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SC Fruit and Vegetable Field Report March 29, 2021

Coastal Region

Rob Last reports, “Strawberry crops continue to develop well with sustained flowering and fruit set. Early crops are ripening well, with crops coming to market. Just a note of caution, the weather last week can be conducive to gray mold development; fungicide programs will be key. Thrips are active in some crops, so keep scouting. Melon transplants are going in the ground over the last week, with development looking very promising. Peaches in the area are all but finished flowering with a great fruit set. Finally, as we are looking at a cooler week for flowering fruit crops, keep an eye on the forecasted temperatures to determine if any protection will be required. Fruit and closed buds can tolerate cooler temperatures than flowers, but damaged flowers can increase gray mold development.”

Strawberries continue to develop nicely in the Coastal region. Rob Last, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Strawberries continue to develop nicely in the Coastal region.
Rob Last, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Zack Snipes reports, “We have had pretty good weather as of late, and it has really made things jump here.Spring greens, onions, radishes, carrots, and strawberries are really pushing out hard.I counted 57 green berries+flowers on one strawberry plant. If someone can beat that number, I will give you a Free Crop Handbook. The blueberry crop is looking great with a good fruit set on highbush varieties and tons of flowers right now on the rabbiteye types.  We planted around 30 citrus trees on Friday as part of a Specialty Crop Block Grant.  We have around 75 more to plant next year.All together, we will plant somewhere around 40 varieties with varying scion and rootstock combinations.We are looking at cold tolerance in both the lab and a field setting and monitoring for citrus greening.  We will plant everything from kumquat to grapefruit to finger limes.

Newly planted citrus trees at the Coastal REC this past week. Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Newly planted citrus trees at the Coastal REC this past week.
Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Midlands Region

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was pretty cloudy, but we had a of couple beautiful days that reached the 80s. Though we’ve had a little bit of rain, the air has been thick with pine pollen. We’re seeing a few strawberries ripen, but we’re still not at the point where we can open the U-Picks. We’re running a little behind where we’ve been in the past few years, and I suspect all the cloudy weather we’ve had over the last month is partially to blame. I’m seeing a good bit of misshapen fruit, which is normal for the very first fruit that develops. This is usually related to pollination, but take tissue samples to make sure boron levels are where they need to be. Watch out for the cool nights in the forecast later this week. We may need to cover. Spring planted brassica crops are looking good. Diamondback moths are showing up in places, especially near fields where a fall crop was grown through the winter, so be sure to destroy those fields once harvest is finished.”

Misshapen fruit is pretty common early in the season. It’s usually related to pollination but can be a sign of low boron. Tissue sample to make sure boron levels are adequate. Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Misshapen fruit is pretty common early in the season. It’s usually related to pollination but can be a sign of low boron. Tissue sample to make sure boron levels are adequate.
Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Spring planted brassicas are growing well and looking good. Photo from Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Spring planted brassicas are growing well and looking good.
Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Sarah Scott reports, “Peaches are progressing quickly with small fruit forming on early varieties. Georgia has reported plum curculio activity in the middle part of the state, so orchards in the Ridge of SC can expect to see activity in about 2 weeks. Strawberry farms are on track to begin picking regularly April 1. Spring greens are being transplanted as well.”

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Strawberries are ready to burst forth, and there are already some berries on Ruby June. Working to protect strawberries and peaches later on this week. A lot of summer crops will be going into the ground after Easter. Pickle growers are biting at the bit.  Most greens are just emerging. Cabbage is enjoying the weather and getting to what I call the “whirl stage”, so I hope we have no damaging winds to wring them off. Sweet potatoes slips are just emerging on the beds.”

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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