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Entomologists are looking for growers willing to participate in research examining the detection and distribution of striped cucumber beetles. We would like to visit your fields on multiple occasions this year to count the number of cucumber beetles we encounter in your crop. If you grow slicing cucumbers in the field, and are interested in helping to improve our sampling recommendations for this pest, please contact Dr. Laura Ingwell at (765) 494-6167 or lingwell@purdue.edu


It’s that time of year, where we are prepping high tunnels and getting back into the full swing of production, slowly, here in the Midwest. Many of you have already begun to transplant and may have encountered your first pests on these new crops. Aphids are one that remain a problem in high tunnels, and may even have plagued your winter production (Figure 1,2,3). Some keys to preventing or controlling these pests rely first on sanitation and then careful scouting. Try to remove any green bridge material that may already be infested before transplanting into the space. This includes weeds, lingering winter crops or residues. Having a week without vegetative hosts should get rid of any overwintering residents. After transplanting scout diligently, at least weekly, or more often on susceptible young transplants. Aphid infestations tend to begin on the growing points or younger tissues of the plant. Be sure to[Read More…]


Figure 1. A pheromone trap in the field.

One way insects communicate with individuals of the same species is with pheromones. Pheromones are volatile chemicals released by an insect that usually can be detected only by individuals of the same species. There are a number of different types of pheromones, but the most common type is the sex pheromone. Usually the females will emit a tiny amount of a chemical that attracts the male to her and increases the likelihood of mating. Because the chemical is volatile, air currents carry it. The male detects the pheromone in the air with receptors on his antennae. He then flies upwind to find the source of the pheromone, a prospective mate. The chemical compositions of pheromones for a number of pest species have been identified and synthetic copies can be produced in the laboratory. Synthetic pheromones can be used in conjunction with traps to catch male insects. Listed below are some,[Read More…]


Figure 1. Corn Earworms

Now is a good time to begin your plans for managing corn earworms (Figure 1) in your sweet corn. Below are several tips that will help you in this process: Make sure you have a corn earworm pheromone trap and earworm pheromones. See the article below for details. Consider planting Bt sweet corn, especially for your later plantings that will be harvested in late July and August. If you choose to do so, use varieties that contain two sources of the Bt protein, including the Vip3A protein found in the Attribute II series. Varieties that only contain Cry1Ab proteins do not effectively control earworms in most instances. If you use a Bt variety, maintain a normal insecticide spray program. It’s not a good idea to think that the Bt genes will provide complete control. The combination of Bt and insecticides will help overcome the high populations of earworms late in[Read More…]


Figure 1. Strawberries were covered with straw mulch and row cover. Picture were taken in Jan. 9 2018.

Although strawberry plants can be quite cold hardy, they need protection to survive the winter. In North Carolina, growers use floating row covers to protect strawberries in the winter. In Indiana, straw mulch is a more traditional way of winter protection for strawberries grown in a matted row system. After two relatively mild winters in 2015 and 2016, I heard successful stories about growing strawberries with the plasticulture system and using row covers for winter protection in Southern Indiana. Can the system also be successful in a colder winter, like the one that just passed? Our ongoing strawberry study will provide the answer. This article provides an update from this project comparing strawberries covered with straw mulch (about 4-inch thick) and row covers (two layers of 1.5-oz/yard2 row cover laid on wire hoops) this past winter (Figure 1). Temperature Between Dec. 27 to Jan. 6, we had the coldest nights[Read More…]


Figure 2. Plants died in the second day after average soil temperature was 54 °F

Growers start to plant tomatoes in unheated high tunnels around the end of March in southern Indiana. Around that time, there may still be a few light frosts, or even heavier ones, like the one we just experienced in the past week. With additional help from row covers inside of high tunnels, temperatures normally can be maintained above 32°F. Tomatoes typically do not have problems with the short-term low temperatures. However, this may not be the case for cucumbers. Although they are both warm season crops, Cucurbits (cucumbers, cantaloupes, and watermelons) are much more cold sensitive than Solanaceous crops (tomato, pepper). From a temperature perspective, this article discusses important considerations for deciding the time for planting cucumbers in a high tunnel. The best condition to grow cucumbers is when soil temperatures are above 70°F. This situation may not happen until the middle of May inside of the high tunnels, according to our[Read More…]


Figure 2: A tomato with tomato spotted wilt virus has necrotic ring spots.

While many virus diseases affect pepper and tomato plants, in the Midwest, the most common virus diseases of these two crops are tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and Impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV). These diseases are usually observed in greenhouse or high tunnel situations. The two viruses, TSWV and INSV are closely related. In fact, at one time, they were both considered TSWV. Therefore, the symptoms, biology and management of these two diseases are similar. This article discusses the symptoms, biology and management of these two diseases. Both TSWV and INSV affect many hosts, including vegetables and flowering ornamentals. Symptoms vary according to host, stage of plant affected and environmental conditions. Both diseases can cause stunting, yellowing, necrotic rings, leaf mottle and more. Figure 1 shows a tomato leaf with necrotic rings caused by TSWV. Figure 2 shows a pepper transplant with ring spots caused by INSV. Additional symptoms may[Read More…]


Figure 1. Powdery mildew causes talc-like lesions on pumpkin leaves.

Powdery mildew is a foliar disease of all plants in the cucurbit family.  The talc-like symptoms on leaves are relatively easy to identify  (Figure 1).  More about powdery mildew of cucurbits can be found at this link https://vegcropshotline.org/article/powdery-mildew-of-cucurbits-2/.  The remainder of this article is an update. There are several systemic fungicides which are recommended for powdery mildew of cucurbits. These include:  Aprovia Top®, Fontelis®, Luna Experience®, Merivon®, Procure®, Quintec®, Rally® and Torino®.  Recently, fungicide resistance to the product Torino® was discovered in eastern New York. I don’t know if the strains of the powdery mildew fungus we have in Indiana are resistant to Torino® or not.  Growers should scout their fields for the effectiveness of Torino® and other products. It is always best to alternate systemic fungicides for the management of powdery mildew of cucurbits. If possible, alternate between 3 or 4 products that have different modes of action. Not only[Read More…]


Southwest Purdue Ag Center High Tunnel Tour Date: June 13, 2018 7:00-9:00 pm Eastern Time Location: Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center, 4369 North Purdue Road, Vincennes, IN, 47591 The SWPAC high tunnel tour will be held on the evening of June 13, 2018. Attendees will have the opportunity to see a wide range of research projects being conducted in high tunnels at SWPAC. Topics that will be discussed include: Grafting cucumbers for season extension; Seedless cucumber and summer squash variety evaluations in a high tunnel; Different pruning and trellising systems for growing cucumber, tomato and pepper in a high tunnel; Grafting tomatoes for improved yield; Cucumber beetle management; Annual plasticultural strawberry production with an innovative low tunnel system. Registration will begin at 6:30 pm. The tour is free, to register please call (812) 886-0198, for more information please contact Wenjing Guan (guan40@purdue.edu). This event is sponsored by North-Central Sustainable Agriculture Research[Read More…]


Renew now! Vegetable Crops Hotline (VCH), is Purdue Extension’s newsletter for people in the business of growing vegetables. We have fifteen issues throughout the 2018 growing season. The first two issues of the year are being sent to all who subscribed to VCH via US-mail in 2017 as well as new subscribers for 2018. To continue receiving future copies through US-mail, renew your Hotline subscription using the form attached to this issue. Your subscription year may be found on the bottom right of the envelope your copy of the hotline was mailed in. If your envelope says 2017, this will be your last issue unless you renew. If you receive notification of a new issue through email, you will continue to receive notice of the newsletters being published. In addition, you will receive emails if there are articles or announcements that need your immediate attention. These articles will be posted under Hot Topics and be included in the next issue. All[Read More…]


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