91 articles tagged "Solanaceous Crops".

Figure 4. Connect four stakes in a rectangle shape (A), cross the hook (12’’) with the central-string (B) and hook it to the side-strings between the two tomato plants (C).

The Florida-weave or sometimes called stake and weave is a commonly used tomato trellis system (Figure 1). It has several benefits and is easy to implement. However, sometimes the plants grow too tall and can hardly be supported by the stakes, or they may be too vigorous and break the strings. In this article, we will introduce an alternative tomato trellis system, Spanish-weave, and discuss its usage in tomato production. How to trellis tomato plants with the Spanish-weave system? Materials: tomato stakes, tomato strings, and hooks. We made the hooks from steel wire. They were made at 4-inch, 8-inch and 12-inch length (Figure 2). Prune bottom leaves of the tomato plant and suckers until the first flower cluster (Figure 3). Install tomato stakes on each side of the rows at every two tomato plants (A); Tie strings across the two wooden stakes at the beginning and the end of each[Read More…]


Two types of injury on young warm-season vegetable plants are caused by low temperatures: frost/freezing injury and chilling injury. Frost/freezing injury occurs when temperatures drop below 32°F. Ice formation in plant tissues cut cell membranes. When the tissue thaws, the damage results in fluids leaking from the cell, causing water soaked damage. Frost/freezing injury is detrimental to warm-season vegetables, such as melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, beans. To avoid damage, the best way is to plant warm-season vegetables later in the spring, after the last frost has passed. However, weather is difficult to predict, and there is a growing trend of planting early to achieve early harvests. For the early planted warm-season vegetables, here are a few suggestions that may protect plants from low temperature damages. Covering. The idea of covering the seedlings is to create a microclimate around plants. Because the heat accumulated in soil irradiate back at night, covering[Read More…]


Figure 1. Cucumbers start to wilt following a night average soil temperature was 58 °F

Chilling injury occurs when temperatures are above 32°F and below 55°F. The plant tissue becomes weakened that leads to cellular dysfunction. The most noticeable visual symptom of chilling injury is leaf and hypocotyl wilt (Figure 1). This is caused by the rapid decline in the ability of roots to absorb and transport water. It also caused by the plant’s reduced ability to close stomata. If temperatures do not improve, plants may be killed. Low temperatures also have an effect on mineral nutrient uptake of the plants. Absorption of ions by roots is difficult, as well as their movement in the above-ground parts of the plants. As a result, chilling injured plants often show symptoms similar to nutritional deficiency. Although warm-season vegetables are all susceptible to frost/freezing damage, their susceptibility to chilling injury varies among plant species. Pepper plants seem to have greater difficulty recovering after chilling injury compared to tomato[Read More…]


Sweet colored peppers can yield well in the protected conditions of an unheated high tunnel, but information is lacking about which varieties are adapted for high tunnel production and their performance. During 2018 we evaluated ten sweet pepper varieties at the Purdue Student Farm, West Lafayette, Indiana (Table 1). How was the evaluation conducted? The evaluation was conducted on a Mahalasville (Md), silty clay loam. The spring soil test showed 9.5% organic matter, pH 7.5, and 201 ppm phosphorus (P), 250 ppm potassium (K), 810 ppm magnesium (Mg), and 4200 ppm calcium (Ca). The cation exchange capacity was 28.4 meq/100 gram. Micro nutrients tested at 11.5 ppm zinc (Zn), 34 ppm manganese (Mn), 100 ppm iron (Fe), 2.7 ppm copper (Cu) and 2.9 ppm boron (B). Nitrogen, 60 lb. N/A from Nature’s Source® Professional 10-4-3 liquid plant food, was applied by fertigating 15 lb./A N four times at 2, 4,[Read More…]


Tomato and Cucumber growers who are interested in grafting tomato and cucumber plants by themselves may find this information helpful. Step-By-Step instruction of how to graft tomato plants is available from Purdue Extension publication Vegetable Grafting: Techniques for Tomato Grafting https://mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=HO-260-W as well as a Purdue Extension video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ufx66Isf88 A cucumber grafting instruction was also recently released. It provides step-by-step guidance of cucumber splice grafting technique. The publication is available at https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/HO/HO-328-W.PDF


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High tunnels, though relatively new, have gained popularity over the past decade among specialty crop growers who want to extend their growing season. However, these environments can make crops vulnerable to the development of soil-borne diseases that reduce yield. This is particularly true for tomatoes, which are the most commonly grown high tunnel crop and can be highly susceptible to soil pathogens. For most field crops, rotation systems are already in place to combat a build-up of pests and pathogens. In field-grown tomatoes, for example, growers are advised to wait a period of 3 years before replanting tomato in a particular field to break the disease cycle. In high tunnels, rotation systems are more challenging to implement due to space limitations, which results in many growers employing a tomato-on-tomato system from one year to the next. This could be especially problematic for heirloom tomatoes, which are popular high tunnel tomato[Read More…]


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Getting seedlings off to a good start begins with a good growing medium for transplants. Growing media for organic production must meet the guidelines set out by the National Organic Standards Board, including not containing any synthetic substances (unless they have been approved for that use) or any prohibited materials. A number of products meet those criteria, and many of them are listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) to document that they meet the criteria. Last year, with funding from a USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, a group at Purdue began evaluating commercially-available, OMRI-listed growing media for vegetable transplant production (Table 1). Table 1. Growing media used in transplant production trials, 2018. Product Abbreviation Source Johnny’s 512 J512 Johnny’s Selected Seeds Morgan Composting 201 M201 Morgan Composting Penn Valley Potting Soil PENN Penn Valley Farms PromixMP Organik PMPO BFG Supply Seed[Read More…]


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The following two articles describe two vegetable diseases new to Indiana that were recorded this past season. While neither of the disease reports are from severe outbreaks, it might be a good idea to become familiar with what may become a new disease situation. Target spot of tomato was identified from a tomato plant growing in a high tunnel in early July in Carroll County. At first glance, the disease appears to be early blight (Figure 1). Target spot may cause necrotic lesions in a concentric pattern. Although target spot may cause lesions on fruit, we did not observe such lesions. After incubation of the leaves, spores that appeared to be Corynespora cassiicola, causal agent of target spot were observed. This fungus was isolated in our lab and the identity of the fungus was confirmed by sequencing on campus. This is the first report of target spot of tomato in Indiana.[Read More…]


I visited a few high tunnels around the state recently and used a hand-held soil electrical conductivity (EC) meter to test soil salinity levels inside of the structures. Although the hand-held EC meter may not give ratings as accurate as a soil test lab could provide, I had comparative ratings from several farms. Interestingly, by talking to growers, I found tomatoes grown in the high tunnels that have relatively high EC ratings seem to suffer more problems in the past season. In most cases, the unhealthy plants have been taken out of the tunnels by the time I visited (in early August). In one situation, the farmer reported flower abortion and a lot of blossom end rot. In another situation, the farmer described a widespread leaf spot symptom that was not a disease. He followed the recommendation based on plant tissue analysis, but the problem was not solved. In the third situation, tomato[Read More…]


Corn earworm moth numbers have been relatively low this season until recently, as numbers have exploded in pheromone traps. These moths will lay their eggs on numerous crops, with late-market sweet corn being particularly vulnerable at this time. Tomato and pepper growers should also be aware of the potential for earworm (also called fruitworm) damage, especially if these crops are surrounded by cornfields that are drying down  and are no longer attractive for egg laying.  


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