Monday, April 14, 2014

Tip of the Week: Monitor for Aphids on Fruit Trees

Spring has sprung, fruit trees are blooming and USU Extension's Utah Pest team is on on the lookout for up-to-date pest and disease issues here in Utah. A common pest to start monitoring for now are APHIDS!

"Aphids overwinter as eggs, and if they were not killed by dormant oil spray, they are hatching now. There are several species, but they all have similar life cycles, behave similarly, cause the same damage, and are treated the same.

Monitor your fruit trees as soon as the leaves are large enough to handle. Turn leaves over on several shoot, and look for clusters of aphids near the base of leaf. Treating them before the leaves start to curl is the key to success." Marion Murray-Tree Fruit  IPM Advisory. 

If you didn't get around to spraying a dormant oil this spring, you a can mitigate aphid problems by using an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil at 1% concentration.  

"Both of these must come into contact with the aphids to work, and they have no residual value, so a repeat spray might be necessary."-IPM Advisory 

For a certified organic product check the Organic Materials Review Institute website at

Sign up to receive this and more weekly IMP advisories by visiting USU Extension!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Salt Lake "Organic Growing Workhop"

Learn how to interpret the Utah Pests- Integrated Pest Management Advisories for organic applications. Meet our Extension specialists! Talk about community gardening and how to increase production, plus network with organic producers and garden enthusiasts! 

MARCH 29th!
Cost $10
Call the Salt Lake County Extension office to register
or visit

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Seasonal Celebration!

Has spring fever taken you over? Well get outside and plant! It is time to start vegetables listed as HARDY outdoors. This includes:

  1. Radish
  2. Spinach
  3. Lettuce
  4. Turnip
  5. Rhubarb
  6. Kohlrabi
  7. Asparagus
  8. Onions
  9. Broccoli
  10. Cabbage
Happy Spring Everyone! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tip of the Week: Pruning Fruit Trees

It is that time of year again to get out there and prune those fruit trees.  "Annual pruning of fruit trees helps to maintain vigor, tree health, and fruit size. Apple trees can be pruned almost any time in winter, but peach/nectarine, apricot and plum trees should be pruned in spring, just before bloom. These trees are more sensitive to colder temperatures, and if they pruned too early, they may experience some dieback."- Tree Fruit IPM Advisory, by Marion Murray.

Terminology and Making Proper Twig Cuts

When pruning any tree, never remove more than 1/3 of the canopy. In general, remove:
  • rubbing branches
  • branches that are growing into the center of the tree, straight up, or straight down
  • broken or dead branches
  • suckers and sprouts: Retain a small number of well-placed suckers within the tree to keep new growth closer to the center of teh tree and to replace old scaffold limbs as they are removed.          

To read the rest of this IPM or to sign up for the Fruit Tree Advisories please visit: 

For more information on fruit variety recommendations for Utah visit USU Factsheet:

For tips on planting fruit trees in Utah visit USU Extension Factsheet:

For more information on maintaining and pruning visit USU Factsheet:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tip of the Week: Peas Please

The warmer weather we've had here along the Wasatch front lately has a lot of gardeners ready to get outside. Planting peas can be a great way to scratch the gardening itch you have during this pre-spring season!

Peas not only tolerate the cooler weather, but are delicious and "a valuable source of protein, iron and fiber." They also are a nitrogen-fixing legume and   certain varieties can help increase nitrogen levels in your soil. 

This table lists a few varieties that have performed well in Utah. 
Pea Types
Selected Varieties
Garden Pea
Dual, Early Frosty, Green Arrow, Lincoln, Little Marvel, Perfection Dark Seeded, Sparkle, Waldo
Snap/Snow Pea
Dwarf Grey Sugar, Oregon Sugar Pod, Snowflake, Sugar Daddy, Sugar Sprint, Super Sugar
Dry Pea
Most garden pea varieties can be grown for dry seed production.

The table above and information below came from Utah State University Extension's fact sheet "Peas in the Garden" by Dan Drost, Vegetable production specialist. 

Soil:Peas will grow in all soil types that are rich in organic matter, well drained, and fertile.

Plants: Peas are cool weather, frost tolerant vegetables that require soil and air temperatures to remain below 80ºF for best germination and plant growth. Start planting peas as soon as you can till the soil in the spring. Seedling will emerge in 7-10 days when planted in soil of 55-65ºF. Peas do poorly when temperatures exceed 80ºF.

Planting and Spacing To plant 100 feet of row, you will need about 2-3 ounces of seed. Extra seed can be stored and used the next year. Plant seeds 1 inch deep, spaced 1-2 inches apart, in rows 12-24 inches apart. No thinning is necessary if plant stands are too thick. Plant garden and dry peas every 14-21 days until April 1 in warm regions and May 1 in cooler regions. Peas require 60-70 days to mature depending on variety. Snap peas generally produce pods over a longer time period so only one planting is necessary.  Garden peas can be planted again around mid-August in Northern Utah and mid-September in warm areas of Southern Utah for fall production. Mulching the crop during the summer will improve soil water loss and increase nutrient availability. Yields of fall grown peas are not as good as the spring sown plantings.

Support: Most pea varieties are self-supporting during growth. Taller pea varieties are more productive and easier to harvest if caged, trellised, or fenced. Wooden poles, wire cages, or other fencing materials make ideal supports for peas. Snap and snow peas climb naturally so little additional work is required other than constructing the supports.

Water: Peas require regular watering throughout growth for best production. Soils should be allowed to dry until half of the available water is used before returning the soil to field capacity. Do not overwater as wet soil promotes root rot diseases and slows plant growth. Water needs are most critical after flowering. Drought stress will decrease yield due to pod abortion and reduce seed size, increase pod stringiness, and alter seed quality. Watering amounts depend on soil type and organic matter content.

For even more information on peas visit 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Tip of the Week: Start Onion Seeds Indoors

In order to have an early production of onions, you need to plant sets or transplants in late March or early April. This means if you are starting onions from seed you need to get started in late January or early February. Onion sets need 6-8 weeks of growth before being planted outdoors. Onions are a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Vitamin C. Consider growing them in your landscape this year!

For more information on onions visit:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Urban & Small Farms Conference

Are you interested in learning more about growing organically in Utah? Do you have interest in selling items locally and need help marketing your products? If so, this is the place to be! This two day event will cover topics like commercial production, aquaponics, land leasing  and agritourism. Early bird pricing is $20 dollars per day if you sign up before Feb. 12th, 2014. For more information contact Salt Lake County Extension office at 385-468-4824. 

To register please visit Eventbrite @  Urban and Small Farms Conference Registration

For a draft of the program visit:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Getting Started: 2014

Picking out a new variety of pepper can really add spice to your life (pun intended).
The cold temperatures of the winter season often keep us stuck inside, but that doesn't mean we can’t daydream of warmer weather and glorious gardens! While many choose to simply purchase transplants later in the spring, those who find satisfaction (like dirt beneath their nails sort of satisfaction) in starting seeds indoors are probably already perusing seed catalogs and conjuring up visions of emerging seedlings. I personally enjoy picking out one new plant to grow each year to add some variety to my garden. When picking out seeds it is always good to check which varieties are recommended for your area. For more information on variety recommendations and seed purchasing tips contact your local extension office. -Tessa Groff, Horticulture Staff Assistant with USU Extension in Salt Lake County.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tip of the Week: Is it time to harvest your onions?

"Neck rot is a disease of onions caused by a fungus called Botrytis"  It can be prevented before harvest so you ensure you won't see it creep in while storing your onions.

So when do you pull your onions out of the ground?!

"Onions should be harvested when the tops of about half the plants in the garden or field have fallen over. This is a sign that the onions are mature and need to be pulled out of the ground, keeping the foliage attached. (If you wait too long, the bulbs may sunburn without the foliage to protect them. )
The next, and most important step, is to allow the foliage to dry completely before removing it from the bulb. If green foliage is cut from the bulb and the bulbs are not dried, a soft rot such as Botrytis can easily set in soon after storing." -Utah State Extension Small Fruits and Vegetable IPM Advisory

Leave the onions out to dry in a shady place. Once you are sure the tops of the onions are dry, remove them and store in the onions in a cool, dry spot. Avoid plastic bags or bowls; they don't get enough air circulation in either option. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tip of the Week: Why Tomatoes Crack

"Cracks or splits can happen in tomatoes either in a circular pattern (concentric) or they may radiate out from the stem. Tomatoes crack when the skin of the tomato does not stretch enough to accommodate growth or internal pressure. Cracking may happen when the tomatoes are green, but most often happen as the fruit nears maturity.The most common cause of cracking is irrigation practices that lead to wide fluctuations of soil moisture from very dry to very wet. An influx of water after a dry spell causes the fruit to quickly expand and ultimately crack. Mulching the soil under the plants can help to regulate soil moisture.

Cracking may also happen when tomatoes are pruned too early, exposing fruit to the heat of the sun. The fruit suddenly heats up during the day and cools relatively quickly at night. The temperature differential is bigger than it would have been had the fruit been shaded. The resulting expansion and contraction of the epidermis and its cells can result in cracking.

To manage cracking, the first step is to start with varieties that are less susceptible to splitting. According to Kansas State University, Mountain Spring, Mountain Pride, Mountain Fresh, Floralina and Sun Leaper are smaller-vined types that have shown good resistance to cracking. Resistant varieties and maintaining soil moisture and fertilization will help to prevent cracking."- Utah State Extension Small Fruits and Vegetable IPM Advisory

 Sign up to receive this and more weekly IMP advisories by visiting USU Extension!