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
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Southwest Purdue Ag Center Field Day Save the date June 29 for Southwest Purdue Ag Center Field Day Beginning Farmer Tours and Workshops  Join Purdue’s beginning farmer team for farm tours in 2017. June 15. Clay Bottom Farm near Goshen, IN uses intensive growing methods to support a CSA program on less than an acre of land. Learn about their ‘lean farm” approach to support a CSA, supply restaurants, and sell at farmers’ markets. June 24. Silverthorn Farm near Rossville, IN uses organic practices to produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The tour will include a session on working with restaurants. September 11. Two tours for the price of one! Tour Little Prairie Farms, a small acreage vegetable farm near Brookston, IN, and the Purdue Student Farm near West Lafayette to learn about farming practices and tools for small acreage farms. September 27. Full Hand Farm is a[Read More…]

Figure 2. A seedless cucumber

A plant is considered to be seedless if it is able to produce a fruit without or contain a much-reduced number of seeds, or in some cases, only present traces of aborted seeds. Seedlessness is a desirable fruit character because seeds are often hard, have a bad taste and produce hormones that lead to fruit deterioration. As a result, seedless fruit often has better quality and longer shelf lives. Seedless watermelons that were introduced in the 1990s have become the main type of watermelons grown in the U.S.  Besides seedless watermelons, breeders have developed seedless varieties for other fruiting vegetables. This article briefly introduces the different types of seedless fruit and discusses potential opportunities for growing theses varieties. Seedlessness exists in two forms. In the case of seedless watermelons, the fruit contains partially formed seeds that are aborted after fertilization (Figure 1.). Seedless watermelon plants are self-infertile. They must be[Read More…]

Farmer Rancher Grant Program of NCR-SARE is for farmers and ranchers who want to explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education projects. The Farmer Rancher Grant offers grants of up to $7,500 for an individual applicant, $15,000 for 2 applicant farmers cooperating, and $22,500 for three or more farmers cooperating. More information about the grant is available at http://www.northcentralsare.org/Grants/Our-Grant-Programs/Farmer-Rancher-Grant-Program In Indiana, we had five farmer-initiated projects selected to receive funding in 2017. They were: James Catron of Hallelujah Acres Farm in Lebanon, IN was awarded $7,500 for the project, “Measure the Effectiveness of Interseeded Cover Crops for Proactive Weed Prevention in a Chemical-free, Low-till Vegetable Market Garden Operation.” Jane Loomis of Old Loon Farm in Columbia City, IN was awarded $22,477 for the project, “Investigating the Possibilities of Cooperative Sorghum Syrup Production and Marketing for Strengthening Small Farm Sustainability in Northern Indiana.” Thomas McEvilly of McEvilly Gardens[Read More…]

Indiana Farm Market Association (IFMA) Spring Tour Day The spring tour day will be held on May 2, 2017 in the Fort Wayne area. This is open to anyone with a farm retail store, farm market, or agritourism farm.  It’s a great time for sharing ideas and gather new ones. This is a driving tour, map and directions will be provided. The tour begins at… 10:00 Cook’s Bison Ranch cooksbisonranch.com.  It is located in Wolcottville, Indiana. Lunch at Sandra D’s Italian Garden in Auburn, Indiana. 12:00-2:00   The owner/chief, Bentley Dillinger will also give a brief talk on his business and his relationship to local farmers.  The menu will be specially selected, and it will include their famous dessert, tiramasu.  Note: they are listed as Sandra Ds Garden Cafe for Google Maps. The afternoon will conclude with a tour of Sechler’s Pickles. Tour at 3:00 p.m. There is a requirement of no open-toed shoes,[Read More…]

It is with the deepest sorrow that we inform our readers of the deaths of Tom Roney of Tuttle Orchards in Greenfield, John Hilger of Hilger Family Farm in Fort Wayne and Abner Horrall of Melon Acres in Oaktown. They were all great leaders of the vegetable industry in Indiana. They will be greatly missed.

Hydroponic Lettuce Production Workshop The department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture is hosting a Hydroponic Lettuce Production Workshop on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 8:30 am to 11:30 am (EST) in room 222, Horticulture Building at Purdue University. Topics include: Most common mistakes made during hydroponic lettuce production (Petrus Langenhoven); Nutrition, temperature and supplemental lighting for hydroponic lettuce production (Krishna Nemali); Market access (Jodee Ellett), and Tour of hydroponic lettuce research at HLA (Krishna Nemali and Petrus Langenhoven). The workshop is free, please RSVP no later than March 20, 2017 by contacting Lori Jolly-Brown (ljollybr@purdue.edu). For More information, please contact Petrus Langenhoven (plangenh@purdue.edu) or Krishna Nemali (knemali@purdue.edu). Michiana Vegetable & Fruit Growers Meeting  Purdue Extension and Michigan State University Extension services are hosting a daylong event that runs from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on March 21, 2017, at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, 17746 County Road 34, Goshen, Indiana. Topics[Read More…]

Figure 1. Take soil samples at 6 inches deep

We can never emphasize too much the importance of conducting soil tests. Ideally, soil test should be conducted on a yearly basis. The reason soil testing is so important is because it provides information about the nutrient composition of the soil so that growers will know how much fertilizer to apply for the following season. In addition, soil tests enables farmers to find out if there are concerns, such as pH, salinity etc. If these factors are off track, we might be able to address the problems before planting. In most cases, addressing the problems before planting is more efficient and cost effective than during the season. Purdue Agronomy Extension provides a list of laboratories that offer soil test services https://ag.purdue.edu/agry/extension/pages/soil_testing.aspx I will use the A&L Great Lakes Lab as an example, explaining how to use this service. A&L Great Lakes laboratories provide seven (S1 to S7) soil test packages.[Read More…]

The transdisciplinary faculty from eight states (Texas, California, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, and Arizona) are preparing a research proposal for submission to the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative. The research and outreach activities will be conducted on melons.Your participation either as a producer, a retailer, or a consumer will help to establish a need for this research. We would appreciate your help in participating the survey. The survey is anonymous, it will take approximately 8-10 minutes. The survey should be completed by February 18, 2017. The link to the survey is: https://tamucehd.qualtrics.com//SE/?SID=SV_1YBuufvEu0wmciF

2017 Indiana Small Farm Conference Indiana Small Farm Conference will be held from Thursday, March 2 to Saturday, March 4, 2017 in Danville, Indiana at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds. The Indiana Small Farm Conference is a three day learning and networking event supporting small or diversified farms. Information about this year’s programs, registration and lodging are available at http://www.cvent.com/events/2017-indiana-small-farm-conference/event-summary-24e5817fd2f040679885e788eb478b61.aspx Southwest Indiana Melon & Vegetable Growers Annual Meeting The Southwest Indiana Melon and Vegetable Growers Association (SWIM) will have their annual meeting on Friday, March 10, 2017, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm (EST), at the French Lick Resort & Casino Center, 8670 W. State Rd. 56, French Lick, IN. This year’s program includes Cover crops; Precision water and nutrient management; Commercial sweet potato production; Cucurbit pests; How Dicamba on soybeans affect vegetable growers; Food safety update; Watermelon and Cantaloupe variety update, and a PARP topic Utilizing precision Agriculture. Dr. Ajay Nair[Read More…]