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Vermont Vegetable and Berry News – May 1, 2023

Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension 
(802) 656-7534, 

(Westminster) Spring is going great so far, fieldwork is getting done on schedule. We have 10 acres of transplanted lettuce and kale growing well; beets and carrots are up, and the first asparagus is poking through. We’re seeing some of the best greenhouse germination in years – nearly 100 percent-- of kale, lettuce, and cabbage.  Our first sweet corn transplants are in the ground, and they’ll be knee-high by the fourth of June, fingers crossed.
The first of our H-2A workers arrives momentarily, although local labor is practically nonexistent. If we don’t see immigration reform soon, I don’t see how we and other farmers who rely on H-2A labor can stay in business.

(Grand Isle) Blueberry bushes made it through the winter just great. A little rabbit damage on some of the bushes. Pruning is done. 
(Elmore) Plum trees and pear trees loaded with buds opening to flowers soon. Perennial vegetable beds sprouting up nicely with good crops of sorrel, rhubarb, horseradish and Jerusalem artichokes. Garlic beds looking good and currant bush cuttings propagated in March are growing new leaves in the high tunnel. 

(Pownal) Blueberry Fields of Vermont. We have been working hard pruning blueberries and raspberries and fertilizing along with adding sulfur in the blueberries. The blueberry buds look great, and we can really see the growth after last year’s heavy pruning.  The raspberries are budding but do not appear in super shape. A few days of very warm weather in the winter months, followed by freezing is something we have seen before, and it resulted in poor production in June.
(Westminster West) Still burning wood in the house gives you an idea of the current weather situation!  Spring plant sales started very strong, but things have slowed due to cold and rain all week. We do a number of preorder truck load sales so that helps a lot when the weather doesn’t cooperate.  Field work besides garlic is nonexistent for now, although the garlic looks great! Thank goodness for tunnel work, tomatoes went in yesterday, cabbages and Napa are growing fast.

(Huntington) I'm glad we got a lot of amendment-spreading and primary tillage done back in those glorious days of early April, as the last 10 days have seen less than ideal drying conditions, even on our well drained ground. I find it challenging to follow my spring tillage mantra of "Just get as much done as soon as the ground is fit" but we have to plant most of our crops on a pretty strict schedule dictated by greenhouse transplant seeding dates. That said, having ground bare for an extra week or two is far better than mudding plants into poorly prepared ground if an earlier window was missed.   
(Grand Isle) It’s nice to see the peas growing. Thanks to help from Ann Hazelrigg we have identified a new pest for us in the greenhouse cucumbers.  We have sow bugs and pill bugs eating the stalks of plants at the soil line. These are not insects but arthropods related to crayfish.
Upcoming pollinators workshops: 

• Supporting pollinators, birds, and beneficial insects in a rotational sheep grazing and blueberry system, June 9, 10am-noon, Owl’s Head Blueberry Farm, Richmond 

 • Supporting pollinators, birds, and beneficial insects on a diverse livestock farm and rotational grazing system, July 19, 10am-noon, Rebop Farm, Brattleboro  

Back to June 2023 Agriview