195 articles tagged "Vegetable Crops - General".

Table 1. Growing media evaluated and major ingredients as listed by manufacturer.

Growing media for organic transplant production vary a lot in their chemical composition: pH, electrical conductivity, nutrient levels, and C:N ratio. This of course influences how seedlings grow. Knowing the characteristics of growing media can help growers decide whether adding nutrients or materials to adjust pH are likely to improve seedling growth. As part of our research into media for organic transplant production we would like to test growing media used by Indiana growers using organic practices. The media could be a commercially available product, or a product made on the farm. If you would like your media to be tested, please fill out the form at https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eezVW7ubRhgh3Ip . Wait for notice that your submission will be accepted and then send 4 pints of media to Liz Maynard, Purdue University, 1101 Glendale Blvd, Suite 101-A, Valparaiso, IN 46383. To request a hard copy of the form, contact Liz Maynard, emaynard@purdue.edu, [Read More…]


Figure 1. Take soil samples at 6 inches deep

This article introduces a new soil test for high tunnel growers. Why is there a need for a new soil test for high tunnel production? Soil tests are valuable tools helping growers decide how much fertilizers and/or other soil amendments to apply for growing a specific vegetable crop. It also helps growers to detect soil fertility-related problems early. The routine soil test and its recommendations for vegetable crops were developed based on research conducted in the open field. When it comes to high tunnel production, the routine soil test and recommendations become less valuable for at least three reasons: Crops growing in high tunnels typically have a much higher yield potential; they require more nutrients than the same crop grown in the open-field with lower yield potential. Therefore the soil test index (low, medium, high) and recommendation for specific nutrients may not apply for high tunnel crops. Since there is[Read More…]


Beginning this month, Purdue Extension will offer produce food safety trainings throughout Indiana. The trainings utilize the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) training curriculum and will be offered at multiple locations across the state. For produce farms that are covered under the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule, at least one manager or responsible person is required to receive food safety training equivalent to FDA’s standardized curriculum. Completion of a PSA grower training is one way to meet that requirement. For growers who are not covered by the Produce Safety Rule, the trainings are an excellent introduction to produce food safety and will be useful to those who are beginning to develop a food safety program on their farm, or who want to learn more about this topic. There are currently 6 offerings across the state. Classes are from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Cost is $100. This includes a[Read More…]


As the production season winds down there are two weed-related news items that producers should be aware of: New Requirements for Users of Paraquat Herbicide.  Paraquat dichloride is the active ingredient in products such as Gramoxone®, Devour®, Cyclone®, and Quik-Quat®. Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the following changes to paraquat requirements: Additional labeling requirements and the distribution of supplemental warning materials at the point-of-purchase are now required and highlight the toxicity and risks associated with paraquat products. Paraquat use is now restricted to certified applicators only. No longer can an uncertified handler use paraquat, even under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. Specialized, approved paraquat training is now required for anyone who will mix, load, apply, or handle paraquat. New, closed-system packaging will be used to prevent the transfer or removal of paraquat into unapproved containers or equipment. These changes were sparked by unnecessary deaths[Read More…]


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Have you thought about producing your own value-added products (value-added: further process fresh produce to increase its value)? What’s the challenges for you to start or scale up your own value-adding business? We would like to invite you to participate in the study “Attitude, Knowledge, and Barriers towards Value-Adding Business among Indiana Fruit and Vegetable Growers”. We are interested in learning about your perspective and experiences. Your feedback will be very valuable for us to develop better food safety curriculum for value-adding business that address your challenges. All the responses will be kept confidential. We have two projects that you can participate in: Online Survey: this survey mainly focuses on understanding your attitude and experience on value-adding production, and your barriers to building value-adding process. You can participate in this project if you are Fruit and/or Vegetable Grower. You do not need to have a value-adding business! Please help us[Read More…]


As the days grow shorter and those of you who adventure into winter production begin to prepare your seed starts, keep an eye out for unwanted invaders. Pests such as thrips, mites and aphids may be on the move as our field production dwindles, and nothing is tastier than a tiny new plant! In order to increase the success of winter production, be sure that you are starting with clean plants before you tuck them away under those cozy row covers! Controlling weeds, which can serve as alternative hosts to the aphid pests, will lessen problems of re-infestation. Scout with diligence for aphids, they can be one of the most damaging and hard to control pests during the winter months in high tunnels. The first step to managing aphids is to develop a scouting plan. Aphids reproduce clonally and develop quickly leading to very large population build-up in a short[Read More…]


Many vegetable growers are closing in on the final harvest. Several growers have asked me about fungicide applications late in the season. In this article, I want to address when to stop. To limit the scope of this article, I will concentrate on tomato, cantaloupe and watermelon crops. These are crops where the fruit is consumed, not the foliage. For most vegetable crops, there is no need to apply a fungicide shortly before the final harvest. Foliage needs to be protected to preserve fruit quality. A plant with reduced foliage will produce a smaller fruit and/or fruit that have fewer sugars and other desirable compounds. I don’t know how much foliage needs to be reduced to affect fruit size or quality. However, I do know that for many foliar diseases, symptoms will not be obvious for a week to 10 days. It will take even longer for the foliar disease to significantly reduce foliage. Therefore, for[Read More…]


Vegetable growers are used to scouting for pests such as spider mites and aphids. Growers have come to recognize the yellow leaves caused by spider mites and the curled leaves caused by aphids. Growers understand that even after spider mites and aphids are dead, the symptoms of the damage may remain on the affected leaves. Whereas, a leaf distorted by aphids remains distorted even after the aphids are dead, a leaf with symptoms of a foliar disease such as anthracnose of watermelon or early blight of tomato typically contains viable spores even after repeated fungicide applications. So, what is the purpose of fungicide applications? Contact fungicide applications with active ingredients such as chlorothalonil (e.g., Bravo®, Echo®, Equus®, Initiate®) or mancozeb (e.g, Dithane®, Manzate®, Roper®, Penncozeb®) are used to coat the surface of the leaf so that when spores land on a leaf, they are neutralized. While it is true that[Read More…]


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While the remnants of Hurricane Barry brought some much-needed precipitation to the state, the next few weeks look to be on the dry side. Temperatures are also expected to be warmer than normal, so heat stress may become an issue for plants and animals. The Midwestern Regional Climate Center’s (MRCC) Vegetation Impact Program (VIP) provides a modified stress degree-day (mSDD) tool (https://mrcc.illinois.edu/VIP/indexSDD.html) for corn plants that accumulates degree-day units when temperatures exceed 86°F. Modified SDD departures indicate most of Indiana to be near normal (Figure 1), however, excessive heat is in the forecast so mSDDs are expected to accumulate quickly. Drought-like conditions are developing, particularly in northern Indiana. While the excessive spring and early-summer rains saturated soils, the sudden dryness is causing some stress where plant roots were not able to deeply establish. These changing weather conditions could leave plants more susceptible to external stresses from pests and diseases. Fun[Read More…]


On June 5, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) mailed letters to produce growers having annual food sales over $500,000 informing them that inspections of produce farms would start in July.  Due to their sales volume, these growers are expected to be in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (21CFR § 112) as of the 2019 growing season.  The letters also outline the inspection process for 2019. As part of the inspection process, produce growers identified as having over $500,000 in food sales will be contacted sometime in June to schedule an inspection. The inspections will begin in July. Here are some things to keep in mind as ISDH rolls out their 2019 inspections: There will be no surprise inspections. Growers will be contacted prior to any inspector visiting the farm. The inspections will be conducted by ISDH. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will[Read More…]


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