The pandemic of 2020 provided opportunity for specialty producers in Iowa to expand production and sales. But managing risk for specialty production is critical to capitalizing on new market opportunities.
Many commercial growers and home gardeners often confront the issue of Blossom End Rot (BER) in their tomato, pepper, and eggplant. The BER is a physiological disorder caused by a localized calcium deficiency in the blossom-end of the fruit. It is a physiological disorder and is not caused by fungi, bacteria, or any other living disease microorganisms. Also, BER could also be seen on non-solanaceous crops such as pumpkins, squash, and watermelons.
A personal weather station is simply integrated “tools” that measure weather variables such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction, soil moisture, and leaf wetness. Some are affordable enough to install at your own farm which will give the most accurate representation for the weather in your farm.
For audio versions of this article, see the Small Farm Sustainability Podcast where we discuss return bloom, soil sampling, and interpreting soil reports over three separate podcast. The following discussion represents a snapshot in time as a lot can happen between now and next spring.
On Monday 10 August, 2020 a devastating storm ripped past Iowa. It was unexpected and was a mighty one.Given that we are getting close to the end of the growing season does not mean that we pay less attention to plants that survived the storm. These plants are still actively growing and if properly managed could produce meaningful marketable produce.
A new fact sheet series is available to help specialty crop growers prepare for and respond to possible dicamba and 2,4-D drift. The series provides detailed information on documenting and reacting to drift incidents, preventing and preparing for possible drift damage, and presents an overview of dicamba and 2,4-D drift issues.
Organic producers see an increase in demand for local sales.
Over the past two decades, scientists and beekeepers alike observed drastic declines in bee populations. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) offered through the USDA offers a promising mitigation strategy related to establishing more nesting and foraging habitat for bees.
Many gardeners like to get a head start on the gardening season by starting flower and vegetable seedlings indoors. Successfully growing seedlings indoors requires high quality seeds, a germination medium, containers, lights and other supplies, note horticulture specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. To have additional questions answered, contact the Hortline at 515-294-3108 or hortline @iastate.edu.
The USDA announced on May 23, 2019, that there will be a second Market Facilitation Program in 2019. This comes on the heels of the $12 billion MFP program implemented in 2018. The USDA announcement states that the administration is allocating up to $16 billion for the 2019 program, with up to $14.5 billion of that money used for direct payments to producers.