Zack Snipes reports, “As the weather dipped last week I had lots of calls about covering strawberries. Some growers thought they had enough plant and blooms that they should cover while others left them exposed to the cold. On most farms, the frost damage was very minimal with only blooms facing upwards having damage. Whether you covered or not, it is imperative that you sanitize your plants by removing dead fruit, blossoms, and leaf tissue. Start clean this year. Now would be a great time to get an application of boron in. Boron is used in fruit and flower development. Many times gnarled fruit can be attributed to boron deficiency. 1/8 of an actual pound of boron is recommended and can be applied via drip or spray. Be careful to mix correctly as boron is an excellent herbicide if rates are too high. Don’t forget about the Preplant Growers Meeting at the USDA in Charleston at 8:30-lunch on Wednesday.”
Justin Ballew reports, “The first part of last week was cold. There were a lot of blooms and small green fruit on the strawberries that were damaged, but it was too early to be saving those anyway. Just make sure to remove the dead fruit and blooms by the time we start saving blooms in the spring. Brassicas made it through the cold with little damage, but Sclerotinia white mold continues to progress in some fields.”
Sarah Scott reports, “We are still harvesting cabbage, kale, collards, and other greens at this time. Wet weather is causing some rot issues in fields especially in low spots with heavy soils. Peach trees are being planted. The Ridge area has not accumulated enough chill hours at this time for higher chill varieties but the extended forecast looks promising for that to happen. Weeds are popping up in strawberry fields from the warmer temperatures. Henbit growing in the holes with strawberry plants needs to be hand pulled as there is not an effective herbicide to use that will not cause injury to the strawberries.
Lalo Toledo reports, “Spider mite populations in strawberries have been steady in our area. This cold weather has put them behind, but they will recover. Remember to start spraying your protective fungicides on strawberries as soon as possible. Processing greens are doing great with some bacterial spots here and there. Fresh market collards are presenting cold damage across the county. Sclerotinia is still prevalent in many brassica crops such as cauliflower and cabbage. Please refer to the vegetable handbook for proper fungicide recommendations.”
Tony Melton reports, “Cold temps set flowering/fruiting of strawberries back to ground zero. Growers got some land for greens bedded.”