REPORTS FROM THE FIELD (as of July 24)
(S. Royalton) Given the wet weather things look great now. Melons are looking like they'll be ready last week in July, tomatoes are almost disease free (great for my valley location). Onions are terrific; the corn and squash growing like mad. Spuds will be ready to mow down and harden off in a week or so. Peppers, tomatoes and eggplant are a bit later then normal but have lots of fruit hanging off them. Life is good.
(Starksboro) We're in the thick of it now, from here to November. Bedding plant season was appalling. Strawberries season was hurt by leaf diseases. Things are better now. The sweet corn looks OK, and the fall crops look great. I'm hoping the bad spring will just seem like a bad dream when it's all said and done. The conventional wisdom according to TomCast is that you don't need to spray tomatoes until early July. I'm very glad I didn't follow that advice this year. With all the wet weather, I've been spraying copper weekly since the tomatoes went out, and it was the right move.
(Londonderry) Late planting of potatoes has meant fewer CPB, but we are picking some and squishing eggs regardless. Harvesting early tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. The raspberries are better then ever. The blueberries are a bit late and are coming at the same time. The "Vermont Mammoth Snow pea" from High Mowing Seeds is still going strong at 7 feet tall; it goes over the trellis today! We have set up the irrigation, never thought it would be needed last month. Garlic is looking excellent, some mold on necks but surface only. We will begin to pull them next week. We harvested all the shallots today as well as new potatoes: Cobbler, Red Gold, Caribe and Banana Fingerling. The crabgrass is taking over parts of the farm. Lots of weeding and trellising to do next week.
(Castleton) We're having a good season so far. Most of the rain has been helpful, and we've been luckier than some growers with the overall amount. We used raised beds in the wetter areas and opted to plant the hillside (with its weeds and stones) rather than the wettest bottom land. Maybe our biggest benefit this year was the benefit of three years of cover cropping, the weed pressure in that field was very low and the fertility high. It reduced our labor a lot and enabled us to keep planting. I'm so glad Vern has emphasized this. This time of year the farmers’ market is fun as the customers are still very appreciative. I must agree with the esteemed "notes from the field" contributor from West Rutland that there is indeed an issue at farmers’ market with some buying and selling. We for one are letting our customers know that "we grow everything we sell" and I believe that many are responding favorably to it.
(Little Compton, RI) We have a SARE grant to study the post-harvest diseases of garlic that seem to be plaguing many growers in the last few years. Dry rot and Verticillium are but a few of the pathogens people are reporting. We are looking for growers that put in at least a half acre of garlic. We will study in detail their post-harvest procedures, storage techniques and their pre-plant treatments, if any. We have enlisted a plant pathologist from UConn to do some lab work and we will be giving out some garlic to growers for planting in the 2006 to 2007 season. If interested in participating please contact Skip Paul, Wishing Stone Farm, at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Madison NY) The present heat wave coupled with the rain and flooding last month has left us with no salad greens for the next week. Flea beetle pressure has been constant this year. Picking blueberries from our 3 year old planting and they are a welcome addition at the farmers’ market. Outdoor tomatoes are diseased and will be a graveyard in a few weeks. Onions, potatoes and parsnips are doing well and we’re hoping for a late fall in order for our carrots and beets to mature since they were planted 2 weeks late due to wet weather.
(Stamford) It’s been hot and dry for a while here. Showers
over the weekend were a welcome relief. Farmers’ market opened and many
came out both to show support and welcome the local growers back. Potted
plant sales of patio tomatoes and edible ornamental peppers have been solid.
Even with a late planting we've already started picking on summer squash,
cucumbers, and some peppers. Poles beans all germinated great and are climbing
fast. Staked heirloom tomatoes are quickly vining. All been tied once and
need to be done again. Spinosad does well controlling CPB on the eggplants
but some of the plants suffered heavy leaf damage first; all should recover.
Early scouting and for CPB eggs and destroying them is still the best control
for me. Basil has been getting its share of leaf damage too. Used to be
Japanese beetle was the big problem there, but several flocks of wild turkey
hens with their poults roaming the growing areas over the past several
seasons have cleaned that pest. Visually I don't see the culprit. Cucumber
beetles seem under control. Winter squash is slowly gaining. Hoping for
a long and productive growing season.
(Argyle NY) Due to the wet, humid weather, we have downy mildew on some of the onions, but selling is underway. Rains came when needed and most crops are doing well. No real sign of tarnished plant bugs which is surprising and few potato bugs. Garlic harvest will start tomorrow and different varieties are giving very different results. Nice blueberry crop and good work crew/tractor cultivation this year has kept weeds in good check. Farmers' markets have been building each week, except in the rain Saturday!
(Weare, NH) We are heading into week 7 of our nine-farm cooperative
CSA. At the beginning of the year, we figured out the average weekly value
of the shares ($25.28 for single share and $37.50 for a family share).
The first three weeks we were providing between 50 to 70% of that value.
We have been able to provide 90% of that average for weeks four through
six. Eventually we will make up those extra dollars that are due
to the customers when our summer bumper crops come in. Thus far we have
provided a few basic items each week: lettuce or salad mix, greenhouse
tomatoes, and cooking greens (beets, chard, kale, mizuna, etc.) After those
basics, it depends on what is available. One of our growers put in a huge
planting of early potatoes in April and they survived the Mothers Day monsoon.
We have given potatoes to all of our customers for the past two weeks.
Also, we have offered a full round of bunched carrots (Mokums) and summer
squash this past week. Overall, we have provided about 300 lb. of spring
spinach, but that was only 60% of our spring spinach bid. We plan to make
that up with more fall spinach. Peas were another tough crop this year.
We sold over 300 lb. of peas, but we had planned to have over 600 lb.,
we have sold over 2,000 lb. greenhouse tomatoes. Having a greenhouse
made a big difference this year. However, the cloudy weather seemed to
slow the ripening a good week or ten days. We were lucky to buy in one
quart of organic strawberries for each member from a farm in Vermont. Also,
we have offered garlic in three forms so far: garlic scallions week 1,
garlic scapes week 3 and fresh garlic week 5. Despite all of the
rain, our farmers are not seeing a lot of signs of disease. The biggest
problem (as usual at this time of year) is the weeds. We have 246 customers
and so far they have been happy with the produce. At this point one
of our goals is to not over green things.
(Kinderhook, NY) Peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes are finally coming in with the peppers of very high quality. First planting of tomatoes have first signs of early blight due to the prolonged wetness in May and June, while the second and third plantings are completely clean. Sweet corn harvest has been going for two weeks now and the quality is high. ECB pressure has been high all the way into our fourth planting. We have tried to get control of ECB with the help of a Trichogamma wasp but either because we did not put out enough or not frequently enough only obtained about 40% control. The other 60% was controlled with Entrust. We lost some of the potatoes that were planted in a lower part of the field. The last storm (in June) saturated the soil to the extent that the plants died off. July has been a month of moving irrigation again; including this weekend we received a total of one inch of rain for the month. We were relieved to walk outside again today without feeling scorched.
(Durham, CT) Initially, our greenhouse tomatoes seemed like they would never start pouring in; so much vegetation, along with huge tomatoes. After a large pruning job that lasted for days, they really have begun to ripen up. We put them in the ground a full month later than last year, thinking that without bottom heat (next year's project) that the growth wouldn't be that much different. This year's planting date in a heated house was March 29 and the year before was March 3. So far, it seems that the extra four weeks in the ground significantly helps the tomatoes. While our sales total is catching up, it was much larger last year at this time because we had more product. Our field greens have benefited from being on raised beds. The rain has not ruined or rotted anything because of the improved soil drainage provided by the beds. A curious thing about greens this year is a total lack of flea beetles in the brassicas. I can't come up with any reason except the change in climate. Anyone else experience this?
NEW YORK (CORNELL) BERRY NEWS ON-LINE
This is an excellent resource, and all past issues are on line at: www.nysaes.cornell.edu/pp/extension/tfabp/newslett/nybn57a.pdf An alternative low resolution version is now also available for faster downloading: www.nysaes.cornell.edu/pp/extension/tfabp/newslett/nybn57b.pdf The most recent issue includes: Currant Events, New Jeanne Gooseberry Resists Diseases, Farm to School, Do You Know the Importance of Specialty Crops in Your County? 2007 NASGA (North American Strawberry Growers Assn.) Conference, Cornell Strategic Marketing Conference, 2006 NASGA Summer Tour, Strawberry Weed Survey Results Drive Research, Strawberry Powdery Mildew Research, Strawberry Renovation, and weather reports.
UMASS VEGETABLE NEWS ON-LINE
This is a great newsletter, with timely, comprehensive info and good
pictures, go to: www.umassvegetable.org/newsletters/current_news.html
The July 20 issue contains: Crop Conditions, Sweet Corn Update, Weekly
European Corn Borer, Corn Earworm and Fall Armyworm Trap Counts, Scarab
Beetles in Vegetable Crops, Potato Update, Update on Managing Downy Mildew
of Cucurbits, Cucurbit
Cucurbit Diseases and Fungicides: How to Choose and Spray Schedule.
Both of the above newsletters are also linked to www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry under ‘newsletters”
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