Sometimes it is difficult to come up with something special to write about, but today is Mother’s Day, which makes it a no-brainer. I admit it that I am not only a mama’s boy, but I will always be my mama’s baby.

It seems like yesterday, but it has been 20 years since we buried my mama. Lord, I miss my mama.

Through my years of traveling around the Pee Dee helping folks as a county agent, I have had two things prominently placed in full view on the dash of my pickup truck. One is a picture of my sweet, angel mama with my son and the other is a round coin with the letters “TUIT” on one side. For many years this “Round To It” has reminded me of my mama and daddy, who taught all us kids to never procrastinate. However, we all need to have patience during these times, but we need to push forward as hard as possible, especially farmers — someone must feed this world.

Right now, vegetable farmers had better get busy and stay on top of the weather conditions, insects and weeds to produce good crops. By the way, people wonder how we can change the world — I know: “One mom at a time.”

First, winds are awful — damaging crops (sandblasting, wringing off plants, leaving spots on leaves and stems, causing damaged areas where disease like damping off can start and enter plants), shortening growth, stunting plants and causing early flowering (tomatoes, peppers). We used to plant wind barriers like rye, grow in fields surrounded by trees, etc., to curb wind damage, but I guess we now procrastinate — we say to ourselves the wind hasn’t been bad in years.

Truly we haven’t had a spring in years — just summer (four seasons — almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas).

What can we do now — to a limited extent irrigation will keep sand from blowing. The rains and irrigation to keep down blowing sand are causing leaching of nitrogen and even more damping off. Many farmers are adding extra nitrogen to get the plant size needed to get yields and a fungicide that contains phosphide to improve the immune system of the plant.

Hopefully, we can keep the tomatoes and peppers in the growth stage a little longer before the fruiting stage really kicks in and further reduces plant growth.

Also, insects are awful — grasshoppers, thrips, diamondback moths, yellow-margined beetles, and false cinch bugs. Remember to use the safest product for beneficial insects in your arsenal. My favorite saying is “without beneficials, we would be swimming in bad insects.”

Finally, control weeds in and around fields, where they compete with your crop, use needed plant nutrients, and are the source of many insect problems. If you are a commercial vegetable grower and have a question or need a 2020 Southeastern Veg. Growers Handbook, give me a call at 843-519-2402.

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