you really
to Improve Pest Management and Soil Quality in Organic Vege-
are sharing the risk of production–including droughts."
Endres pointed out that the CSA is also [at least in some
Organic Nursery Production: Development and Demonstra-
cases] not the farmer's only outlet. "They might have a cer-
tain part of the farm segregated, or a certain percentage set
Paths of Transition: Strategies for Peri-Urban Organic Farmers
aside for the CSA and another area for the farmers' mar-
Identification and Characterization of Potato Clones for Or-
ket," Endres said. "The membership agreement provides
ganic Production Systems
the farmer with the opportunity to spell out exactly howthey divide the bounty of the harvest among their constitu-
At the beginning of this article, we described the OREI and
ents. It's really about setting expectations. Stating farm mar-
ORG online databases as "amazing." That's because, if you
keting practices at the beginning eliminates a lot of poten-
click on "Full" under the "View" column for any particular
project in either the OREI or ORG CRIS listing, an incredibly
Endres and postdoctoral researcher Rachel Armstrong
detailed amount of information will appear for that particular
obtained copies of membership agreements from existing
project. Typically, this includes the following (often running to
CSAs and used them to develop easy-to-understand con-
several pages in all!): Non-Technical Summary, Objectives, Ap-
tracts for CSA owners to use.
proach, Progress, Impact, Publications, and Project Contact.
The downloadable contracts are available online at
For anyone seriously interested in the topic of one of these
projects, we know of no better way to get "up to speed" on it
said the forms are written in a nontechnical format with a
than to study the database-provided information. The gather-
readability level that's clear to both sides, not like reading
ing in one place of all relevant papers is, in itself, extraordinar-
a formal lease .
ily useful. And the access provided to data generated to date by
Because about 30 to 50 percent of CSAs allow people the
ongoing projects makes it easy to see exactly what is currently
option to work on the farm for their share of produce rather
known about the topic.
than accepting money, Endres and Armstrong have also
These databases are truly treasures for organic growers (paid
created a model agreement between farmers and workers
for by U.S. taxpayers!); we are sorry that we have been unaware
on the farm.
of them until now. And we hope that the new (pending) Farm
"The farmer has created an employer/employee rela-
Bill will continue to provide funds for OREI and ORG projects.
tionship," Endres said. "What legal implications could thatbe triggering for the farm owner? Do you need to have work-
Model Legal Documents for CSA Participants
ers' comp? Illinois is very flexible on agricultural labor be-cause we've exempted small-scale farms from most of those
The following is excerpted from a recent news release pro-
rules, but other states around the country, such as Wiscon-
vided by the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Con-
sin, have very strict rules for agricultural labor."
sumer, and Environmental Sciences, written by Debra Levey
Armstrong said that the purpose of a worker agreement
is to raise the liability risk awareness not to discourage
HORTIDEAS, November 2012, 29
worker shares [but] so that everyone has a clear picture.
social motivations for developing CSAs, but they're not
"Some farms already have employees and already have that
going to be building much community if they get put out
structure set up," she said, "It might be enough to tell your
of business. The industry can't grow. Most Americans can-
insurance agent what you're doing and pay a little more
not participate in CSAs if we don't straighten things out
each month in insurance to make sure you're covered."
and address these legal concerns. It's about growing the in-
Armstrong said that farmers are concerned that the legali-
dustry and protecting the farmer." .
ties will change the personal relationship feel of CSAs andtake the ‘community' out of Community Supported Agri-
At the web site given above, there is a link for users to pro-
vide feedback about the forms provided by Endres and Arm-
"Farmers are trying to build community," Armstrong said.
strong and also to ask them specific questions related to the
"There's a handshake. I trust you. You trust me. They have
The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, by Janisse Ray,Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT, 2012, 217 pp., $17.95, ISBN
Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers' Movement, edited by Zoë
Ida Bradbury, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Paula Manalo, Storey Pub-lishing, North Adams, MA, 2012, 256 pp., $14.95, ISBN 978-1-60342-772-2.
To Janisse Ray, seeds are not just small objects that you get
out of a packet and plant in the ground–she is adamant that "a
Greenhorns is "a grassroots nonprofit organization made up
seed is life." And she views seed savers as passionate revolu-
of young farmers and many collaborators. Their mission is to
, absolutely essential for preserving what is essential
recruit, promote, and support the generation of young farmers
and good about life for the future.
in this ample and able twenty-first-century America." And The
When I (Pat) first saw the cover of this book, I expected that I
is a documentary film directed by one of the edi-
would appreciate it because it is by one of my favorite authors
tors of this book (von Tscharner Fleming); this book is the com-
and about a subject about which I am very
enthusiastic. It con-
panion to that film, providing loads of both inspiration and
siderably surpassed my expectations! It's a well-written and
information for "the next generation of American farmers."
highly entertaining (yet serious) tour of various topics related
We welcome the realism
of these "dispatches" from (para-
to seeds, seed-saving, the sustainable food movement, local-
doxically?) highly idealistic
young farmers who are trying to
ism, growing your own food, heirlooms, sharing seeds (and
produce food with deep concern for environmental and health
culture), and much more. She tells about seeds from a person-
issues while surviving economically–not an easy task! Here
al viewpoint, starting with her grandmother giving her Jack
the reader will find great optimism tempered by a skepticism of
bean seeds when she was a child, recounting her passionate
authority of all stripes. These folks show how it is possible to
embrace of gardening and seed-saving throughout the ups and
meld emotional commitment with do-it-yourself science–just
downs of her life, and to her current life on a small farm in
what we've been trying to promote in HortIdeas
. They haven't
southern Georgia with plants, animals, and seeds everywhere.
got everything figured out (and distrust anyone who claims to
Janisse tells of her interesting visits and contacts with seed
have done so), but they are working toward patterns of farming
savers and food activists, including well-known ones such as
that are clearly more sustainable than industrial agriculture.
Will Bonsall, Glenn Drowns, Lynne Rosetto Kasper, and John
The often-poignant essays reveal the truth about both the chal-
Swenson, and also lesser-known seed savers such as Jane
lenges and the rewards of their chosen vocation and encourage
Howell, who stopped at Janisse's booth at a seed exchange and
others to join in the (often) hard work and (occasional) glory of
later sent Janisse a start of marriage garlic (supposedly, your
producing what might fairly be called "least-guilt" food.
marriage will last as long as you grow it). She also describes a
We recommend this book even more than how-to books on
trip to the annual campout of the Seed Savers Exchange in
alternative farming techniques to anyone thinking about trying
Decorah, Iowa, where she describes SSE's Heritage Farm as a
to be a "new farmer"–Greenhorns
gives the essential why-to
wonderful place but doesn't shy away from informing aboutproblems in administration and vision that have plagued the
Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health, by Les Crowder
organization in recent years.
and Heather Harrell, Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT, 2012,
This is not a how-to book, but even though I'm a long-time
175 pp., $24.95, ISBN 978-1-60358-461-6.
casual seed saver, I learned a number of new-to-me practicalthings, including facts about pollination and interesting culti-
The authors keep bees on their organic/biodynamic farm in
vars I'd like to try.
New Mexico; Les Crowder has been the New Mexico Honeybee
Stories (and all of the chapters in The Seed Underground
Inspector and president of the New Mexico Beekeepers Asso-
stories, not essays) are included on the origins of agriculture
ciation. They have long-term hands-on experience with top-bar
and seed saving, on the recent corporate intrusion into and
hives, which offer some advantages–especially for small-scale
near takeover of seed production, on hybrids and GMOs and
beekeepers who are using organic techniques–over the con-
the businesses that are trying to control agriculture and food for
ventional Langstroth hives. Top-bar hives are quite low-tech;
profit by patenting life. It's a scary story, but not a hopeless one
they mimic hollow logs. This book provides plans for top-bar
as long as there are growing numbers of food activists–and
hives and includes extensive technical details on their use. It
especially seed savers who continue to expand the genetic and
also provides much information on honeybees and beekeeping
cultural heritage packaged in tiny miraculous seeds. Reading
in general, with an emphasis on organic methods. There are
this book is a sure-fire way for gardeners who are accustomed
many color illustrations throughout, many references, and a
to purchasing seeds into seed savers, and to turn sometime
list of additional resources, plus a detailed index.
seed savers into passionate and committed ones. So I suggest
Top-bar hives are not for all beekeepers, but they are certain-
that you share this book with anyone and everyone who you
ly an option for backyard use. And beekeepers interested in or-
think might possibly join Janisse Ray (and myself) in the "seed
ganic techniques should find much of interest in this book,
even if they don't use top-bar hives.
Journal of Medicine V O L U M E 3 3 5 N U M B E R 2 3 EFFECT OF ATENOLOL ON MORTALITY AND CARDIOVASCULAR MORBIDITY AFTER NONCARDIAC SURGERY DENNIS T. MANGANO, PH.D., M.D., ELIZABETH L. LAYUG, M.D., ARTHUR WALLACE, PH.D., M.D., AND IDA TATEO, M.S., FOR THE MULTICENTER STUDY OF PERIOPERATIVE ISCHEMIA RESEARCH GROUP*
New technology requires great teamworkAnita Heeg and Glen Blier for Progressive Dairyman Over the last decade, one of four farms in Canada to milking methods have changed be using the technology along substantially. Where our with its two robotic milking grandparents were milking by systems. Together with its herd hand, we now have the ability