Rob Last reports, “Vegetable crops are growing out of the impacts of frost well. There is active Alternaria in places on brassica crops. Insect activity in vegetable crops in the area remains low. Strawberry crops are moving well with a few spider mites and aphids being observed. Remember if mite treatment is needed use a specific miticide to target the pest to avoid flaring populations. If you need a second pair of eyes to help scout then please give me a shout.”
Zack Snipes reports, “I’ve been getting a good many calls about strawberries in recent weeks. The warm weather has really pushed our berries, perhaps too far along for this time of year. I know of a couple of farms that are already harvesting which I’m not sure is a great thing this early in the season. Most fields look good with great growth but we only have a few crowns for each plant. Hopefully some cool weather will come in and slow them down. Make sure to sanitize the plants by removing all dead tissue and put out a preventative spray once you are done sanitizing. Good preventative sanitization right now can do wonders for disease management later in the season. Now is a good time to manage weeds before they get too large. And while I am at it…now is the perfect time to get ready for the season by checking sprayers, getting fertigation systems set up and calibrated, and purchasing pesticides you know you will need for the season.”
Justin Ballew reports, “The weather has remained cool, so everything is growing pretty slowly. We had another very rainy day last week and we got a little over 2 inches at my house. That’s over 6 inches for me so far in 2021 and I’ve had some folks tell me they’ve gotten over 8. We are seeing some cold damage to strawberry foliage, but nothing to worry about long term. Just make sure to sanitize any dead leaves and flowers as the temperatures warm in the spring. I’ve already seen some Botrytis developing on dead flowers, so we definitely need to remove these sources of disease inoculum. I’m counting 2-3 crowns per plant right now. If you’re behind that, it may be helpful to put row covers on for a couple weeks. Just scout for spider mites carefully first.”
Tony Melton reports, “Cold hurt green winter strawberries more than ripe ones due to increased sugar in ripe ones. Still got some squash producing in high tunnels if covered inside tunnel with row covers. We’re bedding green fields to allow weeds to germinate so they can be killed using stale-bed culture.”
This will be the final update of 2020. We will pick back up on 1/4/21. Be sure to keep an eye on the upcoming events tab give us a call if you need anything. Happy Holidays from the SC Grower team! We hope everyone takes some time to enjoy the season, and may 2021 bring you good health, great family time, and as always…prosperous fields!
Zack Snipes reports, “A chilly week in the Lowcountry took out or really slowed down some of our fruiting crops like pepper, tomato, and cukes. The brassicas and strawberries are loving this weather. One thing I have noticed lately is lots of worm damage on brassica. After talking to many growers, I hear that many are not using adjuvants in their spray tanks. Adjuvants can help your pesticides work better. A common one I would recommend on brassica crops is the use of a spreader-sticker. Brassica crops have a waxy leaf which repels water. The use of a spreader-sticker will help stick the pesticide droplet to your leaf and the spreader will help reduce surface tension so that the droplets spreads out on your leaf. You will be amazed at how much better coverage you will get with a spreader-sticker and how much better your pesticide will work (organic or conventional pesticide). Adjuvants are cheap so consider adding some to your tank today. For more on adjuvants and spray tips, join us on Tuesday night from 6-8 pm for the Organic/Sustainable Farm Meeting via Zoom. The registration link can be found here.“
Justin Ballew reports, “We had two nights last week where temperatures dipped below freezing. After a long fall growing season, the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash are done. Now growers will be focusing on strawberries, greens, and herbs. Strawberries in some fields had developed blooms as a result of the late warm weather. Now that the cold has killed them, it will be important to sanitize them before the spring, as dead blooms can become a significant source of grey mold inoculum. As always, don’t let up on scouting for caterpillars in greens.”
Sarah Scott reports, “Brassicas are being harvested. Pest pressure is relatively high this season including aphids and diamondback months. Peach fields are being prepped for new plantings. In areas where armillaria root rot has been an issue in past crops, growers will use a plow to create burms to plant trees on. Rain has slowed plowing down but there is a dry forecast for the next 7 days.”