WEATHER:. Temperatures dipped to freezing and near freezing
levels over the western Panhandle, northern and central Peninsula, and
some southern Peninsula localities during the second week of January.
Vegetable producers irrigated crops as needed for cold protection. The
cold weather lightly singed some lettuce and burned some leaves of
young sweet corn in the Everglades. Gusty winds accompanying the
cold temperatures blew sand across central and southern Peninsula
vegetable fields causing some reduction in quality. Strawberry
production dipped slightly in mid-to-late January when producers lost
mature fruit from plants that were iced for protection from the earlier
cold. Most vegetable acreage recovered well when temperatures soared
to record or near record highs during the last half of January. Vegetable
harvesting remained active throughout most of the month. Frequent
showers over the western Panhandle and northern Peninsula eased dry
soil conditions throughout the month. Widespread, soaking rains fell
in nearly all areas except for a few southern Peninsula localities around
mid-January. Soggy fields delayed the picking of some vegetables
around Immokalee after the mid-month showers but boosted the growth
of most vegetables. Potato digging increased in southern Peninsula
areas during late January.
Dry, warm weather persisted throughout most of February
with the danger of wildfires increasing across the northern and central
Peninsula and in a few western Panhandle localities. Peaches, other
low chill cultivars of fruit trees and azaleas were blooming in northern
areas by mid-month. Northern growers laid plastic for the planting of
watermelons. The mostly clear conditions allowed vegetable planting
and harvesting to proceed at the usual pace. Some southern and
southeastern coastal localities received significant rainfall around mid-
month with West Palm Beach recording almost six inches of rain, and
Ft. Lauderdale and Ft. Pierce reporting around two inches from these showers.
A storm system from the Gulf of Mexico brought at least two
days of soaking rains to most areas near the end of the month with
precipitation amounts ranging from a third inch to almost five inches.
These rains delayed fieldwork and reduced the quality of some
vegetables in the affected areas. The rains eased the threat of wildfires
in most localities. Cold weather arrived at the end of the month
bringing frost and freezes to the western Panhandle and some northern
and central Peninsula localities.
Cold, rainy weather during early March brought hard freezes
to some northern areas and dumped from five to nine inches of rain
over some Big Bend localities. The freezing temperatures killed some
early watermelon transplants, singed some cole crops and damaged the
tops of potatoes in the Hastings area with older plants suffering the
most harm. Temperatures warmed by mid month. Mostly light showers
kept the danger of wildfires high during the month, especially over
central Peninsula areas. Vegetable planting and harvesting continued
at a normal pace for most of the month. Temperatures again plunged
during late month bringing lows in the 30s to some Panhandle and
northern Peninsula localities and lows in the 40s to many central
Peninsula areas. This cold caused no significant damage to tomatoes
around Quincy but killed some very young watermelon transplants
with producers replanting as needed. Temperatures remained mostly
normal during the last week of the month when daily afternoon storms
returned to some Peninsula localities.
|This report reflects conditions as of April 1 and represents acreage for harvest during the spring months of April, May, June, and July. Estimated acreage by growing region is no longer available.|
The prospective area for harvest of 11 selected fresh market
vegetables during the spring quarter is forecast at 220,100 acres, down
1 percent from last year for comparable commodities. Acreage
decreases for broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers,
and head lettuce more than offset acreage increases for snap
beans, sweet corn, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Melon acreage for
spring harvest is forecast at 84,300 acres, down 4 percent from last
year. Cantaloup, honeydews, and watermelon were down 4, 3, and
5 percent, respectively.
SNAP BEANS: Acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 24,000 acres,
up 2 percent from last year. Florida growers are harvesting the winter
acreage and will soon start on the spring crop. No major problems have
been reported. Land preparation for spring planting in Georgia was
active during the month.
CABBAGE: Acreage for spring harvest is forecast at 10,600 acres,
down 5 percent from last year. Florida's short cold weather periods
have not harmed the crop. Georgia growers prepared land for spring
planting during March. New Jersey's mild winter and cold spring were
favorable for the early cabbage crop. Texas weather conditions have
fluctuated greatly this spring. Cabbage in the San Antonio Winter
Garden area is showing signs of freeze damage that occurred during the
end of February and the beginning of March. Rainfall over some areas
of central Texas has varied from 81 hundredths of an inch to over one
and one-half inches. South Texas has had continued cool, dry weather
with windy conditions causing some farmers to stop planting.
SWEET CORN: Intended acreage for harvest is forecast at 37,000
acres, up 1 percent from last year's acreage. The California southern
desert area had colder than normal temperatures which will delay
harvest this spring. However, due to ideal growing conditions in
central California, the sweet corn planted for spring harvest is doing
very well. A large amount of the spring harvest in central California is
scheduled to occur on time in June. No pest or disease problems were
reported in the central or southern areas. In Florida, cold temperatures
in early January shortened some supplies of the winter crop. Most
acreage escaped damage from the cold temperatures during March.
CUCUMBERS: Spring harvested acreage is forecast at 4,900 acres,
down 6 percent from 2001. In Florida, growers are starting to harvest
the spring crop. No major problems have been reported. Texas
cucumbers are off to a slow start with a later harvest expected due to
late snow and cool weather in the west and lack of rain in some areas
of south Texas.
BELL PEPPERS: Acreage for harvest is forecast at 7,500 acres, up
4 percent from 2001. In Florida, cold temperatures in early January and
March, combined with soaking mid-January rains slowed plant growth
and fruit maturation. Most planting for the spring crop remained on
schedule. In south Texas, rainfall is needed. The San Antonio Winter
Garden area shows signs of freeze damage that occurred during the end
of February and the first week of March.
TOMATOES: Acreage for harvest is forecast at 28,300 acres, up
4 percent from 2001. In California, cold weather in February and
March slowed crop development. Wet conditions in January slowed
field preparation for fresh market tomatoes in the San Joaquin Valley.
Transplanting started in late February and should continue through
early April. No pest or disease problems have been reported. Florida
tomato growing areas were affected by cold temperatures in early
January and March. Mid-January soaking rains slowed plant growth
and fruit maturation.
WATERMELONS: Acreage intended for harvest is forecast at 48,200 acres, down 5 percent from last year. Arizona's spring harvest was generally unaffected by the winter's several cold snaps throughout the State because many producers use plastic coverings over the young plants during the early planting months. The California crop experienced unusually cool temperatures which slowed the growth of melons. In Florida, cold temperatures in March caused some replanting of northern Peninsula acreage. In Texas, melons in the San Antonio Winter Garden area showed signs of freeze damage that occurred during the end of February and the beginning of March. Rainfall over some areas of central Texas has varied from 81 hundredths of an inch to over one and one-half inches. Rain is needed in south Texas.
Vegetables for fresh market, prospective acreage for harvest, spring quarter
by States, 2002 with comparisons
|Florida 1/ 3/||Apr-Jun||300||--||--||--|
|New Jersey 1/ 3/||May-Aug||400||--||--||--|
|BELL PEPPERS: 2/|
|TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED|
|TOTAL OF CROPS ESTIMATED|
|United States 4/||309,900||312,200||304,400||98|
1/ Seasonal estimate discontinued in 2002.
2/ Includes fresh market and processing.
3/ 2001 State data not published to avoid disclosure.
4/ Total of crops listed plus broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, head lettuce, cantaloups, and honeydew melons.