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

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Indiana State Department of Agriculture/Indiana Grown was recently awarded a grant in partnership with the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Dept of Education and Purdue Extension to create an all-inclusive local food sourcing guide for schools, called Indiana Grown for Schools: School Food Service Resource Guide. This two-year project will start with gathering information from Indiana farmers, producers and distributors then compiling it into a county by county guide that will be dispersed to all schools in the state of Indiana. If you want to have your information included in this guide, please fill out this survey https://goo.gl/forms/GFyrZrlUjxA0xZhx2 The deadline to fill out the survey is October 31, 2018. The survey also has some helpful links about Indiana food safety requirements – which may help those who are still unsure as to whether or not they qualify to sell to schools in Indiana. If you have any questions, please contact Heather Tallman at HTallman@isda.in.gov


I visited a few high tunnels around the state recently and used a hand-held soil electrical conductivity (EC) meter to test soil salinity levels inside of the structures. Although the hand-held EC meter may not give ratings as accurate as a soil test lab could provide, I had comparative ratings from several farms. Interestingly, by talking to growers, I found tomatoes grown in the high tunnels that have relatively high EC ratings seem to suffer more problems in the past season. In most cases, the unhealthy plants have been taken out of the tunnels by the time I visited (in early August). In one situation, the farmer reported flower abortion and a lot of blossom end rot. In another situation, the farmer described a widespread leaf spot symptom that was not a disease. He followed the recommendation based on plant tissue analysis, but the problem was not solved. In the third situation, tomato[Read More…]


Figure 2. A severe case of hollowheart watermelon.

Hollowheart of watermelons is a physiological fruit disorder. Flesh separates inside of the fruit, typically forming three gaps (Figure 1 and 2). In severe cases, hollowheart could cause watermelon load rejection. Watermelon fruit that has hollowheart tends to be triangular shaped. Poor pollination is the primary reason causing hollowheart. Scientists were able to prove that seedless watermelons are more likely to develop hollowheart when the pollenizer plants (diploid watermelons) are located further away from the seedless plants. The study found hollowheart incidence starts to increase when the distance between the seedless plant and the pollenizer plant is more than 6 feet. Cold weather and the lack of bee movement during pollination period causes poor pollination and increases the chance of hollowheart. Some growers use mixed pollenizer plants with different flowering peaks to ensure availability of pollen matching the blooming period of seedless plants. Bumblebees, in addition to honeybees, are sometimes used; bumblebees are relatively more[Read More…]



Farmer Rancher Program These grants are for farmers/ranchers to explore innovative sustainable agriculture solutions to production, marketing, labor, and other problems. There are three types of competitive grants: individual grants ($9,000 maximum), Team of Two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together ($18,000 maximum), and Group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together ($27,000 maximum). Projects may last up to 24 months. Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal at https://www.northcentralsare.org/Grants/Our-Grant-Programs/Farmer-Rancher-Grant-Program. Proposals are due on December 6, 2018. Partnership Program The Partnership Grant program funded by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture.  Partnership Grants[Read More…]


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Southwest Indiana Melon and Vegetable Growers’ Technical Meeting Date: November 15, 2018 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (EST) Location: Southwest Purdue Ag Center (SWPAC), 4369 N. Purdue Road, Vincennes, IN The meeting will start at 5:00 p.m. for board members to discuss topics for the March meeting, which will be held in French Lick, IN. Any member who wants to participate in the discussion is welcome. At 6:00 pm, dinner will be served. Following that, we will showcase variety trials conducted at SWPAC in 2018, which includes seedless watermelons, melons, seeded watermelons, and personal-sized watermelons. Any grower interested in becoming a member is invited to attend. Membership dues are $15 per year and can be paid at the meeting. To register please call (812) 886-0198. Registration is due by Nov. 7. Any questions, please contact Wenjing Guan guan40@purdue.edu  Greenhouse and Indoor Hydroponics Workshop Date: Sept. 5, 2018, 8:00 am-3:00 pm Location: 625[Read More…]



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Small Farm Education Field Day Date: Aug. 30, 2018 Location: Purdue Daniel Turf Center (1340 Cherry Lane, West Lafayette, IN 47907) and Purdue Student Farm (1491 Cherry Lane, West Lafayette, IN 47906) Registration is $10, register at https://www.cvent.com/d/hgqx6g  Greenhouse and Indoor Hydroponics Workshop Date: Sept. 5, 2018 Location: 625 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907 The work shop is free. Register at https://tinyurl.com/yaxd4k2z                     2018 Pumpkin Field Day Date: Sept. 6, 2018 starting at 10:00 am Location: University of Illinois Extension Ewing Demonstration Center. 16132 N. Ewing Rd; Ewing, IL 62836 (Located 20 minutes south of Mt. Vernon, IL) The field day is free. Please register by calling (618) 687-1727 or online at https://go.illinois.edu/pumpkinday2018 by Aug. 31, 2018. Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day Date: Sept. 26, 9:30 -4:00 Location: PrairiErth Farm, 2073 2000 Ave, Atlanta, IL 61723 Registration is $20,[Read More…]


Figure 1. A server case of leaf burn under high temperatures.

Strawberries are primarily grown in the mattered row system in Indiana, in which bare-root strawberry plants are set in the spring, fruit is first harvested in the second year and plantings are renovated each year for a few seasons. Growers in southern Indiana have expressed interest in growing strawberries in the annual plasticultural system. With this annual system, plants are set in the fall and harvested in the spring of the following year. Plantings are not normally carried over a second year. Although the annual plasticultural system is very popular in the southern states, its usage is limited in Indiana mainly because our short fall weather conditions pose a challenge for strawberry plants to develop enough branch crowns, which allows them to achieve the optimal yield in the following spring. In the past two years, we have been testing the annual strawberry production system with additional protection from high tunnels[Read More…]