391 articles

​As we approach the 2015 growing season, produce food safety continues to be an important issue.  This year, why not make it one of your goals to create a “culture” of food safety on your farm?  Below are some things you can do to get started on that goal during the winter months:Review (or get started on) your written food safety plan. Winter is an excellent time to review your written food safety plan.  As you review the plan, ask yourself if all policies and procedures are written in such a way that they are easily understood.  Review any areas, such as hand washing, documentation, etc., that presented particular challenges for the farm, to see if expectations can be clarified or if procedures can be simplified. Make sure policies and procedures are available in the appropriate languages. As we see an ever-increasing level of diversity in our labor force, it[Read More…]


While visiting my son in Lincoln, Nebraska this past summer, I had the chance to browse in a second hand store.I felt myself drawn to the book section where I found a green hard cover book titled, “Yearbook of Agriculture, 1928”. From 1894 until 1992, the Department of Agriculture published a Yearbook of Agriculture annually. These books provided updates, features and statistics for the year. The reports actually go all the way back to 1862, when the head of the agriculture department, Isaac Newton, submitted a report to the Commissioner of Patents. (It turns out most of these books have been scanned and are on-line-I could have saved myself $1.50 had I known!) It is my plan to report on parts of the 1928 book that I think might interest vegetable growers in Indiana. The first subject which caught my eye were the statistics for processing tomato production. Below I[Read More…]


​For 100 years bacterial spot has been causing huge losses for tomato ​growers worldwide. For 100 years products containing copper have held the key to controlling this devastating tomato disease. As tomato growers enter their second century of dealing with bacterial spot, the question has become whether copper applications lessen the severity of bacterial spot-or perhaps even make the disease worse. This article will discuss bacterial spot of tomato, why copper products have become less useful in the control of this important disease and finish with options for managing bacterial spot of tomato with and without copper. The first symptoms of bacterial spot one is likely to observe are small, less than 1/8 inch dark lesions on tomato leaves. The lesions may appear watersoaked, especially in the morning and are often surrounded by yellow (chlorotic) tissue. These lesions, whether found on leaves or stems, may coalesce to cause the loss[Read More…]


​The Southwest Indiana Melon and Vegetable Growers Association will hold their technical meeting and variety trial showcase on Thursday, November 20, 2014, in the basement of the Southwest Purdue Ag Center, 4369 N. Purdue Road, Vincennes, IN.The meeting will start at 5 p.m. with a general business meeting. At 6 p.m., dinner will be served. Then at approximately 7 p.m.,the variety trial discussion will begin followed by a brief presentation by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture on Food Hubs. Any grower interested in becoming a member is invited to attend. Membership dues are $15 per year and can be paid at the meeting. If you have questions or want to RSVP, please contact Sara Hoke or Dan Egel at (812) 886-0198 or email shoke@purdue.edu. RSVP are due by November 14th.


Bacterial spot of pumpkin often causes scab-like lesions on pumpkins. In this photo

The title of this article is pretty scary. But it isn’t entirely accurate. Pumpkins won’t really rot from the inside out. In this article, I will describe one way in which pumpkins can seem to rot from the inside out. Recently, I was asked to visit a field of pumpkins where the pumpkins were soft and rotting. Some of the pumpkins had already burst. Some were soft and when prodded, the insides flowed out. I set out to try to understand how this could happen. Although it seemed that the rotted pumpkins were healthy on the outside, upon closer examination, I found lesions of bacterial spot on the outside of affected pumpkins. More information about bacterial spot can be found in Vegetable Crops Hotline No. 586. Most lesions of bacterial spot on pumpkin are scab-like on the surface of the pumpkin (see Figure 1). Occasionally, however, such lesions will become[Read More…]


​Last year this at time many were discussing and commenting on the proposed Produce Safety Rule published by FDA. There were so many comments about parts of the rule that the FDA published a supplement in September 2014. The comment period on the supplement is open until Dec. 15. This article briefly summarizes parts of the revised proposal that address manure applications and water. The initial proposal required a waiting period of 9 months between application of raw manure and harvest of a crop covered under the rule. (The rule covers fresh fruit and vegetable crops normally eaten raw.) The new proposal does not define any specific waiting period. The FDA explains that this change was made because the length of time necessary to reduce the risk will vary depending on many factors, and we don’t yet have the scientific understanding to develop a rule that takes into account all[Read More…]


With Halloween comes the final issue of the Vegetable Crops Hotline for 2014. The first issue of 2015 is included with a 2014 subscription, but now is the time for subscribers who receive a paper copy in the mail to renew. A renewal form is included with this issue. Email subscribers will remain on the subscription list as long as the email address works.   I’m interested in hearing suggestions about how to make the newsletter more useful to you. Part of that is delivering it in a format that you like. You can subscribe to receive a paper copy of this newsletter by U.S. mail, sign up to receive an email announcement when the pdf issue is posted online, or just visit vegcropshotline.org and download an issue when you need it. Indiana Vegetable Growers Association members receive a paper copy as a benefit of membership.Are there other ways you[Read More…]


​Webinar – Crop Selection in High Tunnels . Thursday, Nov. 20, 10-11 a.m. EST. Presented by by Liz Maynard, Purdue Extension vegetable crops specialist. No registra – tion required. https://gomeet.itap.purdue.edu/cropsht/ Southwest Indiana Melon and Vegetable Grower Meeting. Thursday, Nov. 20, 5 p.m . EST. Southwest Purdue Ag Center, 4369 N. Purdue Road, Vincennes, IN. New members welcome. $15 per person at the door. Register by Nov. 14 by calling Sara Hoke or Dan Egel at 812-886-0198. Illiana Vegetable Growers Symposium. Tuesday, Janu – ary 6, 2015. Teibel’s Restaurant, Schererville, IN. Pro – gram available in early December. Sign up to be on the mailing list at https://ag.purdue.edu/hla/fruitveg/Pages MailListSignup.aspx , or call 219-531-4200 ext. 4206. Indiana Horticultural Congress. January 20–22, 2015. Wyndham Indianapolis West, Indianapolis, IN. www. inhortcongress.org . Contact: Lori Jolly-Brown at 765- 494-1296 or ljollybr@purdue.edu .  Indiana Small Farm Conference. March 5-7, 2015. Hendricks County Fairgrounds, Danville, IN. https://[Read More…]


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​The photos that accompany this article are of lesions caused by various diseases that occur on tomato fruit. The list includes diseases I commonly see in Indiana, so the list is not all inclusive. More information can be found on the Purdue Tomato Doctor​ app​. I welcome any comments or questions. Bacterial spot of tomato. (Click on image for larger view) Bacterial speck of tomato. (Click on image for larger view) Bacterial canker of tomato. (Click on image for larger view) White mold of tomato. (Click on image for larger view) Late blight of tomato, which has just been reported in LaGrange County Indiana. (Click image for larger view) Blossom-end rot of tomato. This disorder is the only abiotic (non-disease) problem included in this article. (Click image for larger view)


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Over the past few weeks, I have observed several watermelon fields with relatively large areas of wilted plants.There can be several reasons for such symptoms.In the article below, I will discuss late season Fusarium wilt of watermelon.In a separate article, I will discuss mature watermelon vine decline.In a separate article/blog I discussed root knot nematode.All of these diseases can cause wilt and decline of relatively large areas of cucurbits. Fusarium wilt of watermelon is often observed when the vines are just starting to touch each other within a row. Sometimes, however, Fusarium wilt of watermelon does not show up until later in the season when the plants are near maturity. Fusarium wilt at this point in the season may cause a few vines to wilt (Figure 1). The distribution of affected plants is due to the distribution of the Fusarium fungus in the soil. Often well drained areas of the[Read More…]


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