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Showing posts from January, 2019

Buying the best seed for a disease free crop

There are many things to consider when choosing what seed varieties to purchase and where to buy seed from. Which varieties grow well in the environmental conditions on your farm? Which varieties will sell best in your market and which will draw in new customers? It is equally important to consider how the seed you purchase will affect the health of your crop. That great looking variety of squash is not going to sell well if the fruit are covered in soft, rotten spots.

Choice of seed can affect future disease problems on your farm in several different ways.
Plant Disease Resistant Varieties Choosing disease resistant varieties can stop disease before it starts, improving your yield and reducing the time and money spent on managing disease problems. Due to their specific genetic makeup, resistant varieties have the ability to defend itself against plant pathogens.

Resistance is specific to one pathogen or disease. A cucumber variety that is completely resistant to powdery mildew can b…

Getting Licensed to Grow First Kiss™ and SweeTango® Apples

Authors: Annie Klodd, Jim Luby, David Bedford. Farms interested in growing University of Minnesota fruit varieties for the first time often ask good questions about which varieties require licensing, and how to get licensed. We outline that process here for each of the recent UMN apple releases: MN 55 (First Kiss™), Minneiska (SweeTango®), Honeycrisp, Minnewashta (Zestar!®), Frostbite and Wildung (SnowSweet®).

MN 55 (First Kiss™) and Minneiska (SweeTango®) are called "managed varieties." According to the UMN Minnesota Hardy website, this concept is fairly new in the US but is more common abroad. A license is required to grow the trees and sell the fruit, and there is a minimum tree number that must be planted. The goal of managed varieties is to facilitate quality standards in growing practices and site selection, to help maintain consistent high quality in the apples.

In contrast, Honeycrisp, Minnewashta (Zestar!®), Wildung (SnowSweet®), and Frostbite are not considered man…

Using a Flame Weeder in Vegetable and Fruit Crops

Authors: Charlie Rohwer and Annie Klodd. Flame weeders can be a helpful addition to an integrated weed management program in many vegetable and fruit crops. We discuss how a walk-behind propane flame weeder is used at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC) in Waseca, and how growers can incorporate flaming into their own operations.
Uses and advantages of flame weeding Flame weeding is a "thermal" technique that works by killing weeds with heat (not fire). Cell membrane function is disrupted by the heat, either killing the weed or restricting its ability to compete. Multiple models and types are available to fit the scale of the operation, from backpack single-torch models to multi-burner or even tractor-mounted implements. 
Flaming is a relatively non-disruptive tool that is organically approved, does not necessitate herbicide application, and leaves the soil undisturbed. Disturbing soil can enhance weed germination by bringing seeds closer…