14 articles tagged "Cole Crops".

I really thought I was staying ahead of the insects in my crucifer greens pretty well, but as you can see from my ravaged arugula plant (Figure 1), I was wrong! It’s that time of year again when holes may be appearing in your favorite crucifer crops, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, Brussel sprouts…and the list goes on! Although there are several insect culprits that may be causing damage, caterpillars are key pests to be vigilant for. Whether you have fields or a small garden of delicious cruciferous greens, caterpillars are the primary pests to manage; if you don’t stay ahead of them, they can devastate your crop. In Indiana, the three most common caterpillars you’ll find eating your crucifers are the imported cabbageworm, cabbage looper, and the diamondback moth. All three caterpillars feed on the leaves and heads of developing crucifer plants, reducing plant growth and leaving behind[Read More…]


Figure 1. Broccoli grow leaves in the head. A response toward heat stress (Pictures was provided by ANR educator Luis A. Santiago)

Cool nights have finally arrived after the first week of October. Before, we had quite a few days when temperatures were above 90°F. The unusual high temperature has caused problems on early-planted broccoli. Broccoli is a heat-sensitive crop. The critical period for heat sensitivity is when plants shift growing tips from vegetative growth to flower bud initiation. This is about 10 days before the crown is visible. Temperatures above 90°F during the critical period cause injury on the flower buds. As the crown continues to grow, an uneven head becomes noticeable, and these heads are inclined to be affected by pathogens. Another response broccoli often has toward the heat stress is to grow leaves in the head (Figure 1), although it may be less a concern compared to bud damage. Varieties are varied by heat sensitivity, and they may have slightly different responses toward high-temperature. For example, the very popular[Read More…]


Great information on pest management of brassica crops can be found at the Brassica Pest Collaborative website (https://ag.umass.edu/vegetable/resources/brassica-pest-collaborative). This project recently conducted several online workshops on managing insect pests of brassicas, including imported cabbageworm, cross-striped cabbageworm, cabbage maggot, flee beetle. All the webinars should be posted on the above website after April 12.  


Bolting of crops overwintered in high tunnels is common in the spring. ‘Bolting’ refers to lengthening and blooming of the flowering stalk. Bolting is often a problem because the quality of the marketable part of the plant declines. Also, plants subject to bolting are programmed to die once they complete flowering and seed production so yield will decline in quantity as well as quality. Sometimes bolting is not a problem because the stalk, buds, and flowers can be sold as a new product while they last; this is often the case with kale,  mustards and related crops. Crops susceptible to bolting include those in the mustard family such as kale, mustards, tatsoi, bok choy (pac choi), mizuna, turnip, radish, etc.; carrots; beets and in some cases Swiss chard; onions; lettuce; and spinach. (Figure 1)   Bolting is triggered by environmental conditions. Some plant types are triggered to develop flowers by[Read More…]


Figure 3. Broccoli ready to harvest.

A fall broccoli trial was conducted in a high tunnel at Southwest Purdue Ag Center in 2016 to test the potential of growing broccoli in high tunnels after tomatoes. This article describes what we found from the trial. Broccoli is a cool-season, frost-tolerant crop. The harvest portion of broccoli is the compact, slightly dome-shaped head that is comprised by numerous immature flower buds. Broccoli that forms a single large head and thick stalks requires 50-70 days to harvest. Vegetative growth occurs over a wide range of temperatures, but high-quality head development requires temperatures in the range of 54-68 ºF. If temperatures are below 41ºF, plant growth is significantly reduced. In Indiana, fall production of broccoli in an open-field can be challenging because of the relatively long growing season. But with increased heat accumulation in high tunnels, it is possible to have a second crop of broccoli following tomatoes. Broccoli can[Read More…]


There are three important caterpillar pests of crucifers in Indiana, the imported cabbageworm, the cabbage looper, and the diamondback moth. Each of these caterpillars will feed on leaves and heads. All are capable of producing serious damage to most crucifers. The adult imported cabbageworm is a common white butterfly with black spots on the forewing that can be observed flying early in the spring. The larva is a sluggish green caterpillar (Figure 1), exceeding 1 inch in length at maturity, with a light yellow stripe running down its back. The larvae can consume enough leaf material to reduce plant growth; can feed on the head, making it unmarketable, and can foul the head with excrement. The cabbage looper does not overwinter in Indiana, but flies into the state each spring from more southerly locations. Larvae are light green with a white stripe along each side of the body. They reach[Read More…]


Many of our vegetable crops are attacked by one or more species of flea beetles (Figure 1). All species do similar types of damage, chewing small holes in the leaves. Damage is most important on young plants or transplants, so growers should watch young plants carefully. Fortunately, flea beetles are easy to control. Sevin®, the pyrethroids, and many other products will provide excellent control.


Crucifers such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are frequently attacked by a variety of caterpillars, with the most important being the imported cabbageworm, diamondback moth, and cabbage looper. The first caterpillar pest to attack crucifers is the imported cabbageworm. The adult stage is the common white butterfly that you will see flying around your field (Figure 1.). They lay eggs singly on the leaves. The larvae are velvety green and move very slowly (Figure 2.). They will consume large amounts of plant tissue and will also contaminate the heads with their feces. Your first indication of activity is when you see the daytime flying butterflies in your field. Once the butterflies are observed, you should begin watching your plants for signs of damage. Plants can tolerate a considerable amount of feeding damage on the leaves before heads begin to form. See the table on page 101 of the Midwest Vegetable[Read More…]


Three species of seed and root maggots attack vegetables in Indiana. The seedcorn maggot (Figure 1) feeds on seeds and seedlings of sweetcorn, cucurbits, lima and snap beans, peas, and other crops. Cabbage maggots can cause serious damage to transplants of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts and make the fleshy roots of radishes, turnips, and rutabagas unmarketable. Onion maggots are pests of seedling onions, developing bulbs and onions intended for storage. Seedcorn maggot flies emerge in April and May and lay eggs preferentially in areas with decaying organic matter. Fields that are heavily manured or planted to a cover crop are more likely to have seedcorn maggot injury. Maggots burrow into the seed and feed within, often destroying the germ. The seeds fail to germinate and plants do not emerge from the soil, leaving gaps in the stand. When infested seeds germinate, the seedlings are weak and may die.[Read More…]


(Photo by John Obermeyer.)

​I have seen more green stink bugs this year than at any time in my career. I have no logical explanation for their abundance. It was thought that as the invasive brown marmorated stink bug became established, it might outcompete the native stink bugs such as the green stink bug, causing numbers to decrease. However, this year, brown marmorated stink bugs have been relatively uncommon, and green stink bugs seem to be everywhere. Stink bugs feed with their sucking mouthparts and are likely to feed on a wide variety of vegetable crops, including cabbage, sweet corn, cucumber, bean of all types, okra, mustard, peas, peppers, and tomato. Check the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide (ID-56) for your particular crop for insecticide recommendations.


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