Organic Farm Calls: @#*%$! Flaming Weeds

This week a Jersey grower asks why his high BTU vapor phase propane weed flamer doesn’t kill all his weeds. He reports that it seems to work fair – most of the time – on broadleaf weeds, but doesn’t do an adequate job on grasses. Why are his results so variable?

Optimizing Propane Flaming Weed Control

Weed Flame Implement

Weed control implement with vapor phase propane burners

Here’s a weed control tip: If you use flaming weed control with vapor phase propane burners, perform your work in the afternoon, beginning at least eight hours after sunrise.
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Organic Farm Calls: White Rot on Garlic, Leek, & Onion

This week a central Jersey grower of organic produce calls to report problems in a field of overwinter garlic.

white rot on garlic

What might be the cause of this problem?

The grower reports there is no history of previous allium crop production in the field. Two different varieties are being grown. On inspection, one variety shows yellow, stunted and wilting plants in small patches in the field; the other variety is vigorous and symptom free.

What might be the cause of this problem? What steps do you take to find the definitive answer? What can our organic grower do to avoid further crop loss?
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Farm Calls: A Grower Questions Why Hydroponics are Excluded from Organic Certification Labeling

This Farm Call comes from Rutgers SEBS Dean, Robert Goodman – yes, even Deans get calls from growers.
A New Jersey grower, who raises crops hydroponically, asks,

“Why can’t I get my greens and herbs labeled Certified Organic?
It seems there is a hang up with the issue.”

hydroponicsThe answer to his question reveals serious dysfunction in the governing bodies that dictate farming practices and how pop culture molds public opinion through fear.

  • Why would a farmer seek a Certified Organic label?
  • Flawed Definitions & Illogical Policy
  • Why Hydroponics Won’t be Deemed Certified Organic by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
  • What can Growers Do?

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Farm Calls: Contemplating Hops

Northeast SARE USDA summer farm tour in Rhode IslandForestry Specialist Mark Vodak was recently “talking shop” with a friend who happens to be a berry farmer. His friend is contemplating a new venture this season – growing hops.

Hop, Humulus lupulus L., is an essential ingredient contributing to beer aroma & flavor and, is of interest in biomedical research.
Their conversation brings up some common questions about growing an alternative crop like hops in New Jersey:

  • Who do I talk to about growing hops?
  • What’s going on with hops in the region?
  • What do I need to know starting out when growing hops in New Jersey?

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