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Fruit & Vegetable Weekly Crop Update

Timely vegetable crop info for local producers.

Weekly Update 3-20-12

Posted by Kyle Cecil -


Welcome to the first Weekly Fruit and Vegetable Crop Update for 2012. You will receive these updates on Friday of each week through the growing season. For more information on any item you read, please contact me. Here's to a safe and productive 2012 for all of you!

1. Soil Temperature 4 inch Sod Monmouth Research Station 56.0 F

2. Prebloom Emulsifiable Oil Applications for mites, aphids and scales

Application of a superior oil or a horticultural oil (highly refined oils with an emulsifier so that they mix with water) is recommended in nearly all Midwestern apple and peach orchards during the "delayed dormant" period between green tip and bloom. Follow label directions. Prebloom application of emulsifiable oils leaves a thin film of oil that suffocates eggs of European red mite and rosy apple aphid and immature overwintering San Jose scales on branches and twigs. This is an inexpensive way to prevent or reduce problems with these pests later in the season, and oil applications at this time have little or no negative impact on beneficial species.

3. Growing Degree Days---These figures are very important for growers. They will be reported each week.

When an organism's growth rate is predominantly under temperature control its rate of development can be characterized using a system called growing-degree days (GDD) or heat units (HU). The GDD concept assumes that: there is a base temperature below which the organism does not grow or grows very slowly and the growth rate increases with temperature above the base temperature. GDD are useful in tracking the development of several important crops and insect pests. These reports will begin with the first week in April.

4. Tomato grafting for disease management. We have spent a great deal of time this winter teaching growers how to graft tomatoes (especially heirloom tomatoes) to help manage soil borne diseases. If you did not make it to any of our sessions, contact me to learn more.

5. High tunnel production. If left nonvented, a high tunnel can reach extremely high temperatures. For example, a 60°F day can produce 100°F temperatures within the high tunnel. The goal should be to keep daytime temperatures within the range of 75-85°F. In the event of a frost, close the vents in mid-afternoon and place row covers on the plants.

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