Thursday, January 07, 2010

What I learned at the Fruit and Vegetable Conference

As always there is never a shortage of informtion at the Fruit and vegetable conference in Lexington.   I will attempt to bring you a few highlights of what I learned. 
  • There is a beneficial insect that is almost indentical to the Colorado potato beetle called the False Potato Beetle.  It's benefit is that is simply eats an undesirable weed species known as Horsenettle.  But the moral is that not all is as it seems. 
  • There is a new organization for organic producers in the state known as the OAK organization.  OAK stands for Organic Association of Kentucky.  This link will take you to their site and provide much more information.
  • Blueberry planting should be a couple of year process with great attention being paid to the planting bed establishment.  Soil pH should be around 4.5 to 5.2 with a high organic matter content.  The plants will perform best if they are on a raised bed with mulch and drip irrigation.  If the plants are subjected to water logged soils for only short periods of time (8hrs) then phytophora root rot will be  a problem. 
  • We have a couple of folks growing plasticulture strawberries in the county.  A researcher in Ohio presented that with a $10,000 per acre investment that a realistic goal should be 17500 quarts of strawberries per acre at $5.00 per quart (you do the math).  This seems a lot high to me but just think about 20 to 30 percent less and it is still a lot.  Their research found that Chandler variety is the best variety for this type of growing system. 
Now is the time to be thinking about what you want to grow or do in the new year.  Don't let a lack of information sabbotage your efforts come see me here at the Extension office and start the project right.