VERMONT VEGETABLE AND BERRY NEWS, June 15, 2002
Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
(802) 257-7967 or vernon.grubinger@uvm.edu
www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry

TWILIGHT MEETING REMINDER

Tuesday June 18,  5 to 7 pm Crossroad Farm, Fairlee VT. Tim and Janet Taylor operate a diversified vegetable, berry and ornamental farm with 13 greenhouses and high tunnels and 50 acres in cultivation. Dairy manure is the primary source of soil fertility in the fields, and the many weeds that result are managed without herbicides. Tim will demonstrate cultivation equipment he uses, including: a Perfecta field cultivator, Lely tine weeder, Buddingh baskets, 'bat-wing' shovels, Lilliston rolling cultivators and his latest tool, a Reigi weeder, which has PTO-driven rotating mechanical fingers that are steered by an operator.

Directions: Take Exit 14 off I-91 (Thetford), turn west onto Route 113 and go about 7 miles. North of Post Mills look for the state sign saying Crossroad Farm. Turn right, the farm is a half mile on the right. From the northwest, take the Exit 5 (Northfield) off I-89 onto Route 64 east into Williamstown. Turn right onto Route 14 south. Just past the village turn left onto Williamstown Rd. Take that over the hill to Route 110,  turn right go to Chelsea, then turn left onto Route 113 east. After West Fairlee turn left on Crossroad, the farm is about a half mile on the right.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD (as of June 12)

(Jon Turmel, Ag. Dept) We have been trapping true armyworm in Orwell, Middlesex, Barre, Brattleboro, Springfield and White River Junction for the last month. In a normal year, we would expect 10 to 20 moths per trap per week. So far this year the highest has been 4. Most were 0 to 2. It's not an exact science, but with these numbers, it looks like 2002 will not be a repeat of 2001.

(Hinesburg) We picked a few strawberries this week so the season will soon be here.  I haven't found many bugs in the strawberries this year, hardly any clipper or TPB, very few greenhouse pests either. Greenhouse sales have been great. Flea beatles are hammering the greens. Raspberry crop looks huge this year. Just finished planting the new strawberries and put drip tape in all of them, can't wait to see the difference it will make.

(Wilmington)  Due to on-site construction that has been delayed by snow, torrential downpours, hail on a bi-weekly basis and now a tornado complimented by more blinding rain we will not be planting pumpkins! Therefore if you have extra, we will be looking to purchase pumpkins and gourds and would love to hear from you now! Call 802-464-5618 or e-mail boydfarm@sover.net. Otherwise the  PYO flowers are in and looking good the nursery stock is weather proof and healthy...the blueberry fields look good as well!

(Plainfield NH) Weather still cool with last frost on June10. A night in the low 50s feels like a warm night. Transplanted corn under row cover is about a foot high, but bare ground corn planted  May 4 is barely 6 inches tall. Two major pest problems are TPB in strawberries (nymphs are out-is this early and odd for season so cold?) and tobacco mosaic virus. Fortunately it is confined to one row and one house of greenhouse  tomatoes. Symptoms are bronze shoe-stringing at top of plant in new growth, fruit at top of plant is catfaced and/or brownish-green in color. Makes working in the house difficult, you have to wash your hands in milk after contact with the  plant. Had asked employees to wash their hands before working in the houses, but I guess the virus can  come in on their clothes of smokers (can also be vectored by thrips). After seeing it at the Sturbridge meeting last December I bought a Reigi weeder from Canada. As a strawberry de-mulcher it plays to mixed reviews. But I used it  on my new planting of berries (which were pretty  messy with annuals and white clover) and it did a really nice job, I was impressed.

(W. Rutland) All is well now that the flowers are mostly gone. Got my pumpkin transplants finally planted, corn planting continues as does rock picking. Perennial cuts are doing fine, no damage from anything, Yeah!

(Westminster) Some fields still muddy. Aphids showing up in greenhouse. Plant sales are up 50% over same time last year, must be doing something right!

(Dummerston) Got a sunny day and had the troops storm the fields in "Operation All Weeds Must Die". Results just in indicate enemy greenery took heavy losses while home forces suffered only minor casualties limited to blistered hoe palms and sunburn. Expect hostile forces to regroup during upcoming 5 days of predicted wet weather. Fresh high school reinforcements should be ready by then. Crops under protective covers doing relatively well but quite a bit of rot in potatoes and untreated sweet corn seed. My theory for troubled growing times, "Plant your way out of it". Just like Antoine Walker doesn't know when to stop shooting three's, we just keep filling in spots with later crops hoping for the big 4th quarter. Need something to offset incredible plant sales anyway. Home gardeners seem to be recession-proof although vegetable plant sales have increased dramatically over last year's big increase. Here's hoping their enthusiasm will continue.

(Wolcott) We've been transplanting cucurbits seed crops like crazy lately with our 1 acre almost done.  I am trying Surround, the new kaolin clay product for control on cucumber beetles and it has reduced the pressure to very tolerable levels so far. Complete coverage on the plant seems to be key to its success. Our first seed crops are flowering (onions, parsley, and many perennial flowers and herbs). The mizuna seed crop is just beginning to think about flowering. It is so beautiful as full 2 foot bushy heads.We are about to put the rain cover on our new hoop house for seed production. In it we are growing seed crops that need protection from the rain which damages and causes mold on the seeds and flowers. These include onions, spinach, parsley, carrots, lettuce and several flowers. No hail or damaging T-storms so far on our place but a neighbor had 3/4" hail about 10 days age that did a lot of damage to their newly transplanted peppers, eggplants, lettuce. We learned that while the hail can shred row cover, at least it protects the crop underneath quite well.

(Starksboro) Iíve been scouting for striped cucumber beetles in the summer squashes and reached the threshold shortly after putting them out. I sprayed on May 29. Weíre starting to approach the threshold again, but the plants are so much bigger now and growing rapidly, so Iím not so concerned. The flea beetles have found the Brassicas and Iím going to hit them the next dry day. Colorado potato bugs have found the potatoes, but theyíre just adults and the plants are growing fast now. Iíve seen a few egg clusters, and Iím watching closely for newly hatched larvae, at which point Iíll use B.t. on them. I have not seen any potato leafhopper yet. We seem to get them first and plentifully when winds blowing from the south central regions where they winter, slam into the Green Mountains and drop them on our fields. Iíll keep you posted.

(Plainfield) Strawberries look great. They have been weeded and re-mulched with straw. I have  sprayed with Naturalis L to control TPB. I try to spray every 3 to 5 days. Counts have been very low so far, perhaps also be due to the cool spring we have had here. I have been spraying Surround and have good fruit set on the plum trees. Bedding plant sales have been late but solid.  All it takes is some nice weather on a weekend. Transplanted winter squash, peppers, melons, tomatoes in the rain today. Seems like the right mix of rain and sun to me.

BE ALERT FOR BLUEBERRY MAGGOT FLIES (adapted from Rutgers, UMass Extension)
Yellow sticky traps captured the first adult blueberry maggot fly on June 4 in NJ, one of the earliest dates of first blueberry maggot trap capture in New Jersey. Growers up north should place sticky traps in the crop ASAP, especially in locations with a history of this pest problem. The first blueberry maggot insecticide application is recommended 10 days after the first emergence of blueberry maggot flies. To completely protect the fruit from infestations, subsequent insecticide sprays should be continued at 7 to 10 days apart. Blueberry maggot has a single generation each year. It overwinters as a pupa buried in the soil below the blueberry bushes. Most adults emerge over a 4 to 5 week period. They are smaller than a housefly with black bands across the wings and white lines on the abdomen. Females begin to lay eggs about 10 days after emergence. Eggs are laid just beneath the ripe or ripening blueberries. Insecticides will not offer any control if eggs are already laid in the berries. The larva (maggots) mature in about 20 days under field conditions and then drop to the ground to pupate. Berries infested with larval stages can be readily recognized by their soft and mushy appearance. See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for insecticide options and rates.

GET READY FOR CORN BORER (Adapted from UMass Extension)
European corn borer captures in pheromone traps are on the rise in more southerly states. Early corn started under plastic should be scouted for corn borer larvae when the tassels beginning to poke up. The earlier the corn, the more likely it will silk before ECB flight declines, with higher risk of ear infestations. This can occur even if tassels were not infested. Eggs may be laid near the ear, and larvae move directly into the ear. In the recent past, small but early flights have caught sweet corn growers by surprise. It is an excellent investment to have traps for both corn borer and corn earworm on your own farm so you know when moths are in flight. Sources for traps and lures include Great Lakes IPM (517) 268-5693 or Gempler's  (800) 382-8473. Contact me if you need information on setting up and monitoring traps.

USE ROW COVERS PROPERLY TO DETER FLEA BEETLES
(adapted from UMass Extension, OK so Iím a subsidiary)

Flea beetles are small and persistent, so row covers will only protect crops if you use them properly. The best seal is a solid line of soil along the edge of the cover. If you are sealing the cover with soil-filled plastic bags placed at intervals along the edges, be sure to place them close enough that they provide a good seal, even when the wind is blowing. The older row cover gets the more tears it has. Choose your best quality cover for flea beetle barrier since tears allow entry.
Be sure to put the cover on and seal the edges down as soon as you seed (or immediately after transplanting.) Do not wait for the crop to emerge, beetles will find the first cotyledons. When you remove the cover for weeding, replace it as soon as possible. If beetles do get under the covers, control them with insecticide, then re-cover. One organic grower reports success using Aza-Direct (neem) on flea beetles after wind blew the covers off his young mesclun, then recovering. Donít forget to go back and peek under the covers every few days.

Mention of brand name products and pesticides is for educational purposes only. No endorsement is intended nor is discrimination implied against products not mentioned. And of course, always read the label.