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Showing posts from February, 2020

Last chance to register for farmer to farmer gatherings

Author: Natalie Hoidal, University of Minnesota Extension

We are co-hosting three upcoming farmer-to-farmer fruit and vegetable grower gatherings with our partners at SFA. The St. Peter and Floodwood events are happening next week, and the Dassel event will be held in March.

We visited dozens of farms this summer, and consistently heard that farmers need more spaces to gather, compare notes, and learn from one another. This is our first round of pilot events to address this request - we hope to see many of you at them! We realize we are missing large portions of the state; if the events go well this year, our goal is to host more of them in the years to come, and to cover a wider geographic area (we see you Northwest Minnesota!).

If you'd like to attend the St. Peter or Floodwood gatherings, please RSVP by Monday at the latest so that we can make sure we have enough food. RSVP at

We look forward to connecting with you!

Choosing resistant varieties in 2020 for common 2019 diseases

Author: Natalie Hoidal, University of Minnesota Extension

I've had multiple conversations this week with farmers who have told me that after feeling burnt out from last year's growing season, they are starting to feel excited to open their seed catalogs again. This is an exciting time for planning - from routine logistics to big ideas. Maybe you've already ordered your seeds, but if not, consider ordering varieties that are resistant to some of the major diseases we saw in Minnesota over the 2019 growing season.

Before jumping into varieties and diseases, I want to define a couple of concepts and highlight some resources.

Resistant: A plant with resistance has certain characteristics that make pathogens less likely to enter the plant or to reproduce on or in the plant. Sometimes varieties will be labeled as partially or moderately resistant. 

Tolerant: A plant with tolerance can still become infected with a pathogen, but the damage will be less severe than a susceptible plan…

Many Upcoming Events for Fruit and Vegetable Farmers in Minnesota

Performance of Junebearing Strawberry Cultivars in Minnesota in 2018-2019

The University of Minnesota has been conducting annual strawberry variety trials for the last 30 years in Grand Rapids, MN and Morris, MN. The results are presented every January at the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference (now called the Northern Growers and Marketers Conference).

The results of the 2018 and 2019 trials are summarized below. Scroll to the data tables to compare yields, berry weights, stand vigor, and relative winter survival of 15-18 varieties.

Performance of Junebearing Strawberry Cultivars in Minnesota in 2018-2019: Jim Luby  University of Minnesota, Department of Horticultural Science, St. Paul, MN Steve Poppe  University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, MN Keith Mann, Crystal Sucher, Nita Learmont University of Minnesota North Central Research and Outreach Center, Grand Rapids, MN

We gratefully acknowledge The Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Assn for partial financial support AgResource Inc. (www.agres…

Choosing Apple Rootstocks and Ordering Bare Root Plants

One of the most important questions to answer prior to ordering apple bare root plants is "What rootstock should I choose?" 
When you order plants for dwarf or semi-dwarf apple trees, you are selecting not only the apple variety, but also the rootstock that the nursery grafts it onto. Most apple growers order grafted trees rather than doing their own grafting.
Winter is a good time to order bare root plants for apples and other fruit crops. Generally, apple bare root plants must be ordered at least one to two years in advance of the planting season in order to reserve desired varieties and rootstocks. 
This is particularly true if you are planting a large quantity of trees, planting a popular new variety or a rare variety, or require a specific rootstock. Therefore, most orchards planning to plant in 2021 should be making their orders now or earlier.
Selecting Rootstocks  Rootstocks should be chosen based on orchard site characteristics like soil type and climate, as well as…