Production Tips

As a general rule, vegetable crops require 1 - 1.5 acre-inches of water per week. Penn State's Elsa Sanchez and Bill Lamont explain how to determine how long to run your drip irrigation system to meet this need.

Soil testing is an important tool for managing nutrients, sustaining crop production, and protecting environmental resources, but it must be done properly. These tips will help you learn to collect a good soil sample, find a lab that uses tests appropriate for your region and track your soil test levels in relation to management over time.

It may seem early to be thinking about summer cover crops. But with many crops earlier than normal this year there may be windows for soil building summer covers.

Tips from Alternative Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (

New York State Senate recently voted to add silvopasturing, raising livestock and poultry in woodlots, to the state’s agricultural assessment program. If enacted, silvopasturing could provide tax breaks for those raising livestock on land previously not part of the program.

Late summer and early fall is an excellent time to renovate and restore pastures. Often people think a pasture must be totally renovated or made “new” to be productive, when actually they can use restoration techniques. This article addresses the differences between the two management approaches to ultimately have good productive pastures for animals.

Maryann Frazier, Penn State University, gave us an update on bee research at a recent Women in Ag Network workshop at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.

Recent hot, dry weather has been favorable for mite infestations. In the last two weeks we have seen mites in tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, strawberries and raspberries. This problem, generally of greenhouses or high tunnels, is best caught early.

Are local grain products like polenta, wheat berries, pasta, and flour possible in the Northeast? In New York’s Finger Lakes Region, Thor Oechsner grows a wide variety of grain crops, not only for feed, but for flour, bread, pasta and pastries. In 2014, Oechsner hosted a group from Penn State Extension to talk about his farm and milling operation, and this article highlights some of the wisdom he shared during the event.

This is a golden opportunity for cover crop seedings.

Seed-bank, that is. The weed seed-bank. Right now, across Pennsylvania, huge deposits of weed seed are being accepted by soil. Stop it now and this will pay dividends later.

Recently I was speaking with a grass fed beef producer in Northampton County and he mentioned that he had heard that access to shade can affect weight gain and thus his bottom line, but was not sure on the research. This would not be surprising, of course, but I thought it would be interesting to look at the data.

Cover crops offer multiple benefits from soil conservation to weed suppression. But it can be difficult to get cover crops planted in time to reap all the benefits. The ideal time to plant fall cover crops is soon -- mid-August to mid-September. Here we will explore a couple of options for seeding cover crops if you cannot use a traditional early fall planting.

The harlequin bug is an important insect pest of cabbage and related crops in the southern half of the United States. Recently it has been reported more frequently in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Tomatoes are king in high tunnels. Tom Ford, Penn State Extension, explains a few best management practices for successful high tunnel tomatoes.

A summary of a presentation by Dr. Meg McGrath, Cornell University, at the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention.

Soil-borne diseases can be devastating to vegetable crops.

This short overview of Organic Certification explains the National Organic Program, discusses market demand for organic products, and goes through several details of the certification process, including regulations. This presentation will help you to identify many useful resources and decide if organic certification is appropriate for your farm business.