CT Green Industry

Ask UConn Extension Your Questions

Indu
Indu Upadhyaya, Food Safety Assistant Extension Educator. Photo: Kevin Noonan

UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. We are proud to serve all 169 cities and towns in Connecticut. The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world. Our services continue during this challenging time.

We are still delivering the science-based information you need. We are ready to answer your questions. Consult with us by email or on the phone. All of our educators are working and ready to serve you. Ask us a question online.

We are developing virtual programs to offset canceled in-person learning Abby Beissingeropportunities. Our educators are writing and updating fact sheets and other information. You have access to educational materials on our YouTube channel. We are growing our suite of online resources every day to meet the needs of our communities and stakeholders.

UConn CAHNR Extension educators have curated resources related to COVID-19 for our statewide audiences, including families, businesses, and agricultural producers.

Resources for all audiences includes:

  • Food safety and cooking
  • Hand washing and sanitizers
  • Infection prevention
  • Financial advice
  • Listings of open farms/farmers’ markets and school emergency meal distribution

Parents and families with children out of school can use the resources from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Activities available will keep youth engaged and learning and are appropriate for a variety of age groups.

Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy
Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy.

A list of resources has been collected for Connecticut businesses. It is a clearinghouse of resources, and not an official site. Business owners can connect to the state resources we provide for official and legal advice.

Agricultural producers are still working on farms, in greenhouses and along the coast in Long Island Sound during the COVID-19 outbreak. Extension educators have developed resources for specific agricultural sectors, including fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture, and nursery and landscape professionals. Links to important updates from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture also are available.

Our Extension educators are updating and adding resources regularly. Please visit http://bit.ly/COVID-19-Extension.

We are also ready to answer your other questions, including:

  • How do I get my water tested?
  • What is wrong with my plant?
  • Can I eat healthy on a budget?
  • How does my son/daughter join 4-H?

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

We are here. We are ready to serve you.

 

Agriculture Producer Survey Request

Angie Harris
Agricultural Producers: Please take this five minute survey on the impacts of COVID-19 on your business. The Governor of Connecticut issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order except for essential businesses on March 23, 2020. The Commissioner of Agriculture clarified, per Executive Order 7H, that agriculture businesses are considered “essential businesses”. This anonymous survey will help us to better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s agriculture industry. Results will be used to continue developing Extension resources.
 
Take the survey at: bit.ly/Ag_COVID

Information for Nursery & Landscape Professionals

CNLA logo

For additional resources visit our COVID-19 page.

The novel coronavirus is causing disruption not only to our industry, but globally. An industry entrenched in tradition is having to find new ways to close deals without a handshake. I am working on personally reaching out to you, our members, to stay current on how you are handling things during this unique time in your business. I invite you to contact me at any time at (860) 459-1960.

I encourage you all to look at this uncertain time as an opportunity for growth. Here are a few suggestions on how you can stay ahead of the curve:

  1. Remain Calm. Your attitude resonates through your employees and your customers. If you stay collective, we can stay productive.
  2. Stay Outdoors. Find a way to offer outdoor cash registers to help customers feel more comfortable shopping with you.
  3. Disable Signatures. To limit touch points talk to your credit card processing company to see if you can disable the need for signatures.
  4. Sell Jobs Online. Utilize online meeting features, like Gotomeeting, to sell landscape jobs, still allowing customers to see your design without having to email them a copy of it.
  5. Delivery & To Go. Implement a curb side pickup or delivery option. Take payment online or over the phone to limit the need for contact.
  6. Virtual Shopping. Post a video or photos of what you currently have in your store and allow for purchase to be made over the phone or online. 
  7. Facetime Shopping. Give clients the ability to still work one on one with a sales person by offering shopping through video chat. Android users can use Skype or Duo. 
  8. Upsell Edibles. As the grocery supply chain is stressed help increase food security by allowing people to grow their own food.
  9. Stay Healthy. I am sure you have already adapted the best practices outlined by the CDC. Below are resources that are especially valuable at this time:
  1. Communicate. Be sure to stay in communication with your customers by sending out an email similar to this, sharing what your business is doing to keep them and your employees healthy.
  2. Be Accommodating. Even if you are not worried about the coronavirus, your customers might be. Go above and beyond for your customers during this unique time.
  3. Shop Local. Be sure to support other local businesses around you to help ease any burdens.

CNLA’s lobbyist Linda Kowalski is working full-time for us to ensure that the case is made to state officials for keeping nursery and landscape businesses open in the event the state requires a wider closure of businesses beyond those which have already been announced. This would be to keep the supply chain open. In addition, she is getting information to us in real-time about issues such as the availability of SBA loans and the latest procedures for applying for unemployment compensation.   Linda and I are in communication with state officials; we both have talked with Commissioner Hurlburt to update him on our members’ situation. You can read Linda’s latest legislative report here.

AmericanHort has also shared that, effective March 18th, the U.S. Consulate in Mexico will cease all visa processing. AmericanHort knows many businesses are awaiting the arrival of workers via seasonal worker visa programs and they are in touch with government partners and business coalitions working to ensure these programs are not unnecessarily disrupted. They are also monitoring relief legislation taking shape in Congress and weighing in on points of concern for our industry, especially with respect to business “safety net” programs administered by agencies like the Small Business Administration and the Department of Agriculture.

The health of our families, employees, customers, vendors and partners remains paramount. While COVID-19 is not likely to be lethal for most of the population, we must recognize the danger that it poses for vulnerable individuals and the part we all play in protecting those around us. We urge every nursery and landscape business to implement logical, common-sense practices to reduce transmission, thereby keeping more people safe and making the public health response the most effective it can be.

We value what you contribute to our green industry and greatly appreciate your support. We are all in this together.

Article by Dustyn Nelson, President, Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association

For additional resources visit our COVID-19 page.

‘Birds and Bees’ landscaping symposium offered in March

Connecticut Sea Grant and the Rockfall Foundation are co-sponsoring the 2020 Symposium titled “The Birds and The Bees: What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You,” from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 26.

The workshop, at the deKoven House at 27 Washington St., Middletown, will focus on landscaping practices for a sustainable future. Landscape choices, whether for a commercial site plan or a backyard garden, as well as what we plant for pollinators, can influence the viability of our farms and help mitigate climate change impacts.

Sessions include:

  • Landscaping for Birds and Pollinators: the importance of creating a friendly place for nesting and migratory birds (it’s not just for birdwatchers) – Patrick Comins, executive director, Connecticut Audubon Society
  • Planting for Bees: the importance and benefits of bees and of public and private land rich with native plants and nutrition – Dr. Kimberly Stoner, agricultural scientist, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Beyond the Birds & Bees: landscape practices that encourage sustainable habitats of all types – Judy Preston, Long Island Sound outreach coordinator, Connecticut Sea Grant
  • Panel – The three speakers will be joined by Mary Ellen Mateleska, director, education & conservation, Mystic Aquarium with a perspective on the role of Citizen Scientists.

The symposium is intended for land use planners, landscape architects, gardeners, land trusts, conservation commissions, birders and butterfly enthusiasts, horticulturalists, engineers, beekeepers and all concerned with plant selection for a sustainable future.

AICP and CAZEO continuing education credits pending.

Registration Information:

Registration fee: $45 / $15 Students
Optional lunch: $15 / Rockfall Members $5

Registration for lunch must be received by March 24.

To register, visit: https://www.rockfallfoundation.org/event/2020-symposium/

Vegetable Production Certificate Course

We’re offering a Vegetable Production Certificate Course, beginning on March 12, 2020. It’s a hybrid format, online and in-person for new and beginning farmers. This year only, we have a special introductory fee of $100 or $150 plus $4 convenience fee depending on the course option you choose.

The course description is available at http://bit.ly/Vegetables2020 and online registration is at http://bit.ly/ExtensionStore.

Registration is due by 5 PM on March 2, 2020.

Please contact the course coordinator, Shuresh Ghimire (Shuresh.Ghimire@uconn.edu, 860-870-6933) with any questions about this course.

UConn Recruiting Hydroponic Greenhouse Growers

hydroponics

The University of Connecticut Greenhouse Research & Extension team are conducting a study in root rot of hydroponically-grown leafy greens. They would like to collect plant samples with root rot from commercial operations in the U.S. Your participation will help better understand how microbes interact in roots and potentially identify beneficial microbes that reduce the risk of plant pathogens in hydroponics. 

Participants would benefit from this study by receiving a free diagnosis of what is causing root rot in the sample and early access to the information generated from this project. If you are interested in participating, follow this link: http://s.uconn.edu/surveyrootrot

For questions, contact Cora McGehee at cora.mcgehee@uconn.edu  or Rosa Raudales (rosa@uconn.edu or 860.486.6043).

This project is sponsored by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Multistate project accession number 1020637.

Vicki Wallace receives STMA Award

Vicki Wallace receiving award

Congratulations Vicki Wallace! Vicki, one of our Extension educators, was honored with the Dr. William H. Daniel Award at the STMA – Sports Turf Managers Association 2020 Conference. This prestigious award recognizes educators who have made significant contribution to the sports turf industry through research, teaching, or extension outreach.

Bedding Plant Program for Greenhouse Growers

greenhouse flowers
Photo: Leanne Pundt

Get the latest information on bedding plant crop diseases, case studies on greenhouse production issues and more from University experts and network with professionals and fellow growers.  This educational program will feature the following topics of interest to those who produce spring crops in the greenhouse: 

·         Case Studies on Greenhouse Production Issues  

Rosa Raudales, Greenhouse Extension Specialist, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

·         The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of Glyphosate, Candace Bartholomew, UConn Extension

·         Tales from the Field, Leanne Pundt, UConn Extension, (Feb 6th only)

·         Update on Bedding Plant Diseases, Abby Beissinger, UConn

·         Recap 2019, Bedding Plant Diseases to Prepare for 2020, Dr. Yonghao Li, CAES (Feb 11th only)

·         What’s New with Diamide Insecticides from OHP, Carlos Bogran, OHP  (Feb 11th only) 

For your convenience, this program will be offered in two separate locations.

·         February 6ththis program will be offered from 9:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Tolland County Extension Office at 24 Hyde Avenue, Vernon, CT.

·         February 11th, this program will be offered from 9:30 to 2:30 at the Litchfield County Extension Center at 843 University Drive, Torrington, CT.

 

Four Pesticide recertification credits available! 

For more information, contact Leanne Pundt, at 860.626.6855 or email: leanne.pundt@uconn.edu

The University of Connecticut is an equal opportunity program provider and employer.

One-On-One Agricultural Advising Sessions

one on one agricultural advising with UConn Extension

The UConn Extension RMA program has offered one-on-one advising sessions for several years. Due to the popularity of this program, we are offering 3 days this winter for you to meet in a private session with an advisor. We are offering a wide array of topics to choose from. The brochure has the full schedule.

Contact MacKenzie White at mackenzie.white@uconn.edu or at 860-875-3331 to register.

Ornamental Turf/Golf Superintendent Short Course Offered

turfRegistration is open for the Fall 2019 ORNAMENTAL & TURF/GOLF COURSE SUPERINTENDENTS SHORT COURSE starting on Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019.

This fall short course will take place at The Connecticut Tree Protective Association (CTPA), 60 Church Street, Wallingford, CT.

Please respond with your registration and payment as soon as possible. We have limited space for 28 participants, and seats are given out once payment is received. Directions and class schedule will be sent out with your registration confirmation letter.

Download the class announcement here.

Download the registration form here.