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Penn State Extension news for vegetable and small fruit producers.
Photo: Shawn Harquail, Flickr.com CC License
November 6, 2015

Firewood is an important source of heat for many Pennsylvania residents. As the weather turns colder, a lot of folks are gathering firewood for the winter. Unfortunately, firewood is also an important source of invasive problems, and moving it around can spread damaging insects and diseases. You should use local firewood as much as possible.

October 29, 2015

Broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) has been a pest of tropical, subtropical and greenhouse crops for over a century, and has been problematic for pepper growers in PA for the last couple of years. Now we can add blackberries to the list of crops that they frequent.

October 29, 2015

The Penn State Extension Horticulture, Start Farming, and Pesticide Education Teams have produced two new videos on integrated pest management practices and soil health.

October 29, 2015

The National Center for Farmworker Health has created a guide for agricultural workers that describes benefits under the Affordable Care Act. The guide is in English and is available for sharing.

Chickpea field on May 18, 2015
October 27, 2015

Have you considered growing chickpeas? Chickpea consumption has increased dramatically in recent years. Hummus consumption alone has increased about 5% annually over the past ten years. This trend is expected to continue.

A healthy broccoli leaf (on the left) next to one with alternaria leafspot (on the right).
October 19, 2015

In an experiment at the Russel E. Larson Agricultural Research Farm we have alternaria leafspot and head rot on the leaves and heads of fall broccoli planted. It’s a common late-season disease.

Common hop (Humulus lupulus) Photo: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
October 13, 2015

The demand for local hops is creating a renewed interest in growing hops. A team of Penn State Extension Educators and Specialists recently received funding from the US Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block program to study hops.

October 13, 2015

Not only insecticides but also some fungicides and herbicides are harmful to bees. The following are some general guidelines to protect bees from pesticides.

October 9, 2015

In our continuing series on scouting and identifying insects in high tunnels we’ve been scouting for insect pests. We also scout the high tunnels to see what natural enemies of these insect pests are present.

September 28, 2015

On another bright and beautiful day on the road we headed up to Susquehanna county in northern Pennsylvania to link up with Tom Maloney to visit 4 Seasons Farm Market. 4 Seasons Farm Market is a 143 acre farm owned and operated by Tina and Gerald Carlin.

September 28, 2015

On an overcast day we headed to Millerstown in Perry County to meet up with Darryl Dressler and visit Raccoon Valley Farm. Farmer Lester Brubaker and his family moved here from Lancaster after purchasing the 150 acre farm. Most of the farm is planted to field corn and soybeans. Nine acres are devoted to vegetables, strawberries and mums. This is the Brubaker’s first year growing vegetables.

'Prime-Jan' blackberry Photo: Kathleen Demchak
September 24, 2015

Spotted wing drosophila is present just about anywhere we look these days—even in berry fields where fruit is no longer present.

September 10, 2015

We recently spent an afternoon with Larry King of Harvest Valley Farms in Valencia, Pennsylvania. Larry grows vegetables on 160 acres with his brother Art and nephew Dave.

September 10, 2015

Diversified farming means we have to be experts in the production requirements for each of the products we produce. On top of that, we need to be able to have a market for each product. How we plan to sell our products is just as important as deciding how we will grow them.

September 10, 2015

Continuing dry conditions throughout the state are hastening the decline of pumpkin vines in many fields. This raises the question of when pumpkins should be cut from the vine, and how best to store them through October. Ruth Hazzard of U Mass Extension wrote the following article on this topic a couple of years ago. If you are asking yourself whether it is time to harvest pumpkins or not, take a few minutes to review this excellent discussion on harvest timing and postharvest handling of pumpkins.

The words RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDE appear at the top of the label of restricted use products. This product is toxic to fish and waterlife, it can only be used by a Certified Applicator.
September 9, 2015

If you are considering using a pesticide, it is important to make sure you are in compliance with Pennsylvania law.

White circular lesions on pumpkin fruit resulting from bacterial infection (Photo: Beth K. Gugino)
September 2, 2015

Across Pennsylvania, the prevailing hot dry weather has slowed the progression of disease in many fields while increasing damage due spider mites, flea beetle and other insect pests.

Spotted lanternfly 4th Instar, which is the stage just prior to the adult.
September 1, 2015

Another Berks County township is quarantined in the fight to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive insect new to the United States that was first found in the area last fall.

Single bay tunnels at Penn State's Horticulture Research Farm.
August 28, 2015

Soil in high tunnels isn’t exposed to the elements like soil in the field is, and if the plastic is kept on the tunnels for multiple winters, little leaching takes place. Thus, nutrients and salts can accumulate. How much difference does taking the covers off for one winter make?

August 28, 2015

Powdery mildew, a warm-weather high-humidity disease, is present in some blueberry plantings. Lowbush, highbush, and rabbiteye blueberries are all affected.