What's Killing My Kale?

Annie Klodd and Natalie Hoidal, UMN Extension

Kale To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over and click on the episode title. The podcasts are also available on iTunes and Stitcher

In "What's Killing My Kale?", get research based solutions to pest issues affecting fruit and vegetable crops from University of MN Extension. Learn how to manage weeds, insects, diseases, and more. Each month we'll have a three part podcast exploring one main issue from three different perspectives.

Current Episodes

The December episodes of the podcast center around understanding the complex topic of pesticide use and safety on fruit and vegetable farms, including organic and natural pest management products.

Episode 19: Navigating Natural Remedies: What Works and Why? with Linda Chalker-Scott (12/10/2018)
The internet lays many claims about the benefits of numerous "alternative" or "natural" remedies for pest management and plant health. How do we know which methods are backed up by science, and which are not? In this episode, Linda lays out ways growers can determine if claims about natural products are accurate and effective. We use epsom salts and compost tea as two examples. Linda is an Extension Educator at Washington State University and manages the Horticultural Myths blog and The Informed Gardener podcast. 

Episode 18: What Does Pesticide Safety Mean for Organic Farms? with Natalie Hoidal (12/10/2018) 
In this episode, Natalie discusses the importance of thinking about pesticide safety on all fruit and vegetable farms, including organic farms with organic pesticide products. She also lays out the results of the fruit and vegetable pesticide use survey that was distributed by UMN Extension to fruit and vegetable growers throughout 2018.

Episode 17: Glyphosate and Cancer, with Kaci Buhl (12/10/2018)
Kaci is the statewide director of Pesticide Safety Education at Oregon State University, and the deputy director of the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (
PERC). In this episode, Kaci talks about how people approach risk around herbicides, and dissects the complexity of current research on glyphosate and cancer.

November, 2018

This month on "What's Killing My Kale?" we had a fascinating discussion about this with Chryseis Modderman, UMN Extension Educator for manure management. Among other things, we talked about best practices for applying compost and manure on vegetable fields, and how it is that weed seeds and diseases can travel all the way from the pasture, through the animal, and onto the vegetable field. We then discussed practices that growers can adopt to minimize the risk of bringing in new weed infestations via manure and compost.

Episode 16: Manure, Compost, and Weeds, with Chryseis Modderman (10/31/2018)

September-October, 2018 

For our September series of "What's Killing My Kale?", we caught up with some of our Extension IPM experts to discuss the main 2018 growing season pest pressures and how to prepare for 2019. We discussed weeds with Annie Klodd, diseases with Michelle Grabowski, and insects with Bill Hutchison. 

Episode 15: Insect Overview with Bill Hutchison (9/30/2018) 
Episode 14: Disease Overview for 2018 with Michelle Grabowski (9/25/2018)
Episode 13: Late Season Weed Control with Annie Klodd (9/20/2018)

August, 2018 

In our August episode on pollinator and beneficial insect conservation as part of IPM, we talk with Extension educator and native bee expert Elaine Evans, and Xerces society conservation planner Karin Jokela. We'll discuss some background on how pollinators and beneficial insects are faring in our current agricultural systems, how farmers can implement beneficial habitat, and some tips for managing pests without harming beneficial insects. 

As always, please provide feedback so that we can improve our podcastIf you'd like to do a farm consultation with Karin, reach out to your local NRCS office or email Karin at karin.jokela@xerces.org

Episode 12: How Much Do We Really Know About Japanese Beetles? (8/22/2018)
Episode 11: Pollinators and IPM part 3: Pesticides and pollinators with Karin Jokela (8/10/2018)
Episode 10: Pollinators and IPM part 2: Beneficial insect habitat with Karin Jokela (8/10/2018)
Episode 9: Pollinators and IPM part 1: Elaine Evans, native bee expert (8/10/2018)

July, 2018 

This month's episodes of "What's Killing My Kale?" is all about plant diseases. We start in part 1 with a trip to the plant disease clinic to learn about the services they provide to growers. In part 2, we talk with Michelle Grabowski about diseases in Brassica plants, and what growers should be thinking about in terms of scouting and management in the upcoming weeks. Finally, in part 3 we discuss a newly identified disease that's been impacting grapes across Minnesota.

Episode 8: Plant Disease Update part 3: Trunk disease in MN grapes (7/31/2018)
Episode 7: Plant Disease Update Part 2: Disease identification and management in Brassica plants (7/11/2018)
Episode 6: Plant Disease Update Part 1: University of Minnesota's Plant Disease Clinic (7/11/2018)

June, 2018 

This month's episodes of "What's Killing My Kale?" focus on Spotted Wing Drosophila. This invasive vinegar fly, now widespread in Minnesota, is a major concern for small fruit growers as it lays its eggs directly in the flesh of many high value fruits. This series of podcasts provides growers with top recommendations on managing SWD from Mary Rogers, Assistant Professor of Horticulture, Jim Riddle, long-time organic fruit grower and owner of Blue Fruit Farm, and Bill Hutchison, UMN Extension Entomologist. Additional information on SWD can be found at https://www.fruitedge.umn.edu/swd.

Episode 5: Spotted Wing Drosophila Part 2: A Chat with Jim Riddle of Blue Fruit Farm
Episode 4: Spotted Wing Drosophila Part 1: Dr. Mary Rogers on Keeping Out SWD

May, 2018

This month on What's Killing my Kale we're talking about integrated weed management (IWM) with Annie Klodd and Charlie Rowher. In part 1, we talk about how integrated pest management applies to weeds and explore the four pillars of IWM. In part 2, we discuss different tools we've worked with for mechanical weed management. Annie shares her top 5 tools, and Charlie provides some insight on how flame weeders can be integrated into your weed management strategies. In part three, we explore specialty systems. Charlie shares his experiences with weed management in hops, Annie discusses considerations for perennial systems like grapes and apples, and we finish with some insight from Charlie on weeds in high tunnel systems.

Episode 3: Weeds in Perennial Systems (5/23/2018)
Episode 2: Tools for Weeding (5/22/2018)
Episode 1: Integrated Weed Management (5/23/2018)