157 articles tagged "Cucurbits".

Figure 1. A common symptom of gummy stem blight of watermelon is a watersoaked area where the seed leaves attach to the stem.

1. What caused the water-soaked stem of this watermelon transplant? A-damping-off B-gummy stem blight C-Lightening strike Correct Answer: B 2. Is this problem likely to spread to other transplants? Yes 3. Will this problem likely spread in the field? Yes More information about gummy stem blight can be found in the article Cantaloupe and Watermelon Transplant Diseases in this issue.


Fig. 2 Maggot in young onion transplant with a penny referenced for size. Photo by John Obermeyer.

Each and every spring we get reports of poor seed emergence, seedling and transplant damage in early planted crops of all sorts. Most recently in untreated sweet corn, home gardens and transplanted onions. Lucky for us, we got to dive right into this pest and see them in action, but not so lucky for the growers who weren’t expecting it! While we don’t have a lot to offer in terms of a rescue for these crops affected this year, we hope to help you plan for this in the future and understand what the threat looks like for the remainder of the season. There are two different species to blame: the Onion Maggot (Delia antiqua) and the Seed Corn Maggot (Delia platura). There is a third species that attacks brassica crops referred to as the Cabbage Root Fly (Delia radicum). All three are nearly identical to the naked eye but[Read More…]


Figure 3. Anthracnose lesions on watermelon often appear jagged.

Many cantaloupe and watermelon growers are either growing transplants in a greenhouse or are expecting delivery of transplants in the next few weeks. Either way, growers should inspect transplants for disease before planting in the field. Below I will describe several common transplant diseases of cantaloupe and watermelon as well as management options. Gummy stem blight on transplant seedlings may be recognized by the watersoaked area of the stem near the seed leaves (Figure 1). The watersoaked area may eventually turn brown and woody. A closer look at the woody area may reveal the small, dark fungal structures of the gummy stem blight fungus. Medium brown, irregular lesions may also be observed on true leaves. A watersoaked area near the soil line is more likely to be damping-off (Figure 2). More information about damping-off can be found in previous issue’s article Damping-off of Vegetables. The fungus that causes gummy stem[Read More…]


This is a newly released video about when to plant watermelons. https://youtu.be/tHT2mAnNRWk Watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber plants are very sensitive to low temperatures. Even when frost has passed, soil temperatures below 60°F can result in transplant establishment failure. Check soil temperatures before planting. The rule of thumb is to plant watermelon, cantaloupe and cucumber transplants when soil temperatures at the root zone are stable above 60°F. Ideally, watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumber grow well when soil temperatures are above 70°F.



Dear Watermelon Growers, At our past winter technical meeting, several growers suggested fertilizer recommendations need to be reevaluated for watermelon production in our area. This suggestion is timely and critical. We plan to initiate a project for the 2020 watermelon production season to reevaluate the fertility and irrigation practices used in Indiana.  We will identify 7-10 watermelon fields with different irrigation and fertility practices. We will collect soil samples and plant tissue samples at different crop growth stages. Lab results will be shared with growers immediately after they are received. Growers who wish to closely watch the nutritional status of the watermelon plants may want to take this free opportunity. As part of this project, we will collect information about fertilizer and irrigation application, and approximate yield of the evaluating field from growers. Summarized results of this project will be shared at the next Southwest Indiana Vegetable and Melon Growers[Read More…]


Warm-season vegetables like tomato, cucumber, pepper etc. often receive premium prices if they were sold at farmers’ markets earlier in the season. The same happens on summer squash, with the different fruit shape and color, summer squash provides a great diversity to the market. High tunnels that  are planted with warm-season vegetables are often closed to maintain heat inside the structure in the spring. Growers often hesitate to bring beehives to high tunnels because of the increased production cost and potential worker safety concerns. Under such circumstances, crops that can set fruit without pollination (parthenocarpic) have an advantage for early-season high tunnel production. Previous studies indicated parthenocarpic character exists in some summer squash cultivars. But such information is not always clearly indicated in seed catalogs. Without knowing the information, farmers may miss the opportunity of growing summer squash and targeting for an early harvest in high tunnels. In the spring[Read More…]


Thanks to the support from NC-SARE, we are going to continue the study of evaluating grafted cucumbers for early season production in greenhouses and high tunnels by collaborating with farmers in 2020. You can find our 2019 on-farm trials’ summary here:  https://ag.purdue.edu/arge/swpap/Documents/Summary%20of%202019%20On-farm%20Grafted%20Cucumber%20Trials.pdf. The same as in previous years, we are going to supply grafted and normal cucumber transplants for free. These plants were grown in a conventional greenhouse using untreated rootstock seeds. What we want from growers is to grow the same number and variety of grafted and normal cucumber plants, and keep track of the performance of the plants and the yields. We will provide a stipend for your efforts in tracking the data. In addition, we encourage farmers to learn grafting technique and produce grafted plants on your own. We will provide you with technical support and help with the process on-site if it is needed. For more[Read More…]


You may be seeing a few “stink bug-like” insects crawling around on your cucurbit crops this time of year. However, these slightly more slender insects are not stink bugs, they are actually squash bugs. Similarly to stink bugs though, they do give off quite an odor when crushed! Squash bug adults and nymphs (immatures) (Figures 1 – 3) attack all cucurbit vine crops, especially squash, pumpkin, cucumber, and melon. These insects feed by sticking their needle-like mouthparts into plant parts to sip on sap. Feeding damage by adults and nymphs can cause significant damage to the fruit and foliage: damaged fruits are disfigured and discolored, and leaves may wilt and become brittle and discolored as well. Generally, squash bugs are not a problem if controlled earlier in the season with insecticides. If not however, it’s still possible to see adults, nymphs, and even egg masses on plants as we move[Read More…]


Winter squash – butternut, acorn, and kabocha – in our downy mildew sentinel plot at Pinney Purdue were showing some wilted and stunted plants by late July (Figure 1). They are easily pulled up, the stem breaking off at ground level, revealing a brown stringy decayed-looking stem base (Figure 2). Sometimes there is a little whitish or maybe pinkish mold on the stem. I cut open a kabocha squash to look for squash vine borer larva and found sap beetles that seemed to be feeding inside the stem, but no vine borer (Figure 3). The sap beetles were clearly taking advantage of an opportunity, but not the cause of the wilt. Perhaps a borer had already come and gone. I used scotch tape to pick up some of the mold and put it on a slide to look at under the microscope. At 100X and 400X I saw among the[Read More…]


Vegetable Crops Hotline - Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 625 Agriculture Mall Dr. West Lafayette, IN 47907

© 2020 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Vegetable Crops Hotline

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Vegetable Crops Hotline at guan40@purdue.edu.