March 1, 2022
Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension https://www.uvm.edu/extension/horticulture/commercial
(802) 257-7967 ext. 303, firstname.lastname@example.org
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
(Grand Isle) We have our tomato grafting process underway. It is as time of year when we feel more like intricate surgeons than farmers. If we get a success rate of 85 to 90 percent of successful grafts, we feel great. Dr. Cary Rivard of Kansas State University is our go-to grafting guru. His videos are most helpful. We follow a prescribed timeline schedule of key grafting components such as amount of light, temperatures, humidity and the like.
(Starksboro) We got some irrigation on high tunnel spinach and kale during the recent warm spell, and the spinach especially started to take off this week. Just in time because we're starting to flip tunnels tomorrow. This winter has been a good test of our unheated tunnels, as we've had the longest cold spells of any of the past six winters. Spinach has been totally fine with two layers of Ag-30. Kale (Winterbor and Siberian) under three layers of hooped Ag-30 hasn't done as well. Some plants won't make it to spring, but the Siberian is starting to take off after looking nearly dead in January. Looking forward to getting some spring greens in the ground.
(Orwell) Suddenly the season is upon us, with winter projects not quite wrapped up. After a long break in harvesting tunnel greens, they have rebounded, and we will begin harvesting again next week. We are more than ever impressed with the salanova type lettuces, which have survived some very cold nights this winter without heat and in some cases, no row cover. We have our radiant system running and are curious to see how much that helps greens along and early plantings of summer crops. Our spinach is suffering from going in that critical week late in the fall, but we are hoping it will size up for at least one harvest.
(Guildhall) Potato sales continue, the abhorrently low temps continue. We're grading harder for pressure bruising now, a result of storage humidity being too low. Still have at least 500k lbs. to sell. Getting the 2022 crop plan finalized; a lot of decisions being made by high input prices. The dairy farm we rotate with is planting only what they need for corn this year, and their flex acres are going into sorghum. I'm cutting way back on whites, one reason being that they require a lot of Sul-po-mag and that's $1k a ton this year, double last year. My fertilizer blend has doubled since 2020, but what can you do about that? Hopefully the terminal price comes up enough next fall to pay for the increased inputs. It would be a hard thing to have spent extra, to grow too much, to sell cheap.
GREENHOUSE HEATER MAINTENANCE
Chris Callahan, UVM Extension Agricultural Engineer
A checklist has been compiled posted, with images, at http://go.uvm.edu/heatersafety which also includes a video checklist on this topic, by John Wells of Rimol Greenhouses. You can find the video on this YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAmuyx92uBQ
MORE RESOURCES FROM THE UVM EXTENSION AG ENGINEERING TEAM
Seasonally Relevant Resources
Heat Load Estimation for Greenhouses and Tunnels - http://go.uvm.edu/greenhouseheatload
Greenhouse and High Tunnel Ventilation - http://go.uvm.edu/tunnelventilation
Getting Started with Germination Chambers - http://go.uvm.edu/growthchambers
New Blog posts
Patient Pursuit of Packshed Happiness at Ananda Gardens - https://go.uvm.edu/anandagardens
Washing Machine/Greens Spinner Conversion Guide - https://go.uvm.edu/generalspinnerguide
New Podcasts Episodes at https://agengpodcast.com
Checking Out Old Equipment at High Meadows Farm: EP63
Checking out New Equipment at High Meadows Farm: EP64
Rain-flo Plastic Mulch Layer: EP65
NEW GUIDE ON TARPING FOR SMALL FARMS
University of Maine has produced a new publication called Tarping in the Northeast: A Guide for Small Farms, available at https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/1075e/
CUCURBIT GROWER SURVEY
This confidential survey seeks to learn about your experiences using row covers and your willingness to adopt a new row cover approach known as mesotunnels. It will support a study is evaluating the use of mesotunnels in the eastern half of the US for control of the full range of pests and diseases on organic production of cucurbit crops. Participation in the survey is voluntary, and your opinion is still valued even if you have not used mesotunnels or row covers.