REPORTS FROM THE FIELD (as of October 11)
This is the last set of field reports for 2004. Many thanks to all the growers that took the time to send in reports and share their experiences and observations.
(Starksboro) Though the season is still not over, the last few dry, warm weeks have redeemed a wet and fungal August. It's a bit spooky, but I haven't sprayed for cabbage caterpillars more than a couple of times. It makes me nervous, but I just haven't seen any caterpillars. The tomatoes suffered badly from the wet weather early but recovered when the weather dried out. Beyond the leaf disease problems the excessive water made the fruit themselves very temperamental However, once the weather dried out, and despite the loss of leaves, we had plenty of very marketable fruit. I'm very happy with the Scare-eye Balloons I used for the first time this year. Although I was at first put off by the steep price of the solar fence charger I used for the racoon fence, I was ultimately very happy with it as well. I used the degree day method for scheduling sweet corn plantings and have had a very consistent supply of sweet corn from mid July through mid October.
(Fairfax) We tried some new cultivars this year to replace ones we have liked that we canít get anymore. Cabbages - Early Thunder, Green Cabbage and Super Red 115, both from Reed's Seeds performed great and have proven to be great replacements for Columbia and Rona Red, both of which were unavailable. Aristotle pepper far outperformed Orion in our pitiful pepper crop. Finally had decent picking of peppers in the first two weeks of October. Darselect strawberry appears to be much more susceptible to our leaf disease complex than our standard North American varieties. We'll see how it looks this coming spring. Caroline raspberry has fabulous flavor and size. Now back to digging carrots and turnips.
(Stamford ) Good to be back on line with a new PC. At the beginning of last month, during an extremely busy time, the old unit gave up taking everything with it. Things are finally winding down now. Even found the time to get to the fair this past week. Overall the 2004 season turned out quite productive. With no frosts and mostly mild weather for us during the month of September, pepper and eggplant harvests continued right up to the first week of October. Winter squash yields were good and sold well. Especially well received at market were White Acorn and Carnival. Sunshine was also popular, though most were on the smaller side of the advertised 3 to 4lb range; 2 to 3lb was more the norm. For late season flower sales we have dried flowers (statice) now. On the down side my little pumpkin crop did suffer somewhat because of too much water in their new location. Butternut had a lot of brown spotting and the Delicata never did quite recover from the early season deer damage. Consumer interest remained high again this year for heirlooms and other unique varieties of tomatoes, such as Striped Stuffer and the hybrid Granny Smith, which continued to heighten peoples' curiosity for new and different products. Comments heard at our farmer's market stand on the different tomatoes ranged from "I'd never thought I'd see one" and "I have seen these on television" (the Today Show, Food Network; Martha Stewart Living) to "Is that really a tomato?" and "I've never seen anything like that before." 25 varieties in all. Of course at certain times there would always the be the inevitable "All I want is a red tomato". We'll take a break, dig some bulbs, and then start planning again for next season. Looking forward to some new things, some we'll do over, and some we won't.
(Killington) Before the frost we had a great selection of healthy plants producing a variety of vegetables. This has been a good growing season. But today we will finish picking the last of the tomatoes from the unheated hoop house. Broccoli, as always, is selling well. Salad greens have done very well. Not much pressure from flea beetle this year. Sugar snaps should be ready next week. It's time to pull plants, feed the soil, turn the soil, and plant garlic. The next big event on the farm is selling turkeys, usually on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We'll be open for that one day selling Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, eggs, and winter squash.
(New London, NH) Still picking corn six days after a killing frost although the ears don't look so good. Sugar content in the variety Providence is high enough to keep our customers happy. Picking corn on Oct. 10 smashes last year's record of Oct.2. I would like to know what varieties that other growers find to be extra sweet that don't need isolation and will germinate in fairly cold soil. We are getting 45 cents an ear which we lowered from 50 cents in mid-August. Are others charging about the same? We had good luck keeping bears out by smearing bacon grease on a high jolt electric fence set up where they come into the patch. The connection from tongue to brain is direct, and they don't come back for quite a while.
(Little Compton RI) Our Hail Mary fall broccoli crop is looking good. The first maturing variety will be harvested next week. We grew Brussel sprouts on plastic this year and will do it again in 2005; much easier to keep fall grasses at bay and good air penetration in August heat. The year is looking like it will end up being a good one even though it was cool and a bit damp. Not sure what to ask for next year. Hot and dry is a lot more work. Our greenhouse cherry tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets worked out well. Just need to be sure there is an automated watering system.
ORGANIC FUNGICIDES FOR TOMATO DISEASE CONTROL
(adapted from Fall 2004 OFRF Information Bulletin)
A 3-year research project, led by Abbey Seaman of the New York State IPM program, tested seven OMRI-approved materials (OKíd for use on organic farms) for their efficacy against tomato foliage and fruit diseases such as early blight, late blight, Septoria leaf spot and Anthracnose fruit rot. The research was conducted at Porter Farms, a large grower of certified organic vegetables in western NY. The variety used was Daybreak, transplanted into black plastic with trickle irrigation in rotated fields. The seven materials tested were: Plantshield, Mycostop, calcium carbonate or Humega (these were all applied as a soil drench at transplanting); Trilogy or Champion WP (these were applied to the foliage 4 times during the season, 2 weeks apart starting July 25). SW-3 seaweed was also tested as a transplant drench plus a foliar application.
Results over 3 years in which disease pressure varied indicate that a Plantshield drench would probably be worthwhile given its ease of use and low cost. It provided significant disease reduction under low or moderate disease pressure when early blight was the predominant disease. This treatment is less effective against Septoria and late blight. In 2003, a wet and cool year, Champion WP was the most effective overall against foliar diseases. Growers may want to drench with Plantshield on an annual basis, but reserve fixed copper products such as Champion for use under high disease-pressure conditions, to minimize possible phytotoxicity, prevent buildup of copper in the soil, and avoid development of fungal resistance from repeated long-term use. For the full research report see www.ofrf.org
FARM SUSTAINABILITY CHECKLIST
(From Scout Proft, Someday Farm, Dorset)
As the year winds down itís worth another look at the sustainability management list on this farm; modify it to fit your own situation as you look to next year and beyond.
___ set personal goals: family time, something to pass on, commitment
to educating others.
___ set economic goals: what we can live on, what we can do without, how much we can save.
___ develop a variety of products and a plan to generate income throughout the year.
___ identify "what ifs?" and plan how to shift gears with little economic loss.
___ develop many markets: sell to as many different kinds of people, close to home as possible.
___ develop unique products: "our own", easily grown, dear to our hearts, not part of a fad.
___ pace the projects: balance tedious and interesting work, schedule off hours and vacations.
___ have realistic outside commitments: to boards, fairs, trade shows, tours, presentations, etc.
___ allow quality time: set limits to work so you can be available to your partner and children
ROAD TRIP! SOME UPCOMING MEETINGS
Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo.
December 7-9, 2004. DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, MI.
Hilary Morolla (810) 234-4126. www.glexpo.com
Maine Agriculture Conference.
January 11-13, 2005. Augusta, ME.
David Handley, (207) 933-2100, email@example.com
Ohio Fruit and Vegetable Growers Congress and Ohio Direct Marketing Conference.
January 19-21, 2005. Toledo OH.
Tom Sachs, (614) 246-8292, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association Farm Show Meeting.
Jan, 26 2005. Barre, VT.
Doug Johnstone, (802) 885-2985, email@example.com
Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention.
February 1-3, 2005. Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey, PA.
Maureen Irvin, (717) 677-4184.
North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Convention. February 7-14,
Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, MA 02116.
(413) 529-0386. www.nafdma.com/Boston/
NOFA-VT Winter Conference. February 12, 2005.
Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center.
Kim Cleary (802) 434-4122. www.nofavt.org
Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo.
Syracuse, NY. February 14-17, 2005. Oncenter Convention Center.
Lindy Kubecka, (315) 687-5734, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association Annual Meeting.
Feb. 15, 2005. Holiday Inn, Rutland, VT.
Doug Johnstone, (802) 885-2985, email@example.com
North American Berry Conference.
February 16-19, 2005. Doubletree Hotel. Nashville, TN.
(814) 238-3364 www.nasga.org
Mention of pesticides is for information purposes only;
no endorsement is intended not is discrimination against materials not mentioned.
Always read and follow the label.
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