Fruit & Vegetable Weekly Crop Update Timely vegetable crop info for local producers. Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 fruit and vegetable weekly crop update 5/4/2015 Tue, 05 May 2015 15:10:00 +0000
  • 4 inch soil temp: 58.9 degrees F
  • Growing Degree Days Since April 1: Actual total: 284 Average (11 year): 216
  • Second and third plantings of sweet corn have been made to stay on schedule with necessary supplies later in the season. We need warm weather and sunlight.
  • Fresh market tomatoes have been field planted for the most part. The morning of May 1st showed some pretty cool temperatures. I recorded 31 degrees. As such, the tomatoes in the field took a real hit. This was the coldest temp I heard of after speaking with several of you. Damage is observed as sunken, tan to brown leaf spots. Since this already occurred, there is not much you can do to remedy the situation. There is a good chance that the plant will grow out of the damage if it is not too extensive.
  • Asparagus harvest continues daily but at an exceedingly slow pace compared to most years. Same goes here for the cold temps last Friday. The plant should rebound with affected spears likely having died off already. New spears should emerge as usual.
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    fruit and vegetable weekly crop update 4/27/2015 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:53:00 +0000
  • 4 inch soil temp: 53.9 F
  • Growing Degree Days since April 1; Actual total: 211 , Average (11 year): 163
  • Germination temps. I have spoken with a number of growers concerned about poor germination of direct seeded crops so far. This is likely to be expected and really shouldn't cause a great deal of concern. Many cold season crops will germinate at 40 degree soil temperatures but have optimum temps near 70 degrees. I would expect most of the seeds to successfully establish themselves when warmer weather prevails.
  • Control broadleaf and grass weeds early. The sooner you can control weeds in your fields the better. Broadleaves, when in the cotyledon stage, are readily controlled at this point. Grasses are somewhat harder as the growing point is insulated and protected more. With either, better early than late with whatever control method you chose. See the Midwest Vegetable Growers Guide for more info.
  • In area high tunnels, planting of warm season crops such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers has begun, after hardening off the plants, and with this week's cold temperatures, covering them at night with an appropriate row cover.
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    weekly fruit and vegetable crop update 4-13-2020 Mon, 20 Apr 2015 09:39:00 +0000
  • 4 inch soil temp: 58.1 F (as of Sunday)
  • Growing Degree Days Since April 1: Actual total: 179 Average (11 year): 105
  • Cool weather and crops: Crops: broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, lettuce, peas, radish, spinach, turnips will grow with daytime temperatures as low as 40°F and may survive a frosty nip. Semi-hardy crops such as beets, carrots, cauliflower, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, and Swiss chard will grow with minimum daytime temperatures of 40°F to 50°F, but are less tolerant of a frosty night.
  • Sweet corn is going in the ground and, weather permitting, will continue to do so in earnest. One key to successful sales of sweet corn is to have a readily available supply throughout the season. This is accomplished by successive timely planting of a mix of varieties.
  • High tunnels. I visited a number of high tunnels last week that were full of tomatoes. Plants look very good and we hope for a successful early harvest. This week will slow growth of these crops but should not do any real harm. Temperatures are going to be cool but not freezing. Likely, plants will simply slow their growth. Have your row covers ready to go if needed.
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    weekly fruit and vegetable crop update 4-13-2015 Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:15:00 +0000
  • 4 inch soil temp: 49.9 F
  • Growing Degree Days Since April 1: Actual total: 95 Average (11 year): 59
  • Minimum soil temps for many common crops has been achieved. One can confidently have growing in the field by now; beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, radish, spinach, leaf lettuces, kale and turnips.
  • Stale seedbeds and flame weeding. Flaming as a weed control method is gaining in popularity. Flaming is a method by which small broadleaf and grass weeds are momentarily exposed to an open flame of a L.P. torch. The cells in the plants are super-heated and burst thereby killing the plant. Broadleaves are more readily controlled by this method than grasses. The growing point of grasses is well insulated in the soil as compared to broadleaves. The standard procedure for flaming is this: till the bed early so all weed seeds will germinate, when the plants are small (cotyledon stage) flame the bed then plant. Another method is to work the bed, plant a short strip of seed, wait three days and plant the rest of the row. When the short strip of seeds emerge (used as an indicator of emergence) flame the rest of the row.
  • Garlic looks great. Across the board, I have seen nothing but a fabulous garlic crop coming on for later this summer. This is true across Illinois as I have spoken with a number of growers and colleagues. Survival was tremendous and somewhat surprising. The cold November did not take its toll on plants. Garlic always surprises me on how adaptable it can be. Make sure you have uncovered your garlic rows as they need as much sunlight as possible.
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    weekly fruit and vegetable crop update 4-7-2015 Mon, 06 Apr 2015 11:44:00 +0000
  • 4 inch soil temp 47.4⁰ F
  • Growing Degree Days (GDD) since April 1: Actual total: 39 Average (11 year): 23
  • Continuous use of high phosphorus fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 15-30-15, or high rates of manure or manure compost results in phosphorus buildup in the soil. Although phosphate fertilizer applied to soil is bound tightly and resistant to movement in the soil, some runoff may occur If your soil tests high in phosphorus, use a low phosphorus (such as 32-3-10, 27-3-3, or 25-3-12) or no phosphorus (such as 30-0-10 or 24-0-15) fertilizer.
  • Succession planting. Two ways to extend the harvest period for some crops are: 1) to plant varieties with a different number of days to maturity at the same time; and 2) to plant the same variety multiple times in succession. Succession planting to supply a continual harvest isn't difficult, it just takes some planning.
  • Local high tunnels are filled with a variety of produce. Some high tunnel growers elect to fill the space with quick turnaround crops such as spinach and various lettuce (both head and leaf) then follow up with warm season crops. Others elect to companion plant these two types of crops. Either way works well. Try both and see what works best for you. High tunnel space is at a premium so whatever you can do to utilize the area is worthwhile and likely more profitable for you.
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    weekly fruit and vegetable crop update 3-30-2015 Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:13:00 +0000
  • 4 inch soil temp:46.4 ⁰F
  • Growing Degree Days since April 1: TBD
  • Aphids are thriving. Watch for this persistent pests on all greens such as spinach, kale and poc choi especially if you are growing in a high tunnel environment. The warm weather sets this pest up to do its thing. Control measures can be found here.
  • Transplants need plenty of light. Too little light, temperatures too warm, excessive watering and excessive fertilizing cause spindly or leggy transplants.
  • 5. Root rot in transplants. If root rot occurs, remove and destroy the diseased plants. Also, remove healthy-appearing plants that are immediately adjacent to the dead plants because the disease may have already spread to them although they are not yet showing symptoms. Sanitation and prevention are keys for management]]>
    weekly fruit and vegetable crop update 3-16-2015 Mon, 16 Mar 2015 09:11:00 +0000 Hello everyone,

    I hope this message finds you well. This week will mark the start of the weekly fruit and vegetable crop update for 2015. You are receiving this message as a subscriber from last year. If you would like removed from the list, just send me a reply and I will do so. Best of luck to all of you for a successful 2015 growing season!

    1. Growing degree Days since April 1 will begin shortly.
    2. 4 inch soil temp: 36.9 F
    3. Disinfect transplant trays. Pots, trays, benches and the greenhouse should be washed with a disinfecting agent such as Green Shield or a bleach solution (mixed at 10%) before starting new plants.
    4. Check your seed starting temperatures. The impact of temperature on seeds germination is well documented. Providing optimal temperature for the species will decrease the time required for germination and increase the percent of normal seedlings produced.
    5. Local high tunnels are filling up quickly. I know of several tunnels filled to capacity with early spring greens. The temperature today is forecasted to be near 70 F. Tunnels will heat up fast and need ventilation managed accordingly.