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Vegetable, Small Fruit, and Mushroom Production

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This guide provides information based on multistage research results and extension programs as well as the knowledge and experience of growers, county extension educators, and industry personnel. It is intended to help commercial vegetable growers make informed managerial decisions. The 2017 guide includes critical updates in a 4-page addendum available with either the print or digital PDF format.

Asparagus

Asparagus is a perennial crop that lends itself well to small-scale and part-time farming operations. Multiple markets exist for growers with five acres or less, and those field operations that require machinery may be custom-hired.

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In spite of some articles that say mushrooms can be grown in any dark hole or building, successful commercial mushroom growing requires special houses equipped with ventilation systems. This publication provides a review of mushroom growing and information on making a composted substrate, aerated Phase I composting, growing systems, finishing the compost, spawn maintenance, spawn production, spawning, substrate supplementation, casing, irrigation, pinning, harvesting, and post-crop pasteurization.

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This full-color publication describes specialty or novel vegetables that fit well in the current state and national promotion for vegetables, Buy Local, Buy Fresh, as well as provides marketing tips.

Broccoli

Initial investment in a broccoli production operation is relatively low, and many field operations - such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting - can be custom hired. Equipment needs on a small-acreage farm are not very great, and most of the equipment can be used for other purposes.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupes (a common American name for muskmelons) are a crop that is well-suited to small-scale and part-time farms. There are multiple markets for growers with 5 acres or less, and many field operations - such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting - can be custom-hired.

Photo credit: D. Paashaus

Successful weed management can make or break a new organic farm. These steps will help you get the upper hand on weeds.

Cucumber

Cucumbers lend themselves well to small-scale and part-time farming operations. Multiple markets exist for growers with fewer than 5 acres, and many field operations, such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting, can be custom hired.

Oyster mushroom production is on the increase in the United States. This article details the cultivation of oyster mushrooms from spawn to postharvest handling and marketing, including sections on culture maintenance, production in bags and bottles, production conditions, common problems faced by oyster mushroom growers, and an outlook for the future of oyster mushroom production.

Something is wrong with your plant. What is the cause? Don’t assume you know the answer and accidently treat for the wrong problem. Use this step-by-step method to narrow down the possibilities, but don’t forget to ask the experts, if you need to.

Drip irrigation of bell peppers

Drip or trickle irrigation is a very efficient method of applying water and nutrients to crops. For many crops, the conversion from sprinkler to drip irrigation can reduce water use by 50 percent.

In order for a plant to become diseased, three conditions must be present: (1) a pathogen, (2) a favorable environment where the pathogen can thrive, and (3) a susceptible host. All the strategies we use to manage plant diseases work to remove or limit one of these factors, thus breaking the plant disease triangle.

Garlic Bulbs

Garlic is a crop that is well suited to a small acreage or as part of a larger direct marketing operation looking to diversify its mix of crops. It is well adapted for production in all parts of the United States. Yield and quality will vary with climate, region, altitude, soil and pH, cultural practices, and the variety of garlic.

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This fact sheet lists production guides, general and specialty reference books, trade journals, newsletters, grower organizations, wine-related information, and other resources than can help grape growers in Pennsylvania.

Blueberries

Blueberries are well suited for small-scale and part-time farm operations. However, blueberry production is not for everyone due to the specialized cultivation requirements of the plants and the relatively short shelf life of the fruit.

This 61-page guide describes major vegetable diseases that have distinctive symptoms. Thirty-seven plant pathologists from educational institutions in the United States and Canada contributed to this volume, which has 300 color photographs.

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This guide helps identify common diseases and physiological disorders affecting potatoes. It has 65 color photographs and is intended for potato growers, extension workers, and others interested in producing maximum yields of high-quality potatoes in Pennsylvania.

Onions

Dry onions are a crop that lends itself well to small-scale and part-time farming operations. Multiple markets exist for growers with small acreages and the various colors and types of mature bulbs (red, yellow, and white) allow growers to find their market niche.

Organic production is a system that lends itself well to small-scale and part-time farming operations. Additionally, although the cost of certification and the time and labor involved in managing the system are high, returns have the potential to be high where markets are well developed for organic products.

This 176-page compendium provides technical information on mushroom diseases, molds, abnormalities, insect pests and pest management, composting, spawning, casing, pasteurization, watering, and controlling carbon dioxide. Illustrations include 45 black-and-white photographs; 15 detailed drawings of microscopic spore structures; 52 color photographs of mushroom diseases, molds, and abnormalities; 24 tables; and 265 graphs, charts, and diagrams.