190 articles tagged "Vegetable Crops - General".

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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So far for the month of May, temperatures across the state vary by nearly 2˚F above normal in the southeast and almost 3˚F below normal in the extreme northwest. Similarly, the same trends can be seen in the Modified Growing Degree Days as they are based on temperature (Figure 1).   The main story continues to be the precipitation for most of the state. Since January 1, precipitation is between 3 to 9 inches above normal in spots. Adding observed near normal to slightly above normal precipitation for the month in some areas is really delaying folks in the agriculture industry (Figure 2). Looking at the short term outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (Figures 3 & 4), much of the state has above normal chances for seeing above normal temperatures and precipitation over the 6 to 10 day and 8 to 14 day outlooks. Our active weather pattern doesn’t[Read More…]


Does your farm sometimes have surplus produce? Produce that is perfectly good to eat, but isn’t going to make it to market? Society of St. Andrew can help you harvest and transport the excess to help feed those struggling to get enough to eat. Gleaning America’s Fields – Feeding America’s Hungry. We do it simply, effectively, and efficiently. Since 1983, Society of St. Andrew has worked to save fresh produce from America’s farms – produce that would otherwise go to waste – and deliver it to hunger-relief agencies. More than 900,000 Indiana resident sometimes don’t know where their next meal will come from, and one-third of those residents are children. Through gleaning, Indiana farmers and volunteers provide fresh, nutritious food to those who need it most. Since opening the Indiana office in January of 2018, with the help of over 700 volunteers, SoSA-Indiana has helped to save and distribute over[Read More…]


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FieldWatch is an easy-to-use, reliable, accurate and secure on-line mapping tool intended to enhance communications that promotes awareness and stewardship activities between producers of specialty crops, beekeepers, and pesticide applicators. Originally developed at Purdue University, FieldWatch is now a non-profit company with support from producers, applicators, agricultural chemical companies and other organizations. The program allows specialty crop producers and beekeepers to enter their locations on a secure on-line map. The map is viewed by pesticide applicators so they know what crops are in the area they intend to treat. For the past couple of years, applicators planning to apply the new dicamba products (XtendiMax®, FeXapan®, Engenia®) have been required to check Fieldwatch. All you need to do to sign up is visit http://www.fieldwatch.com/ and follow the easy tutorials under the resources tab. Once you have an account, you should be asked to update your FieldWatch information each year. If you[Read More…]


Figure 2. Wilt of watermelon seedlings due to grown in a high EC medium.

Producing healthy transplants is a critical step for a successful growing season. Choosing the proper growing media is an important first step. Supported by a USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, researchers from Purdue have been evaluating different organic growing media with and without adding supplemental organic fertilizers for tomato and cucurbit transplant production. In this article, we have highlighted a few transplant symptoms that are associated with growing media with excessively high or low electrical conductivity (EC) or pH. It is always a good idea to test EC, pH, and other important nutrient content of a medium when you are making your own or using an unfamiliar media. Most soil laboratories provide a saturated media extract test that provides information on these important parameters. More information about this test and suggested range of EC and pH can be found in this article http://www.soiltest.uconn.edu/factsheets/InterpSMEGreenMedia.pdf[Read More…]


As we wait patiently for the ground to dry and our seedlings to grow, take a moment to consider your strategy for maintaining plant health. If you haven’t started already, it is time to make sure that your pest monitoring programs are in place for the season. For those of you growing in high tunnels, you may already be encountering some of the troublesome insects that can keep us up at night, such as aphids and spider mites. Here, I want to review some basic considerations for monitoring and detecting insect pests. First, it is important to recognize that the best way to avoid insect damage is prevention. This includes sanitation practices and monitoring of transplants. Regardless of your production method (greenhouse, high tunnel, field) you want to be sure that any plants that have overwintered in the area free from overwintering pests. This can include disease residue on plant[Read More…]


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