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Showing posts from March, 2016

Soil Temperatures Needed for Germination

Source: Beth Berlin, University of Minnesota Extension
We had a glimpse of an early spring, but then temperatures dipped back down to close to normal. Many gardeners were ready to get a jump start on their gardens when it was so warm in early March. Although the frost is out early this year, soils need to reach a specific temperature in order for seeds to germinate. Here is a list of common vegetables and the minimum and optimal soil temperatures for seed germination:
Crop                              Min. Temp (F)     Optimal Temp. (F) Bean                                    60                          60-85 Beet                                     40                          50-85 Cabbage, Carrot,
Cauliflower                            40                          45-85 Corn                                     50                          60-95 Cucumber                             60                          60-95 Eggplant                               60                          75-95 …

Increase the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops in Minnesota

4:00 pm CST on April 29, 2016 is the MDA’s deadline for Specialty Crop Block Grant Applications.

Specialty crops include most fruits & veggies, floral and nursery crops; see federal definition here: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/specialty-crop

MDA SCBG funding priorities:Innovation in production, aggregation, processing, packagingImproving operational efficiencies, reducing costs or other barriers, and increasing access to distribution systems and new markets for specialty cropsIncreasing the demand-for and supply-of locally produced specialty cropsPest and disease control, and varietal improvementPractices that encourage conservation and environmental stewardship, including organic specialty crops research Details:
Grant requests may range from $10,000 - $100,000.Match is not required.Indirect costs are not allowed.Duration of projects may exceed two years. Industry-wide benefit/Industry Support and extension of results are important, and grant administration/repor…

Tree and Shrub Pruning

Source: Nathan Winter, University of Minnesota Extension

Pruning trees and shrubs can be extremely beneficial to their health and beauty. Pruning trees during winter dormancy results in vigorous new growth in the spring, and can be used to eliminate branching problems the tree may have.

Apple trees, including flowering crabapples, mountain ash, hawthorns and shrub cotoneasters should be pruned in late winter from February to early April. Spring or summer pruning increases chances for infection and spread of the bacterial disease fireblight. Autumn or early winter pruning is more likely to result in drying and die-back at pruning sites. Oak trees, especially red oaks, should also be pruned before April to reduce their chance of developing oak wilt.

Pruning approaches include crown thinning, crown raising, and crown reduction. Crown thinning is primarily used in hardwoods to increase the amount of room for light and air to penetrate the tree. You still will want to maintain the trees n…