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University of Illinois Extension

Conference Set for Small Fruit, Strawberry & Vegetable Growers

January 9, 2013

Growers from across the region will gather for the 2013 Small Fruit and Strawberry Schools and Southern Illinois Commercial Vegetable School on February 12 and 13. The 2-day program, sponsored by University of Illinois Extension, will be held at the Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn. Registration starts at 8 a.m., and the program runs 8:25 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

Elizabeth Wahle, U of I Extension horticulture educator, says that the program includes presenters from University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University, and from the small fruit, strawberry and vegetable grower support industry.

Tuesday, February 12th will feature Small Fruit School classes: Branching Out into the Lesser Known Small Fruit, The ABCs of Blueberry Production, Growing Blackberries on a Rotatable Canopy Production System, Daring to Grow Raspberries in a Warm Climate, Weed Control for Brambles and Blueberries, Reducing Small Fruit Potential for Virus Infection, Marketing Strategies and Pricing for Small Fruit and Potential and Pitfalls for Small Fruit Production in a High Tunnel.

Also on Tuesday – Vegetable School classes: Earworm, Cutworm and Armyworm in Tomato, Pepper and Corn, The Perfect Tomato Variety and How to Feed It, Bells and What Sells in Today's Diverse Market, Disease Management of Cucurbits, Collecting Soil Samples and Interpreting Soil Test Results, FDA Update: Facility Registration and GAPs, Pumpkin Cultivars for Southern Illinois Growers, Marketing Local Tomatoes by Promising Health Benefits and The Process of Pollination/Fertilization and Factors that Impact Fruit Set.

Wednesday will bring Strawberry School: Management of Strawberry Root Diseases, Annual Strawberry Plasticulture Beyond the Transition Zone, Understanding the Complexities of Frost Development, The Mechanics of Strawberry Frost Production, Methods for Extending the Strawberry Season, Strawberry Hydroponics, Strawberry Weed Control, Spotted Winged Drosophila and more.

Also on Wednesday there will be a track on Putting Small Acres to Work: Ten Things to Consider for Starting Your Small Farm, Raising Small Animals on Small Acreage, Preparing a New Generation of Illinois Fruit & Vegetable Growers, Finding Your Niche and Marketing It. The afternoon will include a panel discussion.

Advance registration by February 5 is $30 per farm. Late and at-door registration is $40. The registration fee includes the 2013 Midwest Small Fruit Spray & Grape Spray Guide OR 2013 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers. For more details and online registration, visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/mms/. Or, contact Wahle by phone 618-344-4230 or email wahle@illinois.edu. If you need disability accommodations to participate in this program, please call by February 5.

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