Our fruit pruning workshop was held today and the weather cooperated. John Avery, Dr. Martin Kaps, Susanne Howard, Randy Stout and Jeremy Emery demonstrated the proper pruning of apples, peaches, pears, grapes and small fruit crops. Approximately 40 participants attended the workshop.
The veggies in the high tunnel, namely the cole crops, were slightly damaged by the cold temperatures. Yesterday, we put row cover over them for protection (1 ounce weight). The tunnel is set to close up at 45 degrees F, so hopefully this will keep the plants from sustaining cold injury from the temperatures predicted this week.
The cole crops and lettuce was planted in the high tunnel late yesterday and early this morning. The plants were watered in by hand after planting, but the irrigation was set up right after planting so it is ready to go for irrigation and fertigation. The plants in the flats were left out over the weekend to acclimate and some received a little nip from cold temperatures. The vegetables planted included Salanova Red Butter, Green Butter, Red Oak Leaf and Green Oak Leaf lettuce; Bay Meadows, Blue Wind and DiCicco broccoli; Green Caraflex, Alcosa and Super Red mini cabbages; and Cheddar cauliflower.
Randy and Jeremy have shored up the high tunnel to close up any gaps at the base or at the top of the curtain. We are getting ready to plant three varieties of mini cabbages, three varieties of broccoli, ‘Cheddar’ cauliflower, and four varieties of Salanova lettuce. We hope to complement the newly funded Specialty Crops Block Grant project - High Tunnel Production Rotation of Primocane Bearing Raspberries in Grow Bags – with early season vegetables followed by the raspberries.
Since we have experienced winter lows of minus 8 and minus 6 degrees Fahrenheit in January, we assessed winter bud injury for some cultivars. As part of his VESTA practicum work, Jeremy Emery is managing the assessment. Jeremy, Randy Stout and Asher Ramsey have all learned the assessment process and evaluated the % primary bud mortality for the following cultivars.
% primary bud mortality*
* Based on number of dead primary buds in a 100 bud representative sample.
Randy and Jeremy took the Chambourcin hardwood cuttings that were collected last November out of cold storage and put them in a heated propagation bed in the root cellar. They labeled the bundles, put powdered hormone on the base and tapped any excess off, and then set them in the propagation bed so the basal ends were near the heat and the tops were exposed to the cool air in the root cellar.