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Showing posts from October, 2022

Hot water treating seeds: what is it and when to do it

Marissa Schuh, horticulture Integrated Pest Management Extension educator, and Natalie Hoidal, vegetable Extension educator As farmer's market and CSAs wrap up, attentions turn to relaxation.  This is also a time of year when some farms choose to save and hot water treat seeds.  Is hot water treatment right for your farm? A sous vide helps keep water at a steady temperature. It is the most advanced piece of technology needed to use hot water to treat seeds. Photo: Marissa Schuh, UMN Extension. If you’ve been disappointed by seedborne diseases when saving your own seeds, hot water seed treatment is one way you can reduce the chance that these diseases show up. Diseases that are thought to be seedborne include bacterial spot , bacterial canker , and black rot, among others. This process needs to be performed very carefully, as you can kill seeds if directions aren’t followed to the letter. The Ohio State University has good videos and fact sheets about how to hot water treat your

Two opportunities for growers interested in wholesale markets

Are you a farmer who sells produce? Are you thinking of selling wholesale? Have you tried selling wholesale and think it might work for you? UMN Extension and our partners at MISA, Renewing the Countryside, and the UMN horticulture department have two opportunities to support growers:  1. Wholesale Readiness Training program for produce farmers: Sign up to join a regional farmer group with in-depth training, coaching, and one-on-one assistance to build skills and develop individual plans to launch or expand a wholesale produce enterprise. Regional farmer groups will form in January 2023 and the project will continue through June 2024. Farmers who complete the training and develop written enterprise plans will be eligible for $500 mini-grants to support their transition into or expansion of wholesale sales. This training is for growers with at least one year experience growing produce for sale as a farm owner or manager. Participants should be interested in pursuing wholesale production

3.5 million in new Farm to School funding from MDA might mean more schools seeking local products soon

Through a Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and with the support of the Cargill Foundation, the MDA anticipates awarding nearly $3.5 million to reimburse school districts for purchasing Minnesota grown and raised foods used in school meal programs. Who can apply for these funds?  Schools can apply for the First Bite Grant (up to $10,000) or Full Tray Grant (up to $100,000) to purchase Minnesota-grown and - raised foods. Equipment Funds (up to $35,000, 1:1 match required) are also available to help schools purchase kitchen equipment that will support Farm to School initiatives.  Public or private schools or school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and serve food to K-12 students are eligible to apply, and the MDA encourages school districts serving sovereign tribal nations to apply. Schools may apply for $2,500 – $100,000. There is no cash match requirement. The grant period is approx

Cleaning up day neutral strawberry beds in St. Paul

Authors: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production; Matthew Gullickson, Graduate Research Assistant - Horticulture The first freeze marks the end of day neutral strawberry season. At this point, you can either let the plants grow a second season or remove them, rotating in a different crop next year. The dominant recommendation is to grow these as annuals. Therefore, Mary Rogers' research group said goodbye to the plants in their research trials this week at the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station in St. Paul. The organic student research farm is small and relies on hand-labor to get things done, just like a small CSA or market farm. With an average of 7 people helping consistently, it took 4 hours and 30 minutes to clean out the plot (270 minutes * 7 people = 1,890 minutes or 31.5 labor hours). The planting consisted of twenty-five 100 ft rows and 2900 strawberry plants total.  The 1/3 acre of organic day neutral strawberries were planted on alternati

Use FarmLink to help with farm transition

Author: Karl Hakanson, Extension Educator - Hennepin County FarmLink is a tool to help retiring farmers find buyers or renters, and to help beginning farmers find land to transition into.   The MDA, along with a group of reviewers, has updated the FarmLink online tool.  It  is a list of Minnesota farm properties for sale or rent and is designed to connect retiring farmers with prospective farmers, and experienced farmers with beginning farmers.  One of the things we worked on was to improve the urban and small farm relevance of the tool. The more it is used the more useful it will become.  Check it out: business-dev-loans-grants/ farmlink Your MN Dept. of Ag. has a number of programs for beginning farmers: mda-resources-emerging-farmers  

When to mulch strawberries this fall

  Author: Annie Klodd, University of Minnesota Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production The point of spreading straw over strawberries in the fall is to protect them from harsh winter temperatures. Straw does not need to go on this early, but rather growers should make plans now to do it in a couple of weeks. In fact, straw application must wait until after strawberry plants go dormant for the season. Otherwise, they will be weakened by attempting to grow under the straw. In Minnesota, dormancy usually happens sometime in November.    When strawberry plants are dormant: A very general rule is to apply mulch once temperatures dip below 20 degrees F, as long as the plants have had a chance to go dormant and acclimate to late fall temperatures. A more precise rule is to wait until the soil temperature has remained at or below 40 degrees F at 4 inches depth for at least 3 consecutive days. The presence of October snows might tempt a strawberry grower to apply straw now, but