Southern Ohio VegNet Blog Update
May brought southern Ohio produce growers challenges but as we wrap up May field planting and crop conditions are looking good.
*Asparagus harvest has been great this month though some early harvests showed some spear damage due to cold and freeze events the first week of May. Overall asparagus crop quality, yield, prices and demand have been excellent with yields decreasing as some growers enter their 8th week of harvest.
*As some growers enter week 7 of strawberry harvest this year’s plasticulture strawberry harvest is one of, if not the best for southern Ohio growers being reported since this production system was introduced into Ohio in the mid/late 1990’s, despite some late season frost damage the week of May 10. Some growers reported last week nearing 1.5 to 1.75 quart per plant yields with high demands and prices at both the retail and wholesale markets. At the OSU South Centers greenhouse strawberry trials Rhizoctonia, or black root rot, was diagnosed and is suspected that one of the soilless media being used may have introduced the pathogen.
* The annual Strawberry Field Night was held at the OSU South Centers at Piketon on Thursday May 25th. Despite rain storms rolling through all day the sky cleared for the wagon tour of the field trials which were beyond peak harvest due to the earlier than normal harvest season although it was a good opportunity to view the Day Neutral variety production systems and the double crop potential these plant types have for Ohio.
*The hops crop is looking good throughout Ohio although some growers north of I-70 reported some freeze damage the week of May 10. More and more acreage continues to be planted to hops this spring to capture the high market demand by Ohio’s 350+ brewers.
*Interested in learning more about hops production? Plan to attend our hops field day on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at the location of the OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio. The field day will begin at 10 a.m. The field day will include viewing and discussion in the hop yard, a viewing of the new hops harvester and new galvanized trellis system, and many educational topics for the beginner or advanced grower. Registration is required. You can register with Charissa Gardner at email@example.com or at 740.289.2071 ext. 132. Deadline to register is June 13th. Cost to register is $25.00 per person, or $40.00 per family (up to three people). We will be having a working lunch with one-on-one conversations between the growers and the educators/researchers.
* High tunnel tomatoes and cucumber crops are looking good with some growers experiencing nutritional deficiencies during the low light levels earlier in May. Cucumber harvest in high tunnels is ramping up with good quality and demand being reported. A light high tunnel tomato harvest has begun with good fruit quality being reported.
*Field vegetables are looking good though some areas have experienced some minor flooded areas with the recent heavy rains. Plastic planted sweet corn is beginning to show tassel in the whorl. Some sweet corn planted bare ground the last week of April/early May had to be replanted due to heavy rains and soil crusting soon after planting. No real problems with disease or insect outbreaks however crop damage from herbicide drift, especially growth regulator type of herbicide damage from grain farms, ditch maintenance and homeowner lawn applications continues to cost produce farmers lost profits and incomes due to severe crop damage. Snap pea and lettuce harvest is in full swing with good quality and demand being reported.