Vermont Vegetable and Berry News – November 8, 2006
Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
(802) 257-7967 ext.13,

(adapted from Pam Fisher, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture)

The most commonly grown red raspberry varieties in Ontario are Boyne, Nova, Killarney and Autumn Britten. Boyne is hardy with good flavour, but lacks the size and quality for fresh market. Nova has good fruit size and quality but is not as hardy in colder regions. Killarney is hardy, with brighter fruit than Boyne, but very susceptible to cane diseases. Cane die- back has been a problem with this variety in recent years, likely due to some interaction between cane diseases and winter injury. The primocane-fruiting, fall bearing variety Autumn Britten has the best quality of the 4 main varieties.

Growers should consider disease resistance when choosing a raspberry variety. For example Boyne, Killarney and Qualicum are very susceptible to anthracnose. Royalty, Titan, Canby and Reveille are susceptible to spur blight. These cane diseases are associated with increased winter injury. Titan, Lauren, and Heritage are examples of cultivars susceptible to Phytophthora root rot. These cultivars should only be planted in well drained soils where water never accumulates. Below are observations on newer red raspberry varieties tested in Ontario.

Prelude (NY718 x Hilton). Released from Cornell University, produces spring and fall crops, spring crop is very early, several days ahead of Boyne, somewhat soft, average flavour, medium size, bright red, round in shape.
Encore (Canby x Cherokee). Released from Cornell University, very late, fruits in late July, early August, firm, mild flavor, fruit dry to touch, does best with a trellis, susceptible to fire blight, apparently hardy but maybe not in colder areas of Ontario.
Qualicum (Glen Moy x Chiliwack). released from the Pacific Agric. Research Center, large firm fruit, conic, a little glossy, very susceptible to anthracnose, very susceptible to winter injury, not hardy outside of south-western Ontario.

Here are some observations on newer June bearing strawberry varieties tested in Ontario. Some of these varieties are not yet available or available in limited quantities.

L'Amour ((MDUS5252 x Etna) x Cavendish). A New York selection, described as early mid-season, bright red, conical, fancy calyx, firm, good eating quality and flavour. We noticed consistent color and shape, nice sepals, very susceptible to angular leaf spot.

Clancy (MDUS4774 x MDUS5199). A New York Selection, described as late season, with dark, round, firm fruit. We noticed it was very firm, sometimes mushroom shaped, and also susceptible to angular leaf spot.

St. Pierre (Chandler x Jewel). A Quebec selection, bright red fruit, with great shelf life, consistent round shape, susceptible to anthracnose and powdery mildew, similar in size to Jewel.
Orleans (L'Acadie x Joliette). A Quebec selection, great post harvest quality, high in antioxidants, similar in size to Jewel.

Harmonie (Yamaska x Joliette) . A Quebec selection, remarkable for its late, concentrated high yields, berry size small to average, bright red fruit.

Darselect (Parker x Elsanta). Selection from France, sweet flavour, large calyx, large fruit early mid season, very susceptible to leaf diseases such as powdery mildew.

Serenity (137A84 x Chandler). Selection from Ontario, high yields, bright red shiny fruit, with very large primaries, later fruit can be small, bullet-shaped , tendency to seedy tips, occasionally split.

Itasca (Seneca x Allstar). Selection from Minnesota, vigorous, hardy, resistant to leaf diseases and red stele, early season between Annapolis and Honeoye, flavor described as" classic strawberry" but may be strong, fruit round in shape, similar in size to Annapolis.

Wendy (K96-5 x Evangeline; Cavendish and Sable are in the parentage of K96-5). From Nova Scotia, similar harvest date as Annapolis and Evangeline, but yield and fruit weight greater than Evangeline and comparable to Annapolis. Primary fruit are wedge-shaped; subsequent fruit are conic. Berries have excellent fresh flavor. Plants are moderately resistant to powdery mildew but susceptible to Verticillium wilt.

(Richard Funt, Ohio State University in: NJ Blueberry Bulletin)

Soil and site preparation before planting is one of the most important aspects of establishing highbush blueberries. Making the best choices during the preparation year and the year of planting sets the stage for the next 10 to 20 years of production. With investments in land, labor, plants, irrigation, and equipment, the establishment costs ran reach $6,000 per acre. Considerable planning, thinking, and decision making are essential for success.

Highbush blueberries require a site that has at least a 160-day growing season. They require 750 to 1000 hours of chilling during the fall and winter. Flower buds can tolerate -15 F in midwinter; woody tissue can sustain -20 F. Certain highbush blueberry cultivars may sustain a 24 to 28 degrees F frost during full bloom. They grow best in warm sunny summers. Hot summers decrease flavor and firmness. Blueberries grow best in well-drained, acid, sandy loam soils with an organic mater content between .4 and 7%. Organic matter can be increased by adding compost or peat moss to the row before or at planting. A pH of 4.5 to 5.5, if the organic matter is high, is suggested. If the pH is high, it can be reduced easily in sandy soils with sulfur. Lowering the pH in clay soils can be difficult, particularly if they are saturated with calcium above 2,000 pounds per acre.

Avoid soils having a water table or poor internal drainage in the upper 14 to 18 inches of soil. Raised beds of 8 inches high and 48 inches wide are suggested for most Ohio soils. Raised beds should be prepared in the fall before spring planting. Supplemental irrigation (trickle or microirrigation) is nearly always essential for maximizing production especially on raised beds. A water supply containing unchlorinated water with low salt and a low pH (below 6.0) is most desirable.

Don’t miss this exceptional chance to improve your greenhouse pest management skills, either Jan. 8 at Longfellow's Greenhouses, Manchester, ME  January 9 at Univ. of NH.  Jan. 10 at Univ. of VT.  Registration of $50 includes hand lens, snacks, lunch, IPM guide. If you need a parking permit (for NH & VT sessions only), add $5. Make checks out to UVM Entomology Lab and send by Dec. 20. Add $25 for the 2007/2008 New England Greenhouse Floriculture Guide. To ensure a place, register early. Pre-registration is required. Registrants will receive a map with directions. Send check and contact info to: Margaret Skinner, Entomology Lab, 661 Spear Street, Burlington, VT 05405-0105. Questions? Cheryl Frank, 802-656-5434 or

Door Prizes! Live samples and microscopes will be available. Up to 6 Pesticide Credits Awarded. 6 Credits for VT Assoc. of Prof. Horticulturists. Special guests: Graeme Murphy, IPM Specialist. IPM Labs, Locke, NY. Mike Short, Eco Habitat Agri Services.  The program:

8:00 Registration and Coffee.
8:30  Welcome
8:45  Eggplants as Biocontrol Production System: A New Approach to Banker Plants. A new way to cost-effectively manage whiteflies and other nagging pests with parasites.
         Canadian growers are using it now, and so can you.
10:00  Break
10:30  Advanced Disease Diagnosis and Management. Learn the latest tricks on diagnosing your problem diseases and how to manage them with IPM.
11:45  Lunch
12:45  Grower to Grower Discussions: Sharing Challenges and Solutions Local growers will share their experiences with biological control and what works for them.
1:45  What's New for Greenhouse IPM Research in the Region? Learn what scientists are studying that will improve your ability to manage insect and disease pests.
2:45 Biocontrol in Ornamentals…It's Working! Learn from the experiences of Canadian growers about how successful biological control can be, when used in conjunction with biorational pesticides.
3:45  What's Out, What's In, What's New, What are Growers Using? Share the latest on chemical and biorational pesticides.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 1:00 – 3:30 pm. Concord, N.H.

More and more greenhouse tomato growers are starting to use grafted plants to prevent root diseases and increase plant vigor and yields. The grafting process entails splicing the tops of “scion” seedlings (Buffalo and Trust are common) onto “rootstock” seedlings (such as Maxifort or Beaufort) that have large root systems and tolerance to several soilborne diseases. Dave Colson of New Leaf Farm in Durham, Maine has been successfully grafting greenhouse tomato plants for several seasons. In a hands-on demonstration, Dave will share his technique, experiences and tips for success. Participants will receive rootstock seeds and supplies to try their hand at grafting. The grafting demonstration will be followed by a discussion. This will be an opportunity for greenhouse tomato growers with varying levels of experience to network and learn how other growers cope with common issues. Registration is $25 per farm. For more information, contact Becky Grube at (603) 862-3203 or  (editor’s note – a CD showing Mike Collins of Old Athens farm demonstrating both side and top grafting of tomatoes is available from my office for $10 including postage).