August 15, 1998
Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
(802) 257-7967

The Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association invites you to a
5:00 PM, SEPTEMBER 15, 1998

Tim Sanford and Suzanne Long have been farming organically for a decade at several locations in NH and VT. Five years ago they purchased Luna Blue farm in South Royalton and have been making the improvements to this 'hill farm' necessary for their enterprise, which features:
* Integrating 5 acres of vegetables with small-scale diversified livestock production of dairy and beef cows, pigs, and chickens.
* Direct marketing to farmers markets, restaurants, food coops and an 8-year old CSA that currently has 60 member families.
* A system for planting, harvesting, processing and distributing an average of 150 pounds of mesclun per week.
* Coping with the scale issue: "We're looking at how to become more efficient and perhaps more mechanized without necessarily getting bigger."

Directions: Get on I-89. From the north take exit 3, from the south take exit 2 onto route 14 toward S. Royalton. Get on Route 110 in S. Royalton. Go north one-third mile, turn left (look for meeting sign), go across bridge. Turn right after bridge and go 1.1 mile on dirt road, turn left (at meeting sign). Farm is second drive on right.

Japanese beetles first appeared in this country in 1916, and are now widespread, feeding on more than 175 kinds of plants. Adults are severely damaging a number of crops now, including brambles, and grapes. Among the insecticides that are effective against Japanese beetles are Sevin, Penncap?M, and malathion (check product labels to assure registration on specific crops and to follow preharvest intervals). Rotenone and Pyrellin (pyrethrins plus rotenone) are options for organic growers. The key to controlling Japanese beetles with any insecticide is to get thorough spray coverage and to resample treated crops beginning 2 to 3 days after treatment. Adult Japanese beetles may migrate back into and reinfest treated crops in a short time. Traps are generally not very effective for Japanese beetle control, but if you choose to use them, use plenty of traps and place them outside or along the border of a crop planting, not within the field or next to fruiting plants. (Adapted from Illinois extension)

Keep an eye out for this disease on pumpkins and other cucurbit crops, which appeared about this time last year to a limited extent in Vermont. It can cause significant rotting of fruit, vines, and crowns. On the vines a water?soaked dark green to brown lesion forms, and the tissue becomes very soft and easy to pull apart. Lesions on the vines near the crown may girdled the vine, resulting in the total vine wilt. On the fruit, symptoms first appear as depressed, water?soaked spots. These often form on the under?side of the fruit, where it is in contact with the soil. However, lesions also can form on the upper?side of the fruit following rain or overhead irrigation. The fungal growth that develops on the fruit is initially white and somewhat slimy. Later the fruit becomes covered with a grayish fuzz.

This disease is often associated with higher temperatures, heavy and/or frequent rainfall, over?irrigation, and poorly drained soils. I have seen it start in low spots in the field where irrigation water accumulates. The fungus that causes this disease, Phytophthora capsici, survives in the soil, and infection usually takes place when soil moisture levels are at or near field capacity. Once the disease is initiated it can easily spread with splashing water.

Phytophthora capsici also is a pathogen on pepper, tomato, and eggplant, so these crops should not be planted immediately before or after a cucurbit crop in a crop rotation sequence. The fungus can survive in soil for at least two years without a susceptible host crop being present. Fungicide applications have not been found to be very effective for controlling Phytophthora on cucurbits. Water management, site selection, and proper crop rotation sequences are the best strategies for control at present. (Adapted from Illinois extension)

Based on information supplied by the BASF company, stone fruits and strawberries are to be
removed from the Ronilan fungicide label. After this summer, new labels will no longer list these fruits. Effective, June 30, 1999, growers will no longer be able to purchase Ronilan for these fruit uses, and use of Ronilan on these crops will not be allowed after January 30, 2000. In the meantime, it is still legal to use Ronilan on stone fruits and strawberries for the next 18 months; thus there will be no product recalls.

Growers have used Ronilan for control of strawberry gray mold. Growers should plan to use their
remaining stocks next year. The company emphasizes that Ronilan is still safe and effective
when used according to the label. This action is being taken in response to the new requirements of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). For other crops, the company is also changing the formulation of this fungicide from a flowable Ronilan FL to a solid formulation, Ronilan EG. (Alan Gotleib)

This new fungicide contains 85% potassium bicarbonate and 15% food-grade surfactant. It's made by Church and Dwight, the same company that makes baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Supply is limited in the northeast but Mike Brinkman of Ag Chem Services has a few bags on hand and can get more upon request. The label covers powdery mildew, downy mildew, alternaria, botrytis, septoria, cercospora etc. on beets, cucurbits, hops, lettuce, peas, peppers, tomatoes as well as strawberries, grapes, some small grains and many ornamentals. (Sounds too good to be true..?). There is good evidence that the material will control powdery mildew on pumpkins and squash if applied preventatively. Permissibility under organic certification is still not clear, NOFA is working on that..

Leonard Perry, University of Vermont Extension Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, has authored a new book titled "Herbaceous Perennials Production: A Guide from Propagation to Marketing". This 220-page book covers taxonomy and nomenclature, plant hardiness, the physical needs of crops, types of irrigation systems, and information on propagation and production. The focus is on nursery and greenhouse production of field or container perennials, but the greenhouse plug and bedding plant methods of production are covered as well. A 51-page appendix details propagation methods and requirements for hundreds of species. The book is available for $27 per copy plus $5 shipping and handling from NRAES, 152 Rile Robb Hall, Ithaca NY 14853-5701. Phone: (607) 255-7654.Quantity discounts are available.

The North American Strawberry Growers Association has produced a book called "Strawberry Eats and Treats: The Guide to Enjoying Strawberries". This 112-page book has information on picking, handling, freezing and cooking strawberries. There are 86 recipes for both fresh and frozen berries in a variety of dishes including breads, dips and desserts. Available for $16.45 including shipping and handling from: Amherst press, 318 North main St., Amherst WI 54406. Phone 800-333-8122. Quantity discounts available.

A new edition of USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Network book "Managing Cover Crops Profitably" is available for $19 including postage from SARE Publications, Hills Building, Burlington VT 05405. This 212-page book covers all regions of the US, with specific management recommendations for 14 different bioregions, and comprehensive chapters on 18 of the most promising cover crops. Seven pages of charts make it easy to compare cover crops.