Many commercial growers and home gardeners often confront the issue of Blossom End Rot (BER) in their tomato, pepper, and eggplant. The BER is a physiological disorder caused by a localized calcium deficiency in the blossom-end of the fruit. It is a physiological disorder and is not caused by fungi, bacteria, or any other living disease microorganisms. Also, BER could also be seen on non-solanaceous crops such as pumpkins, squash, and watermelons.
On Monday 10 August, 2020 a devastating storm ripped past Iowa. It was unexpected and was a mighty one.Given that we are getting close to the end of the growing season does not mean that we pay less attention to plants that survived the storm. These plants are still actively growing and if properly managed could produce meaningful marketable produce.
The striped cucumber beetle is a common pest of cucurbit crops in the Midwest. The spotted cucumber beetle, also known as the southern corn rootworm, is also a pest of cucurbit crops, but the striped cucumber beetle has more economic impact due to its ability to transmit bacterial wilt.
With respect to vegetable crops, recent flooding in western Iowa has created a tough situation for growers. Given the time of the year of this catastrophic event, there were no vegetable crops standing in the field, however, water/runoff from surface waters such as rivers, lakes, or steams could have overflowed and run into fields. This water most likely could contain chemical and biological contaminants that may be harmful to the health of humans and animals.
The 2018 season has ended and I wanted to share a few frequently asked questions, problems, concerns, and trends that I am seeing. Rather than waiting until next year to address these issues, it seems easier to do so while the year is still fresh in our minds.
As the season winds down for summer crops (sweet corn, pepper, tomato, etc.) we should not let our guard down on fall crops such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprout, kale, etc. These crops are on still actively growing and need attention when it comes to pest management.
The local foods industry in Iowa is maturing and as expected, farmers have many new marketing opportunities. There are now many options in addition to farmers markets for selling produce.
Tomatoes are found in nearly every high tunnel and for good reason. The demand for fresh market tomatoes is incredibly high nearly all year, creating high prices during off-season production for locally grown fruit.
Iowa soils are very diverse and so are the chemical characteristics that make up these soils. Soil pH is one property that can vary widely across the state both naturally and due to crop production inputs. It is also one of the most cost effective and easy to manage soil properties that can be modified to improve plant health and crop production.
If your home garden ends up larger than planned or more tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini are planted than are actually needed, donating to your local food pantry is a great option. Donations from home gardeners and commercial fruit and vegetable growers are important to food pantries.