Weekly Field Update – 2/1/21

Don’t forget to check out the Upcoming Meetings page for all the meetings coming up over the next couple months. The next one is this Thursday evening (2/4/21) from 6 to 8:30 and will be about cucurbit production. We hope to see you there!

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Strawberry crops are developing well however we are seeing gray mold and Phomopsis blight in some crops. Sanitation can really help prevent botrytis spread as we move forward when allied to fungicide applications. Keep scouting for spider mites as there are active populations in some crops. Now is a great time of year to think about maintenance of equipment be that for bed formation, cultivation for spring crops, and most important application equipment.” 

Zachary Boone Snipes reports, “I feel like Forrest Gump describing the weather as of late.  “One day it starting raining and it didn’t stop for four months.”  We are extremely wet in the Lowcountry which is delaying a lot of ground prep for the upcoming season.  Stay out of the fields if they are wet as equipment will compact soil and make matters worse than they already are.  This is the perfect time of year to order and stock up on pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, calibrate sprayers, clean ditches, sharpen tools, clean packing sheds, etc.  Preventative maintenance and getting prepared for the upcoming season will lead to less stress and better management decisions down the road.  This would also be a great time to explore all the links that lead to resources on SCGrower.com as well as to curl up with your Southeast Vegetable Crop Handbook.” 

French drains are being installed in lower lying areas of some fields. Photo from Zachary Boone Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little warmer for most of the past week and we received a little more rain. The strawberry fields I’ve looked at in the past week averaged 3-4 crowns. Growers have been working on sanitizing dead leaves and flower buds from their fields to keep botrytis inoculum down. I’ve gotten a couple calls recently about whether it’s time to start protecting blooms. It’s still a little early in my opinion. Remember, there is about a 4 week time span from bloom to ripe berry, so saving blooms now would have people picking around the first of March. I’m not seeing enough blooms out there right now to make saving them worthwhile. I would rather let the plants grow for a few more weeks.”

These plants were recently sanitized and are looking good. It would be best give them a few more weeks to grow before protecting blooms. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “As of this morning at Musser Farm we are reporting 850 chilling hours and 50 chill portions. In Johnston we are sitting at 788 chilling hours and 46 chill portions. Chilling hours are measured between temperatures of 32-45 for this calculation.” 

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Heavy rains over the last week have put a significant damper on any field prep and planting for early season vegetables in the upstate. Pruning tree fruits is in full swing, and chilling hours are on track.”

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