86 articles tagged "Cucurbits".

Figure 1. Seedless watermelon varieties in 2016 variety trial that have unique rind patterns

— Notes from Watermelon Research and Development Group Annual Meeting and 2016 Indiana Watermelon Variety Trial We are proud to be in Vincennes, the heart of watermelon producing counties in Indiana. In case you are unfamiliar with watermelon production here, Indiana is just behind Florida, Texas, Georgia, California and South Carolina in watermelon production nationwide. Indiana has more than 7,000 acres of watermelons valued at over $30 million value. In the recent Watermelon Research and Development Group (WRDG) annual meeting, the group that comprise members from academia, government and industry discussed watermelon varieties. In this article, I will summarize my notes from this year’s meeting and discuss the varieties we tested in Indiana watermelon variety trials in 2016. Mini-watermelons One of the interesting things I learned in the meeting is from a talk by Mr. Greg Hitt from Walmart. He shared data that shows Walmart increased the sale of mini watermelons[Read More…]


Figure 2. Older leaves were pruned on cucumber plants.

Tomato is considered one of the most profitable crops grown in high tunnels, but continually growing one single crop leads to build-up of diseases. In addition, growers are facing more competition in selling tomatoes in the market. To enhance resilience of high tunnel system and increase access to consumers, crop diversification is important. In this article, instead of discussing tomatoes, we will focus on another high-value crop, seedless cucumber. Fresh consumed seedless cucumber is a popular crop in local food markets. It sells at a premium price in early seasons as does tomato. Seedless cucumbers grown under protected cultures are parthenocarpic, which do not require pollination. In addition, the climbing habit allows trellising, which maximizes the use of vertical spaces, making seedless cucumber an ideal crop for high tunnel production. Parthenocarpic cucumbers are available in different types. The long ones are often referred to as European, Japanese or English cucumbers. They have thin skins with longitudinal[Read More…]


In issue 619 and 620 of the Vegetable Crops Hotline newsletter I gave you a brief background of the materials used and methods followed during the variety evaluation. I also discussed some of the challenges we encountered while doing the trial work. The varieties evaluated included: Entry # Variety 1 Sephia (Galia type) 2 Tirreno (Italian netted cantaloupe) 3 Rawan (Ananas type) 4 Rowena (Ananas type) 5 Migdal (Galia type) 6 Magnificenza (Italian netted cantaloupe) 7 Kenza (Charentais) 8 Karameza (fully netted cantaloupe) Preliminary data will be discussed in this article. Statistical analysis of all the data has not been concluded and therefore only treatment averages are reported. Yield: One of the criteria that was set for the variety trial was that the fruit size needed to be between 2 – 4 lbs. At Meig’s Farm Magnificenza, Sephia and Kenza produced fruit that varied in weight between 3.28 and 3.96[Read More…]


With the start of pumpkin harvest, it is a good time to review important considerations for harvest and postharvest storage of pumpkins and winter squash (butternut, acorn and hubbard squash etc.). First, pumpkin and winter squash should be harvested fully mature to reach their optimal quality and fulfill their potential for long shelf lives. Characters indicating fruit maturity include loss of rind surface gloss, ground spot yellowing, and hardening of the skin to the level that it is resistant to puncture with a thumbnail. Except for some striped varieties, mature fruit should have solid external color. If fruit have to be harvested pre-mature because of plant decline, these fruit won’t store as well as mature fruit. The best practice is to harvest the fruit as soon as they are fully mature and then store under proper conditions. If mature fruit are left attached to the vines, it increases the chance[Read More…]


Downy mildew has now been observed on butternut squash, jack-o-lantern pumpkins and cucumbers in Knox County. The list of cucurbits observed in Porter County has been updated to include butternut squash and giant pumpkin. All cucurbit growers should assume that downy mildew is present nearby and may attack any cucurbit crop. However, it is not clear what affect downy mildew may have on cucurbit crops this late in the season. Pumpkin growers who expect to harvest in the next few weeks may not need to take any management steps at this time. Downy mildew affects only leaves; stems and fruit are unaffected. Indirect effects of downy mildew in fruit are unlikely to be observed in a few weeks. Another article in this Hotline issue discusses the question of when to stop managing diseases in pumpkins. If the decision is made to apply fungicides, this article https://vegcropshotline.org/article/cucurbit-downy-mildew-watch/ or the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide mwveguide.org will help to select a[Read More…]


Several pumpkin growers have asked me when to stop managing for pumpkin diseases. That is, when should a pumpkin grower stop applying fungicides? I cannot provide a definitive answer for this question; every grower will have to make his or her own decision. Below, however, are some factors to consider. Estimate the crop yield – walk through the field and evaluate the yield of pumpkins that are ready to harvest. Be sure to only consider fruit of marketable quality. If the yield is at or above what is expected, it may be time to put the sprayer away. Estimate when harvest will take place – Pumpkins that are scheduled for harvest in the next week or two are less likely to need any fungicide treatment. A longer period to final harvest may indicate that there is time for immature fruit to ripen. For example, pumpkins that are to be picked by the consumer up to Halloween may[Read More…]


Over the past several weeks, there have been a number of reports of high populations of aphids on cucurbits, as well as report of disappointing levels of control with various insecticides. Without getting into the specifics of individual complaints, here are some suggestions for improved control of aphids. Remember that our primary method of control of aphids is natural enemies. There are a wide variety of predators and parasites than usually keep aphids at reasonable levels. Usually, an outbreak of aphids is an indication that a grower has done something to kill off the natural enemies, which allows aphid populations to reproduce unchecked. And, aphids have a very high reproductive capacity, so without those natural enemies they can build up in number very quickly. Obviously, there are other pests that cucurbit growers need to control, so some disruption of the natural enemies is to be expected. However, growers should only[Read More…]


Figure 3. The fungus on this senescent female pumpkin flower (Choanephora sp.) is growing on a flower which did not develop properly.

There has been some concern about poor fruit set in pumpkin fields that otherwise have healthy vigorous vines. This summer we have experienced above normal temperatures for much of the pumpkin fruit set season and I suspect that has played a role. This article will consider temperature as well as other factors that influence pumpkin fruit set. In order for fruit set to take place, male and female flowers must be open on the same day, pollinating insects must be active, the plant must not be too stressed and it must have an adequate level of carbohydrates. Growers can influence some of these conditions. High temperatures promote death of female pumpkin flowers while still in the bud stage. Varieties differ in the their sensitivity to high temperatures. To determine whether flowers have died early in development requires close inspection of the pumpkin vine. An aborted bud often dries up and[Read More…]


Figure 3. Plant infected with bacterial wilt, transmitted by spotted and stripped cucumber beetles

In issue 619 of the Vegetable Crops Hotline newsletter I reported that during April 2016 research focusing on the development of a unique market segment for Indiana melon growers was initiated. The research aims to demonstrate that through the use of high tunnels or greenhouses growers will be able to market melons earlier and increase yield while keeping quality undeniably high. Initial research focused on variety evaluation in a soil and soilless production system in high tunnels and a greenhouse, where the plants were trellised vertically. In the long term, we aim to establish the best production practices for high tunnel and greenhouse growers in Indiana and we will do a complete life cycle analysis to determine the profitability of the proposed production systems. Well it sounds all easy to do, but in reality I have experienced several production related issues during the growing season. Let me present to you[Read More…]


Figure 5: Tirreno, an Italian netted variety, orange flesh color

Indiana is a very important player in the domestic melon market. The total acreage planted in Indiana peaked in 1997 at 3,600 acres. In that year the total production was 455,000 cwt with an average income of $16.00 per cwt. The total farm value of production was $7,280,000 ($2,022 per acre). Yield has increased since 1997 from 130 cwt per acre to more than 200 cwt per acre in 2014. The Indiana melon growers have lost a significant share of the melon market since the 2011 and 2012 food borne illness outbreaks. Compared to 2011, the acreage planted and production in 2015 decreased by 900 acres and 52% (300,000 cwt), respectively. Quick Facts about Indiana Cantaloupe Transplant Production: March/April Planting Season: April – June Harvest Season: June – Sept. Plant Population (2.5 ft. x 6 ft.): 2,904 plants per acre Total acres planted: 2,100 acres (2013), 1,900 acres (2014), 1,800[Read More…]


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