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Vermont Vegetable and Berry News – March 1, 2023

Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension 
(802) 257-7967 ext. 303, 

(Guildhall) The weekly grind of paperwork and moving potatoes all over New England continues. The taxes are done, crop plan and seed orders are done. All that remains is some equipment repair, debt service, and selling the last 500k of potatoes. We had a high incidence of hollow heart in gold chefs in most of our fields this year. To try to correct for this I've finally hired an agronomist to help balance our soils, and do weekly tissue sampling in season; I'm pretty stoked on it. Our 2023 crop plan has got us increasing the number of varieties we grow again, after trimming that number the last several years. 
(Westminster West) No supply issues so far. Soil mix, compost, pots, trays and seed have arrived in a timely manner. Shipping costs are up!  Storage potatoes holding up fine as is garlic, but almost out. 
Soil test from tunnels sent off, thanks for the reminders! For some strange reason, we are expanding vegetable production this year in potatoes, winter squash, celery and garlic. Labor is the big driver for changes as well as margins and demand. Overall crop expenses were up last year and controlling costs will be my biggest problem this year and may need to hold off capital expenditures such as well drilling and new equipment, do I really need a new tractor? Tomatoes and early seedlings are up and running already in the propagation house and I'm actually excited by this year's prospects, onward! 
Chris Callahan and Andy Chamberlin 
Many winter storage crops love high humidity and low temperatures. Others like low humidity and warmer temperatures. It can be a real challenge to achieve the right balance. As we make air cooler, it holds less water vapor so the difference between high humidity and condensation (rain) becomes less and less. It is not uncommon to run into either overly dry conditions or condensation on walls and ceilings. What’s going on here?  And what can we do about it? Check out our new blog post that dives in to this topic: 
New Blog Post: Duijndam Machines – Used Equipment from Europe. 
New Podcast Episode: Renovating a Barn to Sustain Indian Line Farm: EP4 

If you missed these live webinars held in February and March, check out the recordings posted at here, and on the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Grower Association’s YouTube Channel at: 

Crop by Crop Speed Share #1.  Growers describe techniques used to grow a specific crop in 10 minutes—including seeding, bed prep, cover cropping, spacing, amending, cultivating, harvesting, and storage. Topics: arugula, cut flowers, baby lettuce, onions, and leeks with farmers Ryan Demarest (Naked Acre Farm), Jessie Witscher (Understory Farm), Ryan Fitzbeauchamp (Evening Song Farm), and Jon Cohen (Deep Meadow Farm), Genica Breitenbeck (Naked Acre/ Home Front Gardens) 

Crop by Crop Speed Share #2. Growers describe techniques used to grow a specific crop in 10 minutes—including seeding, bed prep, cover cropping, spacing, amending, cultivating, harvesting, and storage. Topics: Brussels sprouts and other brassicas, garlic, potatoes, , and delicata squash with farmers Andy Jones (Intervale Community Farm), Patrick Sullivan (Ananda Gardens), Rachel Stievater (UVM Catamount Farm), and Jake Kornfeld (The farm at VYCC), and Seth Bent (Mink Meadow Farm). 

Diversified Farm Crop Pollination and the Common Pollinators. Spencer Hardy from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and Co-Owner of The Farm Upstream and UVM Extension pollinator support specialist Laura Johnson describe some of the common pollinators responsible for marketable fruit set on your farm and how to support them. Pollination requirements, timing of flower and fruit development, pollen characteristics, and differences among common fruit and vegetable crops are described. 

High Tunnel Pests, Old and New. UVM entomologist Cheryl Sullivan and UNH entomologist Anna Wallingford describe high tunnel pests and how to manage for them. They discuss aphids, cutworms, and other foes of your crops.  
High Tunnel Ventilation. UVM Extension Agricultural Engineer Chris Callahan plus UVM Extension Vegetable Nutrient Management Specialist and high tunnel grower Becky Maden discuss high tunnel ventilation, including structural orientation, structural design, passive ventilation, mechanical ventilation, best practices for disease management, and NRCS funding available to support implementation.  

Commercial Bumble Bees in High Tunnels. UVM Extension pollinator support specialist Laura Johnson plus Koppert’s Inside Sales Representative Anne-Marie Coleman and Christa Alexander from Jericho Settlers Farm discuss bumble bee use in high tunnels for crop pollination, including colony biology, optimizing pollinator use from single/multi boxes.