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Showing posts from April, 2020

What's Killing My Kale Season 3 Episode 7: Apple Fertility for Strong Fruit Set

In Season 3, episode 7 of What's Killing My Kale, Annie talked to Dr. Amaya Atucha, an assistant professor and Fruit Crop Extension Specialist at University of Wisconsin-Madison, about what apple growers should do in the next few weeks to maintain good fertility and fruit set on their apple trees. We also discussed the best ways to add organic matter to an orchard, and when those nutrients will become available.
Topics: 
Applying boron and zinc, and N-P-KWhy boron and zinc are important for fruit setWhen to start applying foliar calciumHow to decide between foliar and soil application of various nutrientsHow best to use compost and bark mulch in the orchardPreventing herbicide injury to fruit tree trunksClick here to download and listen to the episode directly. You can also listen to all of our episodes on Apple Podcasts.

COVID-19 response plan template and FAQ for fruit and vegetable farms

Authors: Natalie Hoidal, Extension Educator, Local Foods & Vegetable Production and Annalisa Hultberg, Extension Educator, Food Safety

We've received numerous questions over the last few weeks about how farms should respond to COVID-19. While there's plenty of information floating around about COVID-19 in general, applying this information and guidance to the day to day operations of fruit and vegetable farming has been a challenge. With this in mind, we've developed a workbook that farmers can use to create a plan that fits your unique operation.

This plan is essentially a series of prompts to help you identify risk across your farm, with lists of suggested practices you can use to minimize risks. You may use this template (after adapting it to your operation) as your farm's official COVID-19 response plan, or use the questions in it to inform your plan.

None of the suggested practices are required. If a practice doesn't fit your operation, simply delete it. We…

Determining remaining CSA shares available for Spring 2020

Shared from Karen Lanthier, Minnesota Grown Program
Minnesota Grown and MDA want to understand how many farms offering CSA subscriptions have reached capacity and how many are still seeking customers. This will help us promote you better and promote where shares are still available! If you indicate that you are willing, we will also share your farm information with other organizations working to match Minnesotans to CSA shares this spring. All CSA share types (produce, meat, flowers, etc.) are welcome to share.

Fill out the (very brief!) survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GP2XQ3N

- Minnesota Grown and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

New resource: Weekly lunch chats with Midwest vegetable experts

Author: Natalie Hoidal, Extension Educator
In-person farm visits, field days, and other in-season educational opportunities canceled for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, our team is working to create new ways to keep in touch with growers to provide updates on nutrient management, insect and disease issues, and more throughout the season. While our Minnesota fruit & veg team is small, we are connected to some great networks of researchers and Extension educators across the Midwest and Great Lakes region. One of those groups is the Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group. 
Together with the GLVWG, we will be co-hosting a weekly lunch time 30 minute discussion every Wednesday about a current topic or issue relevant to vegetable farmers. These discussions will feature a 5 minute insect and disease update from a couple of states including Minnesota; you'll be able to see what insects and diseases to anticipate in the coming week, as well as a preview of pest issues that are …

May 14: Growing Organic Day Neutral Strawberries

Please join us on May 14 at 12:00pm for a lunchtime webinar on growing day neutral strawberries. This webinar is great for:
Growers who are considering adding day neutral strawberries to their farm Growers who are planting them for the first time this seasonCurrent day neutral growers who would like to get some questions answered  We will cover multiple production topics from variety selection to harvest, and will have an organic emphasis when discussing pest management and fertility.
Speakers:Courtney Tchida - Community Outreach Manager, Minnesota State Horticultural SocietyAnnie Klodd - University of Minnesota Extension Educator for Fruit Production Registration: The webinar is free, but registration is required. Click here to register for the webinar.

Register for Berry Grower Webinars and Q&A Sessions

Please join us for two lunchtime webinars and Q&A sessions for berry growers this season. The first event is May 27 at 1:00pm. We will have 4 quick updates on insects, diseases, weeds, and nutrition, and then have 20-30 minutes of open Q&A time.

These webinars are jointly hosted by UMN Extension and UW-Madison Extension. Speakers include Dr. Christelle Guedot (UW), Dr. Jed Colquhoun (UW), Annie Klodd (UMN) and Dr. Amaya Atucha (UW).

See the flyer below and click on the registration links for more information.
May 27 @ 1:00pm CDT: z.umn.edu/Berries1 Berry Season Prep: Insects, Diseases, Weeds, and Nutrition Aug. 12 at 1:00pm CDT: z.umn.edu/Berries2 Spotted Wing Drosophila; Prepping Strawberry Beds For Winter

Brown marmorated stink bug in MN apple orchards and varietal impacts

Author: Hailey Shanovich, UMN Entomology graduate student
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive insect to the U.S. with a wide range of host crops, including many fruit crops like apples and grapes. BMSB has been detected in 46 states within the U.S., causing agricultural and nuisance problems throughout the eastern states and west coast (A map of BMSB’s status in the U.S. can be found here). Agricultural problems caused by BMSB are related to their feeding directly on fruits, nuts, pods and seeds.

Since being first detected in Ramsey County, Minnesota in 2010, the population has continued to rise and spread in the state. State-wide trapping efforts by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) since 2014 show that BMSB populations have been spreading to agricultural areas (Fig. 1) with BMSB caught in traps at apple orchards in Ramsey, Washington, Dakota, Chisago, Scott, Goodhue, Nicollet and Carver counties as of 2019 (A map of the BMSB detections in Minnesota can be…

Webinar recording: What to Do Now in the Vineyard - Bud Swell

The recording of the webinar from April 22, 2020 entitled "What to Do Now in the Vineyard - Bud Swell" is now available. You can watch it here or open on Youtube.

Topics: 
2:49-12:24: Flea beetles, cutworm, and phylloxera (Dr. Christelle Guedot, UW-Madison Extension)

13:06-22:15: Early season disease management (Annie Klodd, UMN Extension)

23:00-35:41: Weed management (Jed Colquhoun, UW-Madison Extension)

35:40-47:15: Grapevine fertility (Amaya Atucha, UW-Madison Extension)

47:17-105:52: Q&A (moderated by Matt Clark, UMN Extension)

We have planned a series of additional webinars for grape and berry growers throughout the season. Please stay tuned, as we will release the list shortly.


Troubleshooting seedling issues

Author: Natalie Hoidal, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, Local Foods and Vegetable Production, with input from members of the Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group

While we hope your seedlings are healthy and vigorous, some of you are likely seeing some common problems such as seedling collapse, or tall, spindly plants. This guide is meant to help you troubleshoot issues.  Tall, spindly seedlings Are your seedlings looking leggy? “Legginess” in seedlings is caused by low light, as plants stretch to reach a light source. Eventually this will result in weak stems, and the plant will struggle to support itself. If you’re not already using supplemental lighting, consider adding some. If you have artificial lights already, try moving them closer to the plants or adding more / stronger bulbs.

Light stress can also occur in the germination chamber. Many farms do not provide light in their germination chambers because it’s not necessary for germination. However, the window for certain…

Diagnosing and Managing Fruit Tree Trunk Injuries

Author: Annie Klodd, University of Minnesota Extension Educator - Fruit Production. 

Reviewed by: Dr. Bob Blanchette and Dr. Brett Arenz, UMN Department of Plant Pathology

The Great Lakes Fruit Workers Group contributed research-based information to inform this article.


A number of factors including diseases, herbicide damage, insect/animal activity, and winter injury can all contribute to trunk cankers on fruit trees. To complicate things further, these factors can interact. 

For example, winter injury can cause cracks in the trunk, which pathogens can then enter and infect the tree. Treatment of existing trunk cankers is not always possible, but identifying the cause will lead to determining management steps to prevent it from happening again.
Diagnosing fruit tree trunk cankers Because the causes of trunk cankers are complex, they often cannot be diagnosed reliably by a simple online search or comparing the symptoms to photos. Tree fruit experts, plant pathologists, and Extension educa…

Creepy but Harmless: Grape Aerial Roots

Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production

I receive about 12 calls, texts, and emails throughout the year from grape growers and home gardeners who have spotted a somewhat disconcerting anomaly on their grapevines.

The question usually goes something like this: "Hello Annie, I have found these weird finger-looking things growing out of my vines. What are these? Are they a problem?"

These long, skinny red structures, which grow from the trunks or limbs (cordons) of the vines are called grape aerial roots.

Why is my vine producing grape aerial roots? Grape aerial roots, in themselves, are harmless. There is no evidence suggesting that they will impact the health or fruit production of the vine. However, grape aerial roots may actually be a sign from the vine that it is stressed or that it has experienced injury in the recent past.

Eric Stafne, a horticulture professor at Mississippi State University, has written an Extension article describing aer…

Grape Grower Webinars Planned for April 22 and May 13

The University of Minnesota Extension and University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension are teaming up to offer two webinars/Q&A sessions for grape growers in April and May. The goal of these events is to help growers refine their early season vineyard management plan and ask questions. We will focus on key tasks and sprays that must be completed between bud swell and bloom. 
In the first 30 minutes of each webinar, you will hear from UMN and UW experts on topics like insect, disease, and weed management; soil fertility; and other critical vineyard tasks like vine planting technique. The second 30 minutes is reserved for open Question and Answer time. 
April 22 @ 1:00pm CDT: What To Do Now - Grape Bud Swell REGISTER HERE: z.umn.edu/Grape1
May 13 at 1:00pm CDT: What To Do Now - Early Season Fungicides & Planting Grapevines REGISTER HERE:z.umn.edu/Grape2
For more information on the topics that will be covered, please click the registration links above. 
Speakers include Ama…

New Podcast Episodes on Spotted Wing Drosophila

We have just released 2-episode series on our podcast, What's Killing My Kale. These two episodes discuss spotted wing drosophila (SWD), including organic management recommendations and the economics of managing SWD. 

In Season 3 Episode 5 of What's Killing My Kale, Annie talked with Gigi Digiacomo, a research fellow in the Department of Applied Economics. They discussed Digiacomo's recent findings about how spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) has impacted the Minnesota berry industry, and weighed the economics of SWD management strategies. 

In Season 3 Episode 6, Annie talked with Dr. Mary Rogers, an Assistant Professor studying organic food production systems in the Department of Horticulture. They discussed recent research findings from Dr. Rogers team, as well as other farms and researchers around the country, about the best ways to manage spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) organically. 
What's Killing my Kale is also available on Apple Podcasts and FruitEdge. If you enjoy liste…

What's Killing My Kale Season 3 Episode 5: The Economics of Spotted Wing Drosophila Management

In Season 3 Episode 5 of What's Killing My Kale, Annie talked with Gigi Digiacomo, a research fellow in the Department of Applied Economics. They discussed Digiacomo's recent findings about how spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) has impacted the Minnesota berry industry, and weighed the economics of SWD management strategies. 

You can listen to and download the episode here.What's Killing my Kale is also available on Apple Podcasts and FruitEdge. 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 cover in future episodes!

What's Killing My Kale Season 3 Episode 6: An Update on Organic Spotted Wing Drosophila Management

In Season 3 Episode 6 of What's Killing My Kale, Annie talked with Dr. Mary Rogers, an Assistant Professor studying organic food production systems in the Department of Horticulture. They discussed recent research findings from Dr. Rogers team, as well as other farms and researchers around the country, about the best ways to manage spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) organically. 

You can listen to and download the episode here.What's Killing my Kale is also available on Apple Podcasts and FruitEdge. 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 cover in future episodes!