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Updated USDA hardiness zoning maps

Madeline Wimmer, Extension Educator, Fruit Crops Images: The new 2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for Minnesota (left) and previous from 2012 (right).  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zone map is a tool based on average annual extreme winter temperatures that can help growers determine which plants can survive the winter and thrive in a given region. Zones are represented by a number scale from 1-13, separated by 10°F increments, with larger numbers being warmer than smaller numbers. Each zone is then divided into two half zones, ‘a’ and ‘b’, with ‘a’ having 5°F colder average extreme winter temperatures than ‘b’.    Both plant species and cultivars (i.e., cultivated variety) vary in zone hardiness. For example the wine grape cultivar ‘Petite Pearl’ is listed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to be hardy in Zone 4 regions, whereas ‘Concord’ should be grown in Zone 5 or higher and will have lower chances of surviving in colder hardines
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Winter climate resilience workshops for fruit and vegetable growers

Extension is partnering with the Land Stewardship Project this winter for a series of climate resilience trainings. We're offering a range of formats including a short webinar, a one time in-person training, and a more in-depth cohort program.   Online Farmer Forum: Exploring Water Management on Vegetable Farms Join Jody and Mike Lenz of Threshing Table Farm and Dana Swanson from NRCS to explore creative ways to manage water in our changing climate. This forum will include a short presentation followed by questions, ideas and solutions from attendees. December 12 th 12:00-1:30pm Register Here: In-Person Training: Introduction to Climate Resilience for Farmers Join LSP and UMN Extension to build resilience on your farm through examining local climate trends, identifying risk and planning adaptations for mitigation. Additionally, there will be several farmers presenting on the climate resilience strategies they are implementing

University of Minnesota Viticulture and Enology Meet-and-Greet

Madeline Wimmer, Extension Educator, fruit production The Grape Breeding and Enology program members are thrilled for this opportunity to sit down for an informal chat with the Minnesota grower community to hear about your needs and priorities when it comes to UMN grape research.  Image: La Crescent wine and grape clusters- a cultivar originally bred and released by the University of Minnesota. Meet Grape Breeding & Enology team members,  including Dr. Soon Li Teh (new program leader and Extension Specialist), Madeline Wimmer (new statewide fruit Extension Educator), John Thull (Vineyard Manager), and Drew Horton (Enology Specialist). Current and aspiring grape growers, winemakers, homeowners, and grape or wine enthusiasts are all welcome to attend our 2023 Viticulture and Enology meet-and-greet! Date : December 4th, 2023  Time : 3pm-6pm Location : UMN Horticulture Research Center located at 600 Arboretum Blvd in Excelsior, MN 55331 (behind the apple house) Registration : This even

Join us November 14th for the Annual Pumpkin Grower Meetup!

University of Minnesota Extension will host their annual Pumpkin Grower Meetup on Tuesday November 14th from 1:00 - 3:00pm on Zoom.   Speakers and topics include... Charlie Rohwer, researcher at Southern Research and Outreach Center will present results of an ongoing experiment investigating 4 species of clover interseeded between pumpkin rows  Ryan Pesch, University of Minnesota Extension agricultural business management educator will present on marketing and record keeping techniques. Pumpkin grower  Rod Elmstrand will share his years of wisdom on cultural practices for successful pumpkin harvests.  Extension educators, Natalie Hoidal, Marissa Schuh and Madeline Wimmer will be available to talk about weed management, marketing and soil health as it relates to pumpkin growing in the state. There will be some time to connect with other pumpkin growers around the state on grower-led topics in a group discussion. Register for the Annual Pumpkin Grower Meetup here:

Potatoes: post-harvest disorders and handling

Author: Natalie Hoidal From hollow heart to soft rot to freeze damage, we've seen a whole host of potato issues this fall. This article provides an overview of these issues and management tips for each. Hollow heart Image: Ben Phillips, Hollow heart, the formation of an irregularly shaped hole in the center of potatoes, is caused by alternating periods of rapid and slow growth. We see this occur when we have excessive moisture followed by dry periods, and when soil fertility is not managed well. Often after really wet weather we welcome drier periods, but it's important to monitor soil moisture and irrigate when necessary to prevent symptoms like hollow heart. Hollow heart does not affect the flavor or safety of potatoes, but customers who purchase potatoes with this condition may think that something is wrong and throw them out, or choose to purchase from someone else in the future. Tips for managing hollow heart: If you have some hollow heart in thi

Harvesttime rots: When is it bad luck? When is it time for different management?

Marissa Schuh , IPM Extension Educator As we reach the end of the growing season, pumpkin and winter squash are being picked, stored, and bought by customers.  Fruits that are a little (or a lot) off can be found in every field, but when should you worry? Some issues are a fact of growing cucurbits, and pop up on different farms every year, others may change your crop management significantly. Diagnosis of fruit rots, especially at this point in the season (and a few rainy days!) can be tricky. Once the fruit is compromised, bacteria and fungi from the environment want to join in on the decay.  While getting fruit into the diagnostic clinic is tricky, if you are seeing widespread damage, it is a good idea to make a trip to St. Paul. Fruit appears water soaked after a cold night? Think frost damage Nights are getting cooler, and remember that low spots in the field can have extra cold microclimates. If you are seeing pumpkins and squash, either in the field or waiting for sale, with wa

On-farm research collaboration opportunity: legume cover crops in high tunnels

Are you looking for ways to manage fertility in your high tunnel with less reliance on purchased composts and manures? Are you an organic farmer or a farmer considering transitioning to organic in the Upper Midwest or Northeast regions of the United States? Consider participating in our multi-farm collaborative trial! The Grossman lab at the University of Minnesota and the Sideman lab at the University of New Hampshire have been studying bet-bet cover crop options for high tunnels for the last few years, and we're now ready to start trialing these systems with networks of farmers. We're looking for farmers who want to try cover crops in a small portion of their high tunnel alongside a communtity of growers trialing the same practices. If you participated in our broccoli trial, this will be similar.  There are two ways to get involved: Participate in a focus group Take part in an on-farm trial in 2024. Participants will receive seed and guidelines to try “best bet” legumes and t