Thursday, January 26, 2012

New USDA plant hardiness zone map

USDA has released a new plant hardiness map, with some very nice features. You can click on a state and it will enlarge for you and show you the zones for that state, type in a zip code and you will get the hardiness zone for that area, or zoom into your county. Here is a link

Sunday, January 22, 2012

SRSFC Jan 2012 newsletter

The January 2012 Small Fruit News has been posted. Included is an article on blueberry releases from the Univ. of Georgia. Here is a link:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blackberries on a shift trellis

In this You Tube Video, Barbara Jones, a blackberry grower in North Carolina,  is explaining how they manage the shift trellis. This shift trellis was developed by the late Dr. Herb Stiles, at Virginia Tech Univ. The basic premise of the shift trellis is to have all the fruit on one side of the canopy during harvest, where it is all one side of the row and is not exposed to the sun for the entire day. This is achieved by horizontally positioning the trellis during flowering, so that all the flowering laterals grow up towards the sun. Then when the fruit is set and starts to grow, the trellis is moved to the one o'clock position. This video was shot in early February 2011.

Although the Jones are primarily sweetpotato gowers, they have about 5 acres of blackberries that for the past 2 years have been sold to Trader Joes. CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE VIDEO:

Here is a shot of fruit that is starting to get ripe in late May 2011.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Upper Mountain Caneberry yield data has been posted

Several of you have asked to see our latest (2011) yield trials. We have trials of primocane and floricane blackberry and raspberry cultivars at the Upper Mountain Research Station in Laurel Springs, NC. We call this our mirror study, because we have the same plots both inside and outside of a multibay high tunnel. It is at about 2000 ft so is our coolest site. Both years, berries in the tunnels were protected once we had temperatures below 32 F. The trial will be maintained for one more year. The yield data can be found here, click on blue highlighted bullets in the third section on this page:

Friday, January 13, 2012

North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers meeting

Fifth Annual NC Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association Meeting
February 7, 2012
Cleveland County Extension Office Auditorium
Shelby, NC
10:30-10:35…..Opening Remarks and Welcome
10:35-11:05…..Labor Regulations Update.  Richard Blaylock US Labor Division
11:05-11:35…..Weed Control in Caneberries.  Katie Jennings. NCSU Horticulture Weed Science; Raleigh, NC
11:35-12:05- New Cultivars from NCSU. Gina Fernandez, Small Fruit Specialist; NCSU; Raleigh, NC
12:05-1:30…..Lunch, Trade Show, Silent Auction, and
NCCBRGA business meeting
1:30-2:15….. Insect Update.   Dr. Hannah Burrack, Small Fruit Entomologist; NCSU; Raleigh, NC
2:15-2:30….. Update on NARBA Promotion.  Ervin Lineberger
2:30-3:00- Update on Food Safety Moderization Act.  Debbie Hamrick. Farm Bureau.
3:00-3:10…..Winners of Silent Auction-Adjourn

Contact for registration information. 704-482-4365.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blackberry industry seeks research, promotion board - News

Blackberry industry seeks research, promotion board - News

At the recent Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Savannah, GA, Ervin Lineberger talked about an initiative that the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association along with a long list of other commodity groups and growers has been working on for a couple of years. They are trying to establish a Blackberry Research and Promotion Program, similar to the one that was established by the blueberry folks several years ago. Read more about it at the link above.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chillin' in NC?

Today it was 56 F in Raleigh, NC. I am loving the warm temperatures, but I am getting worried about lack of chilling. As of 4 pm today, we have accumulated 119 chilling hours, last year on the same date, we had 399 hours. We usually get about 1000 or more hours in the area.

High chilling/low chilling. Most of the blackberries and raspberries we grow in NC need to accumulate a high number of chilling hours in order to break bud and grow 'normally' next summer. Contrary to what you may initially think, we don't want low chilling plants. We want high chilling plants that can stay dormant when we get January thaws. However, this year it does not look like we are making progress to that high chilling number. We will be keeping track of it over the next few weeks. 

If you live in the SEUS, you can find probably find out the chilling hours in your area.  The NC State Climate office has a great tool you can use if you want to calculate the chilling hours in your area. Here is a link.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Upcoming meetings

There are a couple of meetings this month in the region that will focus either a session or an entire meeting on raspberry and blackberry production. The first meeting is later this week in Savannah, GA. There will be a session on Friday that will cover blackberry production issues. I will be presenting 2 joint talks, one on crop forecasting with Barry Goodwin and the other on natural pest control with Hannah Burrack. Online registration is closed, but you can still register at the event. Here is a link for more information.

Later this month, the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Growers will hold their annual meeting in Sandusky, OH. There will be both grower and research presentations, including one from Dr. John Clark, the luncheon speaker. Be prepared to laugh and learn.