Upcoming Events



Vegetable IPM Training

VEGETABLE IPM TRAINING

Insect Monitoring and Scouting Practices

JUNE 22, 2017 – 5:30-7:30 pm

Gulf Coast Regional Research & Extension Center

8300 Hwy 104

Fairhope AL, 36532

Participants will receive a FREE HAND LENS! Call the Baldwin County Extension Office at 251-937-7176 by June 12 to register.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer.  Everyone is welcome! Baldwin County Extension programs are supported by the Baldwin County Commission.

Sweet Potato Contest Winning Recipes

One of my favorite foods that we can purchase locally during the fall is sweet potatoes.   Sweet potatoes contain these nutrients, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber.

Each year since 1998, our Baldwin County Sweet Potato Growers, Baldwin County Farmers Federation, and other sponsors have coordinated a Sweet Potato Recipe Contest.  Middle and High School students from Family and Consumer Sciences and Culinary Programs in the county have the opportunity to participate.  I look forward to seeing the creative and delicious recipes.  The students are asked to prepare a recipe using at least one cup of sweet potatoes.  The students participate in a local contest at their school.  The county contest is held at the Baldwin County Fair.     The judges for the 2016 contest were Hope Cassebaum, Baldwin County Farmers Federation; David Holloway, Alabama Media Group; and Chef Hurtubise, Faulkner State Community College.

The students placing in the Junior Division (6th-8th grade) were 1st place, Rucker Beasley, Daphne Middle; 2nd place, Paulette Wallace, Foley Middle; 3rd place, Zander Prevatt, Gulf Shores Middle; Honorable Mention, Austin Evans, Spanish Fort Middle and Marli Ridaught, Central Baldwin Middle School.

The award winners in the Senior Division (9th-12th grade)  were 1st place, Braswell  McMeans, Gulf Shores High; 2nd place, Grace Ellison, Robertsdale High; 3rd place, Melissa McFeely, Spanish Fort High; Honorable Mention, Zechariah Defee, South Baldwin Center for Technology; Malia Fanning, Foley High; and Michaela Thompson, Fairhope High.

Un “Brie” lievable Grilled Cheese

Braswell McMeans-Gulf Shores High School
1st Place-Senior Division-2016

Bread Ingredients:

1 ½ cups white sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup dried cherry cranberries
½ teaspoon salt
& honey toasted pecans

Combine sugar and oil; beat well. Add eggs and beat. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture alternately with water. Stir in sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pecans. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until done.

Grilled Cheese Ingredients:

4 oz. Brie Cheese
Fig Jam

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place a slice of buttered bread with about 1.25 oz. of brie cheese into the pan. Add the second slice and spread fig jam on one side and butter on the other on top. Cook each side until browned and the cheese is melted.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Rucker Beasley-Daphne Middle School
1st Place-Junior Division-2016

Ingredients:

3 cups sweet potatoes
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup melted butter

Topping:

½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until hot and brown.

teacher-sweet-potato-contest

The Family and Consumer Sciences and Culinary Teachers with students participating in this year’s Sweet Potato Recipe Contest are:  Ms. Benton, Dr. Coker, Ms. Newton, front row

Back row:   Ms. Bernasconi, Ms. Ojard, Chef Herndl, Ms. Taylor, Chef Navarro, Ms. Thorjusen, Ms. Hopper and Ms. Carpenter.  Not shown:  Ms. Leverett

Hubbard Trap Crop Can Keep Squash Bugs Away!

fig-2-hubbard-squash-fruit-sept-2016

Squash producers and gardeners are bugged by three major insect pests. Cucumber beetles are early season pests that can severely damage transplants and delay plant maturity. Squash bugs are often the next wave of mid-season insects that lay a number of eggs on the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. Squash bug nymphs and adults can form large aggregates on fruits and cause direct plant damage. Both cucumber beetles and squash bugs transmit diseases. The last major insect pest of squash is the vine borer that can infest gardens as well as commercial plantings. Heat or water stress can hasten the devastation caused by vine borer larvae that live inside the stem. In all cases, most common organic insecticides appear to provide low to poor control of the pests. So, we have to think out of the box for managing insects like the squash bugs and here is an alternate IPM strategy.

One of the most recent studies completed in Alabama for squash bug control focused on the use of Hubbard squash as a trap crop. Hubbard squash establishes quickly after planting and grows vines like crazy, just like kudzu! In all our studies, we planted two rows of Hubbard squash trap crop around 3-4 rows of yellow squash (main crop). Once you have figured out where the squash bugs are migrating from, you can actually plant more rows of yellow squash and less of Hubbard to maximize your profits. Remember to plant the trap crop at least two weeks ahead of the main crop and on good ground for maximum effectiveness. Don’t ignore the trap crop and don’t forget to scout!

In the recently completed large scale study at Cullman, we observed over 4,500 squash bug eggs on the Hubbard squash trap crop and only 285 eggs on the main crop (Fig. 1). This is about a 15 times reduction in pest numbers!! We did see squash bug adults land on the yellow squash but they quickly move on to the Hubbard where they will hide and lay the majority of eggs. This study also provided evidence regarding an area-wide effect of trap crop on insects with limited amount of trap crop. For example, yellow squash planted about 400 feet away from the Hubbard had nearly 10 times lower number of squash bug eggs. It is evident that trap crop placement is very important along with the attention provided to the planting time. In all our studies, we first established an excellent stand of Hubbard squash and delayed the planting of yellow squash; the latter seems to catch up and do fine in terms of yield and the quality of produce. We eliminated all insecticide treatments in the large study and still got a wonderful crop (Fig. 2). Even the big round fruits of Hubbard squash are marketable and tasty to eat. Finally we have a trap crop that can pay for itself!

One of the major disadvantages of trap crop system is that it takes up space due to its prolific growth habit. Hubbard is also susceptible to a number of diseases – so planting should be done during optimum time. Dead seedlings can be replanted to maintain a good stand of the trap crop. If you are interested in more results, then please visit the Alabama Vegetable IPM project website and look at the ‘squash pest’ training module for videos and factsheets. Also join us on the vegetable IPM page on Facebook.

Alabama Beginning Farms Update: Are you a producer or market gardener with less than 10 years of experience?  Then the Alabama Beginning Farms website is a useful starting point for you. Visit www.aces.edu/beginningfarms and explore resources about on-farm services, microloan programs, and educational events all at one place! Bookmark the website today and watch the monthly webinars on the last Monday of each month at 9 a.m. Recordings of past webinars are also available.

Annual Fruit and Vegetable Conference: The Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Annual Conference will be in Clanton on November 17 and 18, 2016. Keep checking www.afvga.org for more information about registration details and agenda.