Ginseng Crop Update – May 19, 2016

In most areas frost did not occur over the weekend. However, the cold weather itself may cause some minor damage to ginseng. In general, the stems will still be intact, but the leaves may be distorted or the tops may not fully extend. Until the tops fully expand, it is not known how permanent the damage will be. Continue reading

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Hop Update – May 14, 2013: Stringing, Trellising and Irrigation

Hello Ontario hop growers! This morning I noticed that one of the top search terms on our blog in May 2016 was for ‘how to tie hop twine’ and ‘hop twine knots’. After looking up this old posting, the blog stats reported that it had been viewed a number of times this month. So, here it is as a re-blog – hope it is useful! Happy stringing!

onspecialtycrops

Evan Elford, New Crop Development Specialist, OMAF and MRA

Hop yard stringing and trellising is taking place across the province, with hops reaching 1.6m or more in some areas.  In the Norfolk County area, established hops are at the principle growth stage 1, ‘Leaf Development’ (stage 19 with more than 9 pairs of leaves unfolded) and approximately 1.6 m high.

Let’s review a few basics for those who are about to string or are in the process of stringing their hop yard.

Stringing and Trellising

Tying the Knot:

To attach the coir twine to the top wire, a Lanyard Hitch knot, also known as a Cow Hitch knot,  is commonly employed (Figure 1 and 2).

Lanyard knot 1Lanyard knot 2

Figure 1: Loose version of a Lanyard Hitch/Cow Hitch knot.  Figure 2: Lanyard Hitch/Cow Hitch knot tightened onto the wire.

Here is a link to an animated tutorial on tying a Lanyard…

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Fourth International Pawpaw Conference, Sept 1-3, 2016

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) trees have been blooming over the past week in southwestern Ontario.  Flowers on pawpaw emerge prior to the tree leafing out and are protogynous (stigma is no longer viable when pollen is shed) and are typically self-incompatible, therefore requiring an unrelated polleniser for fertilisation.

Many times pawpaw are used as single trees in ornamental landscape plantings, lacking a polleniser in close proximity, which is probably why you don’t see fruit on these trees in the autumn. Interest in commercial production of pawpaw has increased over the last few years, so here are a few resources for commercial growers.

The Kentucky State University (KSU) has a pawpaw breeding program and is an excellent resource for production information.  Follow this link to their Pawpaw Planting Guide.  For Ontario specific information, OMAFRA has a pawpaw crop production profile on the Specialty Cropportunities Website.

If you are currently growing pawpaw or are interested in commercial pawpaw production, KSU will be hosting the Fourth International Pawpaw Conference  in September.  The conference runs from September 1-3, 2016 in Frankfort, Kentucky, USA.  A reminder that this conference does not run every year. Click here to go to the conference website for more information and registration.

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Notes on Lavender and Frost

With frost potentially in the forecast this weekend, here are some thoughts on ways to protect lavender to avoid a repeat of last year.

  1. Refer to the THIS ARTICLE for a discussion of the available weather forecasts and their reliability.
  2. Keep in mind that lavender is normally unaffected by mild frosts at this stage of development. Last year, ground temperatures were close to -9oC on the ground in some areas on May 23 and bloom buds were already developing when the frost occurred.
  3. If low temperatures are forecast to be close to freezing, consider that ground temperatures can be much lower, especially if the dew point is very low (i.e. very dry air)
  4. Row covers will provide a few degrees of protection. While growers have removed row covers that provided winter protection, it may be a good to consider re-covering them if a significant freeze is in the forecast. While growers may not have the labour to cover all of their plants, they may be able to protect enough plants to keep agri-tourism activities alive for this summer should there be a similar frost to last year. Consider that covers will not need to be weighed down nearly as much if erected the evening before a frost when winds are calm than they are over the winter, which will lower the labour costs.

Continue reading

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Forecasting Frost Events – Comparison of Weather Forecast Sites

Frost events have been increasing in recent years and growers of a wide range of crops have been implementing different frost mitigation measures to protect their crops. For some frost mitigation strategies, reliable forecasts beyond the same day are not as necessary, since they can be implemented on a moment’s notice (e.g. wind machines and irrigation). For other strategies such as row covers or deciding when to transplant tender annuals, it is important to have a reliable forecast a few days in advance. For example, for ginseng, it can take up to two days to put row cover over the crop. Continue reading

Posted in All Specialty Crops, Ginseng, Ginseng Production, Herbs, Hops, Lavender, Specialty Fruit and Nuts, Specialty Vegetables | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Agriculture Youth Green Jobs Initiative

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has announced funding under the Agriculture Youth Green Jobs Initiative.

The Agricultural Youth Green Jobs Initiative will help fund internships for post-secondary graduates working in the agriculture industry. These internships would include activities or projects that benefit the environment. Please note that this is not a summer employment program.

Funding is available through the following two streams:

  1. Green Farms Stream: Farm operators could receive up to a maximum of $10,000 per intern to implement projects that are environmentally beneficial.
  2. Green Internships Stream: Employers in the agricultural sector but not directly on farm could receive up to a maximum of $16,000 per intern to undertake environmental activities, services or research that will benefit the agriculture sector.
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Ginseng Crop and Research Update – May 6, 2016

Last week I mentioned that we are tracking five weather forecasting sites to determine which are the most accurate for Simcoe. That information will take more time than anticipated to analyse, so results will be available next week. All five forecast sites show no signs of significant freeze events over the next week. Continue reading

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