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How can UMN support agritourism in Minnesota? Let us know!

What comes next for agritourism in Minnesota? University of Minnesota Extension hopes to gain insights from a survey targeting current and prospective producers in agritourism. Agritourism – the intersection of agriculture and tourism – offers an ever-growing range of options to those seeking to open their farms and property to visitors. “We really want to understand their needs and available resources,” says DeeDee LeMier, Extension educator in community economics and tourism. Across Minnesota, agritourism is following both time-tested paths such as pick-your-own berries as well as innovations like yurt camping on farms. Food- and event-based agritourism like pizza farms and farmstead weddings are growing popular, too. Resources and background on agritourism are available through a multi-agency effort underway in Minnesota. Strategizing on behalf of agritourism are: Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Health, Explore Minnesota Tourism, Renewing the Countryside
Recent posts

New web page: Interpreting your compost report

Compost can be a valuable source of organic matter for farmers. It can improve the soil’s ability to absorb and store water as well as hold plant nutrients. Applied at heavy rates, compost can also contribute nutrients and salts to the soil. When using large volumes of compost, we recommend testing it in a lab first. These tests can help you to make informed decisions about nutrient management and avoid salinity issues. If buying in bulk from a composting facility, growers should ask the seller for a compost analysis report. It can be difficult to understand how the numbers in your compost report from a laboratory should inform management decisions. Our team developed a new webpage to help growers navigate these reports. Check out the page here.    Photo: Oregon State University, Flickr

Free soil testing for 100 vegetable farms

Extension is offering soil testing in high tunnels and fields at 100 vegetable farms across the state. Participants will receive complimentary soil tests that include a basic soil series (texture, organic matter, pH, phosphorus, potassium), exchangeable Ca, Mg, Na, and K, electrical conductivity, and nitrate. We will conduct a variety of soil health tests at each farm including bulk density, aggregate stability, a count of arbuscular micorrhizal fungi (AMF), and active organic matter. We will also take a water sample from each farm to test for pH and alkalinity. These tests are free and your farm-specific data will not be shared publicly. All data generated from this project will be aggregated, and so your farm will be one data point among 100 farms. Participation is 100% voluntary. Participants will not be paid, but you will be receiving $135 worth of soil analyses. You will also receive complimentary 1:1 feedback on your soil test. All testing will occur during the second half of Apr

Upcoming webinar for farmers looking to sell to schools

Annalisa Hultberg, Extension Educator, food safety Farmers, food hubs, distributors, and other interested partners are invited to attend an informational webinar on March 29th from 2:30 - 3:30 to learn more about the Farm to School Grant Program and how to work with schools.  This webinar is hosted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy. Join to learn more about the Farm to School movement in Minnesota, goals and requirements of this year’s Farm to School grant program, and helpful information on how to successfully connect with and sell to schools.   Join this webinar for farms, food hubs, and distributors to learn about the MDA Farm to School Grant program and how to partner with local schools!  March 29, 2:30-3:30 - Farm to School Grant Connections for Farm, Food Hubs, and Distributors Register here: webinar/register/WN_ Vz0V4C6pTTafbLjT1MsKYw For more information: Kate Seybold,  Regional Marketing Speci

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: 

Weed Control in Pumpkins and Winter Squash

Author: Marissa Schuh , Integrated Pest Management Extension Educator, University of Minnesota Extension. Reviewed by Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production. Originally published April 2021, updated February 15, 2023. With their long season and spreading growth habit, pumpkins often present a weed control challenge.  Here are some important factors and considerations when working to manage weeds in pumpkins and winter squash.  Waterhemp in a pumpkin patch. While a few sporadic weeds may seem insignificant, one average waterhemp plant produces about 250,000 seeds. Photo: Annie Klodd, University of Minnesota Extension. First, know your weeds. This is beyond knowing you have general issues with grasses or broadleaves.  Some cultural techniques and herbicide chemistries are more effective against some weeds than others.  Being familiar with the specific weed issues in the fields you are planting into will help you tailor your weed control program for success.  Th