Organic Twilight Highlights
Posted: September 16, 2012
With the early incidence of late blight again this year, I was very interested in their evaluation of late blight resistant tomatoes. Plum Regal, Mountain Magic, Mountain Merit, Defiant PHR and five yet to be released varieties were compared to susceptible controls including Matt’s Wild Cherry, Brandywine, Juliet and Legend. The trial had received three sprays of copper (8/14, 8/17, 8/22), Actinovate (8/14, 8/22) and Regalia (8/17). The results were dramatic. Meg will come out with the numbers in December, but you can see the difference between Defiant (left) and the susceptible variety Mountain Fresh Plus (right).
Downy mildew has been another significant problem this year. Unfortunately, of the two experimental cucumber varieties tested, neither exhibited acceptable resistance.
We taste-tested the powdery mildew resistant variety trial. Early defoliation by powdery mildew reduces storage for winter squash. In melons, powdery mildew reduces sugar production. In the Northeast Race 1 and 2 are common. On the west coast they also have Race S. The following are the varieties Meg tested.
|Eclipse||Standard cantaloupe||Race 1 only|
|Avatar||Siegers||Standard cantaloupe||Race 1 & 2|
|Cleopatra||Harris||Standard||Race 1 & 2|
|Lilliput||Seedway||Personal size||Race 1 & 2|
|Pixie||Seedway||Personal size||Race 1 & 2|
|Sugar Cube||Harris||Personal size||Race 1 & 2|
|Orange Sherbert||Siegers||Tuscan type||Also fusarium resistant|
|Napoli||Seedway||Tuscan type||Also podi virus resistant|
|Samoa||Seedway||LSL harper type|
|Honeydew Green Flesh||Harris||Honeydew||Susceptible control|
|Dream Dew||Harris||Honeydew||Race 1 only|
|Summer Dew F1||Harris Moran||Honeydew||Race 1 & 2|
The group seemed to rate Sugar Cube high for marketability and flavor. I thought it was far too sugary sweet and preferred Napoli. But again we will have to wait for the results in December.
Dr. Sandy Menasha, Vegetable Specialist Suffolk County, showed us their paper mulch trial. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) approved biodegradable paper mulch from Sunshine paper company and was compared to black plastic mulch in cantaloupe production.
Temperatures were cooler under the paper mulch compared to the black plastic at the beginning of the season, but caught up later on. Although this resulted in delayed maturity in cantaloupes on paper mulch, the harvest was steadier over a longer period of time, according to Dr. Menasha. A new development is that now you can buy this product creped so that it is easier to lay with a plastic mulch layer. Weed control was adequate.
Keep an eye out for results from other trials on-going at the Long Island Research Station this year -- Phytophthora blight resistance and bio-pesticides in peppers and winter squash, black rot resistance in cabbage, evaluation of Azera (azadirachtin + pyganic) for Colorado potato beetle, and a recently initiated nutrient dense trial.