This has been one wet and cool spring. For many, planting has been delayed because fields are too wet. This article describes how transplant age affects yield of bell peppers, tomatoes and summer squash.
Angular leaf spot, caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas fragariae, seems to be a problematic in numerous strawberry plantings this spring. This disease is favored by cold, wet conditions, so given the weather conditions we’ve had across the state this spring, it’s no surprise that we are seeing problems. The bacteria get spread within a planting by splashing of water droplets. Needing to use overhead irrigation for frost protection can make the problem worse.
Watershed-level management efforts are growing and supported by federal, state, and local policy. The intent of these efforts is to create partnerships among local officials, state and county agencies, community groups, and residents that will address environmental concerns.
Erosion and sediment pollution control is an important factor in maintaining the quality of our waterways and plays a major role in natural gas development.
Another anti-logging activist was slain in the Amazon. He harvests nuts and makes baskets for living.
Farmers using a cover-crop seeder developed by Penn State agricultural scientists may eventually need only a single trip across the field to accomplish what takes most farmers three passes and several pieces of equipment to do. Pennsylvania farmers are increasingly interested in growing cover crops, but the time, cost and late fall harvest of corn and other crops often limit their use, said Gregory Roth, professor of agronomy. The seeder can help farmers, especially small operations, save time and money by condensing multiple tasks into one trip through a no-till field. It also would allow farmers to seed fields that lacked cover crops due to late season and cost concerns.
We have heard about and seen a few cereal rye fields that either did not get harvested for forage or have not yet been sprayed or managed as a cover crop. We had a number of experiments over the last several years focused on managing cereal rye in no-till soybean where we roll the rye with a roller-crimper followed by soybean planting. We have included herbicides in this system and also experimented with organic no-till.
Penn State Extension Educators across the state are collaborating with local growers to look at biodegradable mulch. We all know the benefits of plastic mulch. Not only does it keep the weeds down, it warms up the soil giving us earlier (and more) tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other heat loving veggies. But it costs us. Farmers estimate it costs $25-100 an acre for labor and disposal of plastic mulch. A possible alternative to black plastic mulch is biodegradable film mulches that look and act much like black plastic, but instead of ripping them up in the fall, you till them into the soil and the microbes degrade the material, leaving you a clean field (hopefully) in the spring.
U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), tells us what types and components of food we should be eating more of as well as those we should limit.
Staying hydrated is important, especially during periods of physical activity and in warmer weather. With the availability of so many choices, making a decision about the type of water to drink can be challenging.
At the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, Pennsylvania, apple scab spore release is declining but still active. Apple scab, cedar apple rust, and cherry leaf spot infection periods and predictions through May 24th are attached.
Dr Alan Lakso at Cornell University has developed a carbohydrate balance model for apple, which we are testing for predicting fruit set. This model estimates carbohydrate supply and demand, and then calculates the carbon balance of the trees. During times of high supply and low demand (sunny and cool), the balance is positive and it is difficult to thin chemically. When the balance is slightly negative (0 to -20°F), chemical thinning becomes easier. When the balance drops to the range of -40°, the trees are under significant carbohydrate stress, and chemical thinning will be strong. Below -40°, the natural stress may be so severe that some fruits will be shed even when thinners aren’t used. Below -40° the response to chemical thinners is predicted to be very strong.
On May 16, 2011 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced improvements to the availability and usability of drinking water data in the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) tool.
The insect pest control updates presented here are for the south-central part of Pennsylvania based on observations in Adams County, Pennsylvania. It is important to modify your integrated pest management practices based on scouting of your own orchard blocks.
Recent publications to help understand Marcellus development regarding wastewater and water-related regulations
The woody ornamental pest update for May 19, 2011: Update on problems due to the recent heavy rains
Through a Sheep Shearing School offered by Penn State Extension's Start Farming, 13 people learned to shear sheep at Delaware Valley College in Bucks County.
Are you a new grower? Do you know what temperature is best for seed germination and maintaining healthy seedlings? I find that these and other tidbits about seed and seedling biology are extremely helpful for growing healthy seedlings in the greenhouse. By now, many of your seedlings are out in the field, but it's a good time to look back over what went right, and what went less than perfect in the greenhouse and make some notes for next year. Take a look at the following information and new factsheets for new organic vegetable growers.
Do you know what temperature is best for seed germination and maintaining healthy seedlings? I find that these and other tidbits about seed and seedling biology are extremely helpful for growing healthy seedlings in the greenhouse. By now, many of your seedlings are out in the field, but it's a good time to look back over what went right, and what went less than perfect in the greenhouse and make some notes for next year.
Fruit growers report that this has been a challenging spring in terms of applying cover sprays, and now chemical thinners. Fortunately, a number of varieties were thinned last week when the temperature range was favorable. However, fruit size of some varieties was too small last week and these may still need to be thinned.