Thursday, February 25, 2016

Salad greens- Vegetable Production class

Dr. Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University

Students in HORT 471 (Vegetable Production and Management) course are growing variety of vegetables in HORT greenhouse. Crops were seeded/transplanted on soil benches with medium consisting of soil, compost, and peat. The course provides students with theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience required for successfully producing vegetable crops. Some of the crops being grown include leafy greens (arugula, tatsoi, lettuce, mizuna, bok choy), summer squash, carrot, pepper, tomato, pole bean, bush bean, sweet corn, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, brussels sprout, and radish. Students had a great time collecting data, harvesting greens, and enjoyed a full-service salad bar yesterday (24 February, 2016). Check out the pictures:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Thrips damage and control strategies

Ajay Nair
Department of Horticulture
Iowa State University

Thrips are very small, slender insects that are common in greenhouses at this time of the year when growers are gearing up to grow transplants. Thrips can cause damage with their feeding, which distorts plant growth, deforms flowers, and causes white-to-silvery patches on leaves (figure below). regular, frequent, and thorough scouting is important to keep a tab on this pest. Use sticky cards and hand lens to trap and properly identify the insect. 

One can use products that have low toxicity such as azadirachtin (Neem-based products, BioNeem), insecticidal soaps (Safer), horticultural Oil, or neem oil (Safe Brand Neem Oil). Biological control is very effective if the infestation is detected early. Biological control includes Predatory mites (Typhlodromips montdorensis, Amblyseius cucumeris, Amblyseius swirskii, Eurseius ovalis) and predatory bugs (Orius laevigatus, Orius majusculus and Orius insidiosus)

Stronger synthetic insecticides such as neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, and organophosphates should be used if the infestation is heavy.