Our berry good question this month brought to mind a number of other questions about fertilization that we are frequently asked. So more questions and answers follow this first question from Sarah Blevins, S.J. Blevins Berries, etc. Thanks for asking, Sarah!
It’s easy for weeds to surprise you with the amount of competition they can provide in the springtime, especially when they've been protected under snow or plastic and row covers. Here we'll discuss control of some of our common winter annual weed problems, and also two perennials.
Upon occasion, commercial growers try to find information on growing an alternative crop, and find that there just isn't much information available. One crop that has received a lot of good press lately has been Goji berry. We have very little experience with this crop here, so were fortunate enough to get some information from others who have. "Thanks" to Wei Yang of Oregon State University, and Evan Elford and Melanie Filotas of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, for providing helpful information for this article. Additional sources of information are listed at the end.
Bacterial leaf spot (BLS) on peppers is becoming more common in Pennsylvania. We have had some wet spells during the last few growing seasons and bacterial diseases are often notoriously difficult to control, particularly during warm and wet conditions. However, recent research may show why more fields are having BLS outbreaks beyond these possible weather effects.
Do you have this pesky type of stink bug on your farm? Here are some notes about this pest and an update on some new research on its biology and control.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the expansion of the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, which provides low-interest financing to producers. The enhanced program includes 22 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers, and makes it easier for farmers and ranchers around the country to finance the equipment they need to grow and expand.
Sweet onion production has soared in Pennsylvania in recent years and bacterial disease challenges have grown right along with production. Steve Bogash provided interview-type questions to Emily Pfeufer, Ph.D. candidate working with Beth Gugino, Vegetable Pathologist due to her four years of research into sweet onion bacterial diseases.
As we look around at ways to improve produce production, one area that offers the greatest return in both fruit quality and decreased fertilizer inputs is in getting the pH of your irrigation solution correct. Every crop has an ideal pH range where it removes nutrients from the soil solution optimally. Getting your soil and water pH right can be the difference between a profitable crop and high field / packing house losses.
Q. Can we expect reduced SWD pressure this season due to our extremely cold weather? A. We didn’t have an answer to this one; and we weren’t alone on that. Dr. Greg Loeb, grape and small fruit entomologist at Cornell spearheading work on SWD in NY and the NE region, didn’t either, but provided the following thoughts on the topic:
At the mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention this year, SHAP asked researchers to display posters so everyone can see the results of grower-funded research. I have spent my professional career in the mid-Atlantic region, but only the last 9 years in Pennsylvania. As a Pomologist at two other universities, I was envious of the political and finical support that Penn State faculty and county educators received from SHAP. Over the past couple of decades the finical support did not keep up with inflation, so SHAP recently made a commitment to raise $250,000 per year for research and extension. The PVGA, Potato Growers, and Christmas Tree Growers also provide funding for research and extension. I would like to explain why this support is so important and what will happen without it.
Frequent visits from the polar vortex this winter have caused many fruit growers to be concerned about this year’s crop potential. Front page headlines suggest that grape growers are already seeking government funds to help with the loss. Peach growers are also anticipating a limited crop. But what should berry growers anticipate?
The production of early potatoes for direct marketing or sale to consumers can be a very lucrative enterprise for many growers who only grow 3-5 acres of potatoes in Pennsylvania.
Soil-borne diseases can be devastating to vegetable crops. In the Northeast alone 1,687,080 tons of fresh market and processing vegetables on 264,490 acres, worth $701,377,000 suffer 10-15% losses from soil borne diseases (NASS Crop Profiles, 2007). Disease suppressive cover crop rotations may provide an additional tool for managing soil borne disease. Researchers have documented significant increases in yield after sudangrass, brassica, millet and other cover crops. Here we describe recent results of a two season on-farm case study using cover crops to suppress Verticillium wilt in tomato.
Are you planning on making the leap from vegetable gardening to production for profit? Are you a new vegetable producer who is ready to refine your farm to optimize production? Are you apprenticing on a farm? Join Penn State Extension for Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production. Registration is now open.
New program offering: 2014 Bio-Intensive High Tunnel Growers School is now open for registration. This program will be held on March 31 and April 1, 2014 at the Bucks County Extension Office in Doylestown, PA.
One option for avoiding injury from spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is to plant earlier-maturing varieties. This article discusses some cultivars that might fit the bill.
Every good reason to grow tomatoes and other high return vegetables and small fruits in high tunnels has a compelling argument to counter it. These potential pitfalls of tunnel culture are seldom mentioned in the rush to put a high tunnel on every farm.
The 2014 edition of the Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations guide is now available on-line.
In 2012-13 we evaluated 24 cultivars of bicolor and white synergistic cultivars of sweet corn in 3 locations across Pennsylvania. This article presents our methods and results.
At Penn State Extension’s recent “Farm Success” worskshop Mike and Terra Brownback from Spiral Path Farm discussed their systems and styles for working with employees to improve their farms’ profitability.