Here we go down the last mile of the 2013 season. This year had its challenges and disappointments for some, but we must remember that every year brings its own unique blessings and adversities. Our spring started off wet across most of the area we cover, causing compaction and less than ideal growing conditions.
We saw early planting problems that resulted in over grown plant and early fruit set loss. Part of the problem came from 2012 being a dry year resulting in a nitrogen build-up carry over. Excess nitrogen availability along with the extra water led to accelerated growth, crowing out the minerals and trace elements needed for proper plant growth, fruit set and development. Signs of nitrogen problems observed this year were one lobe peppers, cantaloupes with green stripes, seedless tomatoes.
Besides the challenges we were faced with there was nice produce at the market, but it took some good management to accomplish it. The first place to start is by taking a soil sample in the fall and applying fry minerals followed by ReStore 3G to stimulate bacteria and fungi in the soil, which then provide nutrients for the following crop. The spring is the best time to apply dry fertilizer trace elements along with a good transplant solution containing a rooting stimulate and some humic acid.
Another management tool that worked well this year was PhytoGroXtra, a high carbon plant growth and soil activator with enzyme/ micro extract concentrate, soil modifiers, and chelated micronutrients. This product will aid in reducing sodium buildup, and improve water and air ratio by reducing soil compaction. PhytoGroxtra aids in phosphate uptake (both applied and in the soil) by increasing carbon levels. Research in many areas has shown that humic acid aids in increasing yeild, plant vitality and fruit quality while reducing fungal disease.
Additional boron may also be added when fruit set is not at a desirable level. We have seen growers having problems with not getting good fruit set and when boron is added fruit set improved. Remember calcium is the truck, phosphorus is the engine being driven by boron.
Just a few things for you to keep in mind while planning next years crops!