Fruit

Cover Crops Improve Soil Quality in Plaintain Production Systems

GURABO, Puerto Rico — In humid, tropical environments where soil organic matter decomposes at a rapid rate, efforts are being made to maintain and improve soil health using cover crops, specifically in high intensive cropping systems like plantain production. In a Producer Grant project, farmer Duamed Colon-Carrion studied the potential benefits of cover crops on […]

Using Mineral Clay to Manage Pests and Increase Fruit Quality and Yield in Blackberries

SEARCY, Arkansas — Primocane blackberries, which can extend the fruiting season by months over traditional plant varieties, are changing the way farmers are growing berries. But they don’t come without their pest and production challenges, which University of Arkansas researchers are trying to solve with a naturally occurring soil mineral. In a Research and Education […]

Improving Pawpaw Production with Grafting

FRANKFORT, Kentucky – Kentucky State University researchers, through a grafting technique common in apple production, have been successful in producing higher-yielding, higher-quality fruit in pawpaws. The results help promote a low-input system to boost small-scale pawpaw production for small farmers. Through a $203,395 Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Grant, horticulturist Kirk Pomper and his […]

Adding Flowering Plants to Strawberry Fields to Enhance Pest Management and Biodiversity

WIMAUMA, Florida — Over the last few years, Florida strawberry growers have been faced with declining market prices, increased global competition, and suspected and documented cases of insecticide resistance. In addition, growing concerns for overall environmental health have increased as we see trends of habitat loss and declining biodiversity, specifically of natural enemies and pollinators. […]

Artificial Nesting Sites Attract Native Pollinators

LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia – Artificial nesting sites for pollinators placed in apple orchards have shown to boost native bee populations, according to results of a Georgia Gwinnett College study. In a Southern SARE-funded On-Farm Research Grant project, researchers focused on nesting sites for mason bees and mining bees – the workhorses of the native bee world […]

Sun-Baked Virginia Farm Blooms Under a Berm and Swale Permaculture System

KENBRIDGE, Virginia — It’s 90 degrees, but feels like 105 on the empty white road cutting across Virginia’s flat, coastal plains. There hasn’t been rain in a month and the fields of corn clicking past are curled to grey spikes. The soil between the rows looks like powdered rust. But it’s here, hidden behind pine […]

Wildflowers Draw Native Pollinators to Georgia Apple Orchard, Yields Increase

McCAYSVILLE, Georgia – Joe Dickey’s curiosity about bees nearly matches his affinity for birds. “I’ve loved birds ever since I was a kid because of all their different colors,” said Dickey, as he watches yellow finches fly around three 100X100-foot wildflower plots at his farm, Mountain View Orchards. But it’s the bees that are capturing […]

Paper or Pesticides? Bagging Peaches Protects from Insects and Diseases, Increases Yields

SENECA, South Carolina – When Clemson fruit specialist Juan Carlos Melgar suggested putting a paper bag over a peach to detract insects and diseases during production, farmers laughed. But when the trials, funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education grant, showed that the technique protects the fruit from devastating brown rot, marauding insects […]

University of Kentucky Resources for Small Fruit Growers

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension, through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, has developed a series of outreach materials for small fruit producers to aid in disease management. “Like many diseases of small fruit, they are best managed using cultural practices, such as sanitation. Thus, we developed […]

Berries Thrive in High Tunnels, But Be Aware of Pests, According to University of Arkansas Study

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – A University of Arkansas study has found that using high tunnels in berry production can increase yields, extend the harvest season, and improve fruit quality compared to field production. However, care must be taken to manage pests. In the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE)-funded project (LS12-250), “Extending the Market Season […]

A Natural Method of Reducing Post-Harvest Fruit Decay Found

FORT PIERCE, Florida – University of Florida researchers, through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education grant, have found a natural method of reducing post-harvest citrus fruit decay. In a SSARE Graduate Student Grant study, researchers found that essential oils, specifically carvacrol and thymol, significantly decrease ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit natural decay, weight loss and chilling […]

Expanding the IPM Toolbox to Fight Spotted Wing Drosophila

GAINESVILLE, Florida – University of Florida researchers are expanding the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) toolbox for blueberry growers fighting the spotted wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) – a destructive pest of small fruit crops. Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant (GS12-114), entomology graduate student Lindsy Iglesias, along with professor Oscar […]

Evaluating Nutrient, Soil Health, and Economic Benefits of Compost Additions to Summer Cover Crops for Strawberries in North Carolina

Over the past 8 years, a team of multidisciplinary faculty and students at NC State University have conducted various field-based studies at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and on-farm research examining the impact of summer cover crops, compost additions and applications of beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and vermicompost on soil health, nutrient availability, and yields in conventional and organic strawberry production systems.

Perennial Grass Cover Crops Can Optimize Wine Grape Growth

Vineyard cover crops or ‘living mulch’ consists of either sown or native vegetation, grown in vineyard row middles and/or inclusive of the area under the vine trellis (Fig. 1). Although cover crops can increase pest pressure (arthropods and voles) and vineyard management costs, benefits of cover crops include: erosion and weed control, reduction of herbicide use and mitigation of excessive vine vigor.

Artificial Nest Sites Boost Native Bees in Apple Orchards

LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia – Researchers with Georgia Gwinnett College have found that creating artificial nesting sites for native bees helps to increase their abundance – a boon for producers looking to native bee species to pollinate their crops. For several years, zoologist and project coordinator Mark Schlueter and taxonomist Nick Stewart, have been surveying native bees […]

Sustainable Blackberries and Raspberries

A handbook to guide growers in sustainable practices of fruit production from production practices to business management to marketing, for high tunnel and field production.

Looking for the Right Bee for Your Apple Orchards? Say Hello to the Native Mining Bee

LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia – Commercial Georgia apple producers looking for an alternative to the honeybee to pollinate their orchards can say hello to the native mining bee (Andrena crataegi). Georgia Gwinnett College researchers have named the mining bee Georgia’s “apple bee,” for its abundance in north Georgia apple orchards and its efficiency in pollinating blossoms. The […]