How to keep growing when it’s cold out

high tunnelSign up by Jan. 15 for a Feb. 8 workshop on high tunnels, which, by extending the growing season in early spring and late fall (and sometimes into winter) (without the need for supplemental heating) can increase a grower’s production and profits and so can make his or her farm more sustainable.

Early and late crops, such as the year’s first tomatoes or last raspberries, typically sell at higher prices, which people are typically happy to pay.

Co-sponsoring the workshop is CFAES’s outreach arm, OSU Extension. Read more…

Drill deeper into the details

sustsinable syrup productionLearn more, if you want to, about making maple syrup in “Sustainable Tapping Guidelines for Modern Maple Production,” a project of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative. Our own Gary Graham is one of the contributors. He’s head of OSU Extension’s Ohio Maple Program and coordinator of next month’s Ohio Maple Days workshop.

Sweet sap serves sustainable syrup

maple syrup for GBTraditionally, producing maple syrup is sustainable. We tap sugar maples for some of their sap. The trees stay healthy and growing, sometimes for more than a century. To help Ohio’s maple syrup producers prepare for the coming season, which can start in February, OSU Extension, our outreach arm, will hold its annual Ohio Maple Days workshop next month.

‘We need a map!’ How Ohio State’s campus can be greener, bike-friendlier

BikeOSU logoOhio State’s transportation system has come under fire over the past few months. Several severe bike-related accidents have caused university officials to rethink transportation across campus. In addition to Ohio State’s recommendations to increase traffic enforcement and educational programs, we believe that a comprehensive biking map should be created for the campus area. The map would serve to highlight the least-congested routes across campus, which would limit pedestrian-biker conflicts and direct the flow of bike traffic.

Currently, university officials don’t plan to create a biking map, but through our partnership with the Share the Road campaign, our vision for this map can be realized. All highly rated cycling campuses have a biking map, and there’s no reason why Ohio State shouldn’t be among these universities. In addition to improving transportation safety, the proposed map would enhance the biking community at Ohio State. The map would show bikers there’s a place for them at Ohio State, even though pedestrians dominate the campus area. This would encourage more bike commuters, thus reducing vehicle emissions.

Enhancing the biking community is a key aspect of transforming Ohio State into the greenest university in the country, and implementing the proposed map would be a step in the right direction.

Fracking’s effect on housing values?

CFAES professor Allen Klaiber spoke yesterday (12/13) with WVIZ-TV, Cleveland, on the impact of shale drilling on nearby property values (includes link to audio). The story comes from Portage County in northeast Ohio. Read Klaiber’s co-authored paper, “Is the Shale Boom a Bust for Nearby Residents? Evidence from Housing Values in Pennsylvania,” here (pdf).

Studying sustainability? 4 more reasons to cheer

Ohio State will offer four new courses in the Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability (EEDS) curriculum starting in spring 2013. Their focus: Sustainable energy, sustainable economies, international conservation, and human biology and the nature of sustainability. Details on each of them here. Eager to study sustainability? These are classes and a major to put on your short list.

2 plants you DON’T want to see by the Olentangy … and why we need a plan to control them (and others)

Ohio State began restoration efforts of the Olentangy River corridor in August 2012 with the removal of the Fifth Avenue dam. At that point, the university decided to take the opportunity to re-examine how the river is viewed.

In the past, the river has been seen as a dividing force separating the university’s east and west campuses. But under the new One Ohio State Framework plan, the river corridor serves instead as the center of the university — a uniter, in the famous words of George W. Bush, not a divider.

One goal of the restoration project is to establish a functional riparian forest buffer comprised of native species in this urban area. Water quality, wildlife habitat, and aesthetics will all be improved from the successful establishment of the proposed plantings.

However, two non-native species, bush honeysuckle (pictured) and ailanthus, or tree-of-heaven, pose a serious threat to the survival of the new plantings. These invasive species exhibit several characteristics that help them suppress native plant growth.

Invasive species would hurt replanted natives

Ohio State currently has no plan to manage invasive species in the newly restored corridor. This lack of planning has the potential to render the restoration unsuccessful.

It is our hope that Ohio State develops a thorough invasive species management plan to ensure the successful restoration of the Olentangy River corridor.

(Update: A Nov. 14 Dayton Daily News story on invasive honeysuckle and how to control it.)

(Details on the ENR 4567 course are here.)