Another example of why protected cropping is tremendously important for horticulture and food security
It appears, most greenhouses avoided major damage from last weeks unprecedented down pour in the Auckland region – two growers to my knowledge were not as fortunate. The storm produced an incredible amount of rainfall within a short amount of time. Greenhouse rain gutters, in many cases, would not cope with that amount of water resulting in internal over flow in many structures. Unlike unprotected crops, when the rain intensity subsided the greenhouse gutters would have manage the volume of rain that followed. This would have allowed any potential wet foliage time to dry out before any major plant damage occurred.
With the rainfall, dull and warm humid weather I anticipate disease issues in the coming weeks. Monitor closely and when the conditions allow protect your crops with the appropriate products, even if it is only a matter of precaution. Traditional insect pests may not be an issue at this moment; however, I expect many older crops to express stress symptoms when the weather improves. I anticipate insects will then have an opportunity to wreak havoc on weaker plants with less natural defence. Continued insect suppression is highly recommended.
Fruit loading, following up from my recommendations two weeks ago, reducing fruit load is an effective way in which to reduce stress on the plant and regain vigour. Plants that visually have a thinner stem, shorter leaf – are all the basic characteristics of plants declining in vigour, (some use the term weak generative), This does of course depend on the stage of the crop cycle. Just like the previous storm – irrigate appropriately – do not over water.
Only three weeks ago we had a terrible storm. These types of weather events followed by heat waves are the toughest even for the most experienced growers. Please contact me if you require any extra advice at this time.
Hygiene: Don’t forget about Bacterial Canker
Currently there are many issues facing tomato growers. If older crops show stress then they may be vulnerable to Bacterial Canker (BC). It is almost a little bit forgotten due to the PemMV and other virus outbreaks occupying our time, however, BC can be a consequence of plant stress so please be alert.
Protected cropping proves its importance for food security:
Greenhouse crops or protected cropping has again proven why it so important. Observing images of onions floating onto roads in Pukekohe was terrible. Growing or farming outdoors is always at a higher risk to the elements. If a greenhouse does flood it is likely due to its location and potentially the design, but even if it does the opportunity for returning to production quickly is possible.
If you have had storm damage or require advice, please contact your industry body.
For Tomatoes NZ please contact via the website https://www.tomatoesnz.co.nz/contact-us/