Wenjing Guan

Vegetable Crops Hotline Editor & Clinical Engagement Assistant Professor
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Area(s) of Interest: Commercial Vegetable and Melon Production
Wenjing Guan's website

245 articles by this author

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2016 Indiana Small Farm Conference Location: Danville, Indiana Date: March 3 to 5, 2016 Keynote speaker of this year’s conference is Mary Dee Berry the executive director of The Berry Center, and Ben Hartman the author of The Lean Farm. More information regarding registration, conference schedule, as well as directions and lodging is available at https://ag.purdue.edu/extension/smallfarms/Pages/default.aspx. Southwest Indiana Melon & Vegetable Growers Meeting Location: French Lick Resort and Casino, 8670 W. State Rd. 56, French Lick, IN 47432 Date: March 4, 2016 Registration and viewing of commercial exhibits will begin at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The educational program begins at 9:00 a.m. Detail of the program is available at https://www.facebook.com/SWPurdueAgCenter/. Lunch, which will be available with the $15 registration, will be from 11:45 until 1:15 p.m.  The afternoon educational program has been approved for Private Applicator Recertification Program (PARP) credit and commercial pesticide credits have been applied for. Please[Read More…]

Welcome to a new year of the Vegetable Crops Hotline! Starting with this issue, I will be the new editor of VCH newsletter. If you do not know me yet, I am the horticulture specialist located at Vincennes, IN. I am excited to work more closely with VCH. I also feel responsible to continually provide you a great newsletter. As always, our goal is to provide timely information that is useful for Indiana vegetable growers. If you have any suggestions, comments, or just want to share with us your experience about VCH, please do not hesitate to contact me at 812-886-0198, or email at guan40@purdue.edu. Taking the opportunity, I would like to thank you for your unconditional support of VCH. Without your support, it is impossible for us to put everything together. I would also like to thank Liz Maynard for her years of dedicated service to VCH as an editor. What you[Read More…]

A grafted tomato plant growing in a high tunnel. (Photo by Wenjing Guan)

​You might have heard about tomato grafting, or you might even already have tried the new technique. Yes, it has multiple benefits: control of soilborne diseases, enhanced tolerance to abiotic stresses, and increased productivity. It works for some growers, but not all. Why? There are several reasons. First, effects of grafting on controlling soilborne diseases depend on the presence of the disease that the rootstock is designed to control. For example, grafting might not be very helpful for white mold, because current commercial rootstocks do not have resistance to white mold. However, grafting might work if the primary problem is Fusarium crown and root rot, as most commercial tomato rootstocks have resistance to this disease. With that said, it is very important to look at the disease resistance profile before deciding on the rootstocks. Second, grafting effects on improving yield depend on factors such as scion and rootstock cultivars, cultural[Read More…]

​Crop production, decomposition of organic matter, using ammonium-producing nitrogen fertilizers, and rainfall all lower soil pH. To maintain soil pH in the optimal range (6.5 to 6.8) for vegetable production, periodic application of lime is needed. The primary form of agricultural lime is calcium carbonate (CaCO3). It is the carbonate (CO3^2-) part that brings up soil pH. Whenever lime is applied, a large amount of calcium is also added to the soil. The good news is that calcium is an essential plant nutrient. Several vegetable problems that we are familiar with are caused by calcium deficiency for example, blossom end rot of tomatoes and peppers, and tip burn of cabbages. However, it should be noted that excess calcium might interfere with plant available magnesium and potassium. Therefore, it is always better to keep a balance of those nutrients. Some lime products are specified as dolomitic lime. Dolomitic lime is common[Read More…]

​You might remember seeing cation exchange capacity in soil test reports. Recently, I have been asked about what it means. This is one of the important soil characteristics that we need to understand.  Firstly, we need to know what cations are. Cations are positively charged ions. There are several. The ones very important for plant growth are calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+) and potassium (K+). Soil particles are negatively charged. They can hold positive charged cations. When plants absorb nutrients from the soil solution, these bound nutrient cations are exchangeable with other cations in the soil solution and become plant available. Therefore, CEC describes the soil’s capacity to supply nutrient cations to the soil solution for plant uptake. Sands do not have the quantity of negative charges that clays and organic matter do. Thus sandy soils generally have the lowest CEC. Soils with lower CEC have less ability to retain cation[Read More…]