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Showing posts from February, 2023

How to build a solar dehydrator for produce

Dehydrating produce provides growers with an opportunity to utilize extra produce, and to extend the growing season with value-added products. As part of a project exploring the viability of chile pepper production in MN with Latino farmers, we chose to explore solar dehydrators because many fresh market vegetable farmers have plots in rural areas that are not connected to electricity. We developed a dehydrator that could successfully dehydrate fresh fruits and vegetables, and wrote a guide with instructions. The guide can be accessed here.   

New video: Summer cover crop options for vegetable growers

There are many windows of opportunity to plant a cover crop on a vegetable farm. Two of those windows are in the summer: cover crops can be planted in late spring or early summer, terminated at midsummer, and followed with a late season vegetable crop. Or, they can be planted at midsummer after harvesting an early season vegetable crop. This new video, made in collaboration with the Grossman lab, answers questions like "What are some of the differences in management between a summer cover crop and a fall cover crop?", "Which species should I choose?", and "How will summer cover crops impact vegetable yields?" Check out the video here: 

MDA Seeks Grower Cooperation to Conduct Invasives Disease Survey in High Tunnels

Although every crop has pest and disease problems to deal with, emerging and invasive pests are of great concern because they often do not have natural enemies to keep them in check, and effective management practices may not be known or may not be readily available to growers. As a result, early detection of invasive pests is important so that new infections can be eradicated, or the population can be minimized, and the spread slowed to allow researchers and growers time to prepare management options. Every year, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Pest Detection Unit surveys for emerging and invasive insects and plant pathogens that threaten vegetable and fruit production in Minnesota. These surveys are funded by United States Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Act. As more growers use high tunnels to increase production and protect the crop from weather extremes, the MDA would like to increase the number of high tunnels in our survey to better protect these valuable prod

SWD struggles? Sign up to host parasitoid releases

Marissa Schuh, Integrated Pest Management extension educator  Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) has been wreaking havoc on US berry production for over a decade now. This invasive fruit fly, which lays its eggs in ripe raspberries, strawberries, cherries, and blueberries, causes millions of damage every year. Growers in Minnesota have worked to manage this pest with pesticides (both organic and conventional), changing farm infrastructure, picking more often, and cooling fruit.  Even with these measures in place, SWD still regularly damages high value fruit crops.  Ganapsis brasiliensis is only a few millimeters in size. Photo by Matthew L. Buffington, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Systematic Entomology Laboratory.  Ganapsis brasiliensis : Tiny wasp, big potential  Ganapsis brasiliensis (GB) is a parasitoid wasp native to Asia that showed up in the Pacific northwest on its own.  These wasps are small and solitary, and the driving force in their life

Selecting herbicides for spring application in fruit crops

Photo: Reading the Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide to find the right herbicide for a new strawberry field.   Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production    I received a good question in my email inbox this week. The grower asked (I am paraphrasing):  What herbicides can I spray before planting strawberries this spring? And how long before planting should I spray them? This grower is planting three acres and is aware that the field already has a large weed population. With that large of a space, they cannot only rely on hand- or mechanical weeding without risking significant weed competition with the plants. Therefore herbicides are the most economically sustainable solution in this case.  To answer questions about pesticide recommendations, I always direct Minnesota growers to the Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide. It includes herbicide recommendation tables for strawberries (and the other major fruit crops of the Midwest). We like this resource for a