The Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Annual Conference for 2012 will be held Jan. 27-28 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, just north of Des Moines. Producers interested in marketing and production of local fruits and vegetables are invited to attend.
The conference will offer sessions on direct marketing, production issues, food safety and emerging trends. Roundtables on a variety of topics including agritourism, soil fertility, sweet corn, pumpkins, managing multiple markets and organics also are on the conference agenda. Trade show exhibits will feature equipment, seed dealers, state services and more.
Conference fees are $70 per day. An additional $50 dues fee is required for all non-members of the association. Registration information is available online at www.findafarmiowa.org. Iowa State University Extension's Value Added Agriculture program is a sponsor of the conference. More information on value-added agriculture can be found at www.iavaap.org.
Research looks at strategies to grow late season vegetables
On Oct. 3, 2011 Iowa State University Extension vegetable specialist Ajay Nair planted lettuce transplants at the Iowa State University Horticulture Station at Ames to study two strategies that may extend the growing season for vegetable growers. One strategy was the use of row covers; the second was the application of varying rates of calcium, explains the ISU horticulture professor.
In Extending the Lettuce Growing Season, a November 10 video, Nair takes a look at the crop and talks about his findings during the first year of the study. "Using row cover to extend the season has three main advantages. It increases temperature and protects plants from frost and wind," he says. Walking through the test plot during the video, he shows how plants that received applications of 10 millimolar calcium compare to those that received 20 millimolar treatments.
Follow Nair's study by reading his Oct. 9 blog entry http://www.iowavegetables.blogspot.com/ or watching the video at www.ag.iastate.edu/video/v/Extending_the_Lettuce_Growing_Season.