Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Irrigation School

Beat the heat!  Save water and fertilizer this summer with drip irrigation training at Drip Irrigation School!

You are cordially invited to attend a day of professional development at the Horticulture Research Station north of Ames on Monday June 29th, 2015 from 9:00  am to 3:30 pm (registration begins at 8:45).  ISU Extension and Outreach Commercial Horticulture specialists Ajay Nair, Patrick O’Malley, and Joe Hannan will take the fear away from building and operating drip irrigation systems.  Participants will take a pre-workshop homework, in class lecture, and hands-on practice with system components in the field and in the lab.  In the field, participants will also see how water and fertilizer move through the soil profile under different setups.  Upon completion of the workshop, participants will understand the basic principles of drip irrigation systems, be able to determine when and how much water to apply, and be able to assemble a drip system.

This workshop is intended for local food system service providers across Iowa.  No prior irrigation knowledge is required.  Cost is free, but registration is required as space is limited.  Please register by June 19, 2015 with the Dallas County Extension Office at or or by calling the office at 515.993.4281.

A limited number of scholarships are available in the amount of $50 to help offset the cost of travel and are reimbursable through SARE after the event.  Please mention the scholarship when registering as these are available on a first come, first served basis.

Support for this program is provided by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, ISU Department of Horticulture, and ISU Extension and Outreach.

Friday, April 3, 2015

New Extension publication on tomato cultivars

Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture

A new publication providing information on suitable tomato varieties for commercial field and high tunnel production in Iowa is now available at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach Online Store. The four-page Recommended Tomato Varieties for Commercial Production in Iowa HORT 3024  , offers tomato growers the opportunity to compare varieties for the Midwest growing zones. The publication is free to download (click the link above to download pdf).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Biochar in vegetable production

Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University

Check out our new video on the use of biochar in vegetable production systems. In this experiment we are evaluating the use of biochar in commercial potato and sweet corn production

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New video on cover crops

Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University

The Sustainable Vegetable Production Lab recently released a new video showcasing benefits of using brassica cover crops in vegetable cropping systems. The video highlights oilseed radish cover crop grown at the Horticulture Research Station, Ames. Check out the video by clicking the link below


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Soil and insect management for vegetable crops

Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University

Location: Cedar Valley Produce – south of Riceville, Iowa 
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Learn about cover crops, soil fertility, and insects in vegetable cropping systems.

Cover Crops (Dr. Ajay Nair): One of the core philosophies of sustainable production systems is the development of healthy and productive soil that provides essential nutrients for plant growth and supports diverse and active soil biotic communities. Incorporation of cover crops and compost bear paradigm importance as they improve soil organic matter, supply nutrients, and improve soil health and quality. This presentation will focus on various cover crops, their management aspects, attributes, and discuss their effect on nutrient cycling and soil quality and health.

Soil Fertility (Joe Hannon): The soil fertility session will discuss proper soil sampling procedures and how to make sense of soil sample reports. The session will help growers make decisions on annual fertilizer applications for vegetable crops.

Insects (Patrick O’Malley): Solanaceous and Greenhouse Insects (Solanaceous is the nightshade family which includes tomato, pepper, eggplant, potato, and tomatillo). He will talk about insects that affect the Solanaceous crops both in the field and in the high tunnels/greenhouses and then go into insects that are more common on multiple crops inside high tunnels/greenhouses. Patrick will also do a short presentation on Colony Collapse Disorder on honeybees.

Meeting is free but registration by February 10 is required for meal count. Lunch served by Cedar Valley Produce. For registration please contact:
Ms. Sue Barnes ISU Howard County Extension and Outreach
Cresco, IA PH 563-547-3001

This program is being sponsored in cooperation with People’s Savings Bank of Elma, Cedar Valley Produce, and ISU Howard County Extension and Outreach.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vegetable Transplant Production Workshop (02-17-2015)

Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University

Event Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Location: Valders Hall 379 Luther College, Decorah, IA
 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Vegetable producers can learn how to grow quality transplants at an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach workshop planned for Tuesday, Feb. 17 in Decorah. Transplant production plays a key role in a successful vegetable production system. Growing healthy, disease free, and quality transplants is the first step growers have to take to achieve higher yields and productivity.. Please see workshop agenda and registration details below:

9:30 – 10:00 Registration and coffee
10:00 - 10:45 Transplant growing medium – Ajay Nair, Horticulture, ISU
10:45 - 11:30 Insect pests and their management – Patrick O’Malley, ISUEO
11:30 - 12:30 Lunch
12:30 - 1:15 Transplant diseases and management – Joe Hannan, ISUEO
1:15 - 2:00 Importance of quality and quantity of light in vegetable transplant production – Ajay Nair, Horticulture, ISU
2:15 - 2:30 Break
2:30 - 3:00 Hardening off transplants – Patrick O’Malley, ISUEO
3:00 - 3:30 Discussion and Evaluation

Registration on or before 02/13/2015: $30/person
Registration after 02/13/2015 or at the door: $35/person
To register please contact Ms. Teresa Wiemerslage, Allamakee County Extension Office;; Phone: 563-794-0599

This event is co-sponsored by The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

IFVGA Annual Conference (29-30 Jan., 2015)

Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University

Please plan to attend the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association annual conference, January 29-30, 2015 in Ankeny, IA. The conference will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC Campus, 1055 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, IA 50023.

The conference  includes tracks that focus on insect and pest management, strip tillage, food safety, high tunnels, aquaponics, agri-tourism, and other important topics in fruit and vegetable production. There are 30+ exhibitors in the trade show with the latest seeds, supplies, high tunnel, irrigation, equipment, and grower information. There will be ample opportunities to visit with other growers, exhibitors and speakers during the conference. It will be
an excellent educational opportunity!

Conference agenda available at:

For registration click the link below: