BRADNER, Ohio - Ohio State University vegetable crop specialists are using this spring's overly wet weather to help paint a picture of effective management practices for an upcoming Vegetable Grower Tour.
Mac Riedel, an Ohio State Extension ornamental plant pathologist, said the recent unfavorable weather conditions have created an opportunity to focus on insects and diseases affecting vegetable crops already planted, or those greenhouse crops waiting to be transplanted.
"The idea of the vegetable tour is to visit several fields and touch on problems relating to diseases, insects and weed development," said Riedel. "With this wet spring, we are having problems with fungal and bacterial diseases, which just makes the information presented on the tour that much more important."
The Vegetable Grower Tour, sponsored by the Ohio State Extension Vegetable Team, will be held June 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Hirzel Farm in Bradner, Ohio. Riedel, along with Ohio State entomologist Celeste Welty and Ohio State weed specialist Doug Doohan, will discuss control measures and answer growers' questions concerning cabbage, pepper, cucumber and tomato crops. The tour is free and growers and consultants are encouraged to bring samples of problems for discussion.
Riedel said very little of cabbage, pepper, cucumber and tomato crops have been planted, but those that are in the ground are being affected by a number of diseases, including Phytophthora and Pythium root rots and fungal infections Bacterial diseases, such as bacterial spot, bacterial speck and black rot are favored by wet weather.
The concern, however, is over the development of diseases on greenhouse plants that growers are holding onto since unfavorable soil conditions have not allowed transplanting to the field.
"Growers need to be careful when holding onto plants and cutting back on nitrogen to keep those plants from growing," said Riedel. "When one does that, it increases the possibility of diseases."
Such diseases that attack nitrogen-stressed plants include early blight and gray mold. "If we get development of these diseases in the greenhouse and then transplant them to the field, under the current conditions they can spread rapidly," said Riedel. "We'd have an onslaught of those diseases and that could become a real problem for us."
Riedel said one of the goals of the Vegetable Grower Tour is to help growers improve production techniques to effectively manage those diseases.