Many vegetables grown in Pennsylvania tolerate frost and light freezes quite well, allowing us to enjoy fresh, locally grown vegetables long into the fall and early winter. However, the very low temperatures that blanketed the state for several days just before the Thanksgiving holiday may have caused more damage than growers were expecting, even in crops under row cover.
Agricultural businesses and pesticide applicators in 20 counties can dispose of unwanted pesticides safely and easily in 2014 through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s CHEMSWEEP program.
Cornell Cooperative Extension and Penn State Extension team up to present a series of webinars to keep you informed on critical production issues. The series provides convenient access to timely updates in commercial vegetable and small fruit production for extension educators, producers, and industry representatives in Pennsylvania, New York and surrounding states. All you need to participate in the webinar series is access to a computer with internet access, and speakers or headphones. DSL or higher internet speed is recommended. Concerned that you might miss a session? Don’t worry. Links to recordings of each session will be provided.
To stay on top of the growing season, the Penn State Extension Vegetable and Small Fruit Team conducted bi-weekly conference calls. Both educators and specialists update each other about the insect, disease and other production problems that growers were facing. The primary goal was to collectively help effectively manage these different pest problems as they appear. It was during these meetings that concerns about potential disease problems resulting from the frequent and heavy rains affecting western PA in late June and early July were raised. Sure enough not long after the rain, Septoria leaf spot (Septoria lycopersici) and early blight (Alternaria solani) which both develop under warm temperatures(75 to 85°F) and high relative humidity, heavy dews or significant rainfall started showing up in commercial tomato fields in western PA.
On December 17th, 2013, a full-day blueberry school (8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.) will be offered at the Westmoreland County Extension Office in Greensburg, PA.
There are many types of tree nuts that grow in Pennsylvania, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the state. If you’d like to grow nuts to add to your product selection, you are more likely to be successful with a little planning and careful selection of the types of nuts you plant.
A new website developed by Penn State Extension specialists is designed to be a one-stop resource for those seeking information on the Health Insurance Marketplace, which was created under the federal Affordable Care Act.
This summer I had a chance to visit Washington State’s Organic Systems Trial in Puyallup. Craig Cogger, WSU Extension shared some interesting insights from this 10 year old trial.
Phytophthora blight continues to be a major challenge to growers in 2013. An on-farm trial was conducted to see if fungicides can effectively manage Phytophthora capsici in fields known to be infected.
Twin Springs Fruit Farm is hosting a field to demonstrate their new biomass greenhouse heating system. The date is Tuesday, December 10, 2013.
Farm Scholarships available to Strategic Marketing Conference
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture-Specialty Crop Research Initiative will launch a 14-session webinar series on Oct. 8, to promote safe water recycling in the horticulture industry.
In recent weeks, Northern corn leaf blight has been on the rise in later planted sweet corn across Pennsylvania.
Last January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft Produce Safety Rule as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. This proposed regulation would establish mandatory practices that farmers must take to prevent microbial contamination of fresh produce. The proposed standards include requirements for controlling potential food safety hazards in areas where contamination is most likely to occur including farm worker hygiene, the use of soil supplements containing animal manure, and sanitation conditions for buildings, equipment and tools. Common questions are addressed in this article.
We continue to have trap captures above spray thresholds, but damage risk decreases in cooler weather close to harvest. There is no need to spray when you are within about 7 days to harvest. Eggs take about 3 or more days to hatch. Hatching first instars require another 3 or 4 days to reach 2nd instar. If you are within about 7 days to harvest, there is little need to spray because eggs and very young 1st instars cause little to no damage. If you are further than 7-days from harvest, corn is still at risk of worm damage.
In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.
As the season winds down and the crop reaches maturity, the need to manage for downy (and powdery) mildews decreases and so should the use of target specific fungicides.
As fall approaches and the temperatures drop and dew periods lengthen, late blight will continue to be a problem on tomatoes and potatoes.
Winter squash and pumpkin fruit that remain in the field face a daunting list of diseases, insects and weather events that could threaten fruit quality. Early harvest and careful storage is often preferable to leaving fruit in the field. This is especially true if you know that your pumpkins or squash are in fields that are infected with Phytophthora blight (Phytophthora capsici) as symptoms can develop on fruit even if they are asymptomatic at harvest.
The crop that seems to be most severely affected at the moment is blackberries, though there are reports of SWD in nearly every berry crop that is currently fruiting.