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Penn State Extension news for vegetable and small fruit producers.
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.

August 28, 2015

Producing the greatest quantity of the highest quality tomatoes (peppers too) requires careful attention to production details.

Botrytis-infected raspberries. Photo:Cassandra Swett, University of MD
August 27, 2015

Two of our least favorite fall pests may be consorting together. Warm rains in the spring and now late summer, combined with heavy dews have resulted in medium to high insect and fruit rot activity this fall in berry crops.

Fall armyworm adult male
August 27, 2015

In summary, corn earworm (CEW) and/or fall armyworm (FAW) captures are at levels that puts sweet corn at risk. This is occurring at multiple sites, especially in Bucks, Centre, Clinton, Erie, Fayette, Lancaster, Mifflin and Washington Counties.

August 26, 2015

Researchers at Penn State are investigating how solitary and wild bees are increasingly important in the pollination of crops.

Corn Earworm Photo credit H. Fescemyer
August 21, 2015

In summary, Corn Earworm (CEW) captures are spotty but above threshold in Bucks Lancaster Lycoming and Schuylkill Counties. Lancaster County has dramatically high populations. Fall Armyworm (FAW) populations are also being captured throughout the state, with notable captures in Blair, Centre, Clinton, Erie, Fayette, and Lycoming Counties. European corn borer (ECB) populations appear to be insignificant.

Photo: Scott Guiser
August 19, 2015

As the market demand for more locally grown produce harvested year-round increases, onions are a crop that seems to be receiving a great deal of attention. Season extension and overwintering techniques utilizing plasticulture technology can be applied successfully to growing onions, adding financial value to your farm operation.

August 19, 2015

On a beautiful July morning we left State College to meet up with Penn State Extension Educator Tom Butzler to go visit the Sugar Valley Produce Auction located just outside of Loganton, Pennsylvania.

Classic late bight lesion on the upper surface of a tomato leaf (Photo: Beth K. Gugino)
August 17, 2015

Today late blight was confirmed in a commercial tomato field in Berks County near Fleetwood. This is only the third county that late blight has been confirmed in PA so far this season. A sample is being sent to Cornell University for genotyping.

Field day participants discuss disease management with Farmer Anton Shannon, at Good Work Farm.
August 13, 2015

A good disease management plan can increase your probability of success for the season. Farmer Anton Shannon and former Extension Educator Tianna DuPont, shared tips for disease prevention, identification and control at a recent field day at one of Penn State Extension’s Models for the Future sites.

European corn borer feeding. Photo: Eric Burkness, Bugwood.org
August 12, 2015

In summary, corn earworm (CEW) increases continue in one site in Lancaster and Bucks counties, and a 2nd generation of European corn borer (ECB) is in progress, notably in Centre, Luzerne, and Westmoreland counties, but overall most sites are surprisingly low for this time of year.

Highlighted counties are where CDM outbreaks have been reported as of 12 August 2015. Red indicates the reports were made within the past 7 days. Map source: Cucurbit Downy Mildew ipmPIPE website.
August 12, 2015

With the increasing number of confirmed and unconfirmed reports of downy mildew across the state, it is important to make sure that you are selecting the most effective products to manage this disease for your production system.

August 12, 2015

This past week there have been no new reports of late blight in PA, however the cooler temperatures and slightly more overcast weather the past couple of days were perfect for late blight, so be on the lookout.