Some of our watermelon fields may be low in sulfur
For the last 3 out of 5 years (yes I know, but I get busy with other things) I have been looking at whether or not adding extra sulfur to watermelon is worth it. I was asked a similar question from a couple of eastern shore growers awhile back and I said I was not sure and I’d look into it.
Why so little yellow shoulders in tomatoes this year?
Normally at this time of year, I’d be writing about how bad yellow shoulders and other fruit ripening problems are in Maryland tomatoes. But this has been a strange season with May weather in March and March weather in May, which caused a great deal of catfacing problems this year.
Other Fruit Problems with 2016 Tomato Crop
Many of our tomatoes this summer look pretty ugly and is what I’d like to talk about this week. Some of the ugliness is due to high levels of gold fleck (Fig. 1). Gold fleck is caused by calcium crystals being deposited in the epidermal layers of the fruit when certain varieties are
Get Ready for the Holiday Sales Season Now
Mastering Marketing - September 2016
While the holiday season may seem a ways off, the line between when customers shop and when they take offense to holiday décor in stores is becoming a blurry one. The National Retail Federation reports that every year, about 40 percent of customers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween(1).
Evaluating Grape Samples For Ripeness
It is critical to properly monitor and assess the fruit characteristics and maturity to make the appropriate management, harvesting, and winemaking decisions to produce the best quality grapes and wine possible. The last “Timely Viticulture” described how to take a proper sample that best represents the actual ripeness stage of the variety in that vineyard.
Some early varieties in many vineyards are just starting to bloom. This is a critical time for taking tissue/petiole samples to assess the nutritional status of your vines. The following are some timely considerations.
Catfacing Problems in Tomatoes
There have been some reports from growers and educators of several sets of tomato fruit with catfacing or that are deformed (Fig. 1). Catfacing results in fruit with deep indentations in the blossom end or fruit with significant distortions. It is thought to be caused by a problem during the formation of the flower that results in the fruit not developing normally.
Potato Leaf Hoppers on Hops
I do not usually look at hops very much as only a few farms have them, but they are becoming a bit more common in the last 10 years (Fig. 1). Visiting two farms withy hops I saw marginal leaf damage (Fig. 2) on some leaves (found some thrips too) and then marginal leaf scorch on others (Fig. 3).
In the past I have talked about several different problems with garlic, be it mites, nematodes, fungal or bacterial diseases. However, this year I am seeing something different that I will just call ‘garlic viruses’ that may have been there in past years, but is more prominent now for some reason.
PSI, PMT, and the Tier System: What You Need to Know
The Phosphorus Site Index (PSI) and the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) are tools used to determine the risk for phosphorus runoff into nearby waterways. The PSI has been used for many years on fields with a Fertility Index Value (FIV) of 150 or greater. This is used to determine the safety of applying manure or phosphorus-containing fertilizers on fields with an FIV-P of 150 or greater.
Mites (Two Types) Found in Strawberries
While visiting some strawberry fields over the last few weeks, I ran into a few areas that had two spotted spider mite (TSSM) feeding. These were mostly in fields that had been using row cover. Spider mites Tetranychus urticae are well adapted to high-temperatures and can complete their life cycle in as little as 7 days when temperatures are > 80º F.
Allium (Onion) Leafminer
The allium leafminer Phytomyza gymnostoma (also known as the onion leafminer) has recently been detected and confirmed from infested leeks in Lancaster County, PA. This is the first confirmed infestation in the Western Hemisphere.
Pre-sidedress Nitrate Testing: Crucial for Corn!
Soil nitrogen levels are very important for crop health and yields, especially when growing corn grain or corn silage. Fertilizer recommendations that are generated for a field that had a previous forage legume crop or manure application assume a significant nitrogen contribution from the previous crop or manure application.
Who’s the Boss
Mastering Marketing - April 2016
A primary attribute often given for being self-employed is “I’m my own boss.” But, business guru Peter Drucker stated, “The purpose of a business is to have a satisfied customer”. So, whether you’re a farmer, producer, or other type of small business owner; who’s the boss in your business? Is it you, your customers, or both?
Marketing— The Root of All Profits
Mastering Marketing - March 2016
I’ve written, taught, and executed marketing ideas and plans for some time now. But, after pages and pages of text and theories, I’ve found marketing really boils down to a couple key concepts executed over three similar categories. And, marketing is truly the root of all profits in any business.
Laundering Clothing After Pesticide Applications
After completing a pesticide application, it’s important to follow the correct procedures for removing and cleaning personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing. While you should always read and follow any cleaning directions on the pesticide label, most product labels do not give specific information for washing clothes.
Toxic Plant Profile: Rhododendron and Azalea
Accidental poisoning of livestock is statistically most likely to occur from ingestion of plants in pasture or hay, but poisoning can also occur from ingestion of ornamental plants. One common ornamental in our area – rhododendron – is toxic to livestock and can be fatal.
Toxic Plant Profile: Black Walnut
Black walnut trees are considered toxic but are unique from most other toxic plants. They are safe to all livestock except horses, and horses are generally only affected by shavings made from the tree. Black walnut trees are, however, toxic to some species of plants if growing within a certain range of the tree.
Preparing for Winter on the Farm
Winter is coming! Are you ready? While we can’t predict whether it will be a mild winter or a harsh one, now is the time to prepare for the possibility of severe winter storms. Here are a few tips to help keep things running smoothly in the event that Mother Nature presents us with challenges.
Manure: Dollars and Cents
Have you ever wondered how much a manure application is worth for your operation? Manure and other organic products have an economic value because they provide nutrients for crops and save money on fertilizer expense. However, assigning an exact dollar value can be a bit complicated.