Liz Maynard

Clinical Engagement Assistant Professor of Horticulture
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Liz Maynard's website

87 articles by this author

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Veg Crops Hotline - COVID-19 Image

In the rapidly changing present situation we want to share information pertinent to vegetable growers as we become aware of it. Here are resources you may find useful. We organize information in categories such as Financial, Production, Labor, Food Safety, Marketing etc. The newest information will show at the beginning of this article and under specific categories. New for Today (3-25-2020) A Guide for Community Gardens During the COVID-19 Pandemic https://extension.purdue.edu/article/36645 Food Safety and Sanitation Resources from NCSU https://foodsafety.ces.ncsu.edu/covid-19-resources/ Simple 2-page, large-font materials about food safety and sanitation. Social media images. Spanish and English. Hoosier Young Farmers Coalition Resources Page https://www.hoosieryfc.org/resources.html USDA – if you wish to provide suggestions For solutions to feeding children impacted by COVID-19, email feedingkids@usda.gov. For solutions impacting America’s food supply chain and other logistical complications, email foodsupplychain@usda.gov. (from https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/03/17/usda-working-private-sector-response-covid-19) Supporting the Supply Chain During COVID-19 from United Fresh Produce Association https://specialtyagriculture.secondstreetapp.com/api/message_contents/1749388/2077401/A3D52D2F-6160-4476-9816-EC3EB82F2DE3 Purdue Crop Chat Podcast[Read More…]


We know from published research that the health and quality of a vegetable transplant affects how it will establish, grow, and yield in the field. Our recent work comparing tomato and cucurbit seedling growth in different organic growing media and with and without added fertilizer has provided some good examples of this. See Vegetable Crop Hotline issues 653 and 668 for descriptions of media. Tomatoes flowered and set fruit earlier, and had greater early yield when the seedlings were grown in a media that sustained good growth (Figure 1), or if in a media with low fertility but were provided additional nutrients from solid or liquid fertilizer (Figure 2). What does this mean for transplant producers? Plan to provide nutrients the seedlings need, either pre-mixed in the growing media or by adding fertilizer. Among the media for organic production that we tested, additional fertilizer was most beneficial to those media[Read More…]


Did you read this article about How Growing Media for Organic Production Compare ? Or this one about Abnormal Transplant Symptoms Might be Caused by Poor Media ? Please let us know whether they were helpful by taking a short survey here: https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_54rCQ6xW3w7ZcXz


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…]


Vegetable growers in Northwest Indiana may want to take advantage of a March 17 Specialty Crop Irrigation Meeting in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Presenters Phil Ausra, Trickl-Eez Irrigation Inc., Dr. Younsuk Dong,  MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Irrigation, and Lyndon Kelley, MSU Extension/Purdue Extension Irrigation Educator will cover irrigation scheduling, irrigation design process, and using irrigation for fertilizer and chemical application, in addition to Michigan rules and regulations. For more information see the brochure at https://www.canr.msu.edu/irrigation/upoads/files/Specialty%20Crop%20Irr%20Meeting%2003.17.20%20FINAL.pdf or contact L. Kelley, (269) 467-5511, kelleyl@msu.edu


Purdue Extension is planning educational sessions for the Illiana Vegetable Growers Symposium (Jan. 7, 2020 in Schererville), Indiana Horticultural Conference (Feb. 11-13, 2020, in Indianapolis), and others. Your suggestions for topics and speakers that will be useful for your operation help us plan the programs. Phone (219) 548-3674, email emaynard@purdue.edu or text (219) 508-1644 your ideas to us soon! Thanks!


The sweet corn variety plots at Pinney Purdue provide a good chance to observe sweet corn insects. In late July I observed two caterpillars that surprised me. The first was European Corn Borer (ECB), in the tassel where they are often found (Figures 1 & 2). It was a surprise because I have seen many fewer of these in the sweet corn plots in recent years. I understand from the entomologists that it is due to the widespread use of Bt field corn that has resulted in much lower populations of ECB. The week of Aug. 19 I observed an ECB egg mass on a flag leaf and a young larva on the ear (Figures 3 & 4). The second late July observation was a corn earworm (CEW)–the insect itself is not surprising, but it was in the tassel! (Figures 5-8). I have previously only seen them in ears. The[Read More…]


Winter squash – butternut, acorn, and kabocha – in our downy mildew sentinel plot at Pinney Purdue were showing some wilted and stunted plants by late July (Figure 1). They are easily pulled up, the stem breaking off at ground level, revealing a brown stringy decayed-looking stem base (Figure 2). Sometimes there is a little whitish or maybe pinkish mold on the stem. I cut open a kabocha squash to look for squash vine borer larva and found sap beetles that seemed to be feeding inside the stem, but no vine borer (Figure 3). The sap beetles were clearly taking advantage of an opportunity, but not the cause of the wilt. Perhaps a borer had already come and gone. I used scotch tape to pick up some of the mold and put it on a slide to look at under the microscope. At 100X and 400X I saw among the[Read More…]


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The wet spring has likely delayed some planting of pumpkins. What does delayed planting mean for yield? Data and observations from Purdue Ag Centers offer some perspective to supplement other experience. Figure 1 shows how pumpkin yield was affected by planting date for 6 trials. Each line represents a different trial. The Y-axis shows relative yield within in each trial. Yield of the first planting date for each trial is set to 100. For the two trials at Pinney Purdue (orange lines, PP2002 and PP2003), pumpkins seeded June 20-25 yielded 70%-85% of pumpkins seeded by early June. In the 1995-1996 trials at Southwest Purdue Ag Center (light green lines, SW1995 and SW1996), pumpkins transplanted June 25-30 produced about 50% of those transplanted two weeks earlier (June 10-15). Transplanting two weeks later (July 10-15) produced only 30% of the yield compared to the June 10-15 plantings. In the 1997-1998 trials at[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…]