REPORTS FROM THE FIELD (as of June 16)
(Starksboro) It's beginning to fell a bit dry here, as the thunder storms are going everywhere but here. Despite plenty of rainy days, we haven’t had a week with an inch of rain in about a month. So, although we've had a lot of wet days during strawberry blossoming, we'll be irrigating soon. I plowed down some Japanese millet before potatoes, because at least year’s potato meeting Dr. Johnson from UMaine seemed unequivocal about it's ability to suppress Rhizoctonia. We'll see. Things are growing well in general, and I'm expecting Colorado potato beetles to hatch out any day now. Striped cucumber beetles haven't been too bad.
(Plainfield, NH) Cool weather and the arrival of more help has allowed us to catch up from being far behind. Greenhouses and the bedding plant season always diverts our attention from field duties. Sales have been good thus far. Seem to be getting light pest pressure this year. Sprayed Brigade for clipper and adult TPBs in strawberries once and for cuke beetle in pumpkin/winter squash transplants and that’s about it. Spraying for Botrytis in same fields...not a problem yet in the tomato greenhouses. Speaking of tomatoes--is anybody else who grafted Buffalo onto Maxfort seeing a drop in tomato size? Despite the damp weather we really hadn’t received any measurable rain in a couple-three weeks and may start irrigating if we don’t get some soon. Temps have barely made it into the 70's and the first week of June we had two nights of frost. We wouldn’t mind a tad more sun and heat.
(S. Royalton) Things are moving slowly with almost everything being a bit behind last year. At this point last year my melons were in blossom and I had the covers off, there a least 5 days away from that this year. I'll have to start irrigating today. We are suffering from a lack of sun, not too much rain.
(Berlin) Corn that went in early may is doing well but so are the weeds. Crows really got a lot of my early plants this year for some reason, later corn not bothered. Lots of berry blossoms and green berries on the way. Waiting to see what happens with TPB when hay is cut. Flea beetles got the broccoli before I got them covered but will grow out of it. Trying to get rye cut for straw but the weather is not cooperating.
(Fairlee) Second planting of cole crops hammered by maggots. Striped cucumber beatle out in force. Slow growing but great greens weather. Wondering what methods will choke out and kill chickweed and galinsoga.
(Plainfield) This rainy cool spring is ok by me, as the strawberries love it and the cool weather slows the population boom of the Tarnished Plant Bug. Organic growers have been unable to obtain the biological insecticide Naturalis L this year, due to a labeling problem with the EPA. I am spraying Neem (Azadirect) and soap (M-Pede), and counts have stayed under 1 TPB nymph per 2 flower clusters. Great fruit set. Winter squash transplants looking good, but the cucumber beetles are after them. Carrots coming up well after flame weeding, still lots of barnyard grass germinating with the crop. Garden starts sales were very strong, sold everything.
(Wolcott) Seed crops are all in at this point. Chives are in full flower and if the sun shines for more that 10 min. at a time, we should have pretty good pollination with our increase in bee hives. I have had some problems with my arugula seedcrop bolting prematurely because of being in the flat too long and going out too late. I want those plants to be at least 12" in diameter and they were only 6 to 8". So, when in doubt get out the weed wacker and swing like you mean it. After mowing I sidedressed and sprayed with fish/kelp to make sure they didn't feel threatened and instead put their energy into making me nice and big leafy plants. They will reflower within two weeks and with the bigger plants, should yield 6-10 times more seed than if I had let the first flowers stay.
(Brandon) Despite cool and wet weeks, crops growing well. A year where I am thankful for light and sandy soils. Winter rye for straw mulch cut this past weekend and should be in the barn by Tuesday. Typical harvest of early salad greens joined by some cold-surviving summer squash. Snap peas starting to size enough for picking by next weekend. Shell peas a little later. Transplanted sweet corn in tassel (seeded 4/14 and transplanted 4/30), though at removal of row covers the plants have somewhat reverted to vegetative phase and are putting on good size. Nevertheless very easy to cultivate at lower height. Cold temperatures have held off most of the nasty bugs, including TPB in berries. I assume this heat blast will prompt their arrival. Annual plastic berries have tremendous size this year, and picking begin 6/16 . Matted row berries with row cover will soon follow. This last flush of weeds will be a challenge to control before strawberries come on. On the positive side, not spending any money moving around pipe. On the negative, #$^&%&$#!! rainy weekend days.
(Grand Isle) Sweet corn transplants on raised beds with black plastic
mulch looking good despite all the wet weather. They are starting
to tassel. Transplanted beans didn't make it and had to be replanted.
Nearing the end of asparagus harvest. Yield was good due to rain and absence
excessive warm May days. Early strawberries that were under row cover have good color and we plan to open pick your own on June 20th. On our heavy soils, Annapolis is significantly outperforming Northeaster. We live in fear of the cedar wax wings but so far thankfully have not seen or heard any. The deer are bold in the lettuce and spinach field. I think they are waving "thanks for the good eats".
(Charlotte) Things going well so far. Thankful for the rain instead of drought. Some things would like to see some heat though. First cuke beetles around but not much damage. Deer have shown up for the first lettuce harvest. Put up fence and all is well. Garlic doing well and beginning to bulb.
(Killington) Picking lots of salad greens and fighting off the flea beetle. Spinach doing well. Broccoli is ready and summer squash and zucchini are 3 inches long. Tomatoes in the hoop house are starting to turn red. I have a chicken who flies over the fence and heads right for the red tomatoes. Time to clip her wings. String beans under plastic row covers growing well. Eggplant, peppers, and cherry tomatoes all planted on a blanket of plastic and off to a good start. Cut flowers are coming along but a small fungus problem. We had some flower bouquets for sale Father's Day.
(Argyle NY) Cooler spring has benefitted lettuce and spinach, but has also brought out the slugs. We'll rotate the ducks onto the fields as crops come off to get slugs under control before they wander into the next crops. We made an unbelievable discovery of earthworms eating the pea seeds this spring and it was fascinating watching the multitudes of them at night with flashlights--they would clear out hundreds of feet of seeds in one or 2 nights by gathering them into piles then pulling them down into their holes. And all these years we thought we had poor germination due to the seed or rotting, etc. We even sprouted some first with not much luck. The strangest things happen in farming! Not many pests seen yet, nor diseases. Potatoes ready for hilling if the fields dry enough and Chandler strawberries are huge (been picking for one week). In general crops look good. We need dryness for cultivating, and more farm workers.
VEGETABLE PEST UPDATE (adapted from John Mishanec, Eastern NY IPM program)
Early and frequent snow this past winter prevented hard frost which helps kill insects over-wintering in the ground. Without this, we are likely to be in for a higher than normal insect populations this summer, and so far, the flea beetle, striped cucumber beetle (SCB) and Colorado potato beetle(CPB) pressure we are seeing supports this.
CPB egg masses are being found in some fields but have not yet hatched.
Scout your fields, flag 10 egg masses then watch these for hatch.
If using M-trak, Raven, Novodor or another Bt, apply when the first
larvae hatch because these products only work on small larvae. If using
a hard product like Provado or Asana, than you can wait till larvae are
about the size as the hard shells.
(Note: there are currently no Bt formulations approved for CPB control on organic farms! Call your certification agency for more information.)
Eggplant and tomato transplants are showing stress. Purple leaves is a sign the plants are not taking up P from the soil. In wet, cool conditions, it is a good idea to provide soluble P to transplants.
Potato Leafhoppers (PLH) normally appear around mid- June. Look for the greenish adults under leaves that quickly fly off when disturbed. Later, the light green or tan nymphs are easier to detect. Sweep nets are inexpensive and a good way to look for PLH adults.
There are a lot of maggots in the crucifers. There are also some wilting plants with hardly any roots due to fungal root rot, Rhizoctonia or "wire stem". There is not much you can do about this. Until the weather gets dryer, expect to see more root problems in the field.
Flea beetles are numerous in most fields, and are most damaging to small transplants and seedlings. Organic growers should apply row cover before the beetles emerged, not afterward as. this will just trap the beetles with the plants. Growers using harder products can use Sevin and get very good results, but do not spray it early in the morning while bees are around.
The cool weather is keeping worm pest of cole crops down. There is some feeding but expect damage to increase as it gets warmer.
In vine crop fields that have flooded, it is probably better to pull the plants up now and not risk an outbreak of Phytophthora blight. Clear a buffer area around the wet spots, and leave bare or sow a grass cover crop, so the rest of the field will be protected.
Large numbers of SCB can be found in almost every vine crop field. Keep after the beetles in pumpkins, melons and cucumbers as these crops are prone to bacterial wilt carried by the beetle. In recent years, bacterial wilt on pumpkin has increased greatly in NY. Until the plants have 4 to 6 leaves, they are extremely susceptible to bacterial wilt. Fortunately, not all farms have serious bacterial wilt problems. If you had this problem last year, or, bacterial wilt has been a serious problem in your area, it may be wise to control the beetle at a one beetle per plant threshold. If you have not had a problem with wilt, than you may want to hold off spraying the beetles.
The first European corn borer (ECB) adults were caught in pheromone traps this week but the populations were low.
GROWERS WANTED FOR ORGANIC SEED PRODUCTION
Note to all experienced vegetable growers. NOFA-VT has funded the second year of its Seed Production Technical Assistance Program to support growers interested in organic seed production. Help is offered with production, marketing, planning, integrating seeds with vegetables or other crops. Join our team of seed growers in training. Keep your eyes open for a full summer schedule of field visits to seed growers around the state. Contact Tom Stearns 802-888-1800 for more info.
NEW TPB BROCHURE AVAILABLE
An excellent brochure called ‘Recognizing Tarnished Plant Bug Damage- Vegetables, Fruits Herbs’ with over 30 color photos has been produced by the University of Vermont Entomology Research Laboratory. It shows what damage by this insect looks like on 23 crops and it describes the pest and its life cycle. For a free copy of this depressing but very helpful document call Carol at my office 802-257-7967
NEW RASPBERRY COOKBOOK
Produced by grower Scott MacKenzie of East Dorset, this cookbook includes 365 different raspberry recipes, as well as an introduction to the health benefits, history and production of raspberries. A very colorful cover will help make this a good item to sell at retail berry farms. To order send $13 payable to UVM, 157 Old Guilford Rd., Brattleboro VT. We’ll pay postage.
CORRECTION TO SWEET CORN INSECTICIDE RECOMMENDATIONS
In the 2002-2003 New England Vegetable Management Guide sweet corn section the recommended rate of application for Lannate SP to control ECB, FAW and CEW is wrong. It should be 1/4 to1/2 pounds per acre NOT 3/4 to1 and1/2 pounds per acre - which will probably burn many varieties.
UPCOMING FARM MEETINGS
(More info on these and other 2003 field days and farm twilight meetings are posted on the web at www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry click on ‘meetings’)
June 17. Production of organic flowers, vegetables, and berries at Rosaly’s Garden, Peterborough NH. See web site above or call UNH Extension 603-673-2510.
June 26. Integrating vegetables, animals and renewable energy at Caretaker Farm, Williamstown MA. Call 413-458-4309.
June 30. Connecting local organic farms to institutions and wholesale markets. Upper Forty Farm, Cromwell, CT. Call 203-974-8473.
July 10. Season extension and greenhouse tomatoes at Clearbrook Farm, Shaftsbury VT. Call Regional Farm and Food Project 518-271-0744.
July 22. ABCs of growing organic garlic. Last Resort Farm, Monkton VT. Call NOFA-VT at 802-434-4122.
July 30. Vegetable and berry twilight meeting at Roots and fruits, Dalton NH in Coos County. Call UNH Extension 603-673-2510 for info.
August 31. Growing super-hardy grapes in Vermont. Granstrom Farm, New Haven VT call NOFA-VT at 802- 434-4122.
Sept. 6. Diversified mushroom production techniques. Intervale Foundation, Burlington VT. Call NOFA-VT 802- 434-4122
Sept. 18, Cut flower production, management and marketing. Lilac Ridge Farm, West Brattleboro VT. Call NOFA-VT 802-434-4122
(Pesticide brand names are mentioned for information purposes only. No endorsement is intended nor is discrimination against products not mentioned. Always read the label.)
RETURN TO VERMONT VEGETABLE AND BERRY PAGE