Share this post TFUPM Posted November 13, 2014

The winter season is typically a troublesome time for inexperienced growers and new gardeners. While it may seem scary, the winter season isn’t all that bad for a grower who is prepared and educated on how to best handle the change in temperatures and overall alterations in weather factors. As a general rule, plants that are maintained well all throughout the year have the best changes of surviving the winter. Maintenance refers to keeping these crops healthy year-round through watering, fertilizing, and proper pruning. However, this is not to say that winter is not a harsh time for plants. Even the most properly maintained of crops can fall victim to roots or tops freezing, dried out soil, and other damages that come from low temperatures, snow, and high winds.

During the winter it often seems as though there is not much going on in the garden. However, much is happening below the soil that cannot be seen. There’s a lot of misconceptions regarding how winter effects plants. For instance, while snow can certainly endanger your plants, it can also protect them. A solid covering of snow can often serve much like mulch for the soil, as it insulates and protects. Nevertheless, snow piled on branches will weigh them down and breakage becomes a risk. Therefore, snow should be knocked from the lower branches first and then move upward to knock off the rest.

Preparing your vegetables crops is an important part coming into the heavy winter months. The fall season is the time to do a thorough cleanup of the garden in order to prepare for the new growing season that eventually comes during the spring. Then, it is important to look into planting cover crops, otherwise known as green manure. Green manure is not used for the intention of harvest, but rather to protect the soil underneath the ground. The cover crop helps to keep the topsoil from washing away or blowing away during harsh weather conditions. In addition, the cover crop shades the soil in order to prevent the germination of the weeds.

Preparing your crops for the winter is not as much difficult as it is time-intensive. In order avoid having to start all over during the spring season, take the time to prepare your harvest now for the heavy winter months that are coming in the near future.


Share this post TFUPM Posted November 07, 2014

As most growers would agree, powdery mildew is one of the most frustrating, constant, difficult problems faced in the foliar industry today. Even with all of the strides that modern science has taken to perfect the growing process, powdery mildew seems to be a fungus that continually slips through the cracks. Whether you harvest trees or fruits or flowers or vegetables, protecting your crops from powdery mildew is imperative to maintaining a healthy, thriving harvest throughout every growing season. Powdery mildew fungicides are the clear solution to keeping your plants healthy all during the year, the trouble lies in determining which product to use.

Pesticide and fungicide companies have gotten a bad reputation over the last several years. From mislabeling products as “organic” to using harmful chemicals in the makeup of their products, these companies are often selling promises that they cannot keep. As such, it is important to looks for the following on the label prior to purchasing a powdery mildew fungicide:

  • Non-toxic
  • No aroma
  • Organic
  • No harmful chemicals used
  • Safe under any light
  • Laboratory tested
  • Non-burning
  • Can be used from germination through harvest

Controlling powdery mildew outbreaks is, unfortunately, dependent on the grower’s choice in product. Besides being ultra-aware about the health of your harvest, regularly applying protective pesticides and fungicides is key. As a grower, make your fungicide purchases carefully to safeguard your crops to the best of your ability all while minimizing the likelihood of a powdery mildew outbreak.


Share this post TFUPM Posted October 31, 2014

Spider mites. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Actually, we really could live without them. Spider mites in our gardens are such a pain! If your leaves are full of holes or yellow splotches and you’ve identified the culprit, keep reading. In addition to finding the right spider mite killer product, we researched and found some unconventional and organic tips to get these pests out of your garden.

  1. Isolate the infested plant, and get rid of the top layer of soil where spider mites might be living. In addition, a spider mite killer spray will kill the mites on contact.

  2. Keep your plants in a stress-free state by watering, tending and using mulch regularly. Remove infested leaves, and throw them away immediately to prevent the mites from spreading.

  3. There are a variety of homemade mixtures and sprays you can try. In addition to an organic spray product, use a mild dish soap and water mixture to wipe down your plants every six days.

  4. Try wiping rubbing alcohol underneath each infested leaf on your plant.

  5. After you kill the spider mites with a spray, mix a concoction of white flour, water and a little bit of buttermilk. Spray on leaves once a week to keep new mites away from your plant.

  6. Mix olive oil, two to three cloves of garlic, hot sauce, dish soap, lemon juice and water together. Strain through a cheese cloth, and spray on plants two to three times a week.

  7. Habanero peppers are another organic way to control spider mites. Chop them up and mix with water in a large pot or bucket. Then, dip the leaves in the mixture. Be sure to wear gloves!

  8. Peppermint or rosemary extract in a misting spray could also do the trick. Spider mites hate the strong odor.

  9. Hose down your plants with water with high pressure if your plants can take it, as dust really encourages spider mites. Water can also destroy webbing and disrupt egg laying.

  10. Bring the ladybugs home. We’ve all heard that ladybugs landing on you are good luck, and it’s true. Ladybugs and other mites are natural predators and can be found at local nurseries. An organic spider mite killer spray should not affect ladybugs.

Purchase a spider mite killing spray in addition to these remedies to ensure the spider mites are gone for good. Use these remedies as a supplement.


Share this post TFUPM Posted October 22, 2014

Growers, farmers, and gardeners would all agree that November can be a tough month for the foliar industry. Non-stop raining and cool winds paired with limited sunny days makes it tough to build up a successful harvest. For the most part, November is a great time to move some of your plants inside. For home gardeners, this is the perfect time to make use of your windowsill with growing the following:

  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Sprouts

Growers should not lose all hope, however, as the following can definitely be planted in the month of November, particularly in regions that have a bit of warmer climates:

  • Radish
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Leeks

Preparing your fall vegetable garden should not be a burden. If chosen correctly, many plants can flourish during the fall season, even in cooler weather. Make sure to make the most out of November by growing the right plants and nurturing them accordingly.


Share this post TFUPM Posted October 17, 2014

Many people thought that the push towards eating only organic vegetables and fruit would be only a trend. Time has proven, however, that this clearly isn’t the case. From advocacy projects to support groups to a wide range of campaign pushes, organic farmers are now having the last laugh as people are flocking to the organic sections of the produce stand. While once drastically more expensive, the costs between organic products and non-organic products are slowly coming closer together. Now that the “trend” is here to stay, it’s time to think about the reasons behind the organic era and why it makes sense.

The following are some of the most notable reasons why organic food is worth the effort and the cost:

  • No government subsidies are given to organic famers
  • Chemicals are terrible for your health
  • Organic foods reduce the amount of fossil fuel emissions
  • Farm families benefit greatly from organic food purchases
  • Organic soil is far more absorbent than non-organic, helping to prevent droughts
  • Play a role in the improvement of the general environment
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Organic good tastes better

The reasons for eating organic foods are endless. For those of you on the fence about whether to consume organic foods or not, ask yourself some important questions. Do I want my children to eat the healthiest food possible? Should I be putting chemicals into my body and the body of my family members? Am I doing my part to make the world healthier by reducing my carbon footprint?

The answers to these questions all point in the same direction. Organic food is not only good for you, it is good for the world as a whole. What are you waiting for? Head to the organic section of the supermarket today.


Share this post TFUPM Posted October 09, 2014

Tomatoes are amongst the most popular fruits in the world. Yes, they are technically considered a fruit, but they are more often cooked as a vegetable. As such, tomatoes are grown all over the globe by farmers looking to turn a profit. Tomatoes are in high demand in the United States and growers are more concerned than ever before about their health. Spider mites are one of the most common pests that a foliar specialist must overcome. With the ability to hinder growth and eventually destroy the crop entirely, recognizing and then eradicating spider mite attacks is critical for the well-being of a tomato harvest.

Even at-home gardeners must understand the intricacies of spider mites. Tomatoes are one of the easiest and most plentiful types of crops available today. As such, many people attempt to grow them at home and are shocked to see a once beautiful homegrown tomato vine-ripe turn to a dying, infested group of plants. Therefore, gardeners and growers alike must take every step possible to prevent a spider mite infestation.

The following tips are essential to protect your tomato plants from spider mite attacks:

  • Remove infected plants as soon as possible
  • Pay attention to air circulation, particularly in a greenhouse
  • Space out your tomato plants with a solid amount of room in between each crop
  • Invest in a screen to keep pests, bugs, and insects from infiltrating your crops
  • Maintain hydration for your plants at all times
  • Before purchasing a tomato plant, check closely for infestations
  • Use a magnifying glass to see if spider mites are present, even small amounts – look for any type of movement of eggs or clusters

Protecting your crops from spider mite infestation is no easy feat. However, those growers and gardeners who are able to spot a spider mite attack early on greatly increase their chances of saving the corp. Even more importantly, farmers are encouraged to purchase an organic fertilizer to prevent spider mite attack from starting in the first place.


Share this post TFUPM Posted October 05, 2014

As a grower, weather is both your friend and your enemy. So many of the weather “elements” are necessary for crops to thrive and harvests to flourish. However, without proper preparation and protection, many crops are vulnerable to being killed during bad storms, extremely cold or hot temperatures, or high winds. Natural disasters are a challenge for agricultural production of any kind, no matter what location throughout the world. Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like have all damaged crops significantly, even wiping out entire farms. From weather availability to climate change to general weather conditions, agriculture is truly at the mercy of unpredictability and irregularity.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the most typical agricultural effects of natural disasters include:

  • Loss of livestock
  • Water contamination
  • Loss of harvest
  • Agricultural infrastructure destruction
  • Problems with irrigation systems
  • An increase in vulnerability to diseases

The regular and persistent application of plant nutrients is the most effective way to protect crops, prevent damage, and build a crop of strong yields. At the end of the day, farmers have a business to run and bad weather must be dealt with in order to turn a profit. Harsh weather can transform some of the most beautiful, profitable crop fields into a disaster zone. From drought to rust to frost to pests and disease, the number of threats for growers and farmers is inevitable. Purchasing weather protectant natural pesticides and fertilizers is critical to keeping your harvest safe is bad weather.


Share this post TFUPM Posted September 23, 2014

Spider mites are something that every grower knows about. Even homeowners with a small garden can relate to the number of issues that spider mites bring to the flowers, fruits, and vegetables that are grown there. Spider mites are not much of a problem as a single entity. However, a single spider mite will quickly multiply into a colony of spider mites and at that point in time an attack is imminent and destructive. Spider mites that infiltrate your garden have the potential to destroy entire crops and eventually kill of all of the plants in your garden. As such, it is important for every gardener to really know the ins and outs of spider mites.

Spider mite infestations are the most dangerous in the way that they form. Due to the incredibly small size of a spider mite, it is virtually impossible for the human eye to detect it. However, spider mites produce a fine webbing that is easier for the gardener to detect and makes the presence of spider mites known. Therefore, gardeners must be on the lookout for this webbing to spot it early on, as this webbing is often paired with the beginning phases of plants dying off.

Spider mites will target the plants in your garden because they are seeking the sap that is stored underneath the plant’s leaves and stems. The spider mites seek the nutrition from this sap because they utilize it to survive. Unfortunately, plant survival is also dependent on the nutrients and water stored in the same location. As a result, both the plants and the spider mites are seeking sap that is in limited supply and certainly not enough to sustain both parties.

What typically happens is that gardeners fails to identify the spider mite infestation until it is too late. The plants have been sucked dry of their sap and the leaves become yellow, undernourished, and blotchy. When this is first recognized by the grower, it usually means that the infestation has been occurring for a while and it may be too late to save the harvest. At the end of the day, the best protection against spider mite destruction is prevention. Growers should purchase a spider mite killer that will serve to prevent outbreaks and safeguard their plants.


Share this post TFUPM Posted September 17, 2014

The foliar industry has fully come around to accepting and advocating for the use of organic agricultural products during the last several years. As the popularity continues to grow, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) now regulates the legitimacy of these “organic” products. Companies across the world have been falsely advertising their fertilizers and pesticides as organic when they do not meet the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of the word. With the goal of regulating specific standards for farms and wild crop harvesting across the country, the USDA created the National Organic Program (NOP) which monitors the sale of agricultural products that are marketed and produced organically.

The NOP refers to “organic” in terms of labeling. This means that if a food or agricultural product of any kind is labeled “organic” that is must adhere to their standards and requirements. The NOP strives to conserve biodiversity, promote an ecological balance, and cultivate cycling of resources. Let’s take a look at the greatest advantages of using organic fertilizers:

  • Mobilization of soils already on the grounds, reducing waste and density of nutrients
  • Slow release of nutrients at more consistent rates to lessen the chances of a boom-and-bust pattern
  • Most cost-effective than artificial counterparts
  • Improvement of soil structure
  • Increased soil moisture
  • Prevention of topsoil erosion
  • Decrease usage rates

From mechanical to biological to cultural practices, organic fertilizers and pesticides far outrank their artificial counterparts. The USDA’s NOP has taken massive strides to improve the agricultural landscape throughout the nation and this has led to healthier, stronger crops. Organic products will continue to lay the foundation for the future success of growers and farmers across the United States.


Share this post TFUPM Posted September 12, 2014

All growers know that seasonality plays a huge role in what fruits and vegetables are grown and then sold. While something like apple crops harvest well year-round, other crops are far more sensitive to the changes in weather conditions as each season passes. However, experienced farmers know that planting apples late summer gives the, the ability to truly thrive when the fall season comes. Planning for your fall harvest probably began weeks ago as the summer months were wrapping up. Having a stable, flourishing set of fall crops is critical for farmers who depend on the sale of their fruits and vegetables to sustain the business.

For those growers who have made the mistake of late harvesting this fall season, we recommend “green manure” to help alleviate the issues linked to this struggle. Using green manure, farmers and growers will be able to keep their harvest areas free from weeds. Additionally, green manure supplies soils with organic matter that helps the crops develop and grow in a healthy manner. The following are some of the most common green manures:

  • Oats
  • Alfalfa
  • Rapeseed
  • Peas
  • Winter Rye
  • Clover
  • Buckwheat
  • Annual Ryegrass
  • Winter Wheat
  • Vetch

Be sure to sow the seeds thickly so that you are creating a barrier in which the weeds are unable to penetrate and break through. In addition, make sure that you do no self-seed as thus the weeds form when crops are mowed prior to flowering. As you embark on a bountiful fall season, take advantage of the benefits that green manure can offer your harvest.


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