103 articles tagged "Cucurbits".

Figure 2. Plants died in the second day after average soil temperature was 54 °F

Growers start to plant tomatoes in unheated high tunnels around the end of March in southern Indiana. Around that time, there may still be a few light frosts, or even heavier ones, like the one we just experienced in the past week. With additional help from row covers inside of high tunnels, temperatures normally can be maintained above 32°F. Tomatoes typically do not have problems with the short-term low temperatures. However, this may not be the case for cucumbers. Although they are both warm season crops, Cucurbits (cucumbers, cantaloupes, and watermelons) are much more cold sensitive than Solanaceous crops (tomato, pepper). From a temperature perspective, this article discusses important considerations for deciding the time for planting cucumbers in a high tunnel. The best condition to grow cucumbers is when soil temperatures are above 70°F. This situation may not happen until the middle of May inside of the high tunnels, according to our[Read More…]


Figure 1. Powdery mildew causes talc-like lesions on pumpkin leaves.

Powdery mildew is a foliar disease of all plants in the cucurbit family.  The talc-like symptoms on leaves are relatively easy to identify  (Figure 1).  More about powdery mildew of cucurbits can be found at this link https://vegcropshotline.org/article/powdery-mildew-of-cucurbits-2/.  The remainder of this article is an update. There are several systemic fungicides which are recommended for powdery mildew of cucurbits. These include:  Aprovia Top®, Fontelis®, Luna Experience®, Merivon®, Procure®, Quintec®, Rally® and Torino®.  Recently, fungicide resistance to the product Torino® was discovered in eastern New York. I don’t know if the strains of the powdery mildew fungus we have in Indiana are resistant to Torino® or not.  Growers should scout their fields for the effectiveness of Torino® and other products. It is always best to alternate systemic fungicides for the management of powdery mildew of cucurbits. If possible, alternate between 3 or 4 products that have different modes of action. Not only[Read More…]


Figure 3. A Japanese type cucumber grown in a high tunnel.

Cucumbers are produced with very different production systems. The ideal cucumber variety for process pickling production is not the variety used for greenhouse production. Choosing the suitable variety for a specific production system then becomes important. Where do you find recommended cucumber varieties for high tunnel production in seed catalogs? Some of the seed catalogs have a category called Greenhouse or Protected culture. Varieties listed in this category are recommend for greenhouse or high tunnel production. Other seeds catalogs may call this group Parthenocarpic hybrid or European slicer. Cucumbers listed under these names are also suitable for greenhouse or high tunnel production. A few technical words (parthenocarpic, monoecious, gynoecious) occur frequently in the descriptions of high tunnel-grown cucumbers. Understanding their meaning is important in choosing the right varieties. Parthenocarpic means that the plant can set fruit without pollination. Since pollinators are not required in this case, parthenocarpic is a desirable characteristic for cucumbers grown in protected[Read More…]


Figure 1. Watermelon variety trial at Southwest Purdue Ag Center.

Seedless watermelon variety trials have been conducted at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center in Vincennes, IN for more than 20 years. In 2017, we evaluated the performance of 37 standard size seedless watermelon varieties and 4 mini watermelon varieties. This article introduces the top performing varieties in our trial in 2017. Standard size seedless watermelons Red Amber. This is a new variety. It had the highest yield among 37 varieties in 2017. Rind pattern of the variety is a medium green background with a medium dark crimson stripe. Average fruit weight in our trial was 16 lb. Red Amber had relatively firmer flesh compared with other varieties. 9651 and 9601. Both 9651 and 9601 are sugar baby type watermelons that have solid green rinds. Fruit shape is round to oval. Both varieties had a high yield in 2017, especially 9651. Average fruit size of 9651 was 16 lb and 9601[Read More…]


he round lesions on this watermelon are caused by Phytophthora blight. Note that the Phytophtora blight fungus can be seen sporulating on the lesion under moist conditions.

This disease was a serious problem in much of the state this past summer.  As a result, I have had many questions about managing this disease.  The questions I have been asked have ranged from what do I spray to how does this disease work? Therefore, I have written an article about the symptoms, biology and management of Phytophthora blight. I will concentrate on Phytophthora blight of cucurbits, but this disease is also a very serious problem on peppers. In the following article, I will outline some of the information I think it is important to know about this important disease. Phytophthora blight-biology Phytophthora blight is caused by a fungus-like organism known as Phytophthora capsici. Even when I was in graduate school in the 1980’s, my professors told us that we would discuss Phytophthora and related organisms in our fungus taxonomy class even though these organisms are more closely related to brown[Read More…]


Consumers love cucumbers that are sweet, seedless and have thin skins. They are willing to pay high prices for the long or mini cucumbers sold at grocery stores. These cucumbers are often grown in greenhouses and shipped long distances. It will attract consumers’ attention if greenhouse type cucumbers can be produced locally in high tunnels, and be available in the early-season’s market. There are at least three benefits for targeting early-season cucumber production. First, prices are higher; second, there are less pest problems; and third, things are going slower in early seasons compared to in the summer. However, we all know that cucumbers love high temperatures and do not grow well when soil temperature is low, even in high tunnels. This is especially true for the greenhouse type cucumbers. The situation may be changed with the use of grafting technology. Using squash as rootstocks, we were able to harvest cucumbers[Read More…]


In the past season, we tested performances of eight specialty melons grown under high tunnel, greenhouse, hydroponic, and conventional field systems. The melon varieties we have tested in our trials include Lilliput, Inspire, Sugar Cube, French Orange, Tasty Bites, Escorial, Savor, and Artemis. Many of these melon varieties are Charentais (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis). A specialty melon type with an outstanding fragrant smell. If you are wondering how to grow these specialty melons, please follow us at the Indiana Hort Congress. We will present what we have learned about growing these specialty melons under different production systems.


Earlier in August, downy mildew was reported on all cucurbit species in LaPorte County in northwest Indiana and on pumpkins in Starke County (just south of La Porte County). More recently, downy mildew was reported on cucumbers and butternut squash in Knox County in southwestern Indiana. In addition, downy mildew is strongly suspected on cucumbers in Jefferson County. Growers in nearby areas should take care to manage downy mildew if they have valuable cucurbit crops. However, this late in the season, it is unlikely that there will be widespread losses. Management of downy mildew of cucurbits is discussed in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2017 mwveguide.org and in the extension bulletin Downy Mildew of Pumpkin https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-140-W.pdf.  Note that downy mildew of cucurbits and downy mildew of soybeans are not caused by the same organism.  Please call Dan Egel if you have questions or concerns.


Figure 3: The pumpkin plants in the foreground of this photos have yellow leaves.

This time of year, I receive many complaints of pumpkin plants with yellow leaves. There can be many reasons why pumpkin plants have yellow leaves. The most common reason for yellow pumpkin leaves doesn’t have anything to do with a disease that can spread from plant to plant. Usually, the reason for the yellow pumpkin leaves has to do with lack of water, weather that has been too hot, nutrient deficiency or other stresses. The photos and discussion below will, I hope, illustrate my point. Let’s say you have a pumpkin field where you have pumpkin leaves that are yellow and you are wondering about the cause. You may want to ask yourself, which leaves are yellow and where are they yellow. In Figure 1, yellow pumpkin leaves may be observed.  When one looks a bit closer to find out where the yellow leaves are, one can see that the[Read More…]


Figure 1. Powdery mildew causes talc-like lesions on pumpkin leaves.

Powdery mildew is a common disease of cantaloupe and pumpkin in Indiana. Occasionally, I observe this disease on watermelon as well. Recently, I have noticed more powdery mildew than usual on watermelon. If left uncontrolled, this disease can cause loss of foliage, loss of yield and lower quality fruit. This article will discuss the biology and management of powdery mildew of cucurbits with an emphasis on watermelon. Powdery mildew is relatively easy to recognize; talc-like lesions occur on both sides of the leaf (Figure 1).  (This article https://vegcropshotline.org/powdery-mildew-symptoms-vs-variegated-leaves/ has additional information about powdery mildew symptoms. ) The fungus that causes powdery mildew, Podosphaera xanthii, does not require leaf wetness for infection of leaves, only high humidity. The optimum temperature for disease development is 68 to 81°F. P. xanthii may survive for a period in crop residue as a resilient fungal structure, but the disease is so easily windborne, that crop rotation is not always[Read More…]


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