REPORTS FROM THE FIELD (as of May 13)
(S. Royalton ) Beets, carrots, mesclun, and other assorted crops are up and need to get weeded. It was a tough haul trying to knock down the rye. I'm a bit behind (seasonally) from where I was last year at this time. My spuds are all planted, and the green sprouted ones are up. Judging from the amount of row cover I have out, I'm getting things in the ground. Row cover is more valuable then my tractor: heat, no bugs, if they wove it out of gold, I'd still use it.
(W. Rutland) Cold soil is holding back planted corn. Peas, beets and spinach looking OK. No deer in sight yet but there are lots of woodchucks; or that is, were.
(Plainfield NH) It still seems a bit cool here but we don’t follow the ‘degree days’ so we don’t feel as chronologically behind here as perhaps we are. Greenhouse sales off to a good start, work about the greenhouses is occupying a large part of the labor force. Transplanted corn is out, first bare ground corn is in. A couple of plantings of greens and small stuff are in, onion transplants are set out. The first planting of spuds is in and row-covered. We’re still struggling to finish manuring and spring tillage. Next on the docket is to get irrigation pipe out in the berries, although no buds have emerged from the crowns yet....soon I am sure. We are dry here and if we don’t pick up some moisture in the next day or two will have to start irrigating.
(Starksboro) Spring is progressing very slowly. The leaves on the trees are about two weeks behind and we only mowed the lawn for the first time on May 11. I use the stage of maturity certain trees and bushes in the yard to determine the dates for cabbage-maggot-safe-planting. So, at this point, it looks like that date is going to be quite late, perhaps into early June. However, despite the apparently late spring, early peas, carrots and spinach have germinated very well.
(Amherst MA) Things starting to grow nicely down here after a very
slow start. In any case most everything early has germinated and we have
started cultivating and seeing lots of flea beetles. Early plowing and
spreading going according to plan - it's easier to stay on top of things
when they aren't growing very fast! The soil conditions and rain/dry balance
has been good for early field work as most of our plowing is done and we're
moving towards bed prep and fall land prep. Perennial plants came through
the winter very well and they are now mostly all mulched
and ready for the year. CSA shares are sold out - a month ahead of last year. Not sure what the change is - certainly nothing that we did differently! So, we're just sitting pretty, knocking on wood waiting for the weeds (next week), the bugs (next week), and major equipment failures (continual).
(Brandon) Sunshine and a holiday and many bills paid. Makes up for a slow start at the farm stand. Second round of sweet corn transplanted just as first direct seeding popping up. First planting hanging in there, but very few days where the row cover dries enough to float and release some of the weight. Excellent root development, though. Small amounts at end of rows where row cover ran out are toasted. Today trying out a little of the Novagryl(?) row cover which has a double thick edge to help prevent wear and tear while handling. Maybe we can get the deer to just trot the edges and it'd be fine.
(Charlotte) Things going quite well so far. Heavy soil working up well and we have planted most early spring crops. Downsizing was a great plan and the farm feels much more manageable. Zucchini in greenhouses are close to flowering, and first mesclun is about ready. No sign yet of flea beetles outside or in. Near 100 percent of garlic overwintered, amazing in our clay soil.
(Killington) Off to a good start. A variety of Asian greens have been planted since May first and covered with floating row cover. No sign of flea beatles. Broccoli was planted outdoors on May 6 from 4 inch seed cells and covered with plastic tunnels. Sugar snaps started in seed cells were moved out May 14 and more are started. Activity in the hoop house is strong. Vegetable and flower flats ready for the right date to go outside. The tomato plants in the hoop house are 3 feet tall and have tomatoes 3 inches round set on the Jet Stars and lots of flowers on all the plants.
(Norwich) Got 17,000 corn transplants into plastic and row-covered on May 8th. They look a little squashed under there, but doing OK on May 12th. Also 3 acres of corn seeded into plastic. Just coming up on the 12th despite rain and cold. Pretty nervous about relying on compost and untreated seeds as per USDA organic rules instead of the usual spring manure. Green-sprouted spuds just coming up in field under cover (weeds too!) Plasticulture berries are pretty small, but doing OK under covers. Wet and cold holding some work back.
(Montreal, PQ) This is the coldest wettest spring in a long time. We have field cultivated once and have been kept off the land since that time. We have field seeded nothing yet. This is 3 to 4 weeks later than normal. Please may there be some sun!
(Shaftsbury) Seems like a good start to the season so far. Renovated organic strawberries look great, first fruiting year ones look OK. Peas are up all right despite using untreated seed...at least they look good from the end of the rows. Excellent Mother’s Day plant sales. Rainy weather and mature bedding plants in the greenhouse means careful watering this week. Millstop (Potassium bicarbonate?) appears to work really well against powdery mildew. For those looking for white shade cloth for greenhouse tomatoes, Crop King is offering some sizes and can custom.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT (of the VT Vegetable and Berry Growers
David Marchant (email@example.com)
We had our first meeting with the Senate Agriculture committee in
April. Nancy Christopher, Norma Norris and David Marchant informed the
committee about the VV&BGA and our industry. They were surprised at
the value of the produce industry in Vermont as well as the amount of employment
we provide. We stressed the importance of getting state marketing
support, road signage laws that work for our seasonal industry and the
need for continued and increased support for Extension programs.
Thanks to Nancy Christopher for putting the meeting together. Hopefully
it is a start for obtaining more recognition and support from the state.
Along the same lines, the Commissioner of Agriculture had requested a strategic plan from each agricultural sector. Luckily for us, Steve Justis (of VT Dept. of Ag and Markets) realized no one was working with the Vegetable and Berry Produce Sector. Steve met with us to put together a report of our industry and its needs. Thank you Steve. With continued involvement with the Ag Dept. we can start to receive some support for the entire produce industry.
REPORT FROM THE PLANT DIAGNOSTIC LAB (Ann Hazelrigg)
I have gotten a fair number of calls about winter injury in blueberries,
and we are also seeing it in
raspberries. A couple of blueberry samples have also had the cane disease Phomopsis and one had some Fusicoccum. Any dead or injured tissue should be treated as if all was infected – pruned out and removed from the site. Follow up with fungicides if desired. (ed. note: see these web sites for info on blueberry pest management materials and spray schedules:
Michigan State Extension: www.msue.msu.edu/epubs/pestpubs/E154/21-Blueberries.pdf
Rutgers (NJ) Extension: www.rce.rutgers.edu/bb/2003/bb-v19n01.pdf
Ethylene injury on tomatoes is being identified in greenhouses, with loss of some blossoms. (check your heating systems for proper ventilation!). One sample of greenhouse tomato leaves had powdery mildew. Also saw somw damping off in onions/leeks. Grape twigs with black stuff that I am fairly certain was not due to a disease but was sooty mold growing on the sap from the bleeding pruning cuts. I have seen this in other fruit plants in the past. Some edema on greenhouse plants also reported. Moles and aphids doing damage, too.
NEW ENGLAND SMALL FRUIT PEST MANAGEMENT GUIDE
The new and improved New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide revisions is done but it will take a couple months to get it printed and distributed. However, Sonia Schloemann of UMass Extension will have it up on the web in a week or so at: www.umass.edu/fruitadvisor. The same website can also be used for reading current and past issues of the Massachusetts Berry Notes.
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