In descending order, by date published.
Long before the term "sustainable" became a household word, farmers were implementing sustainable practices in the form of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. IPM uses a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and chemical methods to reduce and/or manage pathogen and pest populations. These strategies are used to minimize environmental risks, economic costs, and health hazards. Pathogens and pests are managed (although rarely eliminated entirely) to reduce their negative impact on the crop. Scouting and monitoring for diseases, insects, weeds, and abiotic disorders helps identify potential problems before serious losses result. This is essential to the IPM approach. The key to effective monitoring is accurate identification. The images included in this guide represent the more common abiotic and biotic problems that occur in Kentucky peach plantings.
Organic mulches, such as shredded cypress and pine bark, are commonly used in commercial and home landscapes. Mulches provide numerous benefits, including conservation of soil moisture and suppression of weeds, as well as offer a visually pleasing background for landscape plantings. However, mulch is also a substrate for a diverse group of saprophytic organisms (saprobes), such as mushrooms and slime molds. While often causing alarm to gardeners unfamiliar with them, saprobes do not infect plants or cause plant diseases.
Long before the term "sustainable" became a household word, farmers were implementing sustainable practices in the form of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. IPM uses a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and chemical methods to reduce and/or manage pathogen and pest populations. These strategies are used to minimize environmental risks, economic costs, and health hazards. Pathogens and pests are managed (although rarely eliminated entirely) to reduce their negative impact on the crop. Scouting and monitoring for diseases, insects, weeds, and abiotic disorders helps identify potential problems before serious losses result. This is essential to the IPM approach. The key to effective monitoring is accurate identification. The images included in this guide represent the more common abiotic and biotic problems that occur in Kentucky grape plantings.
Hop (Humulus lupulus) is a native herbaceous plant with a perennial crown and annual climbing stems (bines). Bines are similar to vines; however, bines wind around a support structure and lack the suckers or tendrils typical of vines. Hop crowns can survive for 25 years or more; however, the fast growing bines die back to the ground each winter. Bines can reach a height of 15 to 30 feet in a single growing season. Hops are valued for their female cones, which contain the resins and essential oils used to provide the distinctive flavor, aroma and bitterness to beer.
Bamboo is the general name used for a number of perennial, woody-stemmed grasses. Native cane (Arundinaria gigantea), which is commonly referred to as river cane, grows naturally in Kentucky and throughout much of the Southeast. It is one of three bamboo species native to North America. There are more than a hundred introduced species that can be grown in the U.S., with growth habits ranging from low-growing groundcovers to full-sized trees that reach a height of over 30 feet at maturity. Bamboos are well known for their vigorous growth and variety of uses.
Hundreds of different annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetable transplants can be grown and sold as bedding plants. In general, the term 'bedding plant' refers to any plant that is produced and sold for planting in the landscape, garden or large containers (such as patio pots).
Gourds, which are related to pumpkins and squash, are generally grown for their hard outer rind. The fruit is dried for fall decorations, handicrafts and functional items. The various types of gourds include hard-shell gourds (Lagenaria spp.; used for dippers, containers and birdhouses), soft-shell gourds (Cucurbita pepo; decorative and ornamental uses), and luffa gourds (their soft interior fiber is used like a sponge).
Over the past 40 years Kentucky growers have produced apples (Malus domestica) using free-standing trees in low to medium density plantings. Today's high density orchards have closely planted trees on dwarfing rootstocks requiring permanent support structures. Earlier production, quicker returns on the investment, and improved fruit quality are just a few of the many benefits of the new high-density systems.
High tunnels are relatively simple polyethylene-covered structures placed over irrigated ground beds. Also known as hoop houses, high tunnels have been used to extend the marketing window of a wide variety of annual crops in Kentucky, such as vegetables and cut flowers. Perennial crops, such as brambles, can also be produced in high tunnels
Sod production involves growing a solid stand of high quality turfgrass and then harvesting the grass along with roots and a thin layer of topsoil. Many sod producers also transport and install the sod. The primary markets for sod are landscapers and building contractors. Sod is used in parks, golf courses, athletic fields, schools, garden centers, home lawns, road construction sites, commercial properties, and cemeteries. The 2014 USDA Census of Horticultural Specialties reported slightly less than 1,000 acres of sod harvested in Kentucky. The value of sod sales in Kentucky was split almost evenly between wholesale and retail sales.
The name "pumpkin" is commonly applied to any plant in the taxonomically diverse Cucurbita genus that produces the characteristic yellow to orange, round fruit. Pumpkin cultivars may belong to one of several species: Cucurbita pepo, C. maxima, C. moschata and C. mixta.
To many, nothing says summer like the first local ripe strawberries of the season. A versatile fruit, strawberries (Fragaria spp.) can be consumed fresh, frozen or in processed foods. Growers able to provide the earliest crop of these popular berries will often have the marketing edge
The peach (Prunus persica), which originated in China, is a member of the rose family. In the past, commercial peach production in Kentucky has been profitable only in western counties, in southern counties, and in areas along the Ohio River. However, over the past 15 years as winters have become warmer, peach growers are also doing well in areas west of the mountains, as long as good sites that avoid late spring frosts are selected.
Scouting and monitoring diseases, insects, weeds, and abiotic disorders in order to identify potential problems before they result in serious losses is essential to the IPM approach. The key to effective monitoring is accurate identification. The pictures included in this guide represent the more common abiotic and biotic problems that occur on vegetable crops grown in high tunnel and greenhouse structures in Kentucky. This manual is not all-inclusive, and growers may encounter problems not included here. Please contact a local Cooperative Extension Service office for assistance.
Ornamental grasses are popular for use in commercial and homeowner landscapes. Attractive foliage, showy flowers and distinctive seed heads make many annual and perennial grasses suitable for fresh and dried floral arrangements. Ornamental grasses can be added to an existing nursery operation or become the focus of a specialty nursery.
Long before the term "sustainable" became a household word, farmers were implementing sustainable practices in the form of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. IPM uses a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and chemical methods to reduce and/or manage pathogen and pest populations. These strategies are used to minimize environmental risks, economic costs, and health hazards. Pathogens and pests are managed (although rarely eliminated entirely) to reduce their negative impact on the crop. Scouting and monitoring for diseases, insects, weeds, and abiotic disorders helps identify potential problems before serious losses result. This is essential to the IPM approach. The key to effective monitoring is accurate identification. The images included in this guide represent the more common abiotic and biotic problems that occur in Kentucky blackberry and raspberry plantings.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra subsp. canadnesis) is a large shrub or small tree native to Kentucky. The small fruit has prominent seeds and are produced in large clusters. While elderberries are not normally eaten fresh due to their tartness, wild and cultivated elderberries can be processed, either alone or with other fruit.
Summer squashes (Curcurbita pepo) are warm-season cucurbits that are harvested when the fruits are immature. The most common summer squash types include yellow (crookneck and straightneck) and zucchini. Also included in the summer squash group are scallop squashes and cocozelle. Summer squashes grow on plants with a bush growth habit, rather than vining.
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is a warm-season crop that originated in South America. Tomatoes are one of the most popular and profitable crop alternatives in Kentucky. Growers able to provide the earliest locally grown tomatoes can often demand a premium price.
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a unique tree fruit native to the eastern United States. Its highly aromatic fruit has a sweet, almost tropical-like flavor. The large fruit is oblong and typically produced singly or in clusters of two to nine. Pawpaw fruit pulp can be eaten fresh or prepared in a variety of desserts. Kentucky is fortunate to have the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Asimina spp. located at Kentucky State University in Frankfort.
Very few European pears (Pyrus communis) are grown commercially in Kentucky, primarily due to problems with fire blight and late spring frosts. Asian pears (P. pyrifolia, synonym P. serotina), on the other hand, are more consistently productive in Kentucky in spite of these problems. Also called apple pears, Asian pears are crisp and juicy like an apple, but with the sweetness associated with pears.
Sweet corn (Zea mays subsp. mays) is one of the most popular fresh market vegetables produced in Kentucky. While field corn has thousands of years of history, sweet corn has only been available since the 1700s. Present day cultivars vary by kernel color (yellow, white and bicolor) and sugar content.
The terms "sweet potato" and "yam" are often used interchangeably; however, they are actually two entirely different crops. Only sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are grown in the U.S.; yams (Dioscorea spp.) are grown in the Caribbean and many other tropical areas. The most profitable marketing opportunities for sweet potatoes in Kentucky are through local fresh markets, such as farmers markets, direct delivery and CSA, and on-farm stands. Producers also market through local wholesale channels, selling directly from the farm to restaurants, grocers and institutional foodservice, including schools.
Over the years, growers and county extension agents have inquired about a number of different small fruits, questioning if these crops could be grown in Kentucky. A few of these crops have potential, while many others are either completely unsuitable for production here or they are unreliable from year to year. This profile discusses some of the pros and cons of producing this latter group of small fruit. The purpose is to communicate the reasons these unique fruits are not generally recommended for commercial production in the Commonwealth.
Blackberries (Rubus spp.) are included in the group of small fruits generally referred to as 'brambles' or 'caneberries.' They have perennial crowns and roots. Most blackberry types produce canes the first season (primocanes) that do not bear fruit. The following year these are called floricanes, and bear fruit and then die naturally after harvest. Primocane-fruiting blackberries are an exception. They produce fruit on the primocanes in late summer and fall and again on these same canes (floricanes) the following July and early August before dying. With favorable growing conditions, brambles may produce for 12 or more years. Blackberries are grouped according to their growth habit: erect, semi-erect or trailing. Erect (thorny and thornless) and semi-erect (thornless) blackberries grow and yield well in most parts of the state. The trailing types are not recommended for commercial production in Kentucky due to their lack of winter hardiness. Primocane-fruiting thorny and thornless blackberries also do well in Kentucky; however, hot summers substantially reduce the primocane crop because a week of temperatures above 85 degrees F causes flowers to abort.
Greenhouse tomato production has increased in recent years, responding to consumer demand for year-round fresh produce and advances in greenhouse vegetable production practices. However, of all the greenhouse crops, tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) are the most complicated to grow because they require the most management, the most labor, and the most light. A grower must be committed to meeting the daily demands of production to be successful. Prospective growers need to get as much information as they can about all aspects of greenhouse production before beginning this enterprise.
Black aronia (Aronia melanocarpa) and jujube (Ziziphus jujube) are minor fruits that could have commercial potential in some areas of Kentucky. Growers looking for unique crops to add to their product mix may want to consider these novel fruits on a small scale.
Although bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a warm-season annual when grown in temperate regions, it is actually an herbaceous perennial when cultivated in tropical areas, such as its native Latin America. Bell peppers are considered "sweet" since they lack the pungent chemical (capsaicin) present in hot peppers.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a cool-season crop that performs poorly in hot weather. As a member of the crucifer family, broccoli is closely related to other cole crops, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
Microgreens are young, tender, edible crops that are harvested as seedlings. These tiny plants are grown to the first true leaf stage. They should not be confused with sprouts, which are germinated seeds lacking true leaves. Microgreens are sold as a raw product for use in salads, on sandwiches, and as a garnish.
The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a cool-season plant originally from the Andes Mountains of South America. The tubers are underground stems, not roots. Potatoes are most often grown in Kentucky as an early crop for fresh market consumption.
Hot peppers, also known as chili (or chile) peppers, owe most of their "heat" or pungency to a chemical substance called capsaicin. This chemical is concentrated in the cross walls of the fruit and around the developing seeds. Chili peppers can be mild to fiery hot, depending on the amount of capsaicin present. The amount of capsaicin in peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Currently, the hottest pepper is considered to be the 'Carolina Reaper' which has 2.2 million SHUs. A combination of genetics and environment are responsible for the amount of heat in hot peppers. Peppers that do not contain capsaicin, such as bell peppers (0 SHUs), are considered "sweet." In addition to the hot types, other specialty peppers include sweet varieties of unusual shape, size and/or color.
Cut flowers can be grown in open fields or in protected environments such as high tunnels or environmentally controlled greenhouses and sold fresh or dried. Non-flowering cut stems, such as seed heads, stalks and woody cuts, may also be grown for floral or decorative purposes. Cut flowers and cut stems are well-suited to small-scale production and are a good way to diversify or expand an existing farm operation. Specialty cut flowers can be sold by the stem, in bunches, or in mixed bouquets or value-added products.
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a heat-loving vegetable in the Hibiscus family. It is particularly popular in the South, where the immature pods are used as an ingredient and thickening agent in soups, stews and gumbos. Okra can also be boiled, fried or pickled.
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) is a cool-season crop in the crucifer family. While it is closely related to broccoli and cabbage, cauliflower is more exacting in its environmental requirements than other cole crops. Cauliflower is very sensitive to unusually hot weather, temperatures that are too low, and drought. It is also subject to black rot and other diseases.
The nursery business involves the production and marketing of various plants including trees, shrubs, grasses, perennial and annual flowers, and fruit trees. A landscaping service, garden center, or sod farm may also be associated with a nursery enterprise. A successful nursery operator must be knowledgeable about all phases of plant production and be willing to work long, hard days. Good marketing and management skills are essential. A passion for ornamental plants and an entrepreneurial spirit add greatly to the chances for success.
Asian vegetables are generally those vegetable crops originating from East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Myanmar). They may also include crops of South Asia (India and Pakistan). While often referred to as "oriental" vegetables, the term "Asian" is preferred. A number of these Asian crops have been successfully grown and marketed in Kentucky.
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a heat-loving member of the Solanaceous family. While it is generally grown as an annual in North America, eggplant is actually an herbaceous perennial. Long a popular vegetable in Asian, Middle Eastern, Greek and Italian cuisine, the eggplant is thought to have been introduced to America by Thomas Jefferson.
The snap bean or green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is a warm-season crop harvested for its immature seed pods. Prior to the development of the stringless bean in the 1890s, snap beans were referred to as "string beans" because of the fiber or "string" running along the pod seam. While stringless beans are more common today, many consumers still prefer the flavor of the stringed types.
The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) is a financial assistance program provided through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). The program provides producers of crops not eligible for crop insurance with some level of risk management when natural disasters cause crop low yields, crop losses or prevent crop planting.
Romaine (Lactuca sativa), also known as cos, is a lettuce that produces elongated heads. Romaine is considered more nutritious and has more volume than iceberg. Because it is slower to bolt than other head lettuces, romaine can be grown commercially in Kentucky.
Root crops include a number of vegetables grown for their enlarged, edible storage roots. The root crops discussed here are all hardy, cool-season crops with a long storage life. While they belong to several unrelated plant families, these crops have similar cultural requirements. This profile will overview several root crops grown in Kentucky.
Specialty melons (Cucumis melo) have cultural requirements similar to the more familiar muskmelon (cantaloupe). These melons offer consumers outstanding eating quality and a range of flesh colors, textures, and flavors. With one exception, cultivars of the specialty types listed below have performed well in University of Kentucky research trials. Consult the Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers (ID-36) for the latest variety recommendations.
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a small, herbaceous plant in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It is a perennial in its native South America, but is grown as an annual in all but the warmest areas of the United States. Stevia is commonly called "sweetleaf" or "sugarleaf."
High tunnels, also known as hoop houses, are simple polyethylene-covered unheated structures that typically do not use fans for ventilation. Tunnels can be covered with one or two sheets of plastic; those covered with two have an air layer in between, thus offering better insulation and, consequently, more cold protection (and wind protection). High tunnels are used to extend the growing season earlier into spring and later into fall. Determinate and indeterminate tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) can be successfully grown in this production system, yielding a potentially profitable "out of season."
Cabbage is a cool-season crop with a high cold tolerance; however, heads may bolt (flower prematurely) in warm temperatures.
Woody cuts are portions of woody ornamentals used for floral or decorative purposes. These include foliage, flowering branches, fruit and seeds, as well as bare stems and branches. Numerous shrubs, trees, and woody vines can be grown commercially for these purposes. Cut flower growers may want to add woody cuts to their production line to diversify their products, expand their markets, and extend the floral season. Growers will need to be familiar with the different production and harvest requirements of a diverse group of plant material.
Peas (Pisum sativum) are a cool-season vegetable that must be planted in early spring to ensure good yields in Kentucky. Fall planting of peas is also possible on a small scale, but they are very sensitive to warm temperatures and may not produce well. Types include the English pea (shelled for the fresh green seeds within non-edible pods), sugar snap types (round, fleshy edible pods), and Asian pod types (thin, flat edible pods) also referred to as snow peas.
The cucumber (Cucumus sativus) is a warm-season vining crop in the Cucurbit family. Cucumbers suitable for immediate consumption are referred to as "slicers," while those for processing are "picklers." Although there once was a large pickling cucumber industry in Kentucky, nearly all cucumbers grown commercially in the state are now for fresh market consumption.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria), best known as a stimulant for cats, is a perennial herb in the mint family (Labiatae). Cats, both domestic and wild, are attracted to catnip mainly due to a compound known as nepatalactone present in plant tissues. In addition, catnip has several properties beneficial to humans. Once used as a folk remedy for a wide variety of medical problems, today catnip's essential oils are used in a number of pharmaceutical products and dietary supplements. For example, catnip contains thymol, a compound that can be used as antiseptic. Additionally, catnip extract has a mild anti-spasmodic effect that reduces muscle cramps. Leaves and stems are used in herbal tea mixtures and as flavorings in foods. Researchers have also found that catnip contains several chemicals (citronella, citral, carvacrol, and pulegone) that repel insects; thymol has fungicidal properties.
The American or common persimmon, Diospyros virginiana, is a slow-growing, moderately sized tree native to Kentucky. Fruit are about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Unripe fruit, which are high in tannins, have an undesirable astringent taste. Fully ripened fruit, which are golden orange to reddish and occasionally blue in color, are very sweet. Cultivated varieties may have improved quality and lose their astringency earlier in the fall.
Heirloom vegetables are vintage varieties that have been preserved by passing seed down from generation to generation. These varieties are generally 50 to 100 years old, although many are much older. All heirlooms are open-pollinated and usually breed true-to-type. Heirlooms were often selected for flavor potential and eating quality before vegetable breeding emphasized hybrid varieties bred for uniformity in size, shape and ripening, as well as for durability in shipping
The garden mum (Chrysanthemum spp.) is a popular herbaceous perennial flowering plant that is commonly grown for fall sales. While also referred to as 'hardy mums,' their actual hardiness outdoors (that is, their ability to survive the winter) can vary by cultivar, time of planting, and environmental conditions. Garden mums are generally container-grown in Kentucky, either in a greenhouse or outdoors in connection with a greenhouse business; there is also some field production in the state.
High tunnels and other season extension techniques allow producers to extend the time period over which cash flows are generated from produce crops. High tunnel production is expanding to supply the increasing demand for locally grown produce, as well as policy and grant programs favoring high tunnel production. High tunnel production of leafy greens and herbs can also enable producers to market products at higher prices, before the start of a traditional local season. High tunnel leafy greens and herbs are typically added by producers already selling through direct markets: farmers markets, CSAs (community supported agriculture programs), and direct to local restaurants and groceries.
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is one of the most commonly grown hydroponic vegetables. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Plants may be grown in a nutrient solution only (liquid culture) or they may be supported by an inert medium (aggregate culture). In both systems all of the plants' nutritional needs are supplied through the irrigation water.
Propagation nurseries produce pre-finished plant material (liners), such as ornamental trees, shrubs, and grasses, fruit trees, and annual and perennial flowers. Plants are propagated either by seed or by vegetative means, such as by cuttings, grafting, or tissue culture. Some nurseries specialize in growing and selling pre-finished plants to other growers, making propagation their sole business. However, some wholesale nursery operations have their own propagation areas where plants are produced for in-house use.
"Leafy greens" or "greens" are broad terms used for a number of vegetable crops with edible leaves. Plants in this group belong to several unrelated taxonomic plant families that includes Brassicaceae, Chenopodiaceae, and Asteraceae. Greens are cool-season crops that are planted in early spring or late summer/fall in Kentucky. High tunnels and similar structures can be used to extend the season into winter; however, extreme summer temperatures make year-round production in Kentucky a challenge.
Juneberry (Amelanchier spp.), also known as serviceberry, is a small multiple-stemmed tree or shrub that bears edible fruit. This genus includes saskatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia), which are grown commercially for fruit production in Canada and the North Central U.S. Unfortunately, saskatoons are not considered winter hardy in Kentucky and have serious leaf spot problems in this region. Most other species of Amelanchier are cultivated for use in landscape plantings; however, several of these ornamental cultivars show potential for fruit production. Among these are the Allegheny serviceberry (A. laevis) and hybrids (Amelanchier x grandiflora), which are hardy and have good leaf spot resistance in Kentucky
The container nursery business involves the production and marketing of ornamental trees and shrubs, fruit trees, and perennial flowers grown in aboveground containers. This production method has helped revolutionize the nursery business in the last few decades. Some of the advantages of container production include: less acreage required for production, handling convenience, and a nearly year-round harvest and planting season.
Field nurseries are the traditional method of producing and marketing ornamental trees, shrubs, fruit trees, and perennial flowers. Until the mid 1900s nearly all nursery crops were produced in the field. Even with the advent of aboveground container and pot-in-pot production, field nurseries are still widely used. Some of the advantages of field production over other production methods include: less maintenance and labor requirements during the growing period, ability of plants to overwinter in the field without additional protective measures, and lower start-up costs. In Kentucky, most field-grown trees and shrubs are sold as balled-and-burlapped (B&B), meaning that the soil surrounding the plant's root system is dug with the plant and wrapped in burlap.
Onions (Allium cepa) are a cool-season biennial crop typically grown as an annual. Dry bulb onions are harvested after the leaves have died back and the bulbs have fully matured. Green bunching onions are harvested while the leaves are still green and before the bulbs have developed. The terms 'scallion' and 'spring onion' are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably for green onions. Scallions are onions that completely lack bulb formation, while spring onions have bulbs somewhat more developed than green onions.
Baby corn (Zea mays) is a popular Asian vegetable that can be consumed cooked or raw due to its sweet and succulent taste. Many people presume the tiny ears come from dwarf corn plants. In fact, baby corn is the immature ear of fully grown standard cultivars; ears are harvested two or three days after silk emergence, but prior to fertilization.
Baby (petite, miniature, mini) vegetables are smaller versions of full-sized produce. Many baby vegetables are simply standard cultivars that are harvested at an immature stage (e.g. baby corn), while others are cultivars that have been genetically developed to produce miniature vegetables (e.g. cherry tomatoes). Smaller vegetables produced from secondary buds after the initial full-sized crop has been harvested can also be sold as baby vegetables (e.g. broccoli).
Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarp) is a small edible fruit in the Solanaceae family. A tan to straw-colored calyx covers the fruit like a husk, giving rise to the common name of "husk tomato." Native to Mexico and Guatemala, these tomato-like fruits are a key ingredient in a number of Latin American recipes, including salsa and chili sauces. Tomatillo may have potential as a specialty crop in some areas of Kentucky.
Commercial growers who have successfully produced shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and/or oyster (Pleurotus spp.) mushrooms may want to consider expanding their operation to include other specialty mushrooms. While considered riskier from the perspectives of production and marketing than shiitake and oyster mushrooms, a number of other exotic and native mushroom species could be successfully cultivated in Kentucky. Four of these potential species are discussed here.
The most highly prized gourmet mushrooms in the world are edible mycorrhizal fungi. Included in this group are truffles, chanterelles, matsutake, porcini (boletes), and morels. All of these mushrooms have complex life cycles that make them difficult to produce artificially. Despite the risk and challenges, however, many have attempted to cultivate these valuable culinary delicacies. To date, only truffles are currently in widespread commercial production; they will be the main focus of this profile. The artificial production of other fungi in this group will be discussed briefly.
Organic sweet corn is produced using pest management and fertilization methods that do not include synthetic pesticides or petroleum-based fertilizers. Because organic crop production standards are regulated by the National Organic Program (NOP), growers producing and selling sweet corn labeled "organic" must be certified by a USDA-approved state or private agency. While there are benefits to using the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) for the certification process, Kentucky residents can be certified by any approved agency operating in the Commonwealth.
Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) are one of the most popular fresh market vegetables grown commercially in Kentucky. With the rising consumer demand for organic products, organic tomatoes should be an excellent prospect for local fresh market sales.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and chemical methods to reduce and/or manage pest populations. These strategies are used to minimize environmental risks, economic costs, and health hazards. Pests are managed (although rarely eliminated entirely) to reduce their negative impact on the crop. Scouting and monitoring diseases, insects, weeds, and abiotic disorders helps identify potential problems before serious losses result. This is essential to the IPM approach. The key to effective monitoring is accurate identification. The pictures included in this guide represent the more common abiotic and biotic problems that occur in Kentucky strawberry plantings.
Sweet cherries (Prunus avium) are mainly consumed fresh; however, they may also be frozen, canned, or processed for wine. Frequent losses due to such factors as fluctuating winter temperatures, spring frosts, rain-induced fruit cracking, and bird losses make commercial sweet cherry production a challenge in Kentucky.
"Specialty cut flowers" generally refers to cut flower species other than roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums. Some of the specialty cut flowers that can be grown successfully in Kentucky greenhouses, or other protected environments such as high tunnels, include anemone (Anemone spp.), Asiatic or oriental lilies (Lilium spp.), bachelor button or cornflower (Centaurea spp.), celosia or cockscomb (Celosia spp.), coral bell (Heuchera hybrids), freesia (Freesia hybrids), larkspur (Delphinium spp.), lisianthus (Eustoma spp.), snapdragon (Antirrhinum spp.), pollenless sunflowers (Helianthis annus) and zinnias (Zinnia spp.), and sweetpea (Lathyrus odoratus).
Blackberries and raspberries (both Rubus spp.) are included in the group of small fruits generally referred to as "brambles" or "caneberries." Erect (thorny and thornless), thorny primocane fruiting, and semi-erect (thornless) blackberries, as well as fall bearing raspberries, present an opportunity for organic production in Kentucky. Pests, especially spotted wing drosophila (SWD), present the greatest challenge for organic bramble production.
Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) are herbaceous perennials with large daisy-like flowers. There are nine species of coneflower and all are native to central or eastern North America. Purple coneflower (E. purpurea), a well-known garden flower, is extensively cultivated in nurseries. This hardy ornamental is commonly planted in both home and commercial landscapes. Coneflowers are also effective, long-lasting cut flowers.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is commonly used as a flavoring for food, as a condiment, and for medicinal purposes. The milder-flavored elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) is actually a leek that produces large cloves.
There is a growing demand for ethnic fruits, vegetables, and herbs, particularly in larger cities. One obvious reason for this is the increased ethnic diversity of these areas. Many ethnic groups, including Hispanics, have a high per capita consumption of fresh produce. Also contributing to the increased demand for ethnic produce is a greater emphasis on healthy foods and the public's seemingly insatiable desire for variety in their diets. The increased growth of Kentucky's Hispanic population, along with these other factors, present an opportunity for local growers to develop a product mix aimed at these markets.
Ginseng is a perennial herb that has been used for medicinal purposes in China and other Asian countries for centuries. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is native to the rich hardwood forests of Canada and the eastern half of the United States, including Kentucky. Today Kentucky leads the nation in wild ginseng production. While wild American ginseng is not yet considered endangered, it is protected by federal and state laws. Because ginseng regulations are subject to change, the State Ginseng Coordinator in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) should be contacted for the latest laws and restrictions. Additionally, laws will vary from state to state; the information in this profile is pertinent to Kentucky only.
Edamame is the Japanese name for edible soybeans consumed at the green stage. Also referred to as vegetable soybeans, edamame is the same species as the traditional grain soybean (Glycine max) commonly grown in Kentucky. However, compared to grain soybean, edamame seeds are larger with a sweet, nutty flavor, and better digestibility.
Leafy greens and lettuce, which are among the most popular fresh market vegetables grown commercially in Kentucky, have excellent potential for organic production. Organic crops are produced using integrated pest management and fertilization methods that do not include synthetic compounds. Growers producing and selling lettuce and greens with an organic label must be certified by a USDA-approved state agency (e.g. the Kentucky Department of Agriculture) or private agency, plus follow production standards regulated by the National Organic Program (NOP).
American chestnuts (Castanea dentata), once prominent in the eastern U.S. landscape, all but disappeared in the mid-1900s when chestnut blight eradicated nearly all of these popular trees. Blight resistant varieties of Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) are a viable alternative for commercial chestnut production.
Plums, like peaches, are stone fruits and in the Rose family. These two crops have similar cultural requirements, as well as similar disease and pest concerns. Plums are also sensitive to late spring frosts, which can result in crop losses in Kentucky. Depending on the type and cultivar, plums can be consumed fresh, canned, frozen, processed in jams and jellies, and dried.
Apiculture, the study and maintenance of honey bees, often begins as a hobby, with beekeepers later expanding their interest into small businesses. A beekeeping enterprise can provide marketable honey and serve as a source of pollinators for nearby cultivated crops.
Raspberries (Rubus spp.) are included in the group of small fruits generally referred to as "brambles" or "caneberries." They have perennial crowns and roots that produce biennial canes. The canes bear fruit the second year and then die naturally after harvest. Some raspberries (known as "everbearing" or "fall-bearing") also produce fruit at the tips of the first-year canes.
Asparagus is grown primarily in Kentucky for fresh market, especially near large population centers. Potential markets for organic asparagus include roadside stands, farmers markets, cooperatives, community supported agriculture (CSA) subscriptions, produce auctions, and local wholesalers. Restaurants, health food stores, and locally owned grocers may also be interested in Kentucky-grown organic products. Kentucky's market window for asparagus, which varies depending on region, can start as early as April and run through the month of June.
This crop is grown primarily in Kentucky for fresh market, especially near large population centers. Asparagus has great potential for farmers markets, for direct sales to local supermarkets, and for sales to local and regional wholesalers. Direct sales to local restaurants may also be possible. Kentucky's market window for asparagus is from early May through mid-June.
Kentucky is a major harvester of wild goldenseal. Unfortunately, a decline in native populations has occurred as demand and harvesting pressure has increased. Like ginseng, goldenseal is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreement. As such, international trade of goldenseal is closely controlled to prevent over-exploitation that could lead to further endangering the species.
Chia (Salvia hispanica) is an annual plant in the mint family that is grown commercially for its seeds, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds also provide an excellent source of soluble fiber and antioxidants. Until recently, chia seed production was only feasible in tropical and subtropical latitudes due to the long growing season required to complete seed development. While chia plants grow well in temperate climates, they require short days to flower and are normally killed by frost before seeds mature. Researchers at the University of Kentucky (UK) have been engaged in groundbreaking chia breeding research. This has resulted in patented varieties of long daylength flowering lines of chia capable of producing seed in the Commonwealth and the Midwest. After several years of research and field trials, chia is emerging as a viable commercial crop for Kentucky growers.
Industrial hemp was widely grown in the United States from the Colonial Period until the mid-1800s. During that time, Kentucky established itself as the leading hemp producer in the U.S. After the Civil War, hemp production declined in Kentucky, as well as in other areas of the country. Production temporarily resumed as part of the war effort during World War II. However, once the war was over, acreages dwindled until U.S. production ended in 1958. However, the last couple of decades have brought a renewed interest in commercial hemp as an alternative or supplementary crop. As the pro-hemp movement has spread, a number of states, including Kentucky, have passed laws favoring its production, generally in connection with scientific, economic, and environmental research studies.
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a versatile plant that can be grown for its fiber, seed, or oil. Hemp fields were once a common sight in Kentucky during the state's prominence as the leading hemp producer in the U.S. Although commercial hemp production ceased throughout North America in the late 1950s, there is currently renewed interest in growing this crop. While hemp faces significant legal obstacles due to its close relationship to the marijuana plant, there are a number of states, including Kentucky, working toward reviving the hemp industry. Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the federal farm bill) authorized state departments of agriculture in states that have legalized hemp, including Kentucky, to develop pilot programs for industrial hemp research. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has been working with universities, farmers and processors around the state since 2014 to implement pilot programs.
Christmas trees can be grown on relatively small parcels of land. This enterprise can fit in well with an existing farm or nursery operation. While Christmas tree production does have a high profitability potential, it is also a long-term, risky investment requiring periods of intensive labor.
Esta guia cubre los problemas abioticos y bioticos mas comunes que ocurren en cucurbitaceas (Familia Curcubitaceae) en Kentucky. Este grupo de plantas, al que tambien se refiere como enredaderas trepadoras, incluye al pepino, melon (cantalope), sandia, melones especiales, calabazas (o zapallos), calabacines, y cogordas (conocidas tambien como calabazas de peregrino, ayotes, jicaras, o porongos [gourds en ingles]).
Culinary herbs may be sold fresh, dried, and as live plants. Potential fresh herb growers should talk to upscale restaurant chefs, caterers, or to produce brokers, especially those who sell to restaurants. Kentucky restaurants surveyed in 2006 indicated they were most interested in sourcing basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, and rosemary from local growers. Other herbs of specific interest to restaurants include horseradish, oregano, sage, tarragon, and thyme.
Winter squash is a taxonomically diverse group of vegetables in the Cucurbita genus. Cultivars may belong to one of several species: Cucurbita pepo (acorn and spaghetti squashes), C. maxima (hubbard, buttercup, and kabocha), C. moschata (butternut), and C. mixta (cushaw). Because these squash are harvested when mature and rinds have hardened, most types can be stored for use during the winter.
Incorporating hanging baskets in with bedding plant production enables growers to generate income from otherwise unused space above benches and in walkways. Hanging baskets can fetch a higher price (on a per plant basis) than small pots and can, therefore, enhance the profitability of greenhouse bedding plant operations. In some cases, growers may devote whole greenhouses or sections of greenhouses to hanging basket production.
The highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) is a perennial shrub that will do well in most areas of Kentucky as long as the soil pH is properly adjusted. Organic production requires the use of pest management and fertilization methods that do not include synthetic compounds. Growers producing and selling their berries with an organic label must be certified by a USDA-approved state or private agency and follow production standards regulated by the National Organic Program (NOP).
Kentucky fresh market muskmelons are sold at farmers markets throughout the Commonwealth. Other retail outlets include community supported agriculture (CSA) subscriptions, roadside stands, and farm markets. Local groceries and restaurants are also potential melon markets. Larger-scale wholesale markets are also accessible for muskmelons, and some Kentucky growers have made wholesale alliances with national melon shippers. Kentucky's produce auctions, especially the Fairview Produce Auction in Western Kentucky, have handled more and more melons each year since 2002.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and oyster (Pleurotus spp.) mushrooms are specialty mushrooms that are well-suited for small-scale production in Kentucky. Unlike Agaricus types (common button mushroom, portabellas, and criminis), which require large, highly mechanized facilities with environmental controls, shiitake and oyster mushrooms can be log-cultivated outdoors. While growers with access to a woodlot will have a clear advantage in terms of production site and log supply, these mushrooms can also be cultivated in other heavily shaded locations.
Woody plant stress has many causes that might ultimately lead to plant decline. Tree and shrub degeneration is often referred to as a "complex," meaning the condition is usually caused by multiple factors. Typically, one or more primary stresses cause deterioration of plant health, followed by secondary pathogens and/or insects that further decline or destroy plants. Determining causes of decline requires careful examination of plants and growing sites, as well as knowledge of site history. Nevertheless, diagnoses may be difficult, as the original cause(s) of plant stress may be obscure or no longer present. Some of the most common plant stresses are addressed in this publication. A wider range of possible causes of plant stress and decline should be considered during evaluation of woody plant material.
Grapes (Vitis spp.) are suitable for either large-scale or small-scale commercial production. Typically three types of grapes are grown in Kentucky: Native American, hybrid, and European grapes. The climate in Kentucky is the limiting factor to grape production. Although American and hybrid cultivars are better suited for production in Kentucky, European (vinifera) cultivars are more desirable and potentially have the highest economic gain for grape growers and wine makers. However, vinifera cultivars are more susceptible to winter injury and diseases resulting in a lower yield, reduced fruit quality, and often vine death. Growing grapes in Kentucky can be highly successful and rewarding if the cultivars are matched to a specific site and proper production techniques are implemented.
Blueberries are one of the few fruit crops native to North America. Wild blueberries were utilized by Native Americans for making medicines, dyes, and flavorings, as well as for direct consumption. Once a small-scale crop produced within limited regions, blueberries are now grown throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
The National Integrated Pest Management Network defines IPM as "a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks." One of the key components of IPM is to continually scout and monitor crops to identify problems before they result in significant economic losses. Proper identification of pathogens and insect pests as well as nutritional and physiologic disorders and even herbicide drift is essential to determining the proper course of action. The pictures included in this guide represent some common pests or problems that growers may encounter during apple production in Kentucky.
Tall fescue, orchardgrass, bluegrass, and timothy are the dominant forage grasses in Kentucky. They have potential for the cash hay market and for intensive grazing. Significant price premiums may be possible for high-quality hay. Timothy hay, either alone or in mixtures with alfalfa, is much desired by horse owners. Historically, timothy has been an important seed crop in Kentucky; however, at present only a small acreage of timothy is grown for seed.
Grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), commonly called "milo," is used primarily as a feed grain for livestock. Sorghum stubble makes excellent roughage following harvest and can be used for pasture. Grain sorghum can also be made into silage, although sorghum/sudangrass hybrids are more commonly used for this purpose.
Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are subtropical plants which originated in Mexico and Guatemala. In their native climate, poinsettias are small woody shrubs that may reach a height of over 10 feet. In the U.S. poinsettias are grown as indoor potted plants popular at Christmas time. While the showy bracts are suggestive of flower petals, they are really modified leaves. The actual poinsettia flowers are less conspicuous by comparison, forming a yellow to red cluster in the center of the bracts.
When trees and shrubs are moved from one growing site to another (e.g. from nursery to landscape), they endure stress. If care is taken to minimize stress through proper transplanting techniques and maintenance, plants are likely to recover rapidly and become well-established in their new sites. Unfortunately, the opposite usually occurs.
Departments: County Extension, Plant Pathology
Series: Woody Ornamental Disease: Plant Pathology Factsheet (PPFS-OR-W series)
Size: 2.48 mb
Ornamental corn (Zea mays) production currently represents a new crop for Kentucky, in terms of limited University of Kentucky research. There are many kinds of ornamental corn, varying in ear size, kernel color, husk, and stalk color. Some cultivars have red or purple stalks and leaves that are sold for decorative purposes.
4/14/2014 (minor revision)
Authors: Cheryl Kaiser
Growers who plan to market their agricultural products as "organic" or "certified organic" must first be certified by a USDA accredited certifier. Certification, required by federal regulation, provides third party verification that the grower is complying with production standards regulated by the National Organic Program (NOP). Annual inspections and detailed record keeping are required for continuing certification. These strict regulations are meant to protect consumers by ensuring that all organic producers are adhering to the same set of uniform standards.
High tunnels are relatively simple polyethylene-covered greenhouses placed over irrigated ground beds. Also known as hoop houses, high tunnels have been used to extend the marketing window of a wide variety of annual crops in Kentucky, such as vegetables and cut flowers. Perennial crops, such as brambles, can also be produced in high tunnels.
High tunnels are relatively simple polyethylene-covered unheated structures placed over irrigated ground beds. Also known as hoop houses, high tunnels can be used to extend the production season of a wide variety of crops in Kentucky, including strawberries. A plasticulture system with drip irrigation is recommended when using high tunnels for strawberry production.
"Millet" is a name that has been applied to several different annual summer grasses used for hay, pasture, silage, and grain. The millets most commonly cultivated in Kentucky, pearl millet and foxtail millet, are grown primarily as a forage for temporary pasture. If properly managed, these millets can provide high yields of good quality forage in a short period, without the risk of prussic acid poisoning.
Kura clover was investigated by the University of Kentucky Department of Plant and Soil Sciences for several years. Unfortunately, due to establishment difficulties, UK researchers have concluded that kura clover succeeds best further north.
Sunflower is classified as either an oil type or a confection (non-oil) type, each with its own distinct market. Seeds from oil types are processed into vegetable oil or as meal in livestock feed. Most confection type seed is sold, with or without the hull, as snack foods. While either type can be packaged for birdseed, the confectionery type is grown in Kentucky for this purpose. Sunflowers are not recommended for oil crop production here.
Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) is a warm season annual row crop in the same plant family as okra and cotton (Malvaceae). Kenaf plants are capable of growing to a height of 20 feet under favorable conditions; however, heights generally average 8 to 14 feet in a growing season of 4 to 5 months. The stalks consist of two kinds of fiber: an outer fiber (bast) and an inner fiber (core). The bast is comparable to softwood tree fibers, while the core is comparable to hardwood fibers. After harvest, the plant is processed to separate these fibers for various products
Iron deficiency is a nutritional deficit that can occur in woody and herbaceous plants in landscapes, nurseries, greenhouses, and production fields. It is most often associated with soils that have neutral or alkaline pH (pH 7.0 or above). Plants that grow best in acidic soils are particularly vulnerable to this condition. In Kentucky, iron deficiency is most commonly observed on pin oak, willow oak, azalea, rhododendron, and blueberry, but other woody plants are also susceptible.
7/27/2013 (minor revision)
Authors: Cheryl Kaiser
The following list is intended to provide Kentucky growers with resources that will help them on their way to adding value to their raw farm products. Included are the names and contact information of pertinent agencies and departments at the University, State, and Federal levels. Links to government regulations and laws related to processing value-added food products are included, as well as links to other selected Internet resources, fact sheets, and guidebooks.
Departments: Plant Pathology
Series: Marketing Profiles: Center for Crop Diversification (CCD-MP series)
Size: 745 kb
Willows (Salix spp.), well known for their flexible and vigorous growth, have long been popular in basket and furniture making. A versatile woody plant, various species can also be used for trellises, fencing, floral arrangements, and artistic sculptures. Its fast growth makes willow a popular landscape ornamental, as well as a potential bioenergy crop. This profile will emphasize the production of willows for live cuttings and dried rods.
Dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are beans grown to maturity and harvested for the seeds within the pods. Also referred to as field beans, dry beans are primarily grown in the U.S. for human consumption.
Kentucky continues to be one of the leading states in the production of white and yellow corn for food. The demand for food grade corn remains strong, with an increasing demand for white corn for snack food uses. Food grains can be grown for the open market or under contract to dry mill processors. The contract should be in place prior to planting. There is no on-farm market.
Winter small grains, especially wheat and barley, are an important part of the typical crop rotation system of many Kentucky farmers. These crops are primarily grown for their grain; however, harvesting the straw as a secondary product can provide additional income. Harvesting straw as a secondary commodity when grown in a double crop system with soybeans also minimizes harvest residue, which helps the establishment and growth of the following soybean crop. Some growers choose to forgo the grain harvest altogether, producing high quality straw as the main commodity. Other grains, such as rye, oats, and triticale, also have potential for straw production.
Corn for grain and silage can be produced for on-farm use and/or off-farm sale. There are a variety of local and regional markets for corn in Kentucky, such as local grain elevators. U.S. producers face international competition in the livestock category; corn prices have fluctuated greatly in recent years. Expanded corn markets, as well as the emergence of more uses for corn, could help stabilize future prices. In addition to animal feed, field corn uses include industrial (sweeteners) and energy (ethanol) products
Taxus (yew) is an evergreen shrub commonly found in Kentucky landscapes. Numerous conditions can cause these shrubs to exhibit yellowing and browning symptoms. While diseases and insect pests can result in damage, Taxus troubles are often the result of adverse growing conditions. Pinpointing the specific cause requires a thorough examination of the affected shrub, an investigation of the surrounding area, and knowledge of possible stress factors.
Popcorn and blue corn (Zea mays) are harvested for their grain and sold for human consumption. Popcorn is a special type of flint corn, while blue corn is a general term for corn varieties that produce ears with blue or mixtures of blue and white kernels.
Leaf scorch symptoms can develop whenever water needed for growth and health of plant foliage is insufficient. While symptoms are often due to unfavorable environmental conditions, leaf scorch can also result from an infectious disease. Symptoms, possible causes, and management of leaf scorch are discussed below.
Departments: Horticulture, Plant Pathology
Series: Woody Ornamental Disease: Plant Pathology Factsheet (PPFS-OR-W series)
Size: 681 kb
Red and white (ladino) clovers are high quality forage legumes with excellent feed value and animal palatability. Red clover (Trifolium pretense), a tall-growing and short-lived perennial, is used for hay, pasture, silage, green chop, soil improvement, and wildlife habitats. While white clover (Trifolium repens), a low-growing perennial, is best suited for grazing, it can also be used for soil improvement and reclaiming disturbed land.
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a tall-growing, warm-season, perennial bunchgrass native to portions of Kentucky. Once a major component of the Midwestern prairies, switchgrass stands have dwindled as natural grasslands have given way to expanding farms and developments.
Broomcorn (Sorghum vulgare) is not actually corn, but is instead related to the sorghums used for grain and syrup (Sorghum bicolor). Broomcorn has a coarse, fibrous seed head that has been used to make various types of brooms and brushes for several hundred years. While there are still artisans creating these natural brooms today, this crop is now more commonly used to make decorative items, such as wreaths, swags, floral arrangements, baskets, and autumn displays. It takes about 60 sprays (heads) to make a broom, but wreaths and dried arrangements require only a few plants. Broomcorn is available in natural colors, as well as purple and various fall colors.
Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is primarily grown in Kentucky for its syrup. However, this crop may someday have another use in the Commonwealth—as a bioenergy crop. From 2007 to 2009, University of Kentucky researchers examined the feasibility of ethanol production from sweet sorghum. They concluded that "overall sweet sorghum would appear to be a very feasible crop for ethanol production in Kentucky." Additional states, along with several other countries, have also been actively conducting research on sweet sorghum for biofuel and with promising results.
4/18/2013 (minor revision)
Authors: Cheryl Kaiser
Books can be obtained from the publisher (known links are provided), by ordering through a local bookstore, or by ordering through an industry trade magazine (books are generally advertised in each issue). Book sources can also be located by searching the Internet using the title as the keyword.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) has the highest yield potential and highest feeding values of all adapted perennial forage legumes. It is a versatile crop that may be used for pasture, hay, silage, green-chop, pellets, cubes, soil improvement, and soil conservation.
Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is primarily grown for the sweet juice that is extracted from the plant's stalks. Stalks are crushed and the extracted juice is cooked down to a thick, sticky syrup. The syrup is sometimes incorrectly referred to as sorghum molasses.
The first commercial use of soybean (Glycine max) was for its oil; however, this crop is now considered a valuable source of protein as well. Specialty or novel soybeans are used to produce various soyfoods of Asian origin, such as tofu, miso, soy sauce, natto, soymilk, and tempeh. Assorted health food snacks, energy foods, and cereals are also produced from specialty soybeans. Other uses include bean sprouts and soy nuts.
This profile discusses some of the types of special purpose field corn (Zea mays) that are harvested for grain and sold for animal feed, industrial use, or human consumption. These specialty corns have been genetically altered to improve their starch, protein, or oil content, depending on their intended use.
Verticillium wilt can affect a wide range of ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as a number of tree fruits and woody small fruits. Over 400 herbaceous and woody plant species have been reported as hosts for this disease.
Departments: Plant Pathology
Series: Woody Ornamental Disease: Plant Pathology Factsheet (PPFS-OR-W series)
Size: 534 kb
Barley (Hordeum vulgare), a cereal grain in the grass family, is used as a livestock feed and in foods (e.g. cereals and soups) for human consumption. Barley is also converted into malt for brewing, distilling, and various other products (e.g. malted milk). Some growers use smooth-awn or awnless varieties in hay production.
Wheat, a cereal grain in the grass family, is the fourth most valuable cash crop grown in Kentucky. Current intensive management technology has made it possible for growers to produce a high quality, high-yielding crop. Wheat production is mechanized; with the exception of scouting, little to no handwork is involved with this crop. Despite significant acreage already dedicated to wheat production, additional opportunities continue to be available to make profitable returns. Most wheat grown in the Commonwealth is soft red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) which is used in cakes, pastries, cookies, crackers, and cereals.
Sprouts are the germinated seeds of various herbaceous plants, including vegetables, herbs, and field crops. The entire germinated plant (root, shoot, cotyledons, and remnant seed coat) is sold for use mainly in salads and sandwiches. Sprouting is considered a form of food processing, rather than agricultural crop production; as such, it is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Black rot is the most prevalent and one of the most important grape diseases in Kentucky. While this disease can affect all young developing plant tissues above ground, fruit infections are the most destructive. Without an adequate disease management program, both home and commercial vineyards suffer significant yield losses.
Edible flowers can complement a cut flower or herb business, providing additional opportunities for value-added products. However, they require a specialized niche market that may take some time to develop. Flowers intended for human consumption must be grown without pesticides, providing organic growers a production edge. Plant material obtained from most commercial florists, garden centers, and nurseries is not pesticide-free and, therefore, is NOT suitable for consumption.
Southernpeas (Vigna unguiculata), also referred to as common cowpeas, crowder peas, black-eyed peas, and field peas, are a warm season annual. The highly nutritious seed is grown for fresh, processed, and dried uses. Interestingly, southernpeas are not a pea at all, but a type of bean related to the yardlong bean and marble pea. This profile will only discuss its production as a vegetable crop, but southernpea is also an excellent cover crop for weed suppression and nitrogen fixation. It can also be used as livestock feed.
Fire blight is a highly destructive disease of apple and pear that can occur in commercial orchards and home plantings. Many landscape trees and shrubs in the rose family are also susceptible to this disease. Fire blight can cause severe damage in a very short period of time. Because precise conditions are needed for infection, disease appearance is erratic from year to year.
6/28/2012 (minor revision)
Authors: Cheryl Kaiser
Wildcrafters who want to harvest materials outside their own property lines need to know there are laws which protect other privately owned property and public areas from unauthorized harvesting and trespassing. Poaching, the illegal taking of wild plants or animals, is a serious problem in Kentucky. Not only are there legal ramifications, but poaching is also responsible for the decline in selected native Kentucky plant species, such lady slipper orchids. Some plant species are protected by state and/or federal laws. Even plant material collected and sold from personally owned property is not without its legal restrictions.
High tunnels, also known as hoop houses, are relatively simple polyethylene-covered greenhouse-like structures built over ground beds. High tunnels can be used to extend the production season and marketing window of a wide variety of crops. They have been used in Kentucky to produce early season vegetables, cut flowers, brambles, and strawberries. High tunnels can also make it possible to produce leafy greens and herbs during the winter. Shaded, well-vented high tunnels can be used to grow some cool-season crops later into early summer.
Kentuckians have been collecting plant products from forests, meadows, and other natural habitats for generations. This practice, commonly referred to as wildcrafting, is a tradition in many areas of the state, especially Appalachia. Plant materials other than timber that are harvested from the forest are generally referred to as non-timber forest products (NTFPs) or special(ty) forest products. Although often collected for personal use, many wildcrafted materials also have commercial value and could offer a means of providing additional income.
6/6/2012 (minor revision)
Authors: Cheryl Kaiser
Whether collecting for personal use or for commercial sales, wildcrafting has the potential of adversely impacting our native plant populations. While the effects of collecting NTFPs are not always as obvious as, for example, harvesting timber in logging operations, some wildcrafting activities can cause subtle but lasting damage to the forest ecology.
Rose rosette is a devastating disease that is a threat to virtually all cultivated roses (Rosa spp.) in Kentucky, regardless of cultivar. Even rose cultivars known for their exceptional disease resistance and hardiness are susceptible to rose rosette disease. Losses can occur in home and commercial landscapes, nurseries, and botanical garden plantings.
Departments: Plant Pathology
Series: Woody Ornamental Disease: Plant Pathology Factsheet (PPFS-OR-W series)
Size: 383 kb
Black root rot can affect a wide range of ornamentals in home and commercial landscapes, nurseries, and greenhouses. In Kentucky, this disease is commonly observed on Japanese and blue hollies, inkberry, pansy, petunia, and vinca. In addition to ornamentals, numerous vegetable and agronomic crops are susceptible.
Departments: Plant Pathology
Series: Woody Ornamental Disease: Plant Pathology Factsheet (PPFS-OR-W series)
Size: 585 kb
Potential markets for corn shocks include farmers markets, roadside stands, and garden centers. Stores that specialize in decorative and craft items may present another marketing option. Grocery stores and other retailers who create store displays may be interested in purchasing shocks. Some Kentucky producers have had success in selling entire lawn displays that include corn shocks, along with other fall decoratives. The displays are delivered directly to the customer and set up by the grower.
Gooseberries and currants (Ribes spp.) are woody, multi-stemmed shrubs best known for their tart fruit. While some enjoy eating them fresh, these fruit are especially prized for use in making jellies, jams, pies, and sauces.
Spelt (Triticum aestivum var. spelta) is a subspecies of wheat that is primarily used as an alternative feed grain for livestock. It is generally grown for on-farm use, often as a substitute for oats. Most of the nation's feed-grade spelt is grown in Ohio. Spelt can also be used in many of the same processed foods as soft red winter wheat (for example, pasta, high fiber cereals, and crackers). Some people with allergies to wheat are not allergic to spelt, making spelt an excellent substitute for wheat in their diets. Spelt products are available through organic and health food stores.
Biomass, when used in reference to renewable energy, is any biological (plant or animal) matter that can be converted to electricity or fuel. Woody biomass refers to biomass material specifically from trees and shrubs. It is most often transformed to usable energy by direct combustion, either alone or co-fired with coal; however, efforts are underway to develop methods to cost effectively convert woody material to liquid fuels.
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), also referred to as groundpeas or groundnuts, are an annual herbaceous legume with an indeterminate growth habit. As these alternate names imply, this unique plant produces its fruit (peanut) below ground. Once the small yellow flowers are self-pollinated, the fertilized ovary elongates into a "peg" which grows downward and penetrates into the soil. Peanuts develop underground at the ends of the pegs. The peanut seed is referred to a kernel and the outer shell is called a pod or hull.
Canola (Brassica napus) is a genetically altered and improved version of rapeseed that was developed for its superior edible oil and high value meal. The term "canola" can only be applied to those varieties that produce less than 2 percent erucic acid. Canola oil is lower in saturated fats than any other vegetable oil, making it a popular choice among health-conscious consumers. The portion of the seed left after the oil is extracted (canola meal) is of value as feed for livestock and poultry. Canola may also be used as an annual forage. In addition, canola is being considered as a source of biodiesel fuel.
Interest in the use of foliar fungicides for corn and soybean has expanded dramatically in the U.S. over the past few years, resulting in a major change in how these crops are being produced on many farms. Until recently, foliar fungicides for soybeans and corn were reserved for seed production fields to protect seed quality in very specific circumstances or for specialty crops. Applications for the purpose of protecting crop yield were rarely economical. However, the current trend in Kentucky, as well as many other corn/soybean producing states, is towards an increased use of foliar fungicides on these crops as a means of maximizing yields.
Agritourism is any commercial enterprise that combines agriculture and tourism on a working farm, ranch, or other agribusiness operation. The Commonwealth of Kentucky defines agritourism as "The act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural, or agribusiness operations for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement in the activities of the farm or operation."
Amaranth is a versatile warm-season, broadleaf plant that can be grown as a grain, ornamental, leafy vegetable, or forage crop. In the U.S. it is grown almost exclusively for its grain, which is produced on large, brightly colored seed heads. Most grain amaranth grown in the States is Amaranthus hypochondriacus; however, A. cruentus is grown to a lesser extent. The seeds are high in lysine, fiber, and protein; low in saturated fats; and gluten-free. Amaranth can be ground into flour, popped like popcorn, or flaked like oatmeal. Because many of amaranth's uses are similar to that of cereal grasses, amaranth is often referred to as a pseudo-cereal.
Season extension techniques can be as simple as selecting early maturing varieties; or they can be a more complex combination of multiple methods. Regardless, the objective is to extend the growing season by producing earlier crops in the spring and/or push production later into the fall and early winter.
A greenhouse is a "tool" that can be used to facilitate the growing of plants. Generally, the tool is fitted for the job, and not the other way around. Growers need to determine what plants will be produced before making a decision about the type of greenhouse needed to accomplish the job. Depending on the crops to be grown, a conventional greenhouse may not even be needed. Instead, a simpler structure could more economically extend the growing season into spring and fall. For example, if the primary target is an early start date for farmers markets, row covers or a high tunnel may be quite adequate to handle the job.
Organic white and yellow food grade corn is produced for use in organic cereals, tortillas, corn chips, snack foods, cornmeal, and other corn-based processed products. Organic corn is also used as animal feed in organic beef, dairy, poultry, and hog production
Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a winter-hardy herbaceous perennial grown for its edible leaf stalks. The tart-flavored stalks are most commonly used in pies, often in combination with strawberries for added sweetness. The leaves themselves are not eaten, either cooked or raw, as they contain toxic levels of oxalic acid.
Kentucky's typically wet springs and warm, humid summers favor the development of several fruit rots of grape. These include anthracnose, bitter rot, black rot, Botrytis bunch rot, ripe rot, and sour rot.
Downy mildew is an important disease of commercial and backyard grapes in Kentucky. This disease causes direct losses when flowers, clusters, and shoots decay and yields are reduced. Indirect losses result when premature defoliation predisposes grapevines to winter injury. It may take a vineyard several years to fully recover after severe winter injury.