Many have heard the rumors and discussion on a new disease found in NC and the US called box blight (boxwood blight). The following PDF has answers to many of the questions concerning this blight.
Have you been considering upgrading equipment in your cold storage, greenhouse, or irrigation system? Penn State Extension, in conjunction with USDA Rural Development, is now offering a program to provide low cost energy audits for farms in Pennsylvania. USDA will pay 75% of the cost of the audit, leaving a cost of only 25% to the farmer—saving you up to $1000 (or more, depending on your operation and location). The energy audit will include an easy-to-understand report that lists recommended ways to improve energy efficiency on your farm, plus information on possible funding for installing energy efficient equipment. It will be up to you to decide what to do with this information, but we will help you understand your options and see how you can upgrade your farm's energy performance. An energy audit is a required first step for many funding programs, so this is an important first step for taking advantage of a variety of energy installation programs.
This is the time of year in Pennsylvania the tree nuts are harvested. Few foods are as nutritiously complete and good for the human body as tree nuts. Tree nuts are unique as one of the most nutrient-dense whole food sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid in plant foods. Studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acid in plant foods may help reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and clinical depression.
Though many of us expected to find spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in Pennsylvania in 2011, the widespread occurrence and sheer numbers found during the fall in some locations were surprising. Because of high SWD infestations, some growers gave up on harvesting fall raspberries and day-neutral strawberries. The problem was probably made worse by drenching rains from Hurricanes Irene and Lee which ruined berries that were then left in the field. SWD and other vinegar flies multiplied in the unharvested fruit, which then resulted in more SWD to infest ripening fruit that otherwise could have been harvested later. Fortunately, SWD populations were relatively low this year until fall. The concern for next year is that we don’t yet know how well SWD will survive the winter here, so we don’t know how many will be present at the beginning of the growing season next spring.
The Water Resources website is a great resource for timely and easy to use information on a variety of water-related issues.
Everyone in the natural resources business may have heard of 'agroforestry' but few actually take it seriously as a land use system. That may be changing.
Penn State Extension offers a program for Municipal officials across the state hear how Marcellus issues are being handled.
Soil-borne diseases can be devastating to crops. Unseen they may persist in the soil for years. Harold Weaver, from Meadow Gate Vista Farm in Bowers, Pennsylvania, tried a new strategy for combating soil-borne disease this year: cover crops.
Recently at a Penn State Extension Potato Field Day I was lucky enough to sit next to Mark Lichtenwalner from Donald E. Lichtenwalner Farms in Macungie, Pennsylvania. Mark and his family have been growing potatoes for many years for wholesale and increasingly for retail markets. As the Penn State potato breeder shared the preliminary results of this year’s potato variety trial, we thought about which types of new potatoes might fit a changing market and regional climate.
A new report from the USDA Economic Research Service concludes that the marketing of local foods in the U.S, via both direct-to-consumer and intermediated channels, grossed $4.8 billion in 2008, about four times higher than estimates based solely on direct-to-consumer sales.
Considering the interest in cover crops by farmers, the general public, and others, the Crop Management Team at Penn State Cooperative Extension established cover crop trials on dairy farms across Pennsylvania since 2009. At eight recent field days across the state we reviewed results from the first year of the study, observed the performance of the cover crops this fall and interacted with peers and specialists during these events to learn more about cover crops and their potentials.
Designed as a tool to communicate more frequently with winemakers, winemaking staff, and those involved with enology, the ENOLOGY NEWS listserv was opened on Nov. 22nd, 2011.
This time of year, as the weather freezes and gardening outside stops, we begin to look inside to satisfy our need for growing plants. Poinsettias, cyclamen, and Christmas cactus are often the plants chosen for indoor color, but have you considered other options?
Planting a tree is an investment in the future, so it is worth your time to select carefully and plant properly. When you visit a nursery, search the web, or peruse a catalog, you will find that nursery stock is available in three forms, depending on how it has been grown or harvested: bare-root, balled and burlapped (B & B), or container-grown.
One of the best things you can do for the environment is to turn a patch of your lawn into a meadow garden. Meadow plants provide nectar for pollinators, seeds for migrating birds and overwintering sites for beneficial insects. They don’t need fertilizer or pesticides; their deep roots will readily soak up rainwater, preventing runoff and erosion. Meadow gardens also add four season interest to your landscape and summer long butterfly watching.
The 3rd quarter 2011 TMR is up and can be accessed by clicking the above link.
This may be the worst I’ve seen average stumpage prices since I’ve been reporting. The Southeast remains the only bright spot. When average prices for all species in Southeast exceed those in the Northern tier counties, except for Black Cherry, we know there is a problem. The Northwest and Southwest are not only suffering from the poor economy, but the rapidly expanding natural gas industry is taking jobs and income away from the forest sector.
Members of the Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group have just released a video on how to identify and enhance natural enemies in vegetable crops. This video provides balanced coverage of insect natural enemies and includes fascinating footage of beneficial insects at work.
You recently had your private water supply tested, hoping to gain valuable information about the quality and condition of your water. Upon receiving the water analysis report, you find yourself looking at confusing columns of decimal numbers, abbreviations, and contaminants that are difficult to pronounce. What does this all mean?
If you are looking to scale up your organic farm next year, you may be dreaming about using a tractor mounted cultivator. A wet year like this one, where the weeds got out of control, is a good reminder of how important it is to have a weed management plan, and the tools to execute it.