Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Position open in Western NC: Non-Timber Forest Products Extension Assistant

Ginseng seedling from western North Carolina forest planting

JOB TITLE: Non-timber Forest Products Extension Assistant

POSITION: Extension Assistant

Position is in the program of Dr. Jeanine Davis in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University

POSITION LOCATION: Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, 455 Research Drive, Mills River, North Carolina 28759


SALARY: $30,000 with full benefits, including health insurance (*this is an EPA position)

JOB OPEN DATE: July 30, 2010 or until suitable candidate is found

DEADLINE FOR RECEIVING APPLICATIONS: until a suitable candidate is identified.

PROPOSED HIRE DATE: August 1, 2010

POSITION DESCRIPTION/RESPONSIBILITIES: This is a time-limited, full-time, 12 month position for one year with possibility of renewal for up to four months contingent upon available funding and satisfactory performance. It will be the responsibility of this employee to help design, develop, and implement a program to assist the non-timber forest products industry in western North Carolina. This position will also provide assistance to non-timber forest products projects funded by the Western North Carolina Forest Producers Project (see The position will be housed at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC. Responsibilities of this position will include providing information, group facilitation, and technical and marketing advice to local producer groups focused on non-timber forest products, organizing workshops that will benefit the producer groups, reviewing and expanding existing inventories of forest products buyers and western North Carolina production capacity, and participating in project dissemination efforts by preparing reports, delivering presentations, and preparing outreach materials. Outreach materials will include traditional print and internet based methods, e.g., Twitter, Facebook, websites, and blogs. An end of project survey will also be conducted and a report written.

QUALIFICATIONS: The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, although a master’s degree is preferred. Some experience with non-timber forest products and knowledge of the industry is necessary. Experience with a similar type project would be highly desirable. Excellent organizational, interpersonal, computer, and writing skills are required. Applicant should enjoy and be comfortable with communicating with a diverse group of people on the phone, one on one, and in front of groups. The applicant should be capable of producing and giving professional reports and presentations. The applicant must be willing to travel across western North Carolina. Travel will sometimes include evenings and on weekends. The applicant must be capable of doing all the described activities with a minimum of supervision.

APPLICATIONS: Applicants should apply through the NC State University Job site at Search for the position under “Horticultural Science” or Position #61883. Applicants should include a cover letter that details one’s interest, experience, and qualifications relating to this position; a curriculum vita; unofficial copies of transcripts (if last degree was obtained within the past ten years); and names and contact information for three references. When that process is completed, please send an email to stating that you have submitted an application.

To learn more about the program of Dr. Jeanine Davis, visit You can access her other websites, blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts from there.

*Exempt from State Personnel Act

NC State University is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. NC State welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation. Individuals with disabilities desiring accommodations in the application process should contact the above listed individual.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Basil Downy Mildew

Saw this article in the paper today about a new disease on basil called downy mildew It was a good reminder to me to remind you to be on the alert for it. We do have it in North Carolina and it can be devastating.

Debbie Roos, extension agent in Chatham County, did a nice piece about it on her website last year, with good pictures:

And the University of Florida has a leaflet on it:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Planted Weed Management Study in Organic Research Unit

Pulling the plastic off the plots.

Yesterday, we established the first study in the new organic research unit at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC.  When I ask local organic farmers what their biggest challenge is to growing organically in western North Carolina, almost without exception, the answer is WEEDS!  We grow beautiful crops in this region and abundant, healthy, vigorous weeds, too.  Farmers report that the amount of labor it takes to properly control weeds in their crops, i.e., keep the populations low enough so they do not adversely affect yields, is often cost prohibitive.  There are often long discussions about which is better: bare ground, black plastic, a living mulch, etc.  Everyone has an opinion, but we couldn't find any data from this region to tell us for sure.

So the objective of the study we installed yesterday was to determine which mulch reduced time spent weeding the most.  Bell pepper was the crop of choice.  The mulch treatments are black plastic mulch, landscape fabric, straw mulch, and red clover as a living mulch. A few weeks ago, five beds were created with drip irrigation and black plastic. Yesterday we ripped the plastic off all but the black plastic treatment plots (that way all the plots started out the same).

Putting down the landscape fabric.

Then we applied the landscape fabric treatments.  The holes had been burned in previously using a propane torch.  The fabric was secured using landscape staples. Then we planted the pepper transplants. 

A thick layer of straw mulch was applied to four plots.

Finally, we spread clean wheat straw on four plots and sowed red clover seed on four others.  Four of the plots were left with no mulch treatment-just bare ground.  Fish emulsion was run through the drip irrigation system to give the plants a good start. 

The plan is that once a week we will weed the plots, timing how long it takes to weed each one.  We will also collect data on insects, diseases, and pepper yields.  At the end of the season, we will calculate how much it cost to produce peppers in each system (cost of materials and labor to weed) and how much income could be derived from each (yield x going price of peppers the week they were harvested).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Late-Blight Resistant Tomato Varieties

Late blight on tomatoes in 2009
Here is an article from the University of Wisconsin Plant Pathology Department on late blight on tomatoes.  It contains a good list of late-blight resistant varieties.  I suggest you bookmark it!

P.S. A reader let me know this link was no longer active, so I updated it in September 2013.