Tyfu Cymru have launched regular Power Hour sessions for members of the Soft Fruit Network. If you are a member of one of our grower networks, keep an eye out for details on our regular online meetings for network members.
These focused sessions are facilitated by Tyfu Cymru together with technical experts and include an update on topical issues based on growers instant needs, and allow you to share questions with growers and technical experts. This service will allow you to receive ongoing support through the networks. Want to join a network? Contact email@example.com
See the extract below and download full technical notes from the latest Power Hour can be downloaded here: Technical Advice Sheet: Soft Fruit Network - July
The season has progressed well so far, and while some growers are looking to finish picking soon others will be going into the autumn. In some instances PYO sites have opened successfully, almost with almost unrestricted access although other growers have found new ways of selling such as honesty boxes, home deliveries and drive-through purchasing that they may wish to consider for later seasons.
As you move through the summer and make plans for next year, you could start thinking about crops for next year. A number of other products fit well with the PYO model and can supplement your business in a number of ways. Sweetcorn can be planted cheaply but sold at high value particularly as it will be at much higher value than that seen in supermarkets. Cut sunflowers could be sold at three-for-£1 for basic varieties. Think about what sort of customers are visiting your site and what products are likely to be attractive to them. Other crops like gooseberry and blackcurrants can be helpful in bridging harvest periods and can be very popular even if only grown in small areas, and blackberries can be picked after raspberries finish. More products will also increase the average spend per customer as there will be greater choice for them to take home.
You may be considering overwintering crops for the new season, but these rarely live up to expectations whilst providing a headache for pest and disease carry over, although overwintered raspberries can be a cheaper option than replacement. Tunnel roofs can be dropped to avoid heat and variable temperatures, although you should continue to feed to prevent limited regrowth.
Powdery Mildew will be a recurrent problem from now on, so be prepared for a weekly spray program under tunnels. Flower stems and fruit can be effected, not just larger leaves. Runners on tabletops can be at particular risk as they can be missed by the sprayers and provide ideal settings for disease development. Regularly remove runners to reduce background spore production sites. Similarly, nearly finished crops can also pose a threat and will need to continue to be sprayed. Amistar and Charm can be effective, and can be compatible with IPDM programs.
Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information and recommendations given in these notes. All applications of crop protection chemicals should be made in accordance with label recommendations, which should be consulted before spraying. Some of the pesticides mentioned in these notes may not be supported by label recommendations for their use on pumpkin crops but are permissible via Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) in the UK under ‘The Revised Long Term Arrangements For Extension Of Use (2002)’. In these cases, the use of the pesticide is at the risk of the user and Tyfu Cymru does not accept liability for any loss or damage caused by such use. The references to on-label approvals and EAMUs for use of pesticides in pumpkin crops and are correct at the time of writing. These are subject to change and approval may be withdrawn at any point. It is the grower's responsibility to check approvals before use of pesticides. If in doubt a grower should seek advice from a BASIS qualified advisor - this is available free of charge for eligible growers through the Tyfu Cymru program, please contact us to arrange an appointment – email/telephone advice is also available.