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Lewes, Delaware
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September 24, 1999     Cape Gazette
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September 24, 1999
 

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, September 24 - September 30, 1999 - 63 GARDEN &amp; FARM Last call for Cape Gazette sunflower contest Today (Sept. 24) at 5 p.m is the deadline to enter garden columnist Paul Barbano's sunflower photo contest. The contest offers three cate- gories: tallest sunflower measured from the ground to the tallest point; largest sun- flower blossom, measured straight across the blossom; and most original or funniest - use you imagination, deco- rate as you wish. All photo entries should be dropped off at the Cape Gazette office in the Midway Shopping Center. Winners and their prizes will be announced next week. A]LI entries - you can enter as many photos as you like - should be accompanied by your name, address and tele- phone number. At right, Haide Earl (1) and German exchange student Britta Moeller, from Goettingen, Germany, stand in front of a painted sun- flower which adorns the Earls' boarding house in Rehoboth Beach. Submitted photo 'Protecting Agriculture Into The Next Century' theme of Farm Safety Week Sept. 19-25 The theme for this year's National Farm Safety and Health Week, which is Sept. 19-25, is "Protecting Agriculture into the Next Century." The goal is to protect farm employers, family members and workers into the next century, a goal that can be reached by mak- ing safe decisions in the work- place and at home. "For this reason, the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and the National Safety Council is encouraging all Americans to become more aware of the significance of agriculture in their lives," said Ron Jester, UD Cooperative Extension safety spe- cialist. "We must stress the impor- tance of farm safety equipment and systems, proper maintenance, and the prevention of injuries and illnesses on farms." According to the National Safety Council's 1999 Injury Facts, agriculture is the second most hazardous industry in the nation, with 22 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to the industry average 3.8. This makes agricul- ture six times more hazardous than the average industry. An area getting increased atten- tion is the risk factors associated with the different age groups on the farm. Statistics show that workers under the age of 25 account for 9 percent of all deaths in agriculture; they have a fatality rate three times the national pri- vate sector. Another study shows that workers 55 and older account for one-half of all deaths in farm- ing, with a fatality rate 2.5 times higher than workers under 55. Several initiatives and programs in Delaware and across the nation are educate farm youth and par- ents about safety and health issues. "One new program was initiated after surveys indicated that par- ents assign chores based on intu- ition and the age at which the par- ent first performed that task," Jester said. "The key to injury pre- vention is matching a child's developmental capabilities and level of adult supervision with a task." Parents now have guidelines and a developmental checklist to assess a child's readiness for the job. For more information on the guidelines, visit the Web site at <www.nagcat.org>. Delaware is also reviewing safety issues that involve working farmers and farm workers with disabilities. Disabilities can range from amputation and arthritis to orthopedic, respiratory or circula- tory. The Delmarva Agrability Project will assess the workplace and introduce assistive technology to help farmers continue to farm safely and productively. Unknown sea captain brought us Hubbard Squash Along the Atlantic Coast the catch of the day is often Scrod. Scrod, as you might know., is baby cod. Or it is not. Because Scrod is not a variety of fish, but rather just a type of seafood. Scrod can indeed be baby cod but can also be any non-oily baby white fish, such as haddock. It brings to mind an old joke where a tourist in Boston asks a native, "Where can I get scrod?" The befuddled Bostonian replies, "I've heard that question asked a hundred times before, but never in the pluperfect subjunctive." There is another New England food, a vegetable that like scrod isn't really a variety or species but goes by its common name. It's "Winter Squash." Winter squash, you see, can belong to any of the four members of the cucurbita species. But if a squash can be stored over the winter, then it is simply "winter squash." And like all GARDEN JOURNAL Paul Barbano good stories this one begins with a sea voyage. In the mid-1800s, an unknown sea captain returned to the scrod- filled waters of New England with a remarkable hard shelled golden fleshed squash. Though a native of the Andes, this squash flourished in New England. It had a remarkable ability to stay fresh on a cupboard or in a pantry for months. This squash meant that farmers could have a fresh vegetable throughout the entire winter. And it was a hearty vegetable whose dry, gold- en flesh was rich in vitamins and beta carotene. The seeds to this forgotten sea captain's squash were passed on from one gardener to another, until a New England seedsman, J.H. Gregory, obtained seeds from Elizabeth Hubbard. The newly christened Hubbard Squash has been a sensation ever since. And what a wonderful squash it is. While Autumn is now the time to harvest winter squash, you may want to plan ahead and grow Hubbard squash next year. Squash won't germinate in soils that are cooler than 60 degrees (F), so don't plant until after the last frost and the garden warms up. Plant three or four seeds about every 18 inches in rows four feet apart. Hubbard squash vines grow long, so thin to one or two plants every eight square feet. Mulch with straw or leaves. You can also plant in hills with five to six seeds in each hill, spacing the hills eight feet apart. Thin to two or three plants per hill. A good organic fertilizer or composted manure will help. Keep the vines well watered dur- ing the 100 day growing season. After harvest you need to cure the squash. Cut the Hubbard squash from the vines with about an inch of stem attached. Cure the squash for several days in a well ventilated room where the tem- perature is 75-80 degrees. Store the cured squash at 50 to 60 degrees out of the sunlight. They will last for months. About the only drawback to Hubbard squash is that they grow too well. A single squash can weigh 25 to 35 pounds. Most cooks are hard put to serve 35 pounds of squash even at Thanksgiving and family reunions. True they can cut up and stored in the freezer or made into squash pies. Fortunately, plant breeders have developed smaller, "baby" Hubbards such as the "Blue Hubbard" and "Kitchenette" that only weigh 12 to 20 pounds. Or try "Little Gem," a miniature that grows only to three to five pounds. Then you can serve baby Hubbard squash along with your baby cod. Paul Barbano writes about gar- dening and farming from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Barbano is a member of the Seed Savers Exchange, a genetic preservation project. Send questions or com- ments to him c/o the Cape Gazette.