Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
(802) 257-7967 or

Check out  for: past issues of this newsletter, on-line fact sheets, integrated crop management standards, information on the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association, this year's New England Vegetable and Berry Conference,a slide show on mechanical cultivation, plus links to vegetable and berry information  and links to Vermont farm web sites. Please let me know if your farm has a web site and you'd like to be linked.

These meetings are free of charge to members of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association and NOFA-VT members. Non-member registration is $3 per person. Everyone is asked to help prevent the spread of soil-borne plant disease by wearing the plastic booties which will be provided by UVM Extension at all the meetings. Thank-you for your cooperation.

May 22, 2-5 pm Strawberry IPM, Norris Berry Farm, Monkton

Norma and Rick Norris converted their dairy farm to horticultural production 17 years ago. They now grow about 40 acres of vegetables and 8 acres of fruit and they have several greenhouses. The 4 acres of strawberries are among their most profitable enterprises, and also the most demanding in terms of insect, disease and weed management. Using Integrated pest management is one of the Norris's keys to success. Sonia Schloemann, UMass small fruit specialist will join us for a discussion of strawberry pest scouting, identification and management. Directions: take exit 12 off I-89 onto route 2A south, to route 116 south into Hinesburg. At the very sharp corner just past the IGA stay to the right and get on Silver St., go 5 miles to the first right, Davis Rd., the farm is one mile on the left.

July 23, 2-5 pm  Sweet Corn IPM, Kestrel Farm, Westminster

Tom Harlow grows 12 to 15 acres of organic sweet corn for wholesale and retail markets. For many years he has practiced IPM, scouting his crop and monitoring moth flights using traps for European corn borer, fall armyworm and corn earworm. To control weeds, he relies on timely cultivation with a tine weeder and rolling cultivators. He sprays B.t. for control of caterpillar pests. Recently, he has been applying a mixture of corn oil and B.t to corn silks to manage corn earworm, using a hand-held applicator called the Zea-Later, developed by Ruth Hazzard of UMass Extension. Ruth will join us to explain the technique and the results of her on-farm trials. Directions: take Exit 5 off I-91, go east about a half mile to Route 5. Turn right, and go south on route 5 for about 2 ½ miles. Immediately after the village of Westminster, turn left onto Greenwood Rd, which leads to the farm.

August 2, 4-7 pm  Pumpkin IPM, MacLennan Farm, Windsor

Alex MacLennan has been growing pumpkins for 16 years, half of them in Vermont. He raises about 20 acres of them, in rotation with sweet corn, primarily for wholesale markets. His production practices include cover cropping with hairy vetch and use of the pre-sidedress nitrate test to optimize fertilizer application. Dale Riggs, a vegetable crop consultant from New York and former extension agent, will join us for a discussion of crop scouting and identification of cucurbit insect pests and diseases. Directions: from the south take exit 8 off I-91, turn right off the ramp, then left onto Route 5 north. The farm is about 3 miles up on the left. From the north, take exit 9 of I-91, turn left off the ramp onto route 5 south. Go through Windsor, the farm is 3 miles south of town, on the right.

September 13, 2-5 pm  Vegetable Research and Teaching at the UVM Horticultural Farm
There has been renewed activity in the area of vegetable research and teaching at UVM during the past few years. Come see some of the experiments that a recent addition to the Plant and Soil Science faculty is conducting. Dr. Buddy Tignor and his graduate student, Nate Sands, will discuss heirloom tomato cultivar trials and alternative cover crop research utilizing potatoes as a model crop. Additionally, student farmers that operate the Common Ground Educational Farm will explain this experiential learning opportunity that provides hands-on experience for undergraduates, as well as 3 tons of produce for the Chittenden County Emergency Food Shelf and the Salvation Army in 2000. The UVM Horticultural Research Center also has resources such as the Cary Award Collection of outstanding landscape plants for New England. Directions: Take Exit 13 from Interstate I-89 onto I-189 West. Turn left (south) on Shelburne Road (Route 7) and go 1.5 miles south. Turn left at the traffic light onto Green Mountain Drive after the state highway sign for ‘UVM HORT FARM'. Travel .3 miles and turn right onto the Hort Farm access road. Questions? Contact Buddy Tignor at: or (802) 656-0466.

COMMENTS ON TRANSPLANTING SWEET CORN (from veg-prod e-mail discussion)
I transplanted 10,000 sweet corn plants last year and am going to put out 20,000 this year. I used 288 cell trays and seeded 3.5 weeks before average last frost date. Seeding was done by hand, but if this proves to be consistent I will use a seeder next year. I simply put the potting soil in the trays, pushed the seeds into the soil and then filled with soil again. It was 4 leaf stage when transplanted. Be very careful not to bury the top of the root plug with soil like you generally do with tomatoes. I used my RJ Carousel transplanter which is designed to precisely place the transplants in the ground. I'm keeping track of expenses to determine if this is economical when compared to using plastic and/or row covers. I do plan to cover some with row cover. Compared to the first direct seeded planting in the same field, the transplants were 10 days earlier. I hope that by adding row covers I can get an additional week earlier. (Steve Groff, PA)

I grew a few sweet corn plants from transplants a number of  years ago using the foam Todd trays.  The roots of the corn penetrated the walls of the trays and broke off when the plants were removed from the cells.  Still, survival was good. The two varieties I used had quite different morphology when grown from transplants. Both were mid-season varieties with a normal 6-foot height with bases of ears about 26-30 inches. Plants grown from transplants grew to about 3 feet high and produced ears of near-normal size near ground level.  I didn't direct-seed, so I had no comparison on earliness. I'm not aware of any growers here using transplants.  Some are,
however, using early varieties with good cold-soil germination (such as Sweet Ice) and clear plastic mulch.  Our Mid-Atlantic production guide suggests a double row on 5- or 6-foot centers, apply herbicide, then apply clear plastic.  The plastic is cut and removed about 30 days after emergence.  At that time the plants will be horizontal under the plastic but the tips will grow vertically when the plastic is removed. (Chuck McClurg, Univ of MD)

Paper is gaining over plastic in mulches used to grow commercial fruits and vegetables as well as the home-grown varieties, according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) studies in Peoria, Ill.  A main reason for this trend is that vegetable-oil-coated paper mulch may be a less costly alternative to plastic mulches, which are expensive to remove. Brown paper coated with vegetable oils like soybean and linseed oil can protect the crop from weeds and insects and is completely biodegradable, according to ARS chemist Randal L. Shogren at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Ill. That gives paper a big advantage over plastic mulches that cost about $240 an acre. Soy oil costs around 15 cents a pound, so growers and home gardeners can expect a reasonable cost for paper mulches made with vegetable oil.

Shogren coated plain brown kraft paper, used to make grocery store bags, with several types of vegetable oils, including soybean, linseed and a chemically-modified soybean oil plus a catalyst. The vegetable-oil-coated paper withstood wind and rain long enough for the crop to grow, but then began degrading in the soil. In trials, Shogren found that kraft paper treated with a combination of epoxidized soybean oil and citric acid held up for 13 weeks compared to untreated kraft paper, which was 50 percent degraded in 2-1/2 weeks. A U.S. patent on the technology has been approved. Field trials in Live Oak, Fla., in cooperation with the University of Florida (Gainesville) are in progress. Currently, field trials are being planned with an industry partner. Contact: Randal L. Shogren, ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Ill. (309) 681-6354,

(From Meg McGrath, Cornell Extension)
I have evaluated Flint for mildew on cucurbits, and have read several University efficacy trial reports. From what I've seen, it is either as good or better than Quadris (the first strobilurin fungicide registered on veggies). It is cheaper. However, it is not as broadspectrum as  Quadris, which is also efficacious for gummy stem blight, anthracnose, and Alternaria leaf spot. I have been suggesting to growers that they use Flint when other diseases aren't a concern to save some $$.  Both materials will move to the underleaf surface so coverage is not a problem. For anyone who's interested, I have written for a grower audience a guidelines on managing mildew on
cucurbits. This will soon be on the web at