Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2023

Weekly vegetable update 5/31/2023

Authors: Natalie Hoidal , Marissa Schuh , Shane Bujega , Anthony Adams Fields dried out enough for a very productive week of planting. This update includes reminders about early season insect management, an overview of quackgrass and crabgrass management, reminders about herbicide drift, and some miscellaneous observations about snakes and ants in vegetable fields. Crop updates Asparagus: Hot weather is really going to push spears to grow quickly. Keep up with irrigation if possible, and remember to stop harvest when spears are pencil sized. If you’re seeing asparagus beetle pressure, review When and How to Use Insecticides for Asparagus Beetles . Tomatoes: Some tomatoes are looking great and some are looking pretty rough. Many people had to hold their tomatoes a bit longer than expected, leading to rootbound plants that were light stressed, and prone to water stress. Paired with high temperatures and limited water last week, we’re seeing some sunburnt tomatoes, and plants that

Worker safety and morale on vegetable farms

As seasonal employees begin working over the next couple of weeks, make sure you're following best practices to prevent heat stress and keep employee morale high. This post highlights best practices for acclimatizing workers to hot weather, and a new report about what diversified vegetable farm employees value in a workplace.

When and How to Use Insecticides for Asparagus Beetles

  Authors: Marissa Schuh, IPM Extension Educator,   and Annie Klodd. Originally published 2022, updated in 2023. Despite the 90 degree temperatures the southern portions of the state are experiencing, it is still spring, and spring means asparagus, which oftentimes means asparagus beetles.   Asparagus beetles feed on spears and ferns. Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, First Question: Do I actually need to spray? The threshold for asparagus beetles are:  5-10% of plants are infested with adults or larvae 2% of spears have eggs.   Asparagus beetle eggs are laid single-file in a line. Photo: Annie Klodd, UMN Extension.   Second question: What do I spray? Using insecticides in asparagus is a challenge because of the constant picking.  Any product that you do use needs to have a short Pre-Harvest Interval (PHI).  This varies with each product.  For example, Entrust (active ingredient: spinosad) has a 60 day PHI, meaning it could be used on aspara

Weekly vegetable update 5/24/2023

Authors: Natalie Hoidal, Emily Hansen, Quincy Sadowski Fields are beginning to dry out, and the week ahead will be ideal for transplanting. This update includes reminders about early season insect pests and irrigation needs, information about harvesting from new rhubarb plantings, wildfire smoke safety best practices, and tips for keeping transplants healthy when planting is delayed. Crop updates Cole crops: We’ve seen some beautiful early spring cole crops nearing maturity in high tunnels, but field production has mostly been delayed due to wet fields. Cabbage maggots are flying and laying eggs, flea beetles are out, and we’re already seeing diamondback moth feeding. This means growers will need to be extra vigilant about keeping seedlings and small transplants protected from early season insect damage. Row cover is the best-bet for avoiding all three of these insect pests, which all have different types of lifecycles and different management strategies. Diamondback moth larvae and

Insurance and liability considerations for agritourism

Author: guest contributor Jerry Ford, Network Coordinator, Sustainable Farming Association Insurance is very important for all farming operations, but is especially important for agritourism operations that host visitors on this farm. This article details important topics related to insurance for agritourism farms. Image: Cory Ryan This article was not written by an insurance professional or a lawyer. Please note that insurance policies vary across providers, and that agritourism activities like u-pick, farm stays, and tours all have different risks and considerations for insurance and regulations. This article is meant to serve as a starting place, but please reach out to a lawyer or insurance provider for more detailed information as it pertains to your specific agritourism activities. Before talking about insurance, let's talk about the law. Laws related to liability and agritourism We are fortunate in Minnesota to have a statute that specifically protects those of us involved i

First weekly vegetable update of 2023: 5/17/23

Authors: Natalie Hoidal, Shane Bugeja, Quincy Sadowski   Following a slow, wet spring, the growing season is finally picking up. Our team of educators has been visiting farms across the state, and in general, everything is extremely delayed due to wet soils. Some fields are still flooded following heavy rainfall events this week. Nonetheless, we’ve seen plenty of exciting things in high tunnels and greenhouses already. Since things are so delayed, we’re foregoing our usual series of crop-by-crop updates this week and instead sharing some general observations. Soil testing reflections Many of you have likely heard about our 100 farms project: our team is visiting 100 vegetable farms this month to complete a series of chemical, biological, and physical soil tests with the goal of developing a better baseline understanding of MN vegetable farm and high tunnel soils. We’ve learned a lot already just from observations, and we’re excited to see what the test results show us. A few key observ