Field Update – 5/6/19

Coastal: Zack Snipes reports, “Beautiful sunny weather has really pushed our spring crops this week.  We received some spotty thunderstorms this weekend that will help dryland crops as well as settle some dust.  We are approaching the end of strawberry season as berries are getting smaller.  Be sure to keep plants clean these next few weeks as berries develop quicker.  When berries develop quicker it is harder to keep them picked thus allowing pests such as spotted wing drosophila and botrytis to settle in.  We are seeing beautiful tomato, eggplant, and cucurbit crops growing off throughout the region.  We began squash and zucchini harvest this past week and are in the middle of highbush blueberry harvest.”

Cantaloupe starting to develop fruit in the Coastal region. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Highbush blueberry harvest is going well in the the Coastal region. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands: Justin Ballew reports, “It was very sunny and warm last week. Storms came in Saturday afternoon and brought around 1.5 inches of rain. This was good for just about everything except for the strawberries. We are seeing a ton of water damage on berries now and grey mold has also picked up. Spider mite populations were building last week as well, so keep scouting for those. Spring and summer crops are looking great and growing fast. Stringing has started in tomatoes, heading brassicas are developing well, and leafy brassicas are being harvested daily.

Water damage on ripe strawberries. Photo from Justin Ballew.
The first stringing of tomatoes is done in the Midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports peach picking in the Ridge will begin this week with early varieties. “The season is on track for 2019 with a good crop load of early variety peaches. Bacteriosis is visible on some peaches once color begins to develop. Copper applications are critical to maintain best fruit quality. Refer to the 2019 Peach and Nectarine and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide for recommendations.

Picking will begin this week on early peach varieties in the Ridge. Photo from Sarah Scott.
Bacteriosis on ripe peach. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate: Kerrie Roach reports, “It’s been a great week for growers in the Upstate. Peaches are coming along nicely and apples are not far behind at about thumb size. Spring vegetables are in the ground with many producers projected to start picking squash in just a week or two. Farmers Markets have slowly started opening with mainly cool season crops. We are hoping for another great week of growing weather!”

Field Update – 4/29/19

Statewide: Dr. Tony Keinath reports finding powdery mildew on Hale’s Best Jumbo cantaloupe in Charleston last week. “Anyone growing heirloom varieties of cucurbits should spray for powdery mildew, because open-pollinated varieties do not have the resistance found in hybrid varieties. All cucurbit growers should be on the lookout for powdery mildew starting now and be ready to spray when it shows up on their farms.”

Dr. Guido Schnabel reports, “2019 promises to be a great peach season despite the one late freeze we had late March. Still, some remnants of this late freeze can still be observed on many cultivars. They include peach buttons next to well developing fruit. The embryo of those button peaches are often damaged. These buttons will soon fall off the tree. Most cultivars do have enough normal fruit, however, for a full or nearly full crop.”

Freeze damaged peaches and healthy peaches. Photo from Dr. Guido Schnabel.
Peach button with dead embryo due to freeze damage. Photo from Guido Schnabel.

Coastal: Zack Snipes reports, “Beautiful weather last week really helped the progress of spring crops like tomato, pepper, and squash. We should be harvesting the first flush of squash this week. Spring onions, broccoli, radishes, carrots, beets, turnips, and greens are continuing to be harvested. Have seen some major issues with the diamond back moth this spring on greens.”

Tomatoes are growing well in the Coastal Region. Photo from Zack Snipes.
The first squash harvest is getting close in Charleston. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands: Justin Ballew reports, “Strawberry harvest has picked up this week and disease is very low since the weather has been dry. Spring and Summer crops are growing fast. A few spidermites have been seen and could increase quickly if it stays dry. Keep an eye out for those.”

Sarah Scott reports finding high numbers of brown marmorated stink bugs in traps along the Ridge. “While scouting the orchards I saw a few peaches that had some stink bug damage as well. Not wide spread but it is showing up so be mindful when you’re scouting in the coming week.”

Stink bug damage on a young peach. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate: Andy Rollins reports, “Strawberry production is finally in full swing after a very delayed start to our year.  Early picking resulted in some knotty fruit but fruit quality and flavor are excellent now across all of the upstate. Slug problems show up when we have high moisture conditions as in the below picture from a neighboring state. Deadline pellets are a very effective control should they show up here, but caution is needed to keep the pellets from directly contacting fruit when applying.”

Strawberry harvest is in full swing in the upstate.
Slug damage on a strawberry. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Field Update – 4/22/19

Coastal: We had a pretty strong storm come through last week with 30 mph winds. Some damage is to be expected this week from those winds. All crops look pretty good otherwise.

Collards growing well in the Coastal region.

Midlands: Anthracnose fruit rot picked up significantly in strawberries last week. Spring and summer crops are growing well and looking good. Storms came in Friday and gave about a half inch of rain. Steady wind dried fields up fairly quickly afterwards.

Sweet corn up and growing in the Midlands.

Pee Dee: Diamond Backs are bad especially where Brassicas have been left since last year to become a source.  Some cabbage is beginning to head.  Some root/top turnips, collards, radish, spinach, and mustard are ready to start harvest next week.  Tomatoes are beginning to take root and start to grow on plastic.  Some squash, cucumbers, and cantaloupes are almost vining.  Sweet potato propagation beds are up and growing well.  

Field Update – 4/15/19

Coastal: Periodic rainfall last week helped dry land crops.  Very nice greens and root crops being harvested. The rain ruined some strawberries last week and more disease is showing up in strawberry fields.  Most of the tomato crop is in the ground.  

Midlands: At least 2 inches of rain fell last week in most places. Strawberry harvest is picking up, though grey mold and anthracnose fruit rot are picking up as well, due to the rain. Tomatoes and peppers ave been planted and brassicas are growing fast. Diamondback moth caterpillar and aphid populations have been low so far.

Anthracnose fruit rot. The infected portion of the strawberry often easily separates in one piece from the rest of the berry.