142 articles tagged "Vegetable Crops - General".

This is the final issue of the Vegetable Crops Hotline (VCH) for 2017. Now is the time for subscribers who receive a paper copy in the mail to renew. A renewal form is included with this issue. Note that we provide an up-to three years’ subscription of VCH with a reduced price. You can also sign-up for Veggie Texts with the same form. Email subscribers will remain on the subscription list for VCH as long as the email address works. Email subscribers will need to send us an email or call us to sign-up for Veggie Texts. An Indiana Vegetable Grower Association (IVGA) membership form is included here too. IVGA membership no longer automatically includes the VCH subscription. You need to indicate you would like to subscribe the VCH on the membership form. Thank you very much for your support of VCH. If you have any suggestions, ideas, comments, please do not hesitate to[Read More…]

Farmers markets are a centerpiece of local food systems. These markets connect farmers with consumers and provide important economic benefits. While Indiana farmers can take advantage of the opportunities from selling directly to consumers, they face a dearth of information regarding pricing and marketing strategies. Information about pricing and product quality requirements are generally available for farmers who produce enough volume to enter wholesale markets. Larger farmers selling wholesale can access these weekly reports to define their marketing strategies, assess investment in new technologies, and assure profitability. On the other hand, Indiana’s small farmers have faced a lack of pricing and sales information regarding Indiana’s 155 farmer’s markets. Thus, Indiana farmers have had to rely on farmers market prices from neighboring states or walk down the market aisles to define prices, assess potential profitability, and determine market feasibility. The Horticulture Business Extension Program at Purdue University team started collecting fruit[Read More…]

Winter is the best time to recharge. In the last issue of this years’ Vegetable Crops Hotline newsletter, I would like to highlight a few free webinar resources that I found very useful in the past season. Hopefully, you can also benefit from them, and have a productive winter. eOrganic webinars http://articles.extension.org/pages/25242/webinars-by-eorganic A lot of great information related to organic production, including using biofungicides, biostimulants and biofertilizers to boost crop productivity and help manage vegetable diseases; Management options for striped cucumber beetle in organic cucurbits; Impacts of the food safety modernization act on diversified organic vegetable farms, and a lot more. Commercial Horticulture Webinars by Alabama Cooperative Extension http://www.aces.edu/anr/beginningfarms/webinararchive.php The webinar series cover topics including irrigation, greenhouse crop production, plant disease management, insect pest management, weed management and more. Vegetable webinars by Michigan State University Extension http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/beginning_farmer_webinar_series/vegetable_webinars The webinar series target for beginning farmers, topics include cover crops, season extension, plasticulture,[Read More…]

In the last two months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released several communications dealing with the Produce Safety Rule (PRS). The following is a brief summary of those communications: Guidance On September 5, FDA released Guidance for Industry: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption: What You Need to Know About the FDA Regulation – Small Entity Compliance Guide. This is a compliance guide, prepared by FDA, to assist small entities in complying with the PSR. Copies of the document may be downloaded at https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ucm574281.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery. Testing of Agricultural Water On September 11, FDA announced that it had determined that the following water testing methods are “scientifically valid” and “at least equivalent” to the method of analysis (EPA Method 1603) in §112.151(a) in accuracy, precision, and sensitivity: Method 1103.1 – Escherichia coli ( coli) in Water by Membrane Filtration Using membrane-Thermotolerant Escherichia[Read More…]

The new SafeProduceIN website is now live and may be accessed at www.SafeProduceIN.com. SafeProduceIN is a collaboration between Purdue Extension, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and the Indiana State Department of Health. The purpose of the collaboration is to assist Indiana produce growers with implementation of the Produce Safety Rule.  The new website will serve as a one-stop website where growers can submit produce food safety related questions, access food safety and FSMA resources, and register for trainings.

Figure 2. Demonstration soil solarization in a high tunnel.

Soil solarization can be used as a tool for soil disinfestation. It is accomplished by covering moist soil with transparent polyethylene film for 4 to 6 weeks in the summer. During this period, soils are heated to temperatures that are lethal to many soil pathogens, nematodes and weed seeds. This summer we conducted a demonstration trial in one of the high tunnels at Southwest Purdue Ag Center. The high tunnel was divided into three parts that were covered with 6-mil plastic, 1.5-mil plastic, and no plastic. The 6-mil plastic is the old covering of the high tunnel, and the 1.5-mil plastic was purchased from a paint store. Air temperature and soil temperature at the depth of 12 inches were recorded. We saw little difference between temperatures of the soils covered with 6-mil plastic and 1.5-mil plastic, which indicated that the old coverings of high tunnels are as good as thin[Read More…]

Figure 1. Odd pricing used by farmers selling at the Lafayette (Indiana) Farmers Market.

This publication is the second part of a series of publications that aim to help farmers selling at farmers markets and other local markets. Below we offer information on price determination and pricing strategies for farmers markets. The importance of understanding pricing information Pricing is probably the single most important driver of farm profitability and long-term sustainability; yet it tends be one of the least controlled factors by farmers. The price that you tend to set for their produce represents the monetary value of a product. In economic terms, price reflects how much the consumer values your produce, which depends on internal (produce quality, the farm’s image, production yield, credit terms) and external (competitors, consumers’ preferences, seasonality) factors. A study by Darby et al. (2008) found that consumers prefer locally grown over regional or U.S. grown, and are willing to pay almost twice as much for local products. For example,[Read More…]

Farmers markets continue to grow in number and locations. According to the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS), there are currently 8,702 farmers markets in the United States, an increase of almost 400 percent since 1994 (USDA-AMS, 2017). The USDA-AMS directory of farmers markets reported 191 farmers markets in Indiana by August 2017: 129 summer and 62 winter markets. Indiana farmers markets vastly differ in size: markets may occupy a few stalls to several city blocks. For example, the Broad Ripple Farmers Market is an 80-vendor market in Indianapolis and is considered one of the biggest farmers market in Indiana. Depending on the location, summer market season is anytime between mid-March until mid-November, while the winter season tends to be between November and March. Winter and summer markets offer vastly different produce choices. Winter markets usually offer less produce and the majority of the sales are spinach, kale,[Read More…]

Figure 1. Fertilizers form insoluble precipitations that clog drip emitters.

When mixing fertilizers, it is important to check fertilizer compatibility before application. If incompatible fertilizers are mixed, they form insoluble precipitations that can clog drip emitters and damage sprayers used to apply foliar fertilizers (Figure 1.). This article discusses a few scenarios for which special attention should be paid on the solubility of mixed fertilizers. Scenario 1. A grower is using 20-20-20, a complete fertilizer to fertigate tomatoes. To prevent blossom end rot, he decided to add calcium nitrate in his fertigation program. However, problems may be caused by the application of these two fertilizers.  The reason is that calcium from calcium nitrate and phosphate from ammonium phosphate in the complete fertilizer may form calcium phosphate, which is insoluble in water. Scenario 2. A soil test indicates that tomato plants are low in magnesium. Epson salt (magnesium sulfate) is recommended to correct magnesium deficiency. The grower should avoid applying Epson[Read More…]

When we first began working in high tunnels about 8 years ago, most of the popular literature said that the tunnels would provide protection from most insect pests, other than the usual greenhouse pests like aphids and mites. What we found very quickly is that that information was untrue. We found very high populations of a variety of insect pests within our high tunnels. Caterpillars of various types seem to be especially problematic in high tunnels. Our theory is that the moths fly into the tunnel and can’t figure out how to escape, so the females just lay their eggs on the crop they can reach. The key to managing these caterpillars is regular scouting and treating early. For the crop you are growing, look for the products recommend in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for caterpillars, then check Table 16 on page 45 to see if it can be[Read More…]

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