10 articles tagged "Melons, Other".

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.


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…]


Every year since 1980, we have conducted watermelon and cantaloupe variety trials at Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center. In 2016, our variety trials include 44 standard seedless watermelons, 12 cantaloupes, 4 mini-sized seedless watermelons, and 5 seeded watermelon varieties. Seeds have already been planted in the greenhouses and our target date for transplanting in the field will be the week of May 9th. The fruit will become ripe around the middle of July. If you are interested in observing how each variety performs during the season, don’t hesitate to come to visit us and witness the plots first hand. We will continue to present the results of our variety trials, as in the past, at the annual meeting held at the Southwest Purdue Ag Center in late November or early December but don’t miss the opportunity to visualize them during the growing season. In the winter meeting, we will discuss yield[Read More…]


I have never had as many questions about how to use MELCAST as I did in 2015. The interest in this program is growing both here in Indiana and nationally. Read on to find out how to apply fungicides according to the weather and perhaps save money in the process. MELCAST (MELon disease foreCASTer) is a weather-based disease-forecasting program for cantaloupe and watermelon growers developed By Dr. Rick Latin at Purdue University. Instead of using a calendar based fungicide application program where one applies fungicides every 7 to 14 days, the MELCAST program lets growers apply fungicides when the weather is most conducive to disease. The diseases for which MELCAST may be used for are: Alternaria leaf blight, anthracnose and gummy stem blight. Details are listed below or in the extension bulletin, Foliar Disease Control Using MELCAST, BP-67-W. Download the bulletin at http://www.extension.purdue. edu/extmedia/BP/BP-67-W.pdf or contact Dan Egel for a[Read More…]


In a separate article in this issue, I discussed management of powdery mildew with conventional fungicides.  Here I would like to talk about powdery mildew management of cucurbits with organically approved products.  I will describe two studies, one with all organically approved products and a second with a combination of organic and conventional products.  All studies were conducted at the SW Purdue Ag Center in Vincennes, IN. The organic products discussed are defined as organic since they appear on the Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI).  There are other certifying agencies.  Be sure to check with your certifying agency before using any fungicide product.  As an example, the Champ DP® product used in 2010 is listed by OMRI as approved.  However, Champ WP® is not. In the 2010 study shown below, zucchini of the variety Raven F1 were planted in the certified organic plot managed at the SW Purdue Ag Center.  Organic products[Read More…]


​Downy mildew has been confirmed on jack-o-lantern pumpkins in Daviess and Jasper Counties and on acorn squash in LaPorte County. These are the first confirmed reports of this disease on Cucurbita pepo in Indiana in the 2015 season. There are unconfirmed (but reliable) reports of downy mildew on pumpkins in Parke,  Washington, and White Counties. This disease has also been observed on butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) in Knox and LaPorte Counties and on giant pumpkins (Curbita maxima) in LaPorte County. Read more about this disease at ag.purdue.edu/arp/swpap/VeggieDiseasesBlog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=48.


On July 22, I announced that downy mildew had been observed on watermelon in Knox County in southwestern Indiana. This article in the Vegetable Crop Hotline issue 603, https://ag.purdue.edu/hla/Extension/VegCropsHotline/Pages/Latest-Articles.aspx?article=118, describes the outbreak and management options. Downy mildew has now been reported on cucumber and cantaloupe in Knox and cucumber in La Porte County Indiana and pumpkin in Jasper County. Downy mildew has been observed on pumpkins in Mason County in central Illinois. In addition, several counties in Kentucky and Michigan have reported downy mildew, primarily on cucumbers. You may follow the development of downy mildew of cucurbits on this website http://cdm.ipmpipe.org/.


​For most insect pests, we have some viable options to manage them organically. For years we have been looking for an organic solution for striped cucumber beetle and bacterial wilt on melons and cucumbers. It appears that we now have a viable option. There is a relatively new product, Cidetrak D, manufactured by Trece, which is sold as a gustatory stimulant. The active ingredient is buffalo gourd root powder, which contains a high percentage of cucurbitacin, which causes cucumber beetle to compulsively feed once they have tasted it. Years ago, there was a product available called SLAM, which contained buffalo root gourd and carbaryl, which we tested extensively and found to be quite effective. There were difficulties in applications, so the product never really took off with growers. More recently, my colleague in Kentucky, Dr. Ric Bessin, has tested Cidetrak D in conjunction with Entrust, which contains the active ingredient[Read More…]


​As you all know, many of our vegetable crops are dependent upon pollinators to move pollen from flower to flower. The cucurbits, muskmelons, cucumbers, watermelons, pumpkins, and squash, are completely dependent on insect pollination. Eggplant, okra, lima beans, and peppers will set fruit without pollinators but can have increased yield if pollinators are present. Honey bees are likely the most important pollinators for most of these crops, but other pollinators such as a number of species of native bees and other insects can also provide useful pollination services. In recent years, there has been a lot of attention given to larger than normal die off of honey bee colonies, commonly referred to as colony collapse disorder. There has been a great deal of discussion in the scientific community and in the public about the cause or causes of these colony deaths. Some of the suspected causes include new disease organisms,[Read More…]


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