Challenges in Vegetable Production

 

Harlequin bugs.
Photo University of Maryland Extension Service

 At the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference, in Durham, North Carolina, November 5-7, I facilitated a Farmer Round Table on Working Through Production Challenges. I started the event by providing stickers and asking participants to fix them on a chart, which had a circle divided into 16 segments, labeled Land & Space; Weather; Capital, Infrastructure & Equipment; Time Use & Planning; Quantities; Prioritizing; Labor; Crops & Varieties; Planting; Weeds & Pests; Harvest, Wash & Pack; Contingency Plans; Learning; Resources; Support; and Other Stuff.

Production Challenges chart from my workshop at CFSA

 

I asked people to use red or pink stickers for their three worst production challenges, orange or yellow for their next worst, and green or blue for topics where they had once had a problem, and have since found a solution. (The reason for the varying colors is that I didn’t know how many people would be there, and used stickers I had on hand!)

Honestly, we could have made a full-day workshop, trying to cover all the challenges! Apologies to the people whose problems never got mentioned out loud.

We started with the category of Weeds and Pests as that had the most red and pink stickers, and spent a bit of time towards the end on labor challenges and a tiny bit of time on solutions that people had found to various problems. In fact, we spent most of the workshop talking about insect pests, from nematodes up by size, through flea beetles to potato beetles, Japanese beetles and harlequin bugs.

To make up for weed and pest management topics we didn’t get to, here are some updated resources from my first book, Sustainable Market Farming. This will also be useful to owners of my book, (as the links are now 9 years old), and anyone else looking for pest, weed and disease biological management.

Golden Glory zucchini. Open, disease-resistant plants
Photo Pam Dawling

Resources on Plant Diseases

Why Things Bite Back, Edward Tenner. See the chapter on vegetable pests, accidentally introduced weeds and deliberately introduced exotics to better understand the “revenge of unintended consequences.”

Identifying Diseases of Vegetables, Pennsylvania State University. Good photos and symptom lists.

ATTRA Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases

Elaine Ingham’s Soil Food Web

Dr. Elaine’s Soil Food Web video: How it Works, is on her website.

eOrganic Disease Management in Organic Farming Systems

Biopesticides for Plant Disease Management in Organic Farming Systems:

Ohio State Biopesticide Controls of Plant Diseases: Resources and Products for Organic Farmers in Ohio

University of Massachusetts Vegetable IPM Guidelines

Purdue University Disease Management Strategies for Horticultural Crops Using Organic Fungicides

Debbie Roos has a wealth of searchable information on her Growing Small Farms site, including Disease management links

Environmental Protection Agency Biopesticides Page

Damping Off Diseases Tom Clothier (not organic)

Cornell, Treatments for Managing Bacterial Pathogens in Vegetable Seed

University of Illinois Extension, Vegetable Seed Treatment. The first two pages describe hot water treatment for killing diseases on seeds. After page 3, it’s not organic.

Mushroom Mountain, information and mycorrhizal fungi granules for plant roots:

Resources on Sustainable Weed Management

Cover of Manage Weeds on Your Farm
SARE

 

Manage Weeds on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies, Charles Mohler, John Teasdale and Antonio DiTommaso, published by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). Includes profiles of many, many weeds. $24 or free (large) download

 

eOrganic Weed Management Topics

 eOrganic, Manage the Weed Seedbank – Minimize Deposits and Maximize Withdrawals

ATTRA Sustainable Weed Management for Small and Medium-Scale Farms

The University of Maine Quackgrass Management on Organic Farms

CEFS logo.

Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), Weed Management on Organic Farms

University of Illinois, Managing Weed Seedbanks in Organic Farming Systems,

I’ve lost track of a wonderful document based on pictures and charts (see the earthworm snag the weed seed on page 52!): here’s an old link: www.mosesorganic.org/attachments/research/10forum_weeds.pdf

Oregon State: Biological Control of Weeds

MDPI: Bioherbicides: An Eco-Friendly Tool for Sustainable Weed Management

SARE logo

SARE, Vinegar as an Organic Herbicide in Garlic Production, Fred Forsburg, 2004 project

Resources on Sustainable Pest Management

Garden Insects of North America, by Whitney Cranshaw.   Stock Image

Garden Insects of North America, Whitney Cranshaw

Farmscaping Techniques for Managing Insect Pests, Brinkley Benson, Richard McDonald and Ronald Morse

eOrganic Farmscaping: Making Use of Nature’s Pest Management Services

Farmscaping with Dr McBug, Richard McDonald

ATTRA Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control

Cornell Organic IPM

eOrganic Insect Management in Organic Farming Systems has many useful short articles on specific facets.

ATTRA Organic IPM Field Guide an attractive 9 page poster format introductory document.

ATTRA Biointensive Integrated Pest Management

Cornell University New York State Vegetable IPM Resources

NRCS Conservation Practice Standard 595 – 1 Integrated Pest Management

SARE Handbook, Manage Insects on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies:

Building Soils for Better Crops, book from SARE

SARE Handbook Building Soils for Better Crops

Cornell University Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management

Cornell University Biological Control: A Guide to Natural Enemies in North America

Growing Small Farms: Organic Pest Management

ATTRA Greenhouse IPM: Sustainable Aphid Control

Root-knot nematode—Meloidogyne brevicauda Loos
Photo: Jonathan D. Eisenback, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

ATTRA Nematodes: Alternative Controls

Beneficial insects and other IPM resources, BioControl Network, TN

Arbico Beneficial Insects

University of Kentucky listing Vendors of Beneficial Organisms in North America

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