Friday, November 11, 2016

Dr. Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University



A new publication providing information on micronutrient levels in soil and optimum range in plant tissue is now available at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach store. Although needed in very small amounts, micronutrients have an important role to play in plant growth and development. Most of them are involved in enzymatic reactions that are essential for plant survival such as photosynthesis and respiration. This publication highlights the major roles, deficiencies, and toxicity symptoms of micronutrients in plants and provides an understanding of the interactions between micronutrients in the soil. Click on the link below to download the guide

https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Micronutrient-Publication-for-Vegetable-Growers

Thursday, August 18, 2016

2016 Field Day Highlights

Dr. Ajay Nair, Kristine Neu, and John Krzton-Presson
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University


We would like to offer up a HUGE thank you to everyone who attended and supported the 2016 Fruit and Vegetable Field Day! It was great to have a group of close to 100 people join us for research presentations and hands-on demonstrations.

We would like to especially thank the following individuals and organizations for their support:

  • Eric Franzenburg and Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
  • Liz Kolbe and Practical Farmers of Iowa
  • Brian Nordschow and Windridge Implements Inc.
  • Donald Lewis, Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca and Laura Jesse with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic
  • Joe Hannan and Patrick O'Malley with Iowa State Extension and Outreach
The day would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Nick Howell, Brandon Carpenter, and the entire staff of the ISU Horticulture Research Station.

Please keep an eye on our website http://www.extension.iastate.edu/vegetablelab/ for winter workshops and presentations, and know that we already look forward to seeing you for the 2017 Field Day!


Brian Nordshow answering questions about planting and harvesting equipment available from Windridge Implements Inc.

Liz Kolbe sharing the message and work of Practical Farmers of Iowa. She is joined by Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca and Laura Jesse of the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.

Dr. Ajay Nair and Kristine Neu giving an overview of their colored bell pepper cultivar trial and shading study.

Field day attendees explore the grafted tomato research in a high tunnel. Project supported by IDALS.

Dr. Diana Cochran sharing updates on the apple rootstock trial.

Bryn Takle explains the layout of his hops research focusing on nitrogen fertility.

Kenny McCabe demonstrating the use of the HopsHarvester.

Dr. Ajay Nair and John Krzton-Presson talk about conservation tillage and food safety in muskmelon production.

Hayley Nelson and Dr. Mark Gleason explaining row covers, ProtekNet, and their role in the potential prevention of bacterial wilt.

Students and staff who played a vital role in the success of the 2016 Fruit and Vegetable Field Day.





Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dr. Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University



A new publication providing information on commercial asparagus production is now available at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach store. The production guide discusses all aspects of production including cultivar selection, fertility management, insect-disease-and weed management, harvesting and storage. Click on the link below to download the guide

https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Commercial-Asparagus-Production

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Commercial melon production

Ajay Nair and John Krzton-Presson
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University


A new publication providing information on commercial melon production is now available at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach store. The production guide discusses all aspects of production including cultivar selection, transplant production, fertility requirement, insect-disease-and weed management, harvesting and storage. Click on the link below to download the guide

https://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Commercial-Melon-Production

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wind Damage on High Tunnels

Kristine Neu and Ajay Nair,
Department of Horticulture,
Iowa State University


We've recently received some much needed rain in Central Iowa; however, this has brought along some necessary evils. Wind and the other damaging culprits that accompany summer thunderstorms have been especially unwelcome for producers growing in high tunnels. 

On the evening of July 11 the ISU Horticulture Farm fell victim to the 30+ mph hour winds with gusts upwards of 50 mph. The results were the complete loss of one high tunnel skin and the displacement of a shade cloth on another. Thankfully the research was not compromised. We hope that our local growers did not face the same misfortune!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University


A new publication providing information on all aspects of Pak Choi production is now available at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach Online Store. The commercial production guide discusses all aspects of pak choi production, starting with with choosing appropriate cultivar, planting method, fertility, etc. Click on the link below to download the guide

http://store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/Commercial-Production-of-Pak-Choi

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Managing Stress in High Tunnels: Shade Cloth

Kristine Neu and Ajay Nair,
Department of Horticulture,
Iowa State University

The early onset of high temperatures in June has kept us on our toes as we manage our high tunnel production systems at the ISU Horticulture Research Station. While high tunnels bring many benefits to high value crop production, including season extension and increased produce quality, we find that one major downfall is the increase of heat stress. 
Last year, after blossom abortion due to heat stress and severe sun scald damage on tomatoes within our high tunnel, a 30% light reducing shade cloth was purchased to alleviate some of these issues.When the predicted highs reached over 90 degrees early this month, we knew it was once again time to place the shade cloth on our high tunnel, and there was an audible sigh of relief from the tomatoes.
On June 24 we applied shade cloth to small high tunnels that are being used to trial seven colored bell pepper cultivars. In addition to trialing the cultivars, we are examining the response of the plants and fruit to three different shade treatments- no shade, 30% shade, and 50% shade. Our hope is to hone in on the best production methods for colored bell peppers in high tunnels.
A shade cloth may be a valuable tool to utilize in your high tunnel production system, but we understand that cost is a huge decision factor. Here is a short breakdown of approximate costs taken from a large grower supply company:
  • 30% polyethylene knitted shade cloth = $0.20 / square foot
  • 1000' spool of polyester curtain cord = $30
  • Shade Clip (suggested placement is 2' spacing) = $0.47 / clip
Cost to cover a 30' x 96' structure with a 30% shade cloth = $500 + shipping
Please watch for updates throughout the season regarding our high tunnel production of tomatoes and colored bell peppers.