REPORTS FROM THE FIELD (as of July 31)
Castleton - I'm having a very good summer so far. We did have some nasty hail a few weeks ago. Since then the onions started some white spotting, now identified as Botrytis leaf blight. One variety of red seed onions are the worst but all seed and set onions are starting to show it.
W. Rutland - Well I've read about 'em, seen 'em on the TV but they ain’t here yet. Kind of getting discouraged - no army worms. I'm all ready with a new jug of 7XLR+ and there is nothing to spray, better luck next time. Speaking of no spraying I never had any flea beetles on the broccoli or miners in the beets. I have seen no moth flights in the sweet corn. I know they are coming but its nice not having to spray, instead I keep harvesting the speed beef that attempt to mow all my fields. Saw moose tracks in the corn yesterday, must be bulldozer beef.
S. Royalton- My potato plants have looked great all year but had no tuber development until three weeks ago, now they are huge and numerous. Have other growers observed this? Field tomatoes just coming in, a week behind last year. Melons looking good should be picking soon.
Dummerston - Finally warm enough to start ripening the bananas here in southern Vermont, will start picking in a few days. Where the heck are all the bugs? Did I do something right? Corn borer and earworm populations low, potato beetle gone after a couple applications of B.t., leafhopper's relatively light, cucumber beetle flying a few solo sorties, armyworm absent without leave. The bugs must be leaving town before the blights arrive. Time for one more cuke, summer squash and bean planting. Still time for plenty of cool weather crops although with temps in the 90s and summer squash growing so fast they're scaring the neighbors, autumn seems a long way off. Not a bad growing year so far.
S. Royalton - Finally a few minutes to sit and write. Dry! Irrigation pond is at critical low point haven't been able to irrigate enough on new transplants or to get good germination on newly seeded greens especially lettuce. Fruit set on melons is late and it’s both late and poor on eggplant and peppers. CPB hasn't been bad but not enough water to get potatoes to fill out well. Some TPB damage on lettuce especially green leaf, it could also be getting some of the pepper and eggplant blossoms. Farmers market sales are strong but we need rain to get fall crops off to good start.
E. Hartland - Survived onslaughts of armyworm and hail in early July,
now in the mid-summer doldrums: no field tomatoes and the greenhouse tomatoes
are winding down. Crops look good although the last heat wave benefitted
crabgrass more than vegetables. We are weeding and de-budding our June
planting of strawberries. Finished renovating the old beds. Some buckwheat
planted on July15, from here on it will be field peas and triticale or
winter rye plus hairy vetch. Spraying for cabbage worms in crucifers and
early blight in field tomatoes. Extensive hail damage in fall vine crops
almost prompted me to harrow them up and plant rye but our family went
away during the heat wave of July 22-25 and I’m amazed how they regenerated,
but the crop will still be very late.
Argyle, NY - This is more of an all points bulletin than a report from the field as Paul had a tractor accident 2 weeks ago and broke his leg badly (4 month recovery). We are desperately seeking some help over the next 8 weeks to help us manage our farm. If anyone has an intern or ambitious worker we could borrow for even a day or 2 anytime over that time frame, we would be most grateful. We have wonderful housing, can feed them, and are willing to pay. Our farm has a lot to offer and we look forward to hearing from anyone that would like to experience it. Paul and Sandy Arnold (firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 518-638-6501)
Nantucket MA - Conditions here have been dry, irrigating dawn til dusk, no rain in sight. Crops are excellent for the most part. We had a Septoria episode which wiped out the better part of three lettuce crops. Picked corn on the 15th of July, the earliest ever for us. It was under plastic and planted on April 22. Corn is clean as moth pressure has been low, something to be happy about. Harvesting eggplant peppers and cherry tomatoes. Field tomatoes are starting to turn but weather has been cool and foggy, so blight is likely to follow.
FIELD TOMATO DISEASES
(adapted from Cornell and Ohio Extension)
The most common field tomato diseases in Vermont are early blight (Alternaria) and Septoria leaf spot. There is a significant amount of both these fungal diseases this year. Bacterial diseases are also showing up to a lesser degree, and there is an unconfirmed report of late blight on tomato in southern Vermont, possibly carried over from a potato crop infected last year.
Early blight shows up in almost all fields to some extent. Early blight is promoted by the stress of heavy fruit set and hot conditions; nitrogen deficiency makes it worse. Bronze-colored lesions start on the lower leaves and move up the plant. Look closely at the spots to see concentric rings within the lesion. Wet conditions (rain, dew or overhead irrigation) favor fungal spread.
Septoria leaf spot is also showing up in more and more fields. The spots are small with a gray or brown edge. Septoria spots are usually more rounded than spots caused by bacterial diseases. Septoria can also be better controlled with fungicides than bacterial diseases. Alternating sprays of Bravo with Quadris can provide good control of both early blight and Septoria. Organic growers should use copper to help control the disease. Remember that you are protecting healthy tissue. As the plant grows, new tissue is exposed that will need protection, so spray regularly, and before there is significant crop injury if you want good results.
Bacterial canker symptoms include stunting, wilting, development of open stem cankers and fruit lesions. When stems are split open there is a thin, reddish-brown discoloration of the vascular tissue, especially at the base of the plant. Spots on fruit are relatively small, usually surrounded by a white halo ("bird's-eye" spots). Canker bacteria may also invade internal fruit tissues, causing a yellow to brown breakdown. Rogue out and destroy individual plants that exhibit these symptoms. Copper sprays can be used to limit the spread of disease when the incidence is low.
Bacterial speck is being reported throughout eastern NY. Look for small black spots scattered on leaves and stems. Spots on the leaves usually have a yellow ring around them and leaves with a lot of spots usually turn yellow and fall off. This disease is seed born and when wet weather comes along, the disease can really get going. Fruit will have tiny black specks on them and not be marketable. Splashing water from heavy rains will spread the disease easily. When the leaves are wet, bacterial speck is easily spread by tractors or people as well. Try to stay out of the tomatoes when the plants are wet from rain or dew. Copper sprays with a fungicide will slow the disease but not stop it. Avoid high pressure spraying as this will also help spread the disease.
Late blight symptoms are large, black lesions the size of a half dollar with a white ring around the edge, on the leaves and stems. Often there is white fuzzy growth on the leaf undersides. Wet conditions and moderate temperatures (60 to 80 F) increase the threat. Growers with a history of late blight in the farm should be on a weekly schedule of protective fungicide in order to keep new plant growth protected, the disease will knock down a field quickly.
If you need help with disease identification call me, or call Ann Hazelrigg at the Plant Diagnostic Lab 802-656-0493. An excellent web site with vegetable disease fact sheets and photos is http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/cropindex.htm
DIVERSIFIED HERB AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTION WORKSHOP
Wednesday, August 8th, 6 - 8 pm, Habondia Farm, Worcester
Learn about the 10 herb and vegetable seed crops grown for High Mowing Seed Co., and about the wholesale of culinaries for local restaurants. Discussion will include Habondia's budding herbal and flower essence business. Directions: Take Rte. 12 North from Montpelier for about 10 miles. After a sweeping turn to the right with multiple yellow arrow signs, look for Shady Rill Rd. on left just after the hump of the hill. Turn left onto Shady Rill Rd. and follow for about one mile to Wood St. on the right. Take a right and go over the bridge, bearing right up the hill. Farm is one mile from beginning of the road (a big white farm house on the left, set back on a hill with fields in front). For more info call NOFA-VT at (802) 434-4122
UMASS VEGETABLE RESEARCH FARM MEETING
August 21st, 5 - 7:30 pm, Deerfield MA
Come see research on organic corn management, and organic options for cuke beetle and flea beetle control, as well as trials of Asian crops for ethnic markets. Call (413) 545-3696 or visit http://www.umassvegetable.org for more info.
OPEN-POLLINATED, DISEASE RESISTANT VEGETABLE FIELD DAY
Ithaca, NY, September 8th, 9 - 3 p.m.
Co-sponsored by NOFA-NY and Cornell, the day offers growers the chance to talk with a group of Cornell University vegetable breeders that are renewing their emphasis on open-pollinated vegetable varieties for the Northeast. A wide variety of field trials will be open for visits and breeders will be on hand to discuss them. For more info: Brian Caldwell, Cornell Extension, (607) 687-4020 or email@example.com (those are ‘ones’)
NEW SWEET CORN VIDEO
“Farmers and their Ecological Sweet Corn Production Practices” is a
42-minute video on innovative production practices for sweet corn. It features
10 farmers from 5 northeastern states, and was produced by Vern Grubinger,
University of Vermont Extension and Ruth Hazzard, University of Massachusetts
Extension with funding from SARE, the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education Program of USDA. Topics covered in the video
are: Hairy Vetch as a Cover Crop, Organic Soil Fertility, Soil Heat Monitor,
Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Test, Floating Row Cover, Scouting for European Corn
Borer, Getting Good Spray Coverage, Mechanical Cultivation for Weed Control,
Spraying Bt for European Corn Borer, Banded Herbicide Application, Mapping
Fields for P and K Fertilization, Pesticide Mixing and Loading Facility,
Crop Consultant, Trichogramma ostriniae for Corn Borer, and ' Zea-Later'
Oil Applicator for Corn Earworm. Each video costs $15, postage-paid within
the continental US. To order, contact the Center for Sustainable Agriculture
(802) 656-5459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.