Vermont Vegetable and Berry News – August 9, 2006
Compiled by Vern Grubinger
University of Vermont Extension
(802) 257-7967 ext.13

(Morrisville) We grow garlic, and we harvested our crop of 10,000 head two weeks ago. It is the best crop we have ever had. Even though there were heavy rains this summer our sandy loam drained very well. The size of our average bulb is 2.5 to 3 inches. We have had a problem with the CPB this year so we'll see how the potatoes do. The pumpkins are huge this year. We planted cucumbers late so we were not bothered by the cucumber beetle, and we are harvesting an abundance of cucumbers. The Japanese beetles did a job on my rosa rogosa and raspberry plants. I also grow hops and they really liked those. Overall it has been a great year for vegetables and weeds!

(Killington) Weeds, weeds and more weeds. The only thing coming heavier than the weeds is the large tomatoes: Jet Star and Beefsteaks, finally. The French fillet beans are coming on strong. Flea beetles are active as always but remain under control if I can get to them young. All the garlic is pulled and looking great. Onions started from seed have good size and will be ready soon. Broccoli crop, first planting, is weak, hopefully successive plantings are better. The turkeys are doing well after a late start.

(Plainfield) What a challenging year. On the negative, we lost half the strawberries due to Red Steele and Leaf Spot, the early peas rotted, we had Scab and Rhizotonia on the potatoes, and poor fruit set on the fancier peppers. On the plus side, sweet corn, carrots, peas on fence, winter squash on high ground, and greenhouse tomatoes are doing well.

(Tunbridge) I wish we did not ever plant broccoli this year. We have put in 4 or 5 plantings and each one is worse then the last. But it’s the best onion, carrot, beet year ever. We do not need any more rain. It would be nice to dry out and till in weeds. We just run the tractor when we can and have to put something in. Melons are great and we have some corn. Tomato plants started to get blight after the last inch of rain, but the fruit look good and we are hoping for a good run with heirlooms for the next few weeks.

(Stamford) Plenty of heat mixed with just enough showers here. Summer squash growth is rampant. Sales have been good. Cousa squash and golden zucchini always interest people and papaya pear has been popular too. Lots of cucumbers. Started picking peppers and eggplant finally. The Japanese eggplant Kamo we tried is exceptionally nice with good deep color and has a more personal size than the large Italian which is always popular at market. The applegreen eggplant gained a following after last season, too. The purple jalapeno is a nice addition. Seems like everyone is waiting on the heirloom tomatoes this year. I’ve been working alone so far this season making it tough to stay on top of everything. All the sunflowers that survived the early wildlife decimation look great. The basil stand is just fabulous this year, best we ever had. Potted plant sales of mosquito plants (citrosa geranium) patio tomatoes and ornamental peppers are still strong. Pest pressure is not too bad. Cuke beetle is always the worst. CPB and Japanese beetle OK. Scouting found a few hornworms today, even on the peppers. That surprised me. Still have quite a few weeks ahead to go. Hoping for the best.

(Plainfield NH)  This has been a very humbling summer. We have struggled with the weeds as well as blights and diseases. My bill for ag chemicals is the worst it’s ever been. Seen some strange things, the best being 'pelting rain injury of onion tops’ according to the book Diseases and Pest of Vegetable Crops in Canada. Heavy pressure from blackbirds in sweet corn has consumed way too much time. We’re using helikites, scare eye balloons, bird stress broadcasts, as well as shell crackers and bird shot. On the plus side the blueberries have been great, and sales of all vegetables wholesale and retail have been strong, except for sweet corn which is surprisingly flat. That’s fine with me, as corn doesn’t return as much per acre, I will be happy to plant a couple of acres less next year. We only planted early varieties of blueberries and we should be done picking about 10 days earlier than normal. Then we will hopefully get some of our weeds under control and early cover crops down.

(Kinderhook, NY)  Harvest is going very well resulting in heavy truckloads shipped to market, though I wonder if our members are even eating them these days given the high temperatures. When we used to do farmers markets in NYC the heat would reduce our sales dramatically. Sweet corn is of very high quality. Control of ECB with a combination of Entrust and Trichogramma wasps resulted in one infested ear out of 800 (Thanks to the sorting effort of Cornell Extension in the Capital District we have this statistic!).  We will see if this holds up as the second generation has arrived. CEW has not arrived yet in any big numbers. Potato leafhopper pressure is very high but Keuka Gold potatoes are holding up very well without the benefit of any spray program, while the early reds are starting to turn brown. Some winter squash varieties are already maturing, which will create storage problems. Nitrogen from incorporated clover or bell beans appears to sustain crops like late sweet corn, fall broccoli and kale very well. Earlier crops grown on incorporated clover still needed additional fertilizer to sustain yields.

(Weare NH) On the whole, things are going well. Our nine growers have a good range of crops from summer items (summer squash, beans and cukes) to root crops (carrots, beets, green onions, and potatoes). We have been offering a lot of salad mix. Customers appreciate the ease of use in the kitchen. We have 5 growers offering salad mix and they are all slightly different, but still all good quality. We have had very little broccoli and no cauliflower. I think that must be weather related. Hopefully they will come in strong later in the season. A grower with 5 plantings of summer squash says that the first two were just not good this year, but the later ones are looking good. One grower says early carrots look great up top and had good diameter, but did not grow long, while another grower thought he had his best early carrots ever. Some crops that could be tractor cultivated seem to struggle until the plant got big enough that the roots could reach the cultivated area and found some air to breathe in the soil. One farmer is going to buy a deep chisel plow and open up his soil this fall. Berries and fruit trees don’t seem bothered by the wet soils. Alliums seem to love this kind of year. This has been the best garlic crop ever and the onions are 18 inches tall with beautiful tops and hopefully will fill out during August.  One grower said he wished he had plowed up all of his early crops and aired out the soil and replanted. I remember a soils course saying the number one characteristic desired for vegetable soils was drainage.
(adapted from UMass Extension)

Onion thrips can damage onions and other alliums as well as cabbage family crops. Thrips populations can increase rapidly during hot weather and may go unnoticed until serious losses occur. They are tiny insects that feed primarily at night and hide during the day. Their rasping mouthparts abrade the leaf epidermis. On onions, feeding injury appears as silvery blotches on the leaves. If injury is extensive, this reduces the size of the bulbs and makes scallions and green onions unmarketable. On crucifer foliage, feeding damage is white or bronze mottling on the upper surface of the leaf, and a mottled bronzing or scarring on the lower surface. Severe feeding causes the whole plant to look off-color and stunted. On cabbage heads, feeding results in small wounds, which heal over forming raised corky areas resembling edema. To prevent this, thrips must be controlled before heads form. Scout fields by looking in the dark areas between leaves. It is important to control these insects early while populations are low. Thrips prefer to feed on the young plant tissue on the newest emerged leaves. When allium crops are mature or nearly mature they will not be affected but as they dry up, thrips may find nearby late Brassicas to feed on. Check both these crops for late-season infestations, especially if they have been planted close to each other.


“Identifying Natural Enemies in Field Crops”, published by Michigan State Univ, covers major groups of natural enemies and spiders in field crops: beetles, true bugs, lacewings, predatory flies, parasitoids, spiders and ants. The publication has plastic coated pages for use in the field. For more info visit: Price is $10.00, order at: (inventory # E2949) or call 517-353-6740.


A workshop on vegetable varieties, seed-saving and cleaning, and breeding techniques will be held on August 30 from 4:30-7:30 pm at Rehoboth Homestead, in Peru, NY approx. 15 miles south of Plattsburgh. The workshop, sponsored by the Organic Seed Partnership, is free and open to the public. Folks from High Mowing Organic Seeds will showcase some of their varieties and a team from the Plant Genetic Resources Unit of USDA and Cornell’s Dept. of Plant Breeding will demonstrate seed-saving and seed-cleaning methods and provide hands-on instruction on breeding techniques that you can use for your farm or garden. A mobile seed-processing unit will be on hand so bring seeds to be cleaned for free! A brief tour of Rehoboth Homestead, a recently certified organic vegetable farm with chickens, will also be included. The farm is located on Route 9, one mile south of the intersection with Route 442.  For more info contact Elizabeth Dyck at 607-895-6913 or