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


Mummy berry disease has been a serious problem in highbush blueberries at some locations in Vermont. In early spring, overwintering sclerotia of the fungus produce small cup-shaped spore-bearing structures (mushrooms) called apothecia. Spores produced by the apothecia (called ascospores) are released during cool wet weather and carried by the wind to emerging blueberry leaf and flower shoots. These shoots become infected and blighted (primary infection). Secondary spores (called conidia) are produced in abundance on blighted leaves, and are carried by wind and insects to open flowers, infecting the ovaries (secondary infection). Infected flowers produce berries that become cream colored rather than normal blue, and prior to harvest infected berries drop to the ground. These infected fruit, if left on the ground, form overwintering sclerotia that provide a source of disease the following year.

This year, EPA has granted a ‘state emergency exemption' for use of INDAR 75 WSP fungicide (fenbuconazole) to control mummy berry disease on blueberries in Vermont from April 1 to September 1, 2001. Indar 75 WSP has been shown to be effective against both primary and secondary mummy berry infection. It should be applied at a rate of 2 ounces (one Water Soluble Pouch) per acre, by ground.  Begin applications at early green tip and make subsequent applications at 10 to 14 day intervals. Restrictions include: Applications through any type of irrigation system are prohibited. Do not make applications within 30 days of harvest. Do not make more than 5 applications or apply more than 10 ounces per acre per year. Do not use any spray adjuvants with INDAR 75WSP. Do not graze livestock in treated areas or feed cover crops grown in treated areas to livestock. Do not make applications within 75 feet of streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, or reservoirs. The Re-Entry Interval (REI) after application is 12 hours.

You must have the special state label in your possession at the time of application. Contact me for a copy. Also, EPA has asked the state to maintain a record of the names of growers using Indar and the quantity they apply. Please report this information to me.

(adapted from article by Margaret McGrath, Cornell)

Phytopthora blight is a disease all cucurbit growers should be concerned about. It has been described as ‘the most destructive disease of cucurbits', and in regions to the south of us the problem appears to be growing. In Vermont, we have had several farms experience significant losses to the disease, including complete loss of a pumpkin crop. All cucurbits are susceptible, with squash, cucumber and pumpkin most commonly affected. Pepper is also commonly affected, with eggplant and tomato less commonly affected.

Initial symptoms of fruit rot are a water-soaked or depressed spot. The underside of fruit that is in contact with the ground often is affected first. Fruit can become completely infected and collapse. Symptoms can develop rapidly after harvest. The fungus produces a white yeast-like growth that can be easily confused with Pythium fruit rot and Sclerotina white mold.

Management practices focus on preventing the pathogen from being moved into new fields and  managing soil moisture to avoid saturated conditions which favor disease onset. Prevention is critical because Phytophthora is difficult to control once it starts, and growing susceptible crops after it occurs is a challenge. Fungicides have provided minimal control in efficacy trials and therefore should not be used without the cultural practices listed below. An integrated program is best that uses as many of the following practices as possible.
1) Plant susceptible crops only where they have not been grown for at least 3 years.
2) Select well-drained fields, isolated form fields where Phytophthora has occurred before.
3) Physically separate plantings of susceptible crops so water cannot move from one to the other.
4) When growing small-fruited pumpkins, select varieties such as Lil' Ironsides, with hard rinds.
5) Minimize hardpans and plowpans by subsoiling or chiseling before planting.
6) Do not plant crops in areas of fields that do not drain well. Plant a cover crop there instead.
7) Prepare dome-shaped raised beds for summer squash, pepper and other bush type crops.
8) Do not drive through wet fields.
9) Remove soil from farm equipment, shoes, etc. when moving between fields or farms.
10) Subsoil between rows after planting and before vining to improve drainage.
11) Avoid over-irrigating; prevent irrigation leaks.
12) Scout for symptoms routinely, especially after heavy rain, be sure to check areas where water did not drain well, and near the end of irrigation pipe.
13) When symptoms are localized in a small area of the field, disk it in.
14) Do not discard cull fruit in the field, even if it looks healthy but is over-ripe or over-sized.
15) Remove healthy fruit from the field ASAP after harvest.
16) After harvest, check fruit regularly for development of disease symptoms.
17) Do not display pumpkins for sale on land where Phytophthora has previously occurred.
18) Do not save seed from a field where Phytophthora has previously occurred.


The New Farmers' Market: Farm-Fresh Ideas for Producers, Managers and Communities is a 272  book that covers the latest tips and trends from leading-edge sellers, managers and market planners all over the country.  Part I (Selling at the Market), talks about best products to grow and sell at the markets, how to combine farmers' markets with other outlets, record-keeping, display, merchandising and much, much more. Part II (Starting, Managing and Promoting the Market) talks about every aspect imaginable of starting, managing and promoting the market: location, attracting vendors, rules and regulations, insurance, "farmer-grown," advertising, special events, establishing a market web site, and more. Part III (The New Farmers' Market) talks about educating the community about the value of fresh, local foods and farmers' markets and about  how farmers' markets can serve the community. Appendices cover insurance, customer surveys, farmers' market profitability, and benefits of farmers' markets. A seven-page list of Resources is valuable for locating scales, baskets, packaging materials and more. To order, send $24.95 plus $4.50 (Canada: $8.40 US) shipping to: "QP Distribution", 22260 "C" St., Winfield, KS 67156. Credit card orders call 888-281-5170.

The next newsletter will include this season's first ‘reports from the field'. All growers are invited to contribute reports. For those of you new to this, reports should be a paragraph or less, describing current crop conditions, production activities, recent pest observations, and/or comments on markets, labor or other items of interest to growers. Measures of pest pressure (such as a percentage of plants infested or damaged by a particular pest) are appreciated. Some humor doesn't hurt, either. I will select and edit reports as necessary, so they fit in the space allowed and aren't profane (you know who you are). I'll be sending an e-mail reminder to vegetable and berry growers every two week, asking for reports a day or two before I need to compile the next newsletter for printing in Agriview. However, please feel free to submit reports at any time, by letter or phone, too.


I have had several questions about the Williams tool system; here is a description of it. Basically it's a frame with 4 rows of flexible tines, similar to those on a Lely cultivator. It has a standard diamond front tool bar that attaches to the tractor with 3-point hitch. A second toolbar can be added behind the front tool bar to make room for more hilling tools, which is especially helpful if using it on 3 row beds. The flexible tines can be raised up, about 12 to 15 inches off the ground; all of them or just the tines over a crop row, as needed. By removing two U-bolts you can remove the tine weeder frame, leaving the toolbar hitched to the tractor. That can be helpful once the clearance over the crop is limited; if you add the second toolbar it remains attached to the front one even when the frame is removed. The tine weeders are good for 'blind' raking of the soil before crop emergence,  and again for controlling small weeds after emergence, without damaging most crops. As the crops, and weeds, get bigger, more aggressive hilling action can be obtained by adding disks, spyders, shovels, and/or sweeps to the tool bar(s), customized to your needs.

Since the tines are really effective only in the bed area, not in the wheel tracks, choose a frame size based on your tractor 'straddle'. The front bar length is usually designed to cover outside-to-outside of the tractor tires in order to allow tools to be mounted that will work the area behind the tires/ in between the beds. The tool system comes in 40, 50 and 60 inch frame sizes and the basic frame prices are $1680, $1800, and $1920 U.S. FOB. A second toolbar is $200, Gauge wheels are $200, and hilling spiders are $225. It is available from Market Farm Implement in PA. Their phone is 814-443-1931. Another local supplier of cultivation equipment is Chauncey Farm Supply in NH (603) 588-2857.

(Mention of brand-name products is for your information only; no endorsement is intended nor is discrimination against other products implied.)