Desert vegetables rev up

Fall melon production was in full swing in the desert regions with plant sizes varying from seedlings in some fields to early bloom in others.

Light insect pressures appear to be translating to the early desert crop as well. Whitefly pressures were scarce in the fall melon crop though there some early reports of cabbage looper activity.

University of Ariziona Entomologist John Palumbo said in first week of September that he had yet to hear of symptoms of cucurbit yellow stunt disorder virus.

“It is still a little early to determine whether it will have a significant impact this year,” Palumbo said.

Planting of fall/winter produce crops in Arizona was just getting underway and early reports of numerous crickets and flea beetles could mean trouble for new lettuce and cole crop stands.

There were a lot of armyworm reported in alfalfa and weeds going into the desert deal, but it was too soon to know if that would translate to problems for vegetable growers later on, Palumbo said.

“If we have prolonged warm weather during October, we could be in for an interesting pest year,” he said.

In the Imperial Valley, fields intended for winter cauliflower, broccoli and lettuce were being prepared for early irrigation during the first week of September as that region also got underway for the 2008-2009 season.

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