Ok – so this post is a little late, but still relevant!
On June 6 I got out to Westham Island Herb Farm to do a germination and vigour rating on the beets. These beets were actually planted on May 18, which meant data should have been collected on June 1. On June 1 I actually did head out to Westham Island with BC Seed Trials Lead Researcher, Alex Lyon to check on the crop. However, the weather had been so dry, and hot, and windy(!) that the soil was quite dry and germination was fairly poor.
We got to talk with Sharon Ellis, who runs Westham Island Herb Farm with her father, Herb, about the beet germination. We had been having our second hot spell of the year at this point so the ground was very dry. She had noted that along with the hot weather was a good steady wind which is common in her area. This causes the soil to dry out very quickly.
This year was particularly bad and she even noted that her neighbours, who grow beets at a commercial scale also had some serious germination issues. The same issue arose at Wisbey Veggies and Amara Farm. It seems the hot weather is starting earlier each year and if beet plantings are not times well they can suffer from the heat.
We discussed the possibility of replanting the beets the following week. But the forecast was calling for rain over the next few days. So we thought we would wait to see what happens.
Indeed it did rain that evening and it was a good rain that really soaked the ground.
So, back to June 6! My plan was simply to head out to collect the germination and vigour data. But in getting to the field I could see there was abt if weed pressure coming in so I thought I would make the best of my time and do some weeding while I was there. Any opportunity we have to take a bit of pressure of the growers can go a long way. Although, tempted as I was to get into the neighbouring beds to do some weeding I didn’t quite go that far!
So the next data collection for Westham Island Herb Farm will be for disease and pest damage. Several of the other sites are seeing multiple diseases show up – we’ll try to get to a posting of those soon!