The controlled environment and season extension characteristics of high tunnels open up opportunities for growers
This article is the second in our series, ‘Who are the High Tunnel Growers in Philadelphia’ where we focus on Guild House West. They are an apartment complete for low-income seniors in North Philadelphia, and are providing innovative solutions for community building, site management and hyper-local nutritious produce.
You are invited to participate in a survey as part of an effort by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) to gather information on the state of sustainable agriculture practices in Pennsylvania.
Tomatoes can be a very challenging to grow commercially. Managing nutrients, diseases, and insect pests all contribute to this annual test of our spirits. If it was not for the high potential for profits few would grow tomatoes.
Pollinators need a diverse, abundant food source and a place to build their nests and rear their young. As land managers, if we keep these two elements in mind we can encourage native bee populations.
Backpack sprayers are very useful tools for crop farmers to have on hand. Whether your farm is large or small, newly established or centuries old, certified organic or conventional, there is a spot for a backpack sprayer or two on your farm. However, to make the most of a backpack sprayer, we recommend that you make some upgrades to the sprayer wand assembly and of course, keep your sprayer calibrated.
FARMDATA is a smartphone enabled internet-based record keeping system designed and field tested by produce farmers. Focus areas include field and greenhouse plantings, harvest, pack, inventory, distribution, e-invoicing, labor tracking, fertilizers, compost, cover crops, tillage, irrigation, scouting, spraying, and seed orders. The goals of FARMDATA are to replace clipboards and paper records across the produce farm, from the field to the packing house and beyond. More importantly, FARMDATA is designed to save growers valuable time both during the busy growing season and in the winter when planning for the coming year.
Approximately three quarters of our major food crops are pollinated. At the same time domestic honey bees hives are down by 59% compared to 60 years ago. Here we will look at how wild bees provide insurance against ongoing honey bee losses. Keep a look out for upcoming articles on factors affecting pollinators and ways farmers can promote pollinator health.
During the next few months we will run a series of stories showcasing some of the wonderful individuals and organizations who participate in urban agriculture in Philadelphia. This first article provides an overview, context, and some background information on how these urban farms have gotten started growing food in the heart of Philadelphia.
Disease management begins with the fundamental understanding of the three factors must be present and interact for disease to develop. These include: 1) a susceptible host crop; 2) the pathogen and 3) an environment that is favorable for the pathogen. This concept is called the disease triangle and all disease management practices can be related back to breaking/disrupting one or more of these interactions.
Proper calibration is a must to make sure pesticide applications get to the target at the proper rate. The Penn State Pesticide Education Program uses calibration units that enable us to collect the output from each nozzle.
Research was conducted to evaluate producing muskmelon or summer squash in a strip tillage system compared to a plasticulture system. Within these production systems the effectiveness of spunbonded polypropylene row covers was also tested.
Biological control of insects, mites and diseases has the potential to greatly expand the number of effective options in our pest management toolbox. Growers now have new tools to manage insects, mites, and diseases that have become nearly impossible to control using conventional pesticides.
Bacterial spot is becoming an increasingly devastating disease of tomato in the mid-Atlantic region. Not only can the pathogen directly damage the fruit, severe foliar infection can lead to defoliation reducing both the quality and quantity of marketable fruit. This may be due in part to the increasing frequency of severe weather events that favor disease development as well as shorter rotations between tomatoes due to the economic value of the crop.
Researchers at the University of Maryland are conducting a nationwide survey of vegetable and fruit growers to better understand how the FDA's proposed rule on produce safety under the Food Safety Modernization Act will impact them. As an incentive to take the survey, participants have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a free Apple iPad after completing the survey.
People want to know how pesticide use could affect them. Residents who live near your fields, people who buy your produce, employees of your farm, members of your family and even you may be interested in information about the potential health effects of the pesticides you use. If you give people off-the-cuff answers that are meant to be reassuring, but not based on science, you may prompt them to be less careful than they should be. Conversely, some responses may prompt people to act out of fear instead of truly understanding risks.
Hannah Burrack in the Department of Entomology at NC State has put together a survey to quantify spotted wing drosophila's impact on berry growers in the Eastern U.S. While Hannah coordinates the survey, she shares the information with others. In fact, you can see the last 2 years’ results when you visit the site with the survey hyperlink below.
The berry crops world lost a wonderful person in December 2014. Mary Catherine (Cathy) Heidenreich - May 30, 1958 – December 16, 2014.
In the 2014 growing season we evaluated 25 broccoli cultivars in a spring and fall crop in three locations to determine which are best suited for Pennsylvania.
We have been evaluating 'Niwot' primocane-fruiting black raspberry in tunnels since 2013, and preliminary findings have been promising.