Start Farming Blog
An important question for all growers to be asking themselves. University of Delaware Fruit and Vegetable Extension Specialist Gordon Johnson, reminds us that this is exactly the question we need to be thinking about as we plan for and manage our cover crops. Take time to consider what your cover cropping goals are and how to manage them in order to maximize the benefits you're working towards.
New and experienced growers alike may often overlook the importance of regular equipment checks and maintenance during the heat of the season. Take a look at the top 10 tractor checks to prepare for the season and to get yourself and your staff in the habit of performing regular checks. Being proactive can go a long way!
In a recent article I described some important aspects of designing field experiments to avoid biasing the data. The take home lesson was that treatments should be replicated and randomized. In this article I will describe methods to summarize and interpret the data resulting from field experiments with a single qualitative treatment variable.
February 1 - 4, 2016 was the annual gathering of growers, from across the region for the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference. This educational event allowed growers to obtain the latest information on issues surrounding crop production, marketing, food safety, and farm labor. In addition, participants got to see new products and innovations in the trade show with over 160 exhibitors.
Since 2009, Penn State Extension has hosted a full-day session at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention (MAFVC), taught completely in Spanish. These sessions have targeted Hispanic and Latino farmers, farm managers and farm workers, working in horticultural crop production. Bilingual educators from surrounding states have collaborated in the project, and helped to create a learning environment that is friendly, engaging, inclusive, and highly relevant.
Growing culinary herbs can be a profitable niche market, but not much research has focused on growing culinary herbs on a commercial-scale in our area. Most of the information in this article is from available research, as well as from Tony Ricci of Green Heron Farm in Three Springs, PA and Deb Brubaker, Jackie Swihart and Allison Glick of Village Acres Farm and Foodshed in Mifflintown, PA.
That's right...it's seeding time! As you finalize and receive your seed orders for this coming season, you may be wondering what preventative measures you can take to avoid some common disease issues this year. One tactic is to treat the seed of specific crops with a hot water bath to reduce the incidence of seed-borne pathogens.
On January 19, 2016 Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to marketing your agricultural products.
The past two winters have ramped up concerns about crown gall in Pennsylvania and other parts of the Northeast. Wine grape growers are discovering, many for the first time, the horrors of this disease and the extent of the damage it can cause in their vineyards. While there is reason for great concern, I would like to start out by saying that research efforts are generating extensive information on management of this disease, and there are new solutions from research in the pipeline.
Penn State Extension is assessing how best to tailor our outreach and extension programming for those of you who will be the next generation of farmers. Our goal is to provide opportunities for active learning of research-based information that is applicable to your farm operation.
When it comes to managing fire blight, the first line of defense is good sanitation, which is removing the overwintering source for the bacteria: cankers. Understanding what a canker is, being able to identify them in orchard, the importance of removal, and pruning strategies are discussed.
Revised every two years with input from Penn State faculty members, extension specialists and other consultants, this nearly 400-page production guide provides commercial fruit growers, extension educators, consultants, and others with the newest information on fruit culture, orchard nutrition, spraying, pesticides, storage of tree fruit crops, marketing, and management of weeds, insects, diseases and more.
Unlike some flowering landscape trees, peaches, cherries, apples and pears originated in a temperate climate, similar to our own. They are well-adapted to our climate, even in an el Niño year. Most fruit trees went dormant this fall, and stayed dormant. Fruit trees begin to go dormant in response to shortening day length in the fall. Exposure to freezing temperatures accelerates the onset of dormancy. Although this past fall was warmer than usual, the fruit trees got the necessary signals and went into dormancy.
Research performed by universities is relatively expensive because we have to pay for the considerable infrastructure associated with research, including the salaries of trained researchers and technicians. Recently some growers have expressed a desire to perform their own research to save money.
As producers make their way into lambing and kidding season, it brings to mind replacement selection and which factors to consider in that essential management task. Penn State 4-H Educator, Bob Brown, reviews and emphasizes the importance of weighing in your lambs and kids.
Although the earth is warming as a whole as a result of climate change, the weather is also becoming more variable resulting in early-winter cold snaps, winter thaws followed by extreme cold events, and early spring bloom followed by frosts.
The Ag Entrepreneurship team has developed a series of Learn Now Videos for new, young and minority growers. The goal is to increase next generation skills in identifying appropriate markets for their farm-fresh and value-added horticultural products.
Are you a lifetime farmer, just getting started, or looking to take the leap? Well, this podcast is for you! Whether his guests are discussing employment philosophy or the best techniques for cultivating carrots, his down-to-earth conversations with experienced farmers - and the occasional non-farmer - will be time well spent. The Farmer to Farmer Podcast provides a fresh and honest look at everything from soil fertility and record-keeping to getting your crops to market without making yourself crazy. Check out the Farmer to Farmer Podcast and other fantastic resources for farmers at purplepitchfork.com
“Tracking the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug” shows growers and others how to identify BMSB, why this pest is important in agriculture, and what’s at stake if we don’t stop it. Four new installments bring important new information about integrated pest management or IPM in terms of biological control, monitoring and trapping, and the iconic pyramid traps. These new videos show just how far our team has come in understanding this peculiar and pernicious creature, and why the newly hatching Trissolcus insect, now in the wild, could change the game.