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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Spring Ag 2013




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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Before youathit the Field



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Nicollet County Bank Ag Lending Officers Ken Rossow and Gary Miller both grew up on farms in southern Minnesota.



Ken Rossow, Senior Vice President-Ag Lending (left) & Gary Miller, Vice President

Working in the field and with livestock, they learned at an early age what farming is all about. They continued their agricultural education through universities, classes and agricultural schools. Nicollet County Bank is proud to have two lending officers with their educational backgrounds as well as their genuine knowledge and deep interest in farming and agricultural lending. They are active in our community and go the “extra mile” to serve our customers. Stop by or call 931-3310 for an appointment to visit with Ken or Gary about all your farm business financial planning. They are committed to agriculture, and they are committed to you.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013



little farm on the

Big Hill Farm is run by a group of student farmers from Gustavus Adolphus College. Back row, left to right: Alex Christensen, Sam Warburton and Greg Wiessner, Front row: Sophia OgrenDehn (Courtesy of Big Hill Farm)


Gustavus students learn about sustainable agriculture, healthy economic practices with on-campus farm By JESSICA BIES

For a small group of students from Gustavus Adolphus College, caring for the community and caring for the Earth are both top priorities. Tucked away in the far northwestern corner of the college’s campus, the students have worked to achieve the dual goal of improving both the environmental and economic health of St. Peter by caring for an organic garden called Big Hill Farm. Originally proposed in 1997, the creation of Big Hill Farm was put on hold when a tornado hit St. Peter in 1998. James Dontje, Director of the Johnson Center of Environmental Innovation at Gustavus Adolphus College, said it wasn’t until 2009 that it became a reality. Two students, Eliza Swedenborg and Cat Wiechmann, Environmental Studies majors, worked to make the farm possible. Their mission was to create a garden that would

provide locally-grown, organic produce for the Gustavus cafeteria and the greater St. Peter community. The garden is maintained by student interns and volunteers. The interns or “farmers” are provided a stipend, paid by the Johnson Center, to prepare the garden, plant and harvest. At the conclusion of their internship, the farmers are responsible for hiring new students to take their place. “They produced a garden and we’ve continued with a fine tradition of student gardeners and those students hiring new gardeners,” Dontje said. The program is about to begin its fifth season. The vast majority of the garden’s produce is sold to Gustavus Adolphus Dining Services and is used in meals produced in the cafeteria or in food prepared for various special events. Students and faculty can also buy the produce.

See FARM on 4

SUSTAINABILITY AT BIG HILL FARM “Caring for the Earth is a top priority of the Big Hill Farm. As an organic garden, we seek methods and innovations that best sustain the health of the ecosystem and of people. Therefore, no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are used in our crop production. Instead, we rely on such practices as crop rotation, companion planting, compost collecting, and organic fertilizing. The majority of our seeds are purchased from Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization committed to maintaining the biodiversity of heirloom plants. Also, by selling our produce within the community, we are proponents of local food, an idea based on improving the environmental and economic health of a community through short-distance and equitable food exchange.” -Big Hill Farm



Some of the produce grown at Big Hill Farm. (Courtesy of Big Hill Farm)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Mark Leagjeld

Farm: Goal is to pay expenses with proceeds from produce, administrator says Alex Christensen, a senior environmental studies major, said applicants don’t necessarily need farming Plans include expanding the garden’s market or gardening experience, but must have an interest to the St. Peter Food Co-op and the St. Peter Food in how food can contribute to a community’s health. Shelf, but for now self-sustainability is the top pri“We are not specifically interested in people havority. ing background experience,” Christensen said. “I Dontje said while the program’s operating ex- applied because I’ve always grown food with my penses are currently paid for by the college, the goal mom in the garden at home.” is for the garden’s revenue to be enough to pay for Ogren-Dehn, a political sciences major, said she both the students’ stipends and the cost of operating completed more than one the garden itself. research project on sustainHOW TO SUPPORT This summer, a new able agriculture during her staff of students will work BIG HILL FARM college career. to get a greenhouse built To find out more about Big Hill Farm “Then I realized I had and start a composting and different way you can get involved never actually worked on program. This will address visit their blog or Facebook page. a farm,” Ogren-Dehn said. one of the program’s biggest Blog: Another student, junior shortcoming--most of the biology major Greg WiessFacebook: produce is harvested before ner, said being involved bighillfarm students actually arrive on in the program has given campus. him a chance to expand on “To have vegetable grown right here on campus concepts that would otherwise be confined to the while there are students on campus would be a huge classroom. step forward,” student farmer Sophia Ogren-Dehn “I got involved with this soon after coming to said. Gustavus,” Wiessner said. “It gave me a chance to The next group of students have yet to be hired. explore hands-on what had been theoretical.” Of the farm’s four student farmers, only one, Sam Warburton, will spend another summer on the Reach reporter Jessica Bies at 507-931-8568 or project. follow her on @sphjessicabies

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From Page 3

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013



Challenges facing farmers today and tomorrow Though farming was once big business in the United States, by 2012 less than 1 percent of Americans were professional farmers. Many challenges face today’s farmers, many of which are largely unknown to the general public. Many people have an outdated view of a farm as a small, family-owned and operated parcel of land where livestock is raised in open pens and crops are hand-harvested when ripe. The reality is that modern-day farms have had to overhaul operations to meet demand and remain competitively priced while adapting to the everchanging ways technology infiltrates all parts of life. Each of these factors present obstacles for today’s farmers.

Technology Rural farming communities are expected to make an effort to integrate modern technology into an industry that has been around for centuries. But such a transition in rural areas, where communications systems may not be as up-to-date as those in urban areas, is not always so easy. According to the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council, a shift from a resource-based to an information-based economy, compounded by the rapid introduction and expansion of new technology in the workplace, has altered farm operation and the skills in demand. Older workers who have been schooled in one way of agriculture may have a significant impact on labor supply and the

vitality of farming as a career. Younger adults who are knowledgeable in technology may no longer seek out agricultural careers.

Decrease in farming as an occupation The United States Environmental Protection Agency says that only about 960,000 Americans claim farming as their principal occupation. As that figure has dwindled, the average age of farmers continues to rise, Greater public awareness of agricultural challenges could help as the Bureau of Labor Statistics the industry in the future. (Metro Creative Connection) notes that roughly 40 percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older. This has led to concerns about the longterm health of family farms throughout the United States.

Environmental concerns Many farmers have come under scrutiny for how farming impacts the environment. A growing emphasis on sustainability and conservation has led many people to protest certain farming practices. Protesters claim that certain practices, such as raising livestock, can pollute water, while the use of fertilizers and chemical pesticides is bad for the environment. Many farmers, however, have altered their methods to be more environmentally friendly and self-sustainable in the process.


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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Challenges: Unemployment in agriculture was far higher than most other industries in 2012 From Page 5 Climate change is another environmental issue farmers must deal with. Strong storms and severe droughts have made farming even more challenging.

Financial fall-out The ongoing recession of the last half-decade has also affected farmers. In November of 2012, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the unemployment rate within the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries was at 13.6 percent, far higher than the national unemployment rate. As a result, many farm families have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, as rising costs for equipment and technology are being coupled with decreasing profits and rising unemployment. Further complicating matters is competition from corporations and international food producers who have made it difficult for family farmers to turn a significant profit. Many family farmers rely on loans and lines of credit to survive, but thanks to changes in the financial sector that saw banks become less willing to extend lines of credit, some farmers are facing bankruptcy. Though it can be easy for those who do not work in the agricultural industry to overlook the struggles facing today’s agricultural professionals, a greater understanding of those struggles and the challenges that lay ahead can benefit the industry and its employees down the road.


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Wednesday, March 13, 2013



Organic a growing trend, but make sure claims are accurate In an effort to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, consumers have embraced organic foods in record numbers. They stand behind the idea that organic products are not only better for them, but also better for the planet. But the claims that organic food is safer, healthier and more eco-friendly may be more hype than fact. Some organic foods are not all that they seem to be, and when you dig for the dirt on “organic,” you might be surprised at what you find. The variety of organic products available at specialty food stores and more traditional supermarkets has increased considerably. Food purists and environmentalists support this growing trend. Certified organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation. Organically produced meats are from animals that do not take antibiotics or growth hormones to produce heartier cuts. The USDA National Organic Program sees to it that organic foods meet these stringent requirements and also that any companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to the supermarket or restaurant are certified as well. However, consumers who embrace organic products

There are many consumers that would like to believe that organic foods are healthier and better for the environment. But some research indicates that these claims may not be justified.

might not be getting what they think they are. The term “organic” conjures up images of local produce stands and farmers diligently caring for their crops. However, as organic foods have grown in popularity and the organic food industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry, the methods of bringing these foods to a store near you have changed. While consumers may believe that organic broccoli was trucked in from a farm down the road, it actually may have traveled

thousands of miles -- negating many environmental benefits in the process. Many smaller organic businesses have felt the pressure to keep up with mainstream foods and have joined the ranks of commercial food production. In fact, some smaller companies have actually been bought out by large food giants. Organic Cow, a Vermont milk producer, now operates under the auspices of Horizon, a company based in Colorado. Cascadian Farm,

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which produces organic frozen dinners among other items, is a subsidiary of General Mills. Many mainstream food com-

panies have their own organic alter egos, which would no doubt surprise consumers who support the organic food

movement. Even true organic foods shipped from small farms over short distances may not be able to meet the hype of the organic moniker. Plant physiologist and biologist Alex Avery’s 2007 book titled “The Truth About Organic Foods” talks about origins of organic food and dispels some of the myths that prevail. Avery notes that organic foods are not pesticide-free because all vegetables contain about five percent of their weight in natural pesticides, some of which may be just as potent as manmade varieties. Avery also notes that more than 95 percent of conventional meat and dairy products in the United States are totally free of antibiotics and 99.5 percent of it is free of synthetic hormones. Only one sample in 400 violates the antibiotic limits set by the FDA. Avery also states that there are no nutritional differences

See TREND on 8



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Crop rotation is a practice that benefits farmers, gardening enthusiasts Though it’s easy for suburbanites or city dwellers to go months, if not years, without seeing a farm, the most recent agriculture census for which information is available notes that in 2007 there were 2.1 million farms in the United States. Those farms spanned 922 million acres, shedding light on the fact that while many Americans might not see farms on a daily basis, that doesn’t mean the country isn’t still a great home to farmland. While farming might once have been a part of most Americans’ daily lives, today the principles of farming are much more foreign to the average American. One such principle is crop rotation, a valuable agricultural practice that can even pay dividends for suburban homeowners who

Trend: Organic might leave large carbon footprint its own problems in off-gassing and water contamination that between organic and convenhas been associated with raising tionally produced foods, which livestock. Furthermore, the debunks the myth that organic U.K. Department of Environfoods are more nutritionally ment and Rural Affairs states, sound. “A shift towards a local food Organic foods also may system, and away from a supercontribute to a higher carbon market-based food system with footprint. Instead of using its central distribution depots, chemical fertilizers to feed lean supply chains and big, full produce, the use of animal trucks, might actually increase manure may mean clearing out the number of food-vehicle land for grazing and creating miles being traveled locally,

From Page 7

because things would move around in a larger number of smaller, less efficiently packed vehicles.” Champions of organic foods are sure to stand by the claims that organic foods are better. Many organic foods are nutritionally sound and rely on more natural growing methods. Yet consumers should keep an open mind about both organic foods and their commercially produced counterparts.

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enjoy gardening. The benefits of crop rotation aren’t only applicable to large farms, as they can help keep personal gardens healthy as well.

What is crop rotation? Crop rotation is a practice farmers employ to help their crops fight disease. By growing a variety of crops in a sequential system throughout their field, farmers are hoping to avoid the buildup of disease and pests that is common with mono-cropping, which is the practice of growing the same crop on the same land year after year after year. When rotating crops, each succeeding crop


Wednesday, March 13, 2013



Boxelder bugs in homes Rotation: Practice helps prevent pest, disease infestation By JEFFREY HAHN

of year. There is nothing practical for treating them while they are Asst. University of Minnesota dormant in hidden areas and Extension Entomologist preventing their emergence. And once they are in your home, they People have recently been only real option is to physically experiencing problems with remove them, e.g. with a vacuum boxelder bugs in their homes, sometimes in large numbers. De- cleaner. The best time to deal with boxspite the circumstantial evidence, these insects are not reproducing elder bugs and other insects that seek harborage for the winter is indoors; all of the boxelder bugs in late summer or fall before they you see now entered homes last start to move to fall. buildings seekWhen they LEARN MORE ing overwinterget into wall Visit http://www1. ing sites. The voids, attics, best methods and similar insects/find/boxelder-bugs/ for reducing places, they these insects often cluster in for more information on boxelder bugs. are by sealing large groups. up cracks and As the outdoor spaces that temperatures warm up (or sometimes as people may allow them entrance into turn their heat up), the outer layer your home combined with a timely treatment of an appropriate of these insects will receive the most warmth and become active. residual insecticide. Some insects They will then move to the inside will still get inside but you should be able to reduce the number that of buildings where it is warm. Eventually another layer of insects would otherwise get inside. Keep in mind that boxelder becomes active and so on. This bug populations vary from year is why boxelder bugs and other dormant insects do not all emerge to year and in 2012 many people experience an above average at the same time. number of them. If you traditionUnfortunately, there are not ally do not see many, you may see many good options for dealing populations return to normal in with boxelder bugs and other overwintering insects at this time 2013.

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From Page 8

must belong to a family different from the previous crop.

Why employ crop rotation? Crop rotation has many benefits, arguably the most important of which is keeping pests and disease at bay.

Since many pest insects and disease-causing organisms are host specific, rotating crops helps ensure these insect pests and harmful organisms cannot make a permanent home or have access to a permanent source of food. If crops aren’t rotated, then the insect pests and organisms have a constant source of food, enabling them to live longer and do more damage to crops as a result.

But crop rotation isn’t only beneficial to crops. Crop rotation can also promote healthy soil. Different crops have different nutrient needs, so rotating crops with different nutrient needs helps avoid the depletion of any one element present in the soil. Soil structure is often better when crops are rotated as well. Some crops are deeprooting while others are shallow rooting. By alternating between

the two, planters can break up any subsoil that might have grown compacted. Crop rotation also offers environmental and financial benefits by reducing reliance on synthetic chemicals to fight pests. By rotating crops, planters are making it much harder for pests to thrive, without having to spend money on costly and often environmentally harmful pesticides.






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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

For a rainy day Rain gardens attractive, eco-friendly addition to any yard


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Downpours cause the environmental damage that rain gardens help reduce. In a natural landscape, such as a meadow or prairie, storm-water runoff pools up in shallow depressions and wetlands before seeping into the aquifer. But in an urban setting covered with impervious surfaces — asphalt, concrete, roofing materials, and even lawns-storm water moves sideways, not down, picking up all kinds of contaminants, from gasoline and motor oil, to leaves and grass clippings, to lawn fertilizer and phosphorus-laden dust blown in from western Minnesota farm fields. When carried into lakes, the chemical pollutants can kill insects and fish. The excess nutrients create blooms of algae, which, when they die and decompose, use up dissolved oxygen needed by fish and other aquatic life. Paved surfaces also increase water flow and speed of storm water, causing greater flood peaks and intensity. When conveyed into urban streams, the rushing torrents tear away at stream banks, causing massive erosion. “Pretty much every stream in the metro region has sections that have been blown out from storm-water runoff,” says Riggs. And because this fast-moving urban storm water doesn’t get a

chance to soak into the ground, groundwater levels decline, which leads to dry streams during drought. There’s more. Storm-water runoff picks up animal waste. According to the Maryland-based Center for Watershed Protection, fecal coliform levels in urban storm water are usually 15 to 20 times the recommended safety level for swimming. The Mississippi River, where most of the Twin Cities’ storm water ends up, is the source of drinking water for millions of people. It doesn’t take much asphalt and pavement to cause environmental harm. Studies cited by the Center for Watershed Protection show that when impervious surfaces cover as little as 10 percent of a watershed, streams show a sharp decline in mayflies, caddis flies, and other aquatic life. When they cover 25 percent of a watershed, an urban stream is “greatly impaired” and sees marked decreases in fish species diversity and even an elimination of fish altogether. The amount of impervious acreage across Minnesota continues to expand. From 1986 to 2000, impervious surface coverage in the seven-county Twin Cities region increased 60 percent, according to Marvin Bauer, head of the University of Minnesota Remote Sensing Laboratory.

Rain Gardens help reduce environmental damage caused by heavy rains and are an attractive landscape feature. These manmade features emulate low-lying spots that occur in meadows and wetlands and other natural areas.


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Garden: Rain gardens can be as large or small as homeowner wishes (which also sports a new “green roof” covered in grass and soil that absorb rain and snowmelt).

From Page 10

Simple Trick The environmental harm of more pavement, asphalt, and roofing can be greatly reduced, say storm-water experts, if runoff can be intercepted before it reaches the storm sewer. “The key is to break the connection between the hard surface and the storm sewer,” says Fred Rozumalski, an ecologist and landscape architect with Barr Engineering in Minneapolis. This can be done any number of ways, from the small homegrown solution of rain gardens, to the large-scale re-engineering of streets and parking lots. The easiest big fix is to design parking lots to usher storm water into vegetated depressions. Once the water slows, sand and silt settle out. Then plants absorb nitrogen and phosphorus. Bacteria in the soil convert gasoline and oil into simple organic compounds before the filtered water seeps down into the groundwater below. Among the public parking lots using this method are the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen and the new visitors center at Dakota County’s Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Homegrown bioretention Generally described as any slight depression containing deep-rooted perennial plants that captures and holds runoff (a process called bioretention), rain gardens can be as large or as small as a homeowner wishes. With more than 300 gardens planted since 1996, Maplewood is Minnesota’s rain garden mecca. Over the past eight years as it repaves old streets, the city has offered residents the option of having new curb-and-gutter systems installed or going curbless and having the water drain off the road into boulevard rain gardens. Many neighborhoods voted for the rain garden approach, though not every home on a curbless block had to put in a garden. “Most of our residents do it for the aesthetics,” says Virginia Gaynor, horticulturist and open space coordinator for the city of Maplewood. “But the environmental benefits are also important to people.” According to assistant city


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RAIN GARDEN BASICS Choose a low or wet spot in your yard where water drains naturally. The closer to the street, the better the spot. Make sure it’s at least 15 feet from any home foundation to avoid basement wetness. Check the soil. Sandbased soil works well. Clay-soil gardens are not recommended. Use a garden hose to outline the area. Any shape

engineer Chris Cavitt, the cost of putting in residential rain gardens is less than installing new curbs and gutters. Most rain gardens are being planted in the Twin Cities, though a few are popping up here and there in greater Minnesota. Dan LaFrance, a landscape designer with Landsburg Landscape Nursery in Brainerd, says he installed three rain gardens last year and hopes to do more as people learn how they work. “There’s a lot of potential up here with so many people moving in and around lakes,” he says. “Rain gardens are a beautiful so-

is fine. After checking for underground power lines and other utilities, dig a shallow depression, with the center at a depth of 12 to 18 inches, feathering out to the perimeter. Dig a shallow trench from the downspout or sump pump outlet to the garden. Choose native plants and cultivars that tolerate

lution to water-quality problems.” Stumbling Blocks Rozumalski, who has designed dozens of rain gardens, says the colorful plantings don’t need to be wild looking to help the environment. Another concern of homeowners: Will rain gardens produce mosquitoes? “They don’t,” says Rozumalski. “Mosquitoes need several days of standing water to reproduce, and rain gardens are designed to dry up before that.” In fact, he says, rain gardens often attract dragonflies, which eat mosquito larvae.

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drought and occasional drenching. As a general rule of thumb, plants should be about 18 inches apart, or one plant per 2.5 square feet. Mow or remove the dead vegetation each spring, or burn it off if local ordinances allow. Weed three times per growing season. (Tree seedlings are usually the most abundant weeds.)

a shallow basin in her yard and replaced existing clay soils with well-drained ones. Then Rowse used the Department of Natural Resources’ Restore Your Shore CD to select plants suitable for her 17-by-20-foot garden. “I just popped in the CD, pulled up a plant list, entered various parameters, such as not wanting anything over 3 feet tall, and it told me the plants I needed to get,” she says. Now in its second growing season, the rain garden will soon be abloom with prairie blazing star, cardinal-flowers, wood-lilies, and wild geraniums. Indiangrass, ironweed, and path rush add texture and diversity. High-bush cranberry bushes provide windbreaks and fruit for wintering birds.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tomato blossom end rot: Avoid the scourge of your garden this spring By KARL FOORD

Causes and the role of calcium

90 percent of the calcium that a mature fruit contains is already in the fruit by the time it is ½ — ¾” in diameter then the critical time for calcium uptake is early in the development of the fruit.

and thus weakens the fruit as a calcium sink. The fruit is competing with leaf tissue for calcium so a Blossom end rot is a “physihigher fruit to leaf ratio reduces In anticipation of spring ological disorder” induced by a the relative strength of the leaf tomatoes, consider your tomato localized calcium deficiency in as a calcium sink allowing systems and avoid one of the the fruit. The incidence of the more calcium to be allocated to scourges of gardening — tomato disorder is usually not due to a growing fruits. This adds to the blossom end rot. lack of calcium in the soil, but logic recommending pruning of rather due to factors affecting tomato sucker shoots. Calcium uptake is associated the uptake and translocation of Control of Blossom End Rot with water uptake. Thus anything calcium. Maintain even and adequate On a cellular level calcium is that interferes with water uptake soil moisture; mulch aids in this a critical component of cell walls can create calcium deficiencies. Water soaked areas at the process. Avoid poorly drained blossom end of the fruit usually (a structural nutrient). So when Dry or wet soils interfere with and cool soils. Avoid over- fertilwater uptake in different ways calcium is limiting cell walls appear when the fruits are one izing with nitrogen which crebut both can lead to calcium cannot form properly and rapthird to one half full size. This ates excessive vegetation. Avoid problems. The strongest sink for enlarges and darkens as the fruit idly growing parts of the plant ammonium based fertilizers calcium is actively transpiring suffer breakdown. As a strucmatures. as ammonia inhibits uptake of leaves because they are actively tural component calcium once These large sunken lesions calcium. Use nitrate as the main pulling water. Other plant strucdry out flatten and become black incorporated into a cell wall is source of N in fertilizers. Choose tures are not transpiring near the and leathery. Typically the first not mobile within the plant. cultivars that have fewer tendendegree that leaves are and thus At the plant level, the end fruit are most severely affected, cies to demonstrate blossom end function as poorer calcium sinks. and later developing fruit can be of the fruit is an area of rapid rot. Use soil test data to maintain A waxy cuticle develops on the growth and has a high need unaffected. proper nutrition and optimum fruit when it is ½ — ¾ “in diamfor calcium as do other rapid pH in the 6 — 6.5 range. eter which reduces transpiration growth areas like meristems. If University of Minnesota Extension Educator, Horticulture

Symptoms of blossom end rot

Soil calcium and plant uptake

Foliar applications of calcium

been effective. Perhaps foliar sprays applied on plants prior to the first cluster of fruit or directly on small There seems to be disagree- fruit can be used to supplement ment about the effectiveness of calcium. Calcium nitrate and foliar applications of calcium. chelated calcium are the safest The logic on the ineffective side sources of calcium to be apis that calcium is immobile in plied as a spray. However spray the plant and will not transapplications of calcium are no locate to the fruit from matesubstitute for proper nutrition rial sprayed on the leaves. The and water management. response is to spray on the fruit. If calcium is best allocated by However, a waxy cuticle develthe plants xylem water conducops on the fruit when it is ½ — tion system, then keeping this ¾ “in diameter which reduces system functioning optimally is transpiration and perhaps direct the best course of action. absorption of sprayed calcium. Often blossom end rot deThis article was developed from creases as the season progresses. a presentation created by Dr. Carl This could be due to weather efRosen and Michelle Grabowski fects, warmer soils, or a slowing and delivered by Dr. Carl Rosen of vegetative growth all of which at the Upper Midwest Regional would make it appear that early Fruit and Vegetable Growers applications of calcium have Conference.

Garden: Several studies prove rain garden effectiveness

water and 500 pounds of leaves, grass clippings, and other matter “I really wanted a lot of color that would have entered a nearby in summer, and I like that the wetland. garden attracts songbirds and A current study funded by the butterflies,” says Rowse. “I also Metropolitan Council is comparlike the look of the grasses and ing lawn phosphorus runoff from seed pods in the winter. The birds several Burnsville streets with 17 are attracted to the seeds, which rain gardens to streets without keeps them here year-round.” rain gardens. All of the streets An unexpected bonus: “The rain drain into Crystal Lake, which garden holds the snowmelt too.” has become increasingly algaeladen during the past several decades. Meanwhile, observation Rain gardens can be beautiful. strongly suggests that rain gardens But do the planted basins actually do effectively retain and filter help keep water clean? contaminated rainwater. According to the Center for “During a big rain, you drive Watershed Protection, several down a street [in some parts of studies on the East Coast have Maplewood] and see water pooled shown that rain gardens capture in the [rain] gardens,” says Cavitt. pollutants and keep downstream “Then you come back later in the lakes and streams healthier. And day, it’s all gone, seeped down local research indicates so too. A into the ground. That’s water that 1998 study by the Ramsey-Wash- would have washed down the ington Metro Watershed District streets and into the storm sewer.” found that, in one year, the H.B. As communities across MinFuller rain garden captured 55,000 nesota ooze outward, more concubic feet of untreated storm crete and asphalt cover the land.

From Page 11

Do they work?

Consequently, storm water has fewer places to go. Rain gardens won’t solve that problem entirely, but they’re an easy and attrac-

tive way for homeowners to help lessen the water-quality problems their sidewalks, driveways, and roofs create.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013



Heat and sweet: Pepper varieties run flavor gamut By KARL FOORD

UMN Extension Educator

Most pepper cultivars come from the species Capsicum annuum, whose center of origin is Mexico. The Habanero and Tabasco peppers come from C. chinense and C. frutescens, respectively. The center of origin for these species is the Amazon River basin in northern South America. The amount of variation in size shape and color is impressive. Especially fascinating are the color changes that many of the cultivars go through as they ripen. Most but not all start out green and then turn various shades of yellow, orange, red, and purple. Others start out purple, chocolate, or gray green and stay that color. Beyond color and size C. annuum peppers can be divided nicely into those that are sweet and those that “bring the heat.” The spicy heat of a pepper is a function of the amount of the compound capsaicin present in the pepper; the more capsaicin the hotter the pepper. Capsaicin stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin, especially the mucous membranes. Each hot pepper variety is characterized by a range of cap-

capsaicin. Growing temperature, hours of sunlight, moisture, soil chemistry, and the type and amount of fertilizer used can all be influencing factors. The conditions under which it a pepper was dried can also influence heat. The habanero pepper seems particularly sensitive to environmental factors and can vary in heat by a factor of 10. The names of many of the pepper types and or varieties reflect where they were developed. For example: Anaheim: this green pepper was cultivated for a canning factory in Anaheim, California. (Editor’s note: The first American canning factory was constructed in New York City in 1812. The canning industry moved westward and became active in the latter part of the 19th century). These peppers are also known as California Chile and Chile Verde and are used in the making of chiles rellenos. If Anaheim peppers are left on the bush to ripen, dried and ground into pepper, the product produced is Chile Colorado Jalapeño: When dried, the Jalapeño is known as “Chipotle” and around 20% Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota Extension of the Jalapeño harvest is dehydrated for saicin that it may contain as denoted by after its creator Wilbur Scoville. There Although the genetics determine the Chipotle sauce. the Scoville scale measured in Scoville is also a rating scale from 1 to 10 also potential of heat, the environment can heat units (SHU). The scale was named based on SHU. significantly modify the production of See PEPPERS on 14

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Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota Extension

Peppers: U of M Extension offers resources for growing your own peppers From Page 13 Paprika: Paprika is the Hungarian word for pepper, and the actual pepper was developed in Hungary. Pimiento: “Pimiento” is the Spanish word for “bell pepper” while “Pimento” or “pimentão” are the Portuguese words. Pimento peppers are the familiar

red stuffing found in prepared Spanish green olives. Padron: These peppers came from the Padron region in the province of Coruna in Spain. Habanero: traveled from South American and is postulated to have come from Cuba and named after Havana thus the name “Habanero”. Check out a nearby farmers’

market to see the variety of peppers available. If you are interested in growing some of these varieties see the publication: Growing Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant in Minnesota Home Gardens at http://www.extension.umn. edu/distribution/horticulture/ M1246.html

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Wegscheid PRE- OWNEDDanCARS Cowell

Peter Trocke


inventory go to: ‘07 Jeep Liberty LTD910 4x4, factory #8452....Ave. ...................For ......more ...$14,995 Old warranty, Minnesota ‘06 Pontiac Torrent FWD, 28K miles, factory warranty, #8710..............$12,995 507-931-4070 • 800-657-4802 931-4070 ® ‘06 Buick Redezvous CX FWD, 25K miles, factory warranty, #8729A..(507) .....$11,995 or (800) 657-4802 HOURS: Mon Fri 8-6 | Sat 8-4 ‘05 Chrysler Pacifica AWD, factory warranty, #8514.............................$11,995 St. Peter HOURS: ‘05 Jeep Liberty Renegade 4x4, factory warranty, #8588......................$11,995 Mon.– Fri. 8-6; Sat. until 4 Adam Cowell Les Giles Jay Berg ‘04 GMC Yukon XL SLE 4x4, 8 pass., 3/3* warranty, #8507B.................$14,995


‘07 Hyundai Sonata SE, V6, moonroof, #8001A....................................$12,995 TRUCKS ‘06 Chrysler PT Cruiser, 31K miles, 3/3* warranty, #8476A....................$8,495 ‘06 Ford F-350 Super Crew Dually 4x4, diesel, only 41K miles, factory warranty,




Ask about our new financing.*

* Loans provided by EnerBank USA (1245 E. Brickyard Rd. Suite 640, Salt Lake City, UT 84106) on approved credit, for a limited time. Repayment terms vary from 24 to 132 months. Interest waived if repaid in 365 days. 16.75% fixed APR, effective as of 2/17/13. Subject to change.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Ag 2013