By Clint Thompson
Fruit and vegetable season is in full swing across the South Georgia region.
Watermelons, a popular crop produced in the area, are currently being harvested. Ty Torrance, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension vegetable agent for Colquitt, Tift and Worth counties, talks about production and the lack of disease pressure growers encountered this year.
“There have been some melons harvested already but by the end of this week and definitely next week we’ll be full swing,” Torrance said. “I know there may be a couple of complaints about size, maybe the melons not sizing up like they normally would, but disease pressure has been relatively low. We always have fusarium around Tift County, but we didn’t really have a bad downy outbreak, not yet anyways. We have some spots that have some bad gummy stem blight.”
While diseases in watermelons have been low, tomato spotted wilt virus has been problematic in tomato and pepper this season.
“The bacteria in tomato and pepper is pretty bad. We’ve seen a lot more tomato spotted wilt virus this year than we have previous years even with resistant varieties. Even in a mild tomato spotted wilt year, you still see a handful of plants succumb to spotted wilt. But this year we’re seeing an increase in susceptible virus plants,” Torrance said “We had really high thrips numbers this spring. That’s across all crops. We’re going to look into samples and the virus itself. I think Dr. Sudeep Bag is going to take some samples and see if he finds any differences.”