2018 Central Ohio Fall Weather Predictions and El Nino Update

The most recent edition of OSU Agronomy’s C.O.R.N. newsletter published by my Extension colleagues gave the September and October weather predictions that will impact harvest of agronomic crops.  The backyard grower, community gardener, and urban farmer can use this data to make plans for season extended plantings by applying frost dates and predicted temperatures and rainfall amounts into the planting schedule.

September/October Temperature and Precipitation Forecasts

(credit Jim Noel, C.O.R.N Newsletter, 2018-28)

  • September
    • Temperatures will be a little warmer than normal, with normal predicted rainfall
  • October
    • Temperatures and rainfall are both predicted a little above normal
    • Frost and freeze dates are predicted to be in the normal range

 

 

What does this mean for plantings? 

  • Make sure to keep row cover or other season extension fabric on hand and monitor overnight temperatures carefully as we reach the October 10th – 20th time period to allow maturity and harvest of late summer plantings of green beans or zucchini.
  • General above average temperatures should allow for harvest into fall of late summer plantings if protected as needed.
  • Watch for frost or freeze events to plan harvest of sweet potatoes prior to overnight cold temperatures which may damage tubers and decrease storage life.
  • Timing of over wintered spinach plantings should target early to mid-October for completion.

 

El Nino Update (8/9/18)

El Nino winters in central Ohio average warmer than normal temperatures with less than normal snowfall.  Currently the National Weather Service has an El Nino Watch in place.

  • Fall – 60% chance of El Nino formation in September – November
  • Winter – 70% chance of El Nino formation in winter.

Source: National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

Summer Season Extension Using Shade Fabric for Cool Weather Crops

Season Extension is when a vegetable, herb or fruit is grown outside its normal growing season using protection from the elements in some way.  While it is most commonly used over the winter to take advantage of Ohio’s four seasons of growing, it is also applicable in summer when growing vegetables that prefer cooler weather.  A part of the community garden plot opened up after cucurbit production decreased from cucumber beetle damage and bacterial wilt.

Was planted with zucchini and cucumbers from mid-May until late July

 

The plasticulture fabric was removed, the soil was amended with slow release granular fertilizer and compost, It was then planted with lettuce and pac choi cabbage transplants that had been started under the lights 3 weeks ago.  The cucurbits were productive heavy feeders  so extra fertility was needed, especially in the form of nitrogen, and crop rotation was observed among different vegetable families.

The wood form is 4′ x 8′ in size and 4″ high tall made of untreated wood. The PVC is 1/2″ in diameter and sleeved onto screws. This allows easy use of season extension in a defined space that keeps the fabric off the plants, but is very stable to the elements.

 

The raised bed form was then covered with shade fabric. This fabric is designed to allow light, air, and water to pass through, but to decrease the amount of sunlight and provide shade to the cooler temperature season lettuce and cabbage during the August maturation period.  Multiple other vegetable crops could be grown with this method including radishes, spinach, arugula and other small brassicas.

 

30% sunlight reduction shade fabric.  In most cases this fabric should be vented  to allow air movement and prevent heat buildup under the fabric.   It is shown closed in this picture to prevent small mammal feeding damage overnight, but will be clipped part way up the PVC tubing during the day normally.

This fabric will provide protection from the cabbage white butterfly and its associated larval form that feeds heavily on the foliage of brassica family crops.   This means it also will not allow pollinators to enter the space if it is kept fully closed.  This is not a concern as both the lettuce and cabbage will be harvested before they flower and produce seed and have no need for pollinators.

The use of shade fabric for season extension allows harvest of cool weather crops that are otherwise difficult to grow in mid-summer.  The element and insect protection from the fabric allows for a higher quality crop.  An off season, high quality crop has the potential to demand a higher price in a CSA subscription or at the Farmer’s Market booth. The fabric is available in multiple lengths and widths to allow scale up to larger sized production areas if needed.

Make sure to incorporate season extension methods when making your garden plan.  Ohio is a true four season growing environment and with some planning and using season extension, harvest can be achieved all year long.

2018 Fall Vegetable Planting Timeline

It can be an unusual concept for the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer to think about as we have barely started harvest of fresh tomatoes, but now is the time to start planning and planting for production in late summer, through fall and into a winter harvest.

Things to start now: Under the lights

  • Basil – Start from seed under the lights or by direct seeding into the garden.  This will provide the grower with a stream of fresh, tender leaves to use or preserve.
  • Brassicas – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and asian cabbages can be started now under the lights.  Transplant into cell packs after about two weeks in the flats.   They will be ready to transplant into the garden in 6-8 weeks.
  • Lettuce – small amount now,  start more every two weeks until October.

The seed start grow station had been taken offline for a period of three weeks after spring vegetable production. This was done to sterilize the area and break the life cycle of any pests present.

 

Most of the varieties started now are brassicas. They will germinate in 3 days, be ready to be transplanted into individual cells in 2 weeks and be ready to plant in about 6 weeks total. That puts them in the garden in early August with maturation in late September and early October during the cooler weather

 

A small amount of lettuce will be started now.  This lettuce has a good chance to mature in hot weather.   The chance for cooler temperatures in late summer plus the use of shade cloth will attempt to control bitterness or bolting to seed.  There is a good chance of failure to mature an edible product so only a small amount of starts will be attempted now.  More will be started with an every two week timeline.

 

 

Things to Start now – Direct seed in the garden:

 

Things to start in a few weeks – Direct Seed in the Garden

  • Green Beans – if a short maturing variety can be used green beans can be planted up until early August
  • Radish – can plant again 2 weeks after this planting up until September 1st
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce – can be planted on two week rotations until September 1st – 15th.
  • Snap Peas
  • Summer squash – same as with green beans
  • Cucumber – same as with green beans

 

Ohio is a true four season growing environment.  Some of the above may need season extension in order to survive.  We will keep a close watch on the ENSO predictions.   Make sure that you observe crop rotation of families as best as possible.

 

 

IPM – Insect Pest Scouting and Management – Late May to Early June 2018 – Central Ohio

These insects, some pests, some beneficial, were noted from scouting efforts in central Ohio from mid-May to early June 2018.

Imported Cabbageworm

One of the most common predators of the brassicacea family of vegetables is the larval form of the cabbage white butterfly, called the imported cabbageworm.  The butterfly is a constant presence in Ohio as our most common butterfly species.  It lays eggs on cabbage family plants and the larval forms feed on the foliage.  They can be difficult to spot due to coloration but feeding damage and frass (fecal material) can be observed via scouting.

The focus is on the cabbageworm fecal material, called frass, at the base of the leaf in the bottom of the picture. The cabbageworm can be difficult to locate due to camouflage but the frass and pattern of leaf damage indicates to keep looking to locate the predator.

 

The butterfly lays very tiny eggs a single egg at a time on the leaves using her ovi-positor.

 

Egg size with penny added to picture for reference.

Control is by scouting for eggs, which can be difficult, or for by early recognition of larvae and damage.  Hand removal is very effective for small plantings.   Organic control (check the label carefully) is possible with spinosad products.

Virginia Fact Sheet on Spinosad

Imported Cabbageworm Fact Sheet

 

Cucumber Beetles

Cucumber beetles are a major pest in vegetable plantings. The adults have emerged from their over wintered areas to start feeding on plants and laying eggs in the soil at the base of cucurbit family plants.

 

Feeding damage to the cotyledons and early true leaves of the cucurbit family from over-wintered cucumber beetle adults prior to egg laying.

Cucumber beetles are a serious pest of cucurbit family plants due to feeding on foliage, flowers and fruit.   Control can be difficult.  They also vector a devastating bacterial wilt disease that can quickly kill plants and has no treatment.

Cucumber Beetle Fact Sheet

 

Egg Scouting

A good habit to use when scouting for insect pests on plantings is to look at the underside of the leaves for eggs.  Many of the insect pests lay eggs singly or in clusters on the underside of leaves, where if undetected, will hatch into larvae that will feed on the foliage.  This egg cluster was noted on oregano.  I suspect these eggs to be from Box Elder bugs, which do not normally feed on oregano.  Both a Box Elder and related Sugar Maple are in the vicinity of the oregano planting.

 

Slugs

Slugs will be more numerous in production areas that have high organic matter content. They can feed and damage foliage. Early control is critical to avoid build up and infestation of a production area during a growing season.

Control of slugs can be achieved with organic products containing iron phosphate.  Slug Factsheet from PSU

 

Cutworms

This is the larval form of a night moth.  It curls up around the stem of a plant and feeds until the stem is cut in half and the plant has been killed.  They feed at night commonly so a grower would notice a dead plant that looks cut in half.  Digging around the base of the plant can sometimes find the causative agent.

Dusky Cutworm. Found when digging around base of dead cucurbit plant.

Cutworm Fact Sheet

 

Ground Beetle – Beneficial

Not all insects are pests,  some are beneficial and are feeding on pest and assisting the grower.  Proper identification will allow the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer to know what to keep and what to treat.

Ground Beetle Fact Sheet Ohioline

 

If you have questions or concerns about an insect pest located via scouting, contact your Extension office for assistance with identification.

 

Spring Vegetable Climate Predictions for Planting 2018

When I am planning when to start seeds in order to get ready for an upcoming spring or fall planting season.  I take the frost date into account, but then I adjust that date according to the weather projections as that gives me insight into how I can maximize production by using weather data plus season extension.

For example,  the fall frost date in central Ohio is around mid-October.   The fall climate prediction data was for a delayed frost date and a warmer fall.  Once I read about this I planted my fall vegetables using this data in anticipation of a longer fall growing season for summer vegetables.

I planted green beans and zucchini in the first week of August 2017.  Both are about 50-60 day vegetables so they would mature long after the frost date normally, and both do not like frost.

Germination was about a week or so later

Because of the delayed frost date, I was able to enjoy a harvest late into fall and ate green beans and zucchini fresh for Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Picture taken Mid-October. Notice due to delayed planting their are no cucumber beetles or stink bugs infesting the plants.

This year the climate prediction center states that we will continue to have a February with temperature swings and periods of heavy precipitation.

For the growing season the prediction is for a gradual warm up from March through May with a wetter than normal spring.  Summer is looking like the warm up continues with a drier than normal precipitation forecast.

BIG THANKS TO THE C.O.R.N. Agronomic Newsletter for data assist. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK FOR THE CLIMATE DATA FROM NWS/NOAA

 

Make sure you check the prediction models when you are making your plans.  It might save you some time and trouble and might  get you some extra production.

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course Announcement

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety is announcing a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training on February 22, 2018 to be held at the OSU Extension Clermont County Office

1000 Locust St, Owensville, OH 45160.  The training will be one day, 8:30AM-4:00PM (with an hour lunch, not provided). There is no cost for the training or training manual. Class size is limited to 30 and first priority will be given to growers that must comply with the Produce Safety Rules (§ 112 Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption). Regulation exempt growers are also welcome to apply for the training. Registration is limited to Ohio residents.

The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) which states ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’

The course will cover basic produce safety; worker health, hygiene, and training; soil amendments; wildlife, domesticated animals, and land use; agricultural water (both production and postharvest); postharvest handling and sanitation; and developing a farm food safety plan. As a participant you can expected to gain a basic understanding of: microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm; how to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks; how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm; parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one; and requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them. There will be time for questions and discussion, so participants should come prepared to share their experiences and produce safety questions. More information on the training can be found in the following internet link: https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/training/grower-training-courses

To receive a completion certificate, a participant must be present for the entire training and submit the appropriate paperwork to their trainer at the end of the course.

To attend the training, fill out the application, and return it to the ODA, Division of Food Safety no later than February 2nd, 2018.  Growers who have been approved to attend the training will receive a confirmation letter. If you don’t receive a confirmation letter, your name will be added to a waiting list. We will be scheduling multiple trainings in your area throughout the next year.

If you know of someone that is interested in attending a training class in their area and they did not receive a registration form they can call (614)728-6250 to register.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (614)600-4272.

Regards,

Matt Fout

Produce Safety Manager, Division of Food Safety

Ohio Department of Agriculture

Fall Harvested Vegetables

I have long been a big proponent of using the full gardening season to grow and produce fruits, vegetables and herbs in your garden.  I am not even talking about using season extension methods like row cover or high tunnels, but instead simply taking advantage of our fairly long growing season.

I posted a fall growing timeline on Talking Hocking back on July 8th.  You read that right,  summer is when you plan your planting.  You look at the frost and freeze dates and count backward.  I listed the best varieties to plant in the post.  I planted in early August the next round of zucchini and green beans.

The best thing about fall is that many of the problems you face in spring and summer go away.  The temperatures moderate,  the rain comes back and the bad bugs go away.  There are a ton of pollinators just looking for something with a flower.  You have ideal growing conditions and in many cases will get a larger harvest than the summer one.

Here is what a squash blossom looks like when it is not full of cucumber beetles

The green bean patch looks ragged but that was after a fourth picking of beans.  Still have at least one or two left before they are done for the season, but that still means beans until Halloween.

I thick planted carrot seed from a color mix.  As they mature I will pick out the largest carrots which will give room for the smaller carrots to grow larger.  They are cold tolerant and so the carrot patch will last until Thanksgiving.   They look and taste great too.

The weather prediction for fall frost and freeze noted a later arrival than most years.  That is helping for sure.  Not every year is like this one, but seed is cheap.  I planted 3 zucchini plants, 3 squash plants and a 9″ row of beans.  Cost was less than $2, totally worth it to take the chance and most of the plants still look great.

The ten day forecast for Logan has a small chance of a frost next week Monday night.  I am hoping the micro climate of my office, the street and the parking lot keeps it above 40 degrees.  If so I bet I will be eating these little beauties next week.

Next year make sure to take advantage of fall weather and make a plan to extend your harvest.  Fall is a great time for growing and you will be surprised by the amount you can sneak in before the frost and freeze dates.

Experiments in Vertical Gardening

This video details the progression of vertical gardening experiments at The Children’s Educational Garden at the Hocking County fairgrounds from May through August.  Its lighthearted nature reflects its target audience but the technique is applicable for all ages of gardener.

Hardin County Report – Late June

The rainfall in Hardin County varied from 0.5 to 6 inches in one week. Cucumber beetles are the biggest concern right now. There are also some squash bugs in the first pumpkin plantings. Thrips were found in some strawberries earlier, causing damage. Blueberries, red and black raspberries are now being picked.

There was a report from a grower of tomatoes wilting and dying in a hoop house. Some of the plants had root rot along with Fusarium wilt. Nitrogen levels were high from plant tissue tests. A sample plant was sent to the lab. Upon slicing open the stem of an affected plant, there was brown vascular tissue blocking the flow of water throughout the plant. Sanitation in the house will hopefully help prevent the spread of the pathogen. Possible anaerobic soil disinfection and grafting of disease resistant varieties may be utilized in this situation on a trial basis to measure effectiveness.

Mark Badertscher – OSU Extension, Hardin County

Levi Yoder – Scioto Valley Produce Growers – contributor

Fusarium Wilt of Tomato

 

 

Hardin County Report – Early June

The heavy rains over the first weekend of June and low temperatures at night slowed things down. Strawberries were being harvested with lower than normal yield.  Strawberry prices were very good at the auction, and growers wished they had more available for sale.  Growers are cultivating and tying up tomato plants in their hoop houses.  There are a few tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions coming out of the hoop houses.  Pests of concern right now are cucumber beetles that are working on the vine crops.

Mark Badertscher – OSU Extension, Hardin County

Levi Yoder – Scioto Valley Produce Growers – contributor