- We had some rough winds and heavy rains last night. Growers are busy in the fields getting things ready for the spring.
- I am seeing a good bit of purpling in brassicas (collards, cabbage, broccoli) due to cold soil temperatures and plants not being able to take up phosphorous. When things warm up, we should see the new growth looking a lot healthier.
- Strawberries are all over the board right now. Some look great, and others not so great. I can really tell where crews did a good job planting and where they did a horrible job planting bareroot, cut-off plants. It pays to be in the field with the crew, staying on top of them when planting. Nothing can be done now about “J-rooted” plants or plants planted too deep.
- I am seeing a lot of suspicious leaf spot in every field and have recommended growers sanitize and get a spray of Captan or Thiram out. This leaf spot can be several things, one of which could be Neopest. Send in samples, clean, and spray! We have to stay on top of this disease and manage it now. Plants are anywhere from the one to four crown stage. I still think it is too early for us to be pushing them and trying to protect blooms with the number of crowns and overall plant size.
- Spring plantings of leafy greens are beginning in some areas, with preparations well underway.
- Crops are looking good overall, with some increase in black rot to brassicas being observed.
- Strawberries overall are developing well. I’m beginning to get questions about pushing fertilizer. Typically, once we begin to push fertilizer, we are about 6 weeks away from harvest. My advice is to work back from the potential, desired first harvest date. Now would be a good time to check fertigation equipment and source fertilizer. Once we begin fertigation, aim for 1 lb of N and K to be delivered daily. After the first week of fertigation applications, take a tissue test to assess nutrient levels.
- The weather has been all over the place the past week, making conditions less than ideal for spraying in the fields.
- Currently, we are putting out oil sprays in our peach orchards and doing orchard floor management. For the most effective control of scale insects, it is recommended to do two oil sprays, one at dormant stage and another at delayed dormant (beginning of bud swell). Copper can be put out with dormant oil sprays. If using a higher copper rate, be mindful of waiting at least 2 weeks between applications to avoid high levels of phytotoxicity. Treatment for lesser peach tree borer can also be applied at the delayed dormant stage.
- We are continuing to prune trees and plant new ones. Orchard floor management continues as well.
- Strawberry covers are coming off, and crews have been cleaning up plants and weeding in the plastic. Seeing a lot of deer damage, which plants are going to need to catch up from.