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Fruit & Vegetable Weekly Crop Update

Timely vegetable crop info for local producers.

weekly fruit and vegetable crop update 6-24-2013

Posted by Kyle Cecil -

Hi everyone, sorry for the longer message this week.  There is a lot going on that I wanted to talk about.


1. 10am 4 inch soil temp; 76.7 F

2. Growing Degree Days (GDD): 2013 = 839.0 GDD Average** = 785.5 GDD

3. Fusarium wilt in head lettuce.  This fungus is a site specific soil- borne pathogen that can remain viable in soil for many years. Disease symptoms include wilting, yellowing of leaves and a red-brown to black discoloration of internal taproot and crown tissue. Affected plants are stunted and often die. This wilt disease affects lettuce plants of all ages, from seedling to mature plants.  Differences in disease severity have been detected among different types of lettuce in research trials, with head lettuce cultivars as a group being most susceptible and romaine cultivars collectively demonstrating the highest level of tolerance.  Planting resistant cultivars and rotating the location of the plantings is suggested.

4. Asparagus harvest has ended, or should have. Asparagus is a perennial plant and can survive for many years if given good care.  As a reminder,  you should discontinue harvesting asparagus when the majority of the spears are pencil size in diameter or less. Fertilizer can be added at this time. Use a complete fertilizer (12-12-12 for instance) and spread at the rate of 2# or so per 100' of row. Weed control options include several herbicides (homeowners should check the Preen label) but you should NEVER use salt. Salt will sterilize the soil, and you'll never be able to grow any other crop in that area. (Mike Roegge, U of I).

5. Strawberry production is starting to wind down, and after the final harvest, renovation should begin. If dandelions are a problem, consider applying 2,4-D (it will not harm the strawberry plant if applied immediately after the last harvest, but you should be cautious if susceptible plants like tomatoes or grapes are nearby). Wait 5 days after 2,4-D application and then mow off strawberry plants 1-2" above the soil. Spread a complete fertilizer at the rate of 2# per 100' of row. Use a tiller to narrow the plant beds down to no more than 16" in width. Wider beds don't produce any more berries because sunlight has a difficult time reaching the inner plants in a wide bed spacing. (Mike Roegge, U of I)

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