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Applying Fertilizer to Vineyards After Harvest

Authors: Annie Klodd and Anne Sawyer, University of Minnesota Extension
Key Points:
Minimize the amount of nitrogen applied in the fall; save it for the spring.Granular fertilizer is best applied as a broadcast directed to the vine rowsIf possible, avoid fertilizer application to the grassy aisles unless groundcover renovation is the intentFertilizer application rates should be calculated based on soil and foliar tests. Results from recent years or the current year may be used.
During the growing season, grapevines allocate significant amounts of sugars and nutrients to the fruit, which is then removed from the vineyard when the fruit is harvested. If the soils are limited in nutrients like phosphorus (P), potassium (K), nitrogen (N) and magnesium (Mg), adding these nutrients back into the soil periodically is important to the continued productivity of the vineyard. Amounts applied should be calculated based on soil and foliar test results, rather than applying an arbitrary rate.
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Produce Farmers: Register now for Rochester GAPs workshop on October 31

Join U of MN Extension to learn practical steps for keeping your produce safe, your customers healthy, and your business flourishing (and growing!).
Learn how Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) can improve the quality and safety of your produce and help you access new markets. This training is designed for small- to medium-sized fruit and vegetable growers, but any farmer or gardener is welcome to attend. Learn from Extension educators and your fellow farmers in this interactive session. Topics include:

Best practices (GAPs) to improve safety in growing, harvest, washing and handling of fresh fruits and vegetablesWhat is a GAP audit? What is FSMA? How do they apply to me?Learn about water testing, compost and manure use, animal intruders, safely washing vegetables, low-cost handwashing stands, and moreIncludes donation garden walk-and-talk to discuss practical setups for safe harvest, washing, and packing In this training, we will focus on best practices for food safety and help you figu…

University of Minnesota Extension Begins Work on Cider Apples

Adapted from the UMN Yard and Garden News

University of Minnesota Extension Educator Annie Klodd, along with researchers in the University of Minnesota fruit breeding program, has received a grant to begin research and outreach on growing cider apples in Minnesota. Read on to learn about Minnesota cider apples and the new cider project being conducted by Extension and the fruit breeding program.
The Cider Scene in MinnesotaDid you know? Hard cider is making a big splash in the Minnesota craft beverage scene. According to Minnesota Department of Agriculture data, as of 2017 cider accounted for 51% of the beverage production by Minnesota wineries (which includes cideries). Largely due to the recent increase in cider production, total winery beverage production has risen by 68% between 2012 and 2017.

What is hard cider? Hard apple cider is a fermented beverage made from the juice from apples. Other fruits can also be used in ciders, such as pears or cherries. Cider from pears is called &q…

Farm financial consulting with Ryan Pesch

Author: Katie Drewitz
Calling all produce farmers, large and small, to take advantage of expert financial consulting for your farm. University of Minnesota Extension is working with the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association  (MFMA), Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA), and Renewing the Country Side to test a business model of farmer’s markets serving as food hubs in their communities. The goal is to figure out if this model is truly benefiting the farmer.

The team needs 18 farmers to commit to this opportunity by October 31, 2019. By committing to the project the farms are signing up to meet one-on-one with Ryan Pesch, University of Minnesota Extension Education in Community Economic Development. Ryan will use FINPACK software to input and analyze your records. All personal information will be strictly confidential between the farm and Ryan. Financial data from each farm will be compiled and averaged with similar information from other farms. All names and other ide…

What's Killing My Kale Episode 27: Swede Midge Management - an overview of what we know

Author: Natalie Hoidal. Interviewee: Yolanda Chen

In episode 26 of What's Killing My Kale, Natalie talked with Dr. Yolanda Chen, a professor at the University of Vermont. Yolanda has been studying Swede Midge on the East coast, where it has been a devastating disease of cole crops. In particular, her research has focused on organic management strategies. 

In part 1 of this episode, we interviewed Angie Ambourn, supervisor of the MDA's pest detection unit, about recent Swede Midge sightings in Minnesota. We anticipate that this insect pest may move beyond community gardens to vegetable farms in the near future, so it's important for growers to be on the lookout, and to have some background in current research and management strategies. 

Listen to part 1 here. 

You can listen to and download the episode here.What's Killing my Kale is also available on iTunes. If you enjoy listening to our podcast, please leave a review on iTunes. As always, reach out and let us know if …

What's Killing My Kale Episode 26: Swede Midge - a new brassica pest in Minnesota

Author: Natalie Hoidal. Interviewee: Angie Ambourn

In episode 26 of What's Killing My Kale, Natalie talked with Angie Ambourn, supervisor of the MDA's pest detection unit. Angie's team has been studying emerging insects and diseases in community gardens across Minnesota, and they've recently detected Swede Midge in gardens across the Twin Cities. Swede Midge is an important pest of cole crops on the East Cost, and while has not yet caused economic damage on Minnesota farms, it's important for producers to keep an eye out and anticipate this insect pest in the years to come. 

In part 2 of this episode, we interviewed Yolanda Chen from the University of Vermont about management strategies for organic farms.

You can listen to and download the episode here.What's Killing my Kale is also available on iTunes. If you enjoy listening to our podcast, please leave a review on iTunes. As always, reach out and let us know if there are any topics you'd like us to cove…

Mechanical weed control highlights

Author: Natalie Hoidal, Extension horticulture educator. 

This week I (Natalie) attended a mechanical weed control field day in Eastern Wisconsin. This is an overview of some of the tools that were highlighted and some reflections from the day. One of the most exciting things about mechanical weed control is that these tools are available on multiple scales, and there's a lot of room for mixing and matching. For example, finger weeder is an appropriate tool for a small-scale diversified farm using a two wheel tractor or even a wheel hoe, as well as field crop systems with much larger tractors. You also don't have to choose just one type of attachment - it's often more effective to attach multiple tools to your toolbar to achieve multiple functions (between row weed control, within row, deeper-digging attachments as well as those that just scratch the surface).

General tips for mechanical cultivation

Do it early and often. Mechanical cultivation is most effective when weeds a…