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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 suscept

Many Upcoming Events for Fruit and Vegetable Farmers in Minnesota

Photo: Grape growers got together for a pruning workshop as the snow melted on March 23, 2019. Photo credit: Dr. Matt Clark. There are many exciting events coming up in the next 2 months for fruit and vegetable farmers in the upper Midwest region! Please join us - we would love to see you. From informal farmer-to-farmer gatherings to 3-day conferences, UMN Extension and our partner organizations want to help you get ready for the 2020 growing season. To find more information on these events, click the links below: Feb. 8: Sustainable Farming Association Annual Conference Feb. 12: Fruit and Vegetable Grower Gathering, St. Peter Feb. 14: Fruit and Vegetable Grower Gathering, Floodwood Feb. 20-22: Minnesota Grape Growers Association Conference, Rochester, MN Feb. 27-29: Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Organic Farming Conference ​​​​​​​March 14: Fruit and Vegetable Grower Gathering, Dassel April 7, 8:30-11:30am: Fruit and Vegetable Production Works

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. Photo: Steve Poppe harvests strawberries at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, MN. Photo: University of Minnesota. 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 Resear

Choosing Apple Rootstocks and Ordering Bare Root Plants

Image: Relative sizes of apple trees grafted onto common apple rootstocks. Source: Washington State University 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