Ohio Specialty Crop Update 4.28.23: Spring arrived early March and has been a roller coaster ride with March weather in February, February weather in March, May and March weather combined in April. GDD’s have been running above average since end of February which triggered early bloom in peaches, nectarines, plums, apples with freeze controls such as row covers, smudge fires, wind machines, frost control sprays, being implemented to protect crops as recent as Tuesday 4/25 when morning lows dipped into the mid 20’s, which damaged southern Ohio pawpaw bloom. A 7.5 acre Ohio greenhouse tomato operation at I-75/U.S. 33 in Auglaize county Ohio was destroyed by a tornado on April 1. Other recent high wind events in April destroyed and damaged high tunnels, barns, and brought up to 2 inches of rain in less than an hour at some locations. Field conditions have been great for most of the area since early February and field activities include plowing, working ground, lime, gypsum, compost, manure, P & K applications, fertigation, fungicide/insecticide applications, drain tile installation, laying plastic mulch, bedding, herbicide applications, frost protection, planting of potato, sweet corn, cole crops, lettuce, peas, greens; and pruning, training, tying in vineyards, orchards, hop yards and berries. High tunnel tomatoes planted end January/early February are being harvested along with tunnel squash, lettuce, radishes, spinach, strawberries and cucumbers with strong market demand. Strawberry harvest in tunnels began on March 17 in southern Ohio. Asparagus harvest began around the first week of April and demand has been strong. No disease or insect pressures being observed or reported only remnants of freeze and cold damage from freeze/frost events going back to Christmas.
Brad R. Bergefurd
Retired, Assistant Professor Emeritus