May 15, 2000
Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
(802) 257-7967

 (Grand Isle) We got some crops planted by April 26th: including peas, potatoes, spinach, beets, radishes. On May 3 the first lettuce transplants went out on raised beds. Now we have more lettuce and some cole crops backed up in the greenhouse but it is just too wet since we have been getting rain everyday lately. On this heavy soil, compacting can be a problem. We wish some sweet corn was in the ground now, but no such luck! May 6 was the first day of  asparagus picking. With the warm weather and moist conditions, the yield has been good. The color has been a nice green, not extra purple the way it is apt to be initially on picking seasons that start on the rather cool side. Are we the only farm still finishing projects that we thought we would do in the winter months? We just finished fabricating a board with bolts to pop the bottoms of the rigid Plastomer trays of lettuce transplants. For the trays with 150 cells, we used 3/8 bolts that were 2 ½ inches long. It certainly makes a difference for us as now we find we don't tear any lettuce as we remove it while transplanting. Thorough watering alone just has not been enough to loosen the lettuce sufficiently.

 (Charlotte) Still too wet to put tractors out on the field. Tried to plow some but the surface was over dry from high wind but four inches down it is still too wet. Put in a few things by preparing the beds by hand. Flea beetles out in force. CSA subscription doing well. Been selling mesclun for almost a month.

 (W. Rutland)  First corn in, field work progressing slowly, most of the plastic is down.
 Asparagus is up and so are the lilies.

 (Starksboro) The warm weather at the beginning of May has made up for the cool weather in April. In mid-May I'm watching out for TPB in the strawberries and in late May cucumber beetles in the early cucurbits. I might try Surround for Cucumber beetles. We still have a chance of a frost, but by the 22nd, with the full moon behind us, I'll take a look at the long range forecast and decide whether to go for it putting out tomatoes etc. or wait another week. Once tomatoes are out, I'll start calculating Disease Severity Values for TomCast based on the hours and temperature of leaf wetness.

 (S. Royalton) Saw the first TPB on May 5! Garlic wasn't mulched over winter and noticing sporadic emergence. We've got a great crew this year and look forward to getting back on track after several tough growing seasons--(Ah, the eternal spring optimism!)  Played quick catch up on the early plantings once the weather broke. Early seedlings have been growing slowly with the cool sunless weather, but really noticed a difference with this last week of sun
and warmth. Greenhouse tomatoes transplanted 4/14 setting fruit nicely now.

 (Hadley MA) We've gone from winter to summer, wet to dry in the span of a week. We have continued to direct seed salad greens and brassicas and covering them immediately with row covers. Where there are no covers, these seedlings have been skeletonized by flea beetles. Cover crops have put on a lot of growth, so we have been mowing before plowing. Garlic looks great, we are leaving the leaf mulch on for the season. We had a pretty good flush of weeds come up with this warm weather so that cultivating and flame weeding are well underway.

June 28, Wednesday, 3-5 pm
Large-Scale CSA at the Intervale Community Farm, Burlington
 Andy Jones and Erin Hanley will describe the production systems they use to grow 14 acres of diverse horticultural crops to supply the 400 member households in their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). They'll also share their thoughts about CSA member recruitment and retention, member services and amenities. Directions: Take Exit 14-W off I-89 onto Route 2 west (Main St.) toward Burlington. Take a right on North Prospect St. by UVM's historic green, and follow on through the set of lights and two stops signs. At the stoplight on Intervale Ave. go across the street and across the RR tracks to the Intervale entrance. Gardeners Supply is on your right and the farm is about a quarter mile up on the left. 658-2919
July 11, Tuesday, 4-6 pm
Small Fruit Production at Harlow's Sugar House, Putney
 Don Harlow has been growing small fruit crops for 50 years. Along with the sugaring operation and 12 acres of apples, he grows 5 acres of strawberries, 5 acres of raspberries and 15 acres of blueberries. Much of the crop is sold pick-your-own, some is turned into value-added jams, and the rest is wholesaled. Join Don as he shares some of the knowledge (and stories) he has accumulated over the decades. Directions: Take Exit 4 off I-91, go north on Route 5 into Putney village. Stay on Route 5 north for 2 and a half miles, the fields are on the right. 387-5852

July 25, Tuesday, 4-6 pm
Cover Crops Demonstration at UVM Extension, Brattleboro
 A field demonstration of cover crops will be on display at the University of Vermont Extension office in Brattleboro. Join Vern Grubinger in a comparison of different cover crops species in terms of weed suppression, biomass production, and nitrogen fixation. Side-by-side plots are planned to include buckwheat, sorghum-Sudangrass, cowpea, soybean, Japanese millet, hairy vetch and more. Take Exit 1 off I-91, turn east on Route 5 toward Brattleboro, then turn right at the first set of lights onto Fairground Rd. Go about half a mile, then turn right onto South Main St., proceed for another half mile to the Extension office and field on the right. 257-7967

August 6, Sunday, 12-3 pm,
Root Crops at Surfing Veggie Farm, East Hardwick
(co-sponsored with NOFA-VT; free for VV&BGA and NOFA members, $3 to the public)
 Annie and Louis Pulver will share their mysterious methods of raising potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic. Highlights will include: best varieties, soil preparation, organic fertilizers, cultivation, pest control, harvest and storage. Bring lunch and sense of humor.  Directions: Take Route 15 towards Hardwick. Go north on Route 16, past a mini-mart on your left and take Belfry Rd. off to the right. Go over the RR tracks, take first left after road turns to dirt. Surfing Veggie Farm on the right past the mailboxes.  533-7175.

August 27, Sunday, 1-3 pm
Strawberries in an Annual Bed System, Strawberry Knoll Farm, South Royalton
(co-sponsored with NOFA-VT, free for VV&BGA and NOFA members, $3 for the public)
 For the past 3 years, Darrell Smith has been exploring the benefits of the annual bed system for organic strawberries on a small scale. He grows about a third of acre. His system includes the use of plug plants put into raised beds with drip irrigation, plastic mulch and row covers. Darrell has tried growing his own plugs, as well as using the traditional annual bed system. If time permits, he will discuss beekeping and the use of biocontrols for varroa mites. Directions: Take Exit 3 off I-89 onto Route 107, go east to Route 14, then turn left, north onto Route 14. Three and a half miles large yellow farm house with attached barn on the right, park in the field just beyond. 763-2439

September 6, Wednesday, 4-6 pm
Fall Raspberries, Lakeside Berry Farm, East Alburg
 Nancy and Ed Christopher grow 5 acres of fruit and vegetable crops for roadside sale and pick-your-own in East Alburg. One of their specialties is fall raspberries; they have an acre with several different varieties. Directions: Take Exit 21 off I-89 onto Route 78W into Swanton village, stay on Route 78W for 7 miles, cross the old Missisquoi Bay bridge, the farm is on the right. 796-3691

 The Ohio State University has established up a very useful extension fact sheet data base and university search engine for answering plant-related questions from 46 different universities and government institutions across the United States and Canada. It allows easy access to over 20,000 pages of Cooperative Extension fact sheets and bulletins to provide a concentrated source of plant-related information. Searches are key word based and can delimited by region if desired.  Go to

SWEET CORN HERBICIDE UPDATE (from D.J. Doohan, Ohio State Univ., Wooster)
 ‘Prowl 3.3 EC' has just received a federal registration for use on sweet corn. 2000 will be the first season of use and growers should proceed, cautiously. Prowl has some definite advantages. It is very effective on annual grasses. However, its most valuable contribution to sweet corn weed management is control of common lamb's quarters and pigweeds, including triazine resistant biotypes. Because Prowl is moderately persistent, good residual control can be expected. Combinations, or sequential applications with other herbicides labelled on sweet corn are necessary for complete weed control.  Prowl is only moderately effective on velvetleaf and smartweeds and does not control ragweed or mustards. Tank-mixing with atrazine, or a sequential application following preemergence atrazine, should be a good fit for most.  Prowl only works preemergence on weeds, so most will want to spray as soon as the corn is out of the ground.  Later applications might fit following cultivation, or following an application of Basagran which was used to control earlier germinating triazine lamb's quarters and pigweed. Why proceed cautiously?  Prowl can cause very serious crop damage. Damage may be very visible ( ie severely stunted plants with little or no roots) or may only be manifested by a delay in maturity.  Label instructions for using Prowl on sweet corn have been written to minimize likelihood of crop damage.  Prowl can be applied from very early postemergence (ie spike leaf stage) until the corn is 20 to 24 inches tall or has 8 visible collars, whichever occurs first.  Do not apply Prowl preplant incorporated or prior to crop emergence!  Do not apply with liquid fertilizer as the carrier. Other 'rules of thumb' that are important in minimizing sweet corn injury with all soil applied, grass control herbicides include; plant seed deep (at least 1.5 inches) into a well prepared and firm seedbed, plant into moisture instead of attempting to irrigate the crop up, and make sure that the furrow is completely closed.

 ‘Permit' was registered for use on sweet corn late in 1999 and is one of the very best materials available for yellow nutsedge.  Applied postemergence to the crop and to weeds, Permit has been used on field corn for a couple of seasons. Tolerance has generally been very good, but there have been a few instances of damage, especially when application occurred during very hot weather.  Sweet corn variety response has not been determined and any crop injury arising from the use of Permit on sweet corn is the responsibility of the user. Do not use Permit on the variety Jubilee.  Do not use on sweet corn treated with soil applied organo-phosphate insecticides and do not apply any organo-phosphate insecticides within 7 days before or 3 days after Permit. As with Prowl, combinations with other registered herbicides are needed to obtain complete weed control.  Permit does not control lamb's quarters but should be effective on triazine resistant pigweed and ragweed.