88 articles tagged "Solanaceous Crops".

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.  


Cercospora leaf mold symptoms on the upper leaf surface. Note distinct chlorotic lesions.

In the fall of 2015, I wrote an article for the Hotline about Cercospora leaf mold of tomato since this disease had been observed twice in the 2015 season. I wrote that Cercospora leaf mold was normally a subtropical disease. There have been several observations of Cercospora leaf mold on tomato in Indiana this year. I’m still not certain of the importance of this disease, but this article will compare Cercospora leaf mold and leaf mold of tomato. Leaf mold of tomato is caused by Passalora fulva and is common in Indiana, especially in high tunnels where the high relative humidity favors this disease. Cercospora leaf mold is caused by Pseudocercospora fuligena and is more common in the warm, humid climate of the tropics or subtropics than in the Midwest. Both diseases cause chlorotic (yellow) lesions which are visible on the upper side of the leaf. The chlorotic area caused by[Read More…]


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Bacterial spot of tomato has been observed across Indiana this summer. Leaf spots are usually 1/16 inch, and dark. Where lesions are numerous upon a leaf, the tissue may be chlorotic (yellow) (Figure 1 & 2).  (In contrast, each lesion of bacterial speck is often accompanied by chlorosis whether lesions are numerous or not.) Lesions of bacterial spot on fruit are dark, raised and up to 1/3 inch in diameter (Figure 3). The disease prefers warm, wet weather. Overhead irrigation will also spread this disease. Although much of Indiana has been dry recently, rainy weather earlier in the year has increased the severity of bacterial spot. Bacterial spot is much more common in field tomatoes than in greenhouse or high tunnel tomatoes. This is because bacterial spot requires leaf wetness for infection to take place and rain to spread the bacteria from leaf to leaf and from plant to plant.[Read More…]


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Below, I will briefly discuss a few of the diseases that I have observed on tomatoes recently. Powdery mildew of tomato – Powdery mildew of tomato is not usually a common problem in Indiana. However, in recent years, there have been more reports of this disease than usual. Powdery mildew is more often observed in a greenhouse situation than in a field. The key symptoms of this disease are the talc-like lesions on the upper and lower leaf surfaces (Figure 1). It is important to note that the location of the upper and lower lesions do not correspond with each other. When the lesions are young, it may almost seem as if the lesions can be ‘wiped off’. Few varieties exist with good levels of host resistance, although growers may notice some difference in susceptibility between varieties. It may not be necessary to treat tomatoes affected with powdery mildew with fungicides. If[Read More…]


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