Vegetable ‘Ag Ideas’ will focus on pillars of production for 2024

Join the Michigan State University Extension vegetable team on a webinar series dedicated to key production factors affecting vegetables.

Asparagus growing in a field.
Photo by Pixabay

This year’s MI Ag Ideas to Grow With webinar series will feature a new slate of vegetable topics. Last year, we dove deep on the topics of root, shoot and froot vegetables with growers of a diverse range of experiences. This year, we will focus on pillars of production, including individual talks on fertility/moisture management, insects, diseases, pollination and soil microorganisms. There will also be a beginning vegetable production talk that focuses on getting started.

February 19, 1-4 p.m. - Beginning Vegetables

Ben Phillips, vegetable specialist with Michigan State University Extension, will kick off this series and set up the rest of the topics. Vegetables are a very charismatic and multipurpose group of plants. As most of them are annuals, it’s easy to try them out as a new grower or as a new crop among other enterprises. We will discuss the types of vegetables to consider for different markets and some techniques for their production at smaller scales.

February 26, 10-11 a.m. - Pollinator Stewardship for Farmers, Growers, and Gardeners

We all benefit from a healthy pollinator population. Farmers and growers are well positioned to support bee health because they manage large areas of land and some growers produce crops that depend on bee pollination. Ana Heck’s presentation will share programs and practices that aim to support pollinator health by judiciously using pesticides and establishing pollinator habitat.

February 27, 10-11 a.m. - What Do Plants Crave?

Ben Phillips works with growers on the sandy soils of southwest Michigan and used to work with growers on the clay soils of east Michigan. The soils in each place play into how crops are managed. In this talk, we will discuss fertility and moisture management for high quality and high quantity vegetables across this spectrum of growing zones, including high organic matter soils like muck and pot/bag culture using greenhouse media.

February 28, 10-11 a.m. - What's Wrong With My Vegetables

Salta Mambetova will present on abnormalities in vegetables. It is easy to see if a plant is not looking good, but it is much harder to tell why. The goal of this presentation is to give specific examples of vegetable abnormalities that will help identify what is wrong with your vegetable.

February 29, 10-11 a.m. - The World Under Our Feet: Biological Soil Health in Vegetable Production

Chris Galbraith will share about the wonders of the complex food webs that exist in the soil habitat. These interactions are characterized by an astonishing level of biodiversity that includes soil organisms such as bacteria, fungi, nematodes, arthropods, earthworms and much more. Learn about how the relationships between these lifeforms influences soil biological health and successful crop production.

March 1, 10-11 a.m. - Becoming an Insect Investigator

Do you stream dramas about crime scene investigations? You can sleuth out what’s eating your vegetables by gathering evidence at the scene of the crime using the same evidence-based approach. It’s not only fun, it will also help you protect your vegetables from future issues. And avoid spending time and energy chasing the wrong culprit. Join Ben Werling for this dramatic chase!

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