A cold and rainy winter has been challenging so far for Alabama vegetable producers. Joe Kemble, Alabama Extension vegetable specialist, cautions growers that though it may be chillier, that does not eliminate certain diseases that can be problematic.
“I will say on the vegetable side, things are a bit slow. Weather’s been not exactly ideal. The rainfall we’ve been having, I would be concerned about things like Anthracnose, leaf blights; things that cause leaf blights on greens,” Kemble said. “I’d say be diligent and keep an eye out because the weather, unfortunately, yeah it’s cold but the afternoons warming up and still in these 45, 50, 60-degree days, that is warm enough for some of these diseases to keep moving around.
“The cold weather does not eliminate that problem, unfortunately.”
Yellowmargined Leaf Beetle
Farmers also need to be wary of potential insect problems even during cold weather conditions, specifically with the yellowmargined leaf beetle. Unlike some insects that prefer summer, or warm conditions, the yellowmargined leaf beetle likes cooler weather and will impact brassica crops.
“It’s fairly new to our area the last few years. They’re incredibly hard to kill. If you’re growing cabbage, they can hide very well in the heads,” Kemble said.
“It’s really hard to get sprays sometimes on them. You’d be harvesting and start finding all of these holes in leaves and things. Unfortunately, the yellow margined leaf beetle is pretty good at what it does in terms of holes and things like that.”