Thursday, December 10, 2009

Local produce tops on national chef's survey!

Check out this post from a colleague in North Carolina: Results of the 2010 national chefs survey!
It's looking good for Colorado greenhouse growers interested in producing for local markets!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Japanese Beetle Quarantine in place Jan. 2010

For a summary of the new Colorado quarantine against Japanese Beetle, please click here. This quarantine affects the following plants and plant products brought into Colorado from states that are under quarantine:
Soil, compost, and manure
All rooted plants in containers or with root balls greater than 12 inches in diameter
All ornamental grasses and sedges
Bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes of ornamental plants (these are exempt when free of soil)

If you bring these items in as a nursery, landscaper, other business or even a private citizen you are required to follow the guidelines of the quarantine language. Make sure to request the full quarantine language from the CDA as it provides details of what is required.

Rule changes approved for the CO Nursery Act

Two rules changes to the CO Nursery act have been approved. These rules increase the state registration fee by $10 and require keeping records of plants brought in from out of state. If you're a nursery owner, please take note and check out the details.

Friday, November 6, 2009

CSU Speciality Crops Program Request for Proposals

Great opportunity for small growers in Colorado! If you want to brainstorm project ideas-feel free to call or email: Brooke Edmunds, 303-637-8016 brooke.edmunds @


Grower Research and Education Grants Available!

The Specialty Crops Program at Colorado State University is accepting applications for grower research and education grants for the 2010 production season. The application deadline is Dec. 15.

The request for proposals is intended for research, demonstration, and/or education projects addressing specialty crops production, processing, and marketing issues faced by small farmers, beginning farmers or socially disadvantaged farmers in Colorado.

These classifications are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as:

· Small farmers receive at least 50 percent of their income from the farm, and have gross farm sales of less than $250,000 per year.

· Beginning farmers are individuals who have not operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 years. The 10-year requirement applies to all operators of the farm or ranch.

· Socially disadvantaged farmers are farmers or ranchers who are members of a socially disadvantaged group. A "socially disadvantaged group" is a group whose members have been subject to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program.

Producers and groups of producers interested in conducting research, demonstration, and/or education projects related to specialty crop production, processing, or marketing are encouraged to apply.

For a downloadable program description and application form of the Grower Research and Education Grant Program, please visit, contact Frank Stonaker at (970) 491-7068 or apply by writing to:

Specialty Crops Program RFP
1173 Campus Delivery
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1173

Monday, October 19, 2009

Upcoming Greenhouse Workshop

Front Range Greenhouse IPM Workshop:
Viruses Affecting Production

Two locations:

Dec. 3rd 9-12pm: Gulley Greenhouse & Garden Center
6029 S. Shields, Fort Collins
Dec. 8th, 9-12pm: Center Greenhouse, 1550 E. 73rd Ave, Denver

Who should attend: Greenhouse growers and pest management staff

Topics to be covered :

Identifying and managing common viruses affecting production stock in greenhouses

Presented by Brooke Edmunds, Ph.D.; Regional Specialist, Colorado State University Extension

How to identify and manage the most common viruses that affect production stock including TMV, INSV, TSWV, and CMV. There will be plenty of time to answer questions!

Virus testing: The why, when, and how of virus testing

Why is clean stock important to your operation? How do I submit plant samples for virus testing to the Plant Diagnostic Lab in Adams County? There will also be a hands-on opportunity to practice using Agdia ImmunoStrip® to test in-house.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture Phytosanitary Program: What you need to know

Presented by Laura Pottorff, M.S.; Nursery, Seed and Phytosanitary Program Manager, Colorado Department of Agriculture

Laura will outline the CDA phytosanitary certificate and inspection process.

Cost : $20/person to cover supplies and a light breakfast ($25 if not a member of CNGA)

***You must preregister!***

To register: e-mail or call 303/637-8016

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Pour-Through Extraction Procedure: A Nutrient Management Technique for Nurseries

As part of your quality control and fertilization program, nurseries should regularly check the pH and EC (electrical conductivity) of stock grown in pots. Knowing these numbers helps you diagnose the level and availability of nutrients to the plants. You can save money by fertilizing as needed rather than on set schedule.

NCSU has just released a new publication which outlines the steps of the Pour-Through Extraction Method (opens as a pdf) to measure soil EC and pH. This technique is easy to learn and should be part of your regular routine.

Need help learning the method? Would you like an on-site demonstration of how to properly use ec/pH meters or pens? If so, please contact me and I would be happy to arrange a visit to your nursery.
My office phone 303/637-8016 or email

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Chrysanthemum white rust webinar

The Society of American Florists is hosting a free 30 minute webinar on chrysanthemum white rust. Learn to identify the signs and symptoms of white rust and how to protect your mum crop.
The webinar is offered on August 11th, 13th, and 18th at 10am and 2pm (EST). For more information and to register, click here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Online Plant Propagation Course

Cornell University is offering an online plant propagation course this fall (it runs Sept 21-Nov 14). Along with online instruction, they will send you a complete kit for practicing propagation at home-including seeds and live cuttings! The cost is $350 and all the details can be found here.

Would you like to see CSU offer a distance education course in plant propagation?
No free polls
If you are interested in other types of distance or online classes, please leave a comment or send me an email!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

CSU Speciality Crops Field Day Aug 17th


CSU – Specialty Crops program

Rocky Mountain Small Organic Farm Project

Field Day

August 17, 2009

1:00 – 4:00 pm

      Topics: Small scale organic vegetable production systems for Colorado producers.

      High tunnels:

      • Tomato, pepper, cucumber cultivar trials.
      • Winter greens production.
      • Hay bale culture of strawberries.
      • Challenges of growing blueberries in Colorado.

      Field production:

      • Cultivar demonstrations and evaluations. This year many of the cultivars being evaluated are from Colorado seed producers. Including melons, tomatoes, peppers, and a wide variety of cole crops and root crops.
      • Hops cultivar evaluations.
      • Comparisons of flame, solarization, and conventional tillage for control of field bind weed and Canada thistle.
      • Comparison of paper, bio-degradable plastic, and plastic mulch.
      • Drip tape – to re-use or replace?
      • Preliminary results of rolling rye/hairy vetch cover crop for no till production.
      • Annual forage crops in rotation with vegetables.
      • The CSU CSA

Speakers: Dr. Frank Stonaker, program director.

    Dr. Amanda Broz, perennial weed management trials.

    Ali Hamm, Organic hops research update

      Dan Goldhamer, Annual forage crops in rotation with vegetables update

      Horton Nash, Jeff Arnold, Julie Zavage, Sarah Figgins, Steve Cochenour (student interns)

Location: Horticulture Field Research Center, Ft. Collins

      Directions: Exit to east at the I-25 at the Mountain Vista exit (#271), proceed east across frontage road and enter the 2nd driveway on the north side.

      The address is 4300 E. County Rd. 51, Ft. Collins.

      Sponsors: Colorado Department of Agriculture, Aurora Organic Dairy, , Sunshine Paper Co.

      Registration: On site registration will be held immediately before the program. This is a free event.

      Please indicate if you plan to attend the event by e-mail or telephone by August 10.

      Telephone response to 970-491-7068.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New book available-Diseases of Herbaceous Perennials

There is a new book available through APS Press titled 'Diseases of Herbaceous Perennials'. The authors are all plant pathologists and include Mark Gleason (Iowa State University), Margery Daughtrey (Cornell University), Ann Chase (Chase Horticultural Research), Gary Moorman (Penn State University) and Darren Mueller (Iowa State University).
The book is full of over 700 color photos and would be a wonderful reference text for growers of perennials (as well as garden centers, horticulturists and Master Gardeners).
You are welcome to stop by the Adams County Extension office and do some browsing before deciding to buy. We also have an extensive resource library for diagnosing plant diseases and insect problems that are available for growers to utilize. Please call ahead to make sure that we're in the office!
Contact info is on the sidebar------>

Monday, June 1, 2009

May 2009 Samples Received in Diagnostic Lab

Host -> Problem Diagnosis

Pepper transplants -> Fusarium wilt
Pepper transplants ->Pythium root rot
Pepper transplants (organic) ->Rhizoctonia root rot
Smooth Sumac ->Fusarium Root Rot (suspected)
Sweet Woodruff ->Downy Mildew
Tomatillo transplants->Bacterial Leaf Spot (Xanthomonas sp suspected)
Tomato -> Nutrient imbalance (suspected)
Tomato transplants -> phytotoxicity (suspected)
Various perennials -> Iron deficiency symptoms due to water issues

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Information on new rainwater collection law in CO

There is a new law coming into effect on July 1, 2009 which regulates the use of rain barrels to collect precipitation running off roofs. There has been some confusion as how exactly the water can be used. The Colorado Division of Water Resources has put together a pdf document outlining the new rules.
In short: Here are the criteria, all of which must be met, for using rainwater:
1. The property on which the collection takes place is residential property, and
2. The landowner uses a well, or is legally entitled to a well, for the water supply, and
3. The well is permitted for domestic uses according to Section 37-92-602, C.R.S., (generally, this means the permit number will be five or six digits with no “-F” suffix at the end), and
4. There is no water supply available in the area from a municipality or water district, and
5. The rainwater is collected only from the roof, and
6. The water is used only for those uses that are allowed by, and identified on, the well permit.
Check the full pdf for all the details!

Basically, if your well isn't permitted for use in watering a greenhouse or hoophouse-you can't use the collected rainwater for this purpose. And you will need to submit an application for rainwater collection! If you use municipal water, then you're out of luck too, as this only applies to residential properties serviced exclusively by a well. Please contact the Colorado Division of Water Resources for all the nitty-gritty details!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

April 2009 samples from Adams Cty Plant Diagnostic Lab

I'm going to start posting this list once a month. No pictures, just text so you know at a glance what problems we're seeing in the industry:

Host->Problem diagnosis
Bigflower Coreopsis -> Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV)
Butterfly bush -> Environmental stress (undetermined-possible high salt level)
Calibracoa (Million Bells) ->Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
Gerber Daisy->Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
Osteospermum->Environmental stress (undetermined)
Pepper transplants -> Pythium root rot
Pepper transplants ->Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
Petunia->Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
Tomato transplants -> Environmental stress (High soil pH and salts)
Tomato transplants ->Environmental stress (undetermined-possible phytotoxicity)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Downy Mildew on Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Downy mildew (caused by a species of the oomycete, Peronospora) on the herb/groundcover Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) was found on a recent sample. At first glance the symptoms suggested iron deficiency (based on yellow foliage and other indications by the grower). However, a closer look shows leaf dieback and gray lesions which indicate a pathogen may be involved. Flipping the leaves over (see photos below) reveals the characteristic fuzzy growth of downy mildew.

Downy mildew loves cool, wet conditions! Management should involve reducing leaf wetness (which is required for the spores to germinate). There has been no research done on fungicide control on Galium spp., so proceed with caution if choosing to use a fungicide. Test in small areas to ensure that phytotoxicity isn't going to be an issue. The Chase Research Gardens, Inc. out of California have done quite a bit of work on downy mildew fungicide control in ornamentals and some results can be found here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Slug control in hoophouses

Photo credit:

Slugs are mollusks that are closely related to snails, but without the shell. The common garden slug is 1/2 to 1 inch long depending on the age of the slug and brown or gray in color. Slugs can thrive in the hoophouse environment-their food source is close to the ground, there are many places to hide and take a good nap, and the humidity is just right. Unfortunately, slugs can cause serious problems in vegetable, fruit and ornamental plants by feeding on fruit and leaves.

There are many tips and tricks floating out in cyberspace, many of which are interesting but wouldn't hold up in a commercial setting. Beer traps for example, may work great in a home garden but not when you have many hoophouses to protect and limited hours in the day.

In a nutshell, slug control revolves around three concepts: 1) Modifying the environment to make it less slug-friendly, 2) setting up barriers to physically keep slugs away from your crops and 3) baits which attract the slugs but also give them a poison dose.

In terms of modifying the hoophouse environment: Look at removing places where slugs can shleter during the daylight hours such as crevices and under boards or other equipment. Reducing the humidity may make the environment less appealing: If it's warm enough outside, run the fan to replace the humid air with drier air, fix leaky hoses, consider switching to drip irrigation instead of overhead or handwatering.

Physical barriers can help prevent slugs from coming in contact with crop plants. Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the plants 1 inch high and 3 inches wide can help-until it gets wet! This might work on a small-scale but not in a larger setting. The same thing goes for sprinkling lime or salt. (And we already have enough salinity in our Colorado soils!) One option that shows promise is copper strips or flashing. This can be expensive if you have large areas to protect, but flashing can be bought in bulk rolls which will bring the cost down a little. Copper flashing (about 10 inches wide) can be circled around the susceptible plants and buried 3-4 inches. If you have benches in your hoophouse you can wrap the copper around the base of the bench or the legs. The flashing needs to form a complete enclosure to be an effective barrier. While the exact mechanism isn't known, it is thought that the slime produced by the slug interacts with the copper and produces an electrical charge which repels the slug from the area. There are various copper strips and tapes on the market. This won't keep existing slugs within circled area from feeding, but will keep new slugs out.

The third control option is baits. The most effective baits contain either metaldehyde or iron phosphate. Metaldehyde is very attractive to slugs, but is also poisonous to children and animals (especially dogs). Metaldehyde should also not be used around food crops as they can leave toxic residues on fruits and veggies. If you have dogs on your property, consider the iron phosphate option. This is sold as Sluggo and Escar-go (and others) and is considered non-toxic to pets. These products can be used to prevent slugs from entering a crop area (by encircling with the granules) or to lure slugs out of crop plants (by sprinkling within crops and between rows). Research out of Oregon State University showed that iron phosphate containing products were as effective as metaldehyde containing products.

For more information, see this CSU Extension factsheet: Slugs by W.S. Cranshaw.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shine in '09 webinar series

Texas AgriLife Extension Service has been sponsoring a series of three webinars around the topic of "High Performance Management to Survive Turbulent Times". There is one remaining open webinar coming up on May 12 titled: Marketing Green! If you're not familiar, a webinar is like attending a live seminar but everything is done on your computer using an internet connection. You will watch a slideshow and listen to a speaker in real-time. Questions can be asked by typing them.
The two previous webinars in the series focused on 'Action Points to Survive the Downturn' and 'Differentiating by being Sustainable' (this last webinar will be on April 14th but is already filled up). Check their website to hear a recording of the previous sessions and see the answers to questions that were asked.

Would you be interested in having CSU Extension develop a series of webinars targeted to the greenhouse and nursery industry in our state? If so, what would you be interested in learning about? You can take the poll below and/or leave a comment if you have a specific topic idea in mind (like, "thrips management in perennial stock plants"). Select all topics that you are interested in!

What topic ideas would you like to see CSU Extension address through a webinar format?
Sustainable Practices
Marketing Ideas
Insect Management
Disease Management
Labor Issues
Water Issues free polls

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Point source pollution from greenhouses and nurseries

Here is a link to an interesting article just published in the Journal of Extension titled, The Use of a Non-Point Source Pollution Self-Assessment for Greenhouse and Nursery Operators in California. Raises some good points on greenhouses conducting their own monitoring for excessive fertilization waste and other pollution source points coming from greenhouse and nursery operations.
Want to learn more about pollution prevention? Check out this article from CSU Extension, Pollution Prevention in Colorado Commercial Greenhouses!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) on Houstonia

It has been interested to see the wide range of symptoms that can be caused by virus. We received plugs of Houstonia caerulea into the diagnostic lab last week with leaf spots and dieback on the flower stalks. The spots themselves had a orange brown color. The root systems looked great-white, healthy looking, not pot-bound.
We incubated a few plugs in a moist chamber and plated the leaf spots onto CMA and PDA. No fungal growth and no sporulation ever occurred. There was also never any bacterial growth or streaming noted. Running out of possibilities , I decided to test with an AgDia combo strip for CMV, INSV, TSWV and TMV. The Houstonia tested postive for Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV)! I reran the test to confirm and again it was positive. I haven't been able to find a record of Houstonia being a host for CMV, yet (I'll admit I haven't done a concise search). The symptoms are interesting-with bright orange speckles on the leaf tissue and stems. (Click on any photo for a larger version.)

Close-up of foliage-note orange speckling.

This is the base of the stem, which also showed the orange speckling.

CMV is spread by aphids but also by mechanical transmission-meaning that workers can spread the virus when taking cuttings or otherwise moving infected plant sap.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Free Phytophthora online course

Are you interested in learning more about the disease Phytophthora and how it can affect your nursery?
Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture have developed a FREE online course to help you identify and manage Phytophthora diseases in nurseries. This FREE course is also now offered in Spanish! The course is divided into three modules which take 60-90 mins each to complete.

If you're interested in receiving certification, OSU offers a Certificate of Mastery on Phytophthora from Oregon State University Extended Campus ($100 charge and online exam). But the information contained in the course is offered FREE! This is a great resource for nursery growers and I encourage you to check it out!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ProGreen 2009: Intro to Biocontrol of Insects in Greenhouses

Here is another presentation given at ProGreen 2009: An introduction to biological control of insects in the greenhouse.

ProGreen 2009: Intro to Greenhouse Diseases

Did you miss a seminar at ProGreen 2009? Check out the Intro to Greenhouse Diseases given as part of the Certified Greenhouse Grower track!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Upcoming Pest Management Conference, Feb 19-21

Are you interested in learning more about the newest greenhouse insect and disease management strategies? Consider attending the 25th Annual Pest Management Conference in San Jose, California, Feb 19-21. The conference is presented by the Society of American Florists (SAF) and Greenhouse Grower. The lineup of speakers look great!
For more information or to register visit