Search This Website

Follow this website by eMail

Friday, February 16, 2018

What tomatoes can look like for SWFL fair

This is my personal "note-to-self" for next year when we start TOMATOES for SWFL 4-H fair program. These tomatoes were grown from seeds and plants made it through two rather hard frosts and bounced back. I keep them picked so you don't see much fruit. 


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Link to Berry Vegetable Times Newsletter

Link is below.

Why Do Florida Tomatoes Taste SO Bad?

Less than 13 hours of sunlight.

Our tomato growing season in SWFL is Fall, Winter, and Spring.

The sun provides us with 10.5 hours of light on our shortest days and takes until late April to provide a full 13 hours of daylight.

Our problem is that in May most tomato plants are starting to cry UNCLE to our heat, insects, and humidity.

  • Roast your tomatoes. They taste wonderful. 
  • Grow tiny tomatoes. Not cherry. Wild, Everglades, or similar taste best.
  • Grow in FULL SUN. No shade.  
  • Allow fruit to mature on vine if possible. The birds like to taste mine so I have to harvest early because covering just blocks the sun. 
  • The varieties offered at the grocery store are grown for their ability to be jostled around in shipping (as well as color, shape, size...). Not for their flavor.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 2018 Insect Outlook for SWFL

Thank you Gene McAvoy.
This is briefed from his S FL Vegetable Pest and Disease Hotline.

Around SW Florida, whitefly populations remain low but scouts report they are higher than what they
have been seeing in previous months.

Respondents on the East Coast indicate they are seeing low levels of leafminer activity in eggplant and leafy greens.
Around SW Florida, growers and scouts report that leafminers remain patchy but they have been
persistent and just won’t stop in some locations.

Respondents on the East Coast indicate that aphid numbers are increasing and winged aphids can be
found in most pepper fields.
Cabbage aphids are showing up in some crucifers around South Florida.

Around Immokalee, growers and scouts report a significant increase in worm pressure and note they are finding mostly southern armyworms but a few loopers and beet armyworms as well.

Pepper Weevil
Around SE Florida, weevil numbers are increasing slowly in most places with some fields reporting no detects to date.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Peaches are BLOOMING


Hundreds of blossoms on the trees that went horizontal for hurricane Irma. Small fruits are forming. Hopefully there will be minimal fruit drop.  

For more information on growing peaches in SWFL click here:

Cabbages keep giving

After harvesting the main head, cabbages will produce baby heads for a second crop.

Read more about growing cabbages here:

Beauty of Pineapples giving birth

We have about a dozen pineapples giving birth right now. Each of these photos is a different plant. 

Read more about growing pineapples here:

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

late blight on tomatoes in the Immokalee area

Briefed from Gene McAvoy's email. Gene is our 5-county UF/IFAS Veggie Agent.

I (Gene) have received a report from a reputable source of an isolated case of late blight on organic tomatoes in the Immokalee area.  Incidence and occurrence is currently low.

Given the forecast for the next few days - cool and dry - conditions are not conducive to development but this could change as we move forward and humidity moves back into the area bringing heavy night dews.

Growers would be well advised to scout susceptible crops carefully and evaluate their fungicide programs.

Late blight is caused by the fungus-like 'oomycete'  Phytophthora infestans, which is a pathogen of potato and tomato.  This disease can spread quickly and devastate a tomato or potato field within a few weeks if not properly controlled.

The disease thrives under cool and wet conditions. Temperatures between 50 and 80 F combined with moist conditions such as rain, fog, heavy dews, or relative humidity above 90 percent are conducive for disease development.  Night temperatures in the mid-fifties with daytime temperatures from the mid-fifties to mid-seventies are ideal for this disease.

Since the disease can spread so rapidly, growers should scout their fields thoroughly each day, especially when cool and wet conditions conducive to disease development prevails.

Late blight symptoms on leaves appear as irregularly shaped brown to purplish lesions with indefinite border lesions that can span veins. The lesions may be seen any time of day, on any stage of plant growth and on leaves of any age.  Velvety, white fungal growth may appear on the lower surface of affected leaflets early in the morning before leaves dry and/or in the lower canopy.

On stems, purplish lesions may be found any where on the stem.  Cottony, white growth of fungus on stems with lesions can often be seen early in the morning and/or in the lower canopy.  Stems with lesions are brittle and break easily. Lesions are confined to epidermis and cortex.  Leaf rolling and wilting is often associated with stem lesions and purpling of leaflets may occur in some varieties.

Begin a spray program with fungicides if late blight is in your area or weather conditions are suitable for late blight development. After harvest, kill infected foliage to minimize tuber infection.

Tomato growers should purchase disease-free transplants. Observe your fields thoroughly each day, especially when cool and wet weather prevails.

Currently, fungicides are the most effective means of controlling late blight and will remain the primary tool until cultivars with resistance to this disease become available. Fungicides slow the rate at which the disease develops in the field by creating a protective barrier on the foliage.

Just applying a chemical, however, does not necessarily equate with effective disease control. Relative effectiveness of a product, coverage, and timing must be factored into the equation for maximum benefit.

Systemic products become distributed locally within plant tissues and protect foliage from infection by spores. They may kill some established infections and may suppress production of new spores.  Even a short break in spray schedules, despite what is said regarding some of the newer fungicides, can result in a dramatic increase in blight under the proper conditions.

See USABlight for more info and photos -