07/06/15 9:00am
07/06/2015 9:00 AM
CommGarden1

Six-year-old Summer Realander loves coming to the River and Roots Community Garden with her mother, Kristen. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)

“Mom! Mom! I love this garden!”

That’s what six-year-old Summer Realander shouts to her mother, Kristen Realander, across the River and Roots Community Garden on a sunny Wednesday morning. (more…)

06/02/15 12:00pm
06/02/2015 12:00 PM
Rainfall on Monday and Tuesday came as a welcome change of pace for local crops. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Rainfall on Monday and Tuesday came as a welcome change of pace for local crops. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

It might seem like a distant memory now, but last month proved to be the driest May on record, according to the National Weather Service, making the steady rainfall of June 1 and June 2 a relief to some farmers in the area.

The meteorological agency reported that a scant 0.42 inches fell throughout the month, as measured in Islip — the official NWS station on Long Island.

That’s the least rainfall ever recorded in May since records started being kept in 1984. (more…)

05/04/15 7:59am
05/04/2015 7:59 AM

Trees attacked by southern pine beetles go through three stages before the beetles move on:

R0430_beetle_side1_C.jpgFresh attacks: Females initiate the attack on the tree, releasing pheremones once a suitable host is found. Pine trees release extra resin as a defense mechanism against the beetles, though male and female beetles work together to clear away the resin and enter the bark — usually through the crevices. After southern pine beetles bore into the trees, reddish-white dust can be found on and around the tree.

R0430_beetle_side2_C.jpg

Faders: S-shaped galleries are formed inside the tree, where more beetles later hatch and create new tubes. The beetle also transmits a fungus that stops water from circulating within the tree. Foliage starts to fade in color.

 

R0430_beetle_side3_C.jpgVacated: Beetles born inside the tree create exit holes, allowing a mass emergence from the tree. The browning of foliage continues and bark becomes loose and peels away easily. Abundant white sawdust from the entrance and exit holes often accumulates at the base of vacated trees.

Source: Department of Environmental Conservation

04/26/15 8:00am
04/26/2015 8:00 AM
Eve Kaplan, owner of Garden of Eve in Riverhead point to cold damage on a small tomato plant. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Eve Kaplan, owner of Garden of Eve in Riverhead point to cold damage on a small tomato plant. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Wading River farmer Robert Andrews’ crops are mostly still in the ground, shielded from the recent cold snaps by warm earth.

Mr. Andrews said Saturday morning’s cold snap didn’t damage too many of his crops.

“It’s not bad at all,” he said. “It just slowed things down a bit.”

Not all farmers have been so lucky.

The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for early Saturday, warning that “sub-freezing temperatures will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.” Another frost advisory had since been issued for early Sunday from 2 to 8 a.m.

While most farmer’s crops have just been planted, other farms — like Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market in Riverhead — are feeling the hurt from the wind and cold.

“It’s just tough on everything,” said Garden of Eve owner Eve Kaplan. “You get a warm day and you think it’s over and then you get a 40-degree day with wind.”

Ms. Kaplan held up a tomato plant in a small pot. The edges of the small leaves had withered and died.

That’s thanks to the freezing temperatures and the harsh wind, which Ms. Kaplan said is especially blustery on her farm. Even cold-tolerant plants like cabbage and lettuce have been damaged in their pots, she said.

“People won’t buy these because they think they’re diseased,” she said.

Ms. Kaplan said her employees have been carrying plants inside at night and putting down covers over the rows to shield other crops.

Even farms like Mr. Andrews — which use greenhouses — are feeling a sting, not on their plants but in their wallets.

“We’ve been running [through] oil to get the greenhouse going,” he said.

However, vineyards have not been as affected, since the grapes have not yet begun growing. Only a long stretch of cold weather could do significant damage, said Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard general manager Steve Levine.

“A one-night freeze isn’t going to do much,” he said. “We don’t have any damage. We don’t even have grapes yet.”

psquire@timesreview.com