Plan your market shopping list and seasonal recipes.Thanks to U of I Ext.; Educators from 3 parts of the state share their crop updates.
Regional Produce Reports June 23, 2017
From northern Illinois... We've had a period of temperatures within the 90s last week followed by storms with heavy rain. Rain has been hit or miss in the region with some growers affected more than others. Strawberries are being harvested in the last week with some growers expecting a shorter season. Due to the timing of our strawberry plants, usually Spotted Wing Drosophilia is not a problem; however, it still remains a problem for other berries and brambles. I've got both a sour cherry tree and peach trees at one of the Extension offices that are producing great fruit. The sour cherry tree has matured in the last week with small peaches developing well. This summer is the first that I expect to have haskap berries produced. Growers are should still remain vigilant in management, especially with the last week of June, since we tend to enter either a short drought period or heavy rains each year.
From north central Illinois... Some rain this past weekend, a little under a half inch, broke a near month-long spell of hot dry weather. Our last rain even was recorded on May 26, meaning the dry conditions allowed for some good fieldwork, but kept the irrigations systems going almost daily. While I received ½-inch of rain others fared better and got nearly four inches over the weekend. The rainfall amounts are variable for West-Central Illinois when I look over the recorded data.
Pests encountered just this past week include everyone's favorite squash bug and squash vine borer. I watched a squash vine borer adult female flying from vine to vine laying one egg each time. My attempts to capture her were futile. One attempt I did actually catch her, but thinking otherwise I opened my hand to watch her fly from my palm. Squash vine borer pheromone traps are available to monitor populations. The trap is baited with a female sex lure that captures males, but still leaves egg-bearing females to sow their 'seeds' of destruction, hence, the trap is not good for complete control.
Once you begin to capture the hapless male moths, begin with control regimes. You can find recommended insecticides for controlling squash vine borer, squash bug and other pests in the 2017 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide.
For organic growers research from South Carolina show effective biocontrol methods of squash vine borer using Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and Entomopathogenic nematodes when applied with similar timing as conventional insecticides.
Japanese beetles have begun their emergence. During my walks around the neighborhood, I've seen several decapitated Japanese beetle adults. I believe these headless beetles are from feeding done by various birds. Never would have thought a headless bug would have given me so much joy, but it does make me smile.
From western Illinois... There were smiles on everyone's' faces Thursday morning after several rain storms passed through the area Wednesday night and Thursday morning. We recorded 1.4" of rain, which was the first rainfall we had received in 18 days. We also caught another .45" on Thursday night/Friday morning. Totals for the area ranged from 1.25"-3" or more. More rain is expected Saturday as well. With the rains came some strong winds. On a trip from Quincy to Jerseyville to Jacksonville on Thursday afternoon, many corn fields had corn leaning due to the winds. Our first planted sweet corn is pollinating and the winds affected our corn as much of it was leaning, up to 45 degrees or more. It's been our experience that corn that is tasseled or later in maturity will not straighten itself out, so the pickers will have fun harvesting this crop. It's not a new experience, as it seems like we get a wind that affects one planting or another each year.
The rains were so welcome due to the fact that it had been over 2 ½ weeks since the last rainfall and that temperatures were so warm and the winds were so strong. The end result was that most folks that could irrigate were, as the crops were needing quite a bit of water to keep up with crop development.
Since we'd gone so long without rainfall, many preemergence herbicides that were applied several weeks ago may not provide much control. These products need to be incorporated, usually within 10-14 days, to be effective. Incorporation could include tillage or rainfall. Many producers apply these products immediately after planting and since we didn't receive rainfall within the time frame, expect poor control. Plan on utilizing row cultivation and/or post emerge products or hand weeding.
Cole crops are maturing nicely, with broccoli being harvested, heads forming on cabbage and cauliflower. The several insects that affect these crops have been apparent and treatment (sprays or row covers) have been applied. I know of one grower who has harvested their garlic and spread it out to dry. Onions are sizing nicely. Peas and greens are being harvested. I've been noticing on our high tunnel tomatoes some weird looking fruit. It appears to me like pollination was not complete. We did have some temperatures in the upper 40's about 4 weeks ago, so I'm wondering if that is the reason. Also, I have noted some two-spotted spider mites on the cucumbers in the high tunnel and will treat accordingly to manage them. Remember to refer to the 2017 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for further recommendations on specific pest management recommendations.
We set up our corn ear worm trap earlier this week and have been catching quite a few moths each night, 70-80 per night and in the last few nights over 100. Needless to say, we've been diligent in spraying to prevent damage. We started using brigade last year because of concerns with pythreoid resistant earworm and not wanting to take the risk of finding out after the fact. It does cost several times more per application as opposed to generic pyrethoids, but to us it's like an insurance policy, we can sleep easier knowing we have control.
We placed our shade cloths over our high tunnels on June 10th, after several days of 90 degree temperatures and the predication for the next weeks temperatures to remain at 90. I know other growers who use the "whitewash" paint to reduce sunlight and temperatures. This has to be reapplied each year as the effects will diminish with time and rains. Our shade cloth is a 40% shade, which seems to work well.
We've been fertigating the tomatoes twice a week to keep up with demand. All the literature I've read indicates that tomatoes prefer a 2:1 ratio of potassium to nitrogen, so we've always used potassium nitrate as our main fertilizer source.
From southern Illinois... We have been in a very summer-like, hot and humid pattern over the last few weeks. Temperatures have been in the upper 80s to 90s with a few fronts that have dropped humidity for a few days, but then it's back again as usual. Overall we have been fairly dry. At Murphysboro we did get 1" of rain late last week that kept things looking good, but given the temperature and sun that was gone fairly soon and some areas did not get hardly anything from that system. We are forecasted to get some rain the end of this week and then a break from the heat and humidity with a few days of temperatures back around 80˚.
Out in the field, it isn't just too hard to find some early peaches out at many markets with more varieties ripening with every day that passes. Blackberries are coming in as we have started harvesting our 'Kiowa' at my office. On blueberries, the earliest varieties are mostly and now we are into the 'Bluecrop', 'Chandler' and some 'Elliott'. Weekly sprays have been effective against spotted wing drosophila, and necessary with larva found in untreated fruit. See the note later in this issue for details on SWD management. The earliest of field tomatoes and peppers are getting ripe along with green beans. We will probably make our first harvest on our pepper varieties trials next week. We have had Japanese beetles out on brambles, asparagus ferns, blueberries...and well most anything they find a taste for. At home pumpkin transplanting will be coming soon as some of the first seeded transplants are ready to go but first I have to get some burndown and preemergence herbicides out on the field. Many direct seeded pumpkin fields are up and starting to put on that first true leaf.