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MOFGA's Pest Alert - August 31, 2012
Compiled by Eric Sideman, PhD - MOFGA's Organic Crop Specialist


Autumn is approaching and the farm fields and gardens are showing signs of getting tired. This is the time of year when crops run out of nutrients, succumb to disease or insects, or both, and often get hidden by the late summer weeds. It is also a time of great bounty. Some days I look out in wonder at how much we produced, and other times I look out and wish we did better. Lots of crops are going down or are gone. If this is happening to you and you are wondering why, you can go back and read the earlier Pest Reports of the season and figure it out. Here is a summary of some of the problems predicted and noted that are very obvious now.

By the way, if you would like to see pictures of these problems and be part of the fun and discussion, come to the Common Ground Fair, which begins three weeks from today. On Sunday, September 23, at 1:00, I will present a wrap-up of the pests of 2012.

Some Highlights of 2012:

Spotted wing drosophila on a tomato. Photo by Eric Sideman.

The big problem with spotted wing drosophila (SWD) that we feared would arise, did. The SWD is laying eggs in all sorts of soft skinned fruit as I write (see the July 17 Pest Report for details). This morning Becky sliced open some raspberries to see, and sure enough, larvae.

Late blight (mentioned in many Pest Reports) made it to New England and is wide spread now. It is no where near as bad as in 2009, but if you are one of the unlucky, then it may as well be.

Powdery mildew and squash bugs (June 7 Pest Report) have taken down much of the pumpkin and squash crop.
Thrips (July 27 Pest Report) have taken down much of the onion crop.

Potato leaf hopper (June 29 Pest Report) has taken down much of the potato crop.

The garlic bloat nematode (June 7 Pest Report, and also read the article in the Fair issue of the MOF&G) is showing up in many unsuspected fields of garlic. Be careful buying garlic seed by having the discussion with your provider.

Enough sad stories for this morning. I am going to go water the carrots in the high tunnel and look forward to harvests in January.

See you at the Fair.

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