Last Call – 2 More Pumpkin or Squash Growers for On-Farm Mustard Biofumigation Trial

Interested in seeing if planting mustard cover crops prior to pumpkins or squash can reduce soil borne diseases and increase your yield? We are looking for 2 more growers preferably in the central or southern part of the state to put out a mustard cover crop (MCC) biofumigation trial to reduce soil borne disease pressure with the following guidelines and conditions. Deadline to sign up is March 19.

Growers requirements and general protocol:
-Growers must plant in field known to have a Plectosporium blight infestation. Growers with fields infested with Fusarium or Phytophthora will also be considered.

-Growers need to have equipment to seed the cover crop, chop (bush hog or flail), incorporate (rototill), pack the soil (culti-mulcher) and possibly seal the soil using a sprayer or irrigation system. These steps will be done in rapid succession so 3 tractors are ideally needed, each hooked to an implement. Don’t have 3 tractors? Maybe borrow one from a neighbor for a few hours?

-Growers will put out 4 strips of MCC and 4 strips without a MCC.

-Strip sizes will be up to 0.1A each for a maximum of 0.8A needed for the entire on-farm study.

-Growers will plant Caliente Rojo, currently the highest yielding glucosinolate mustard available.

OSU will provide:
-The Caliente Rojo seed, the fertilizer (urea + granular ammonium sulfate) and 1K seeds of the hybrid Solid Gold (Rupp).

-We will evaluate each grower site for disease incidence on foliage three times during the season, plus a harvest where mature fruit are weighed and graded for disease.

Study Timeline
-The MCC strip plots fertilizer will be disked into the soil prior to seeding to ensure high biomass production.

-The MCC planting date will be between March 30 and April 30 based on soil conditions and weather forecasts.

-Approximately 50-60 days later, the MCC will be at peak flowering and will be chopped, rototill incorporated into the soil and then packed using culti-mulcher. If irrigation is available, water will be applied to help seal the soil and create a better environment for biofumigation.

-Within 10-14 days of incorporation, Solid Gold pumpkins will be transplanted or direct seeded into those strips at roughly 4ft spacing between plants. Note that transplants are preferred at each site instead of direct seeding. Transplants will lead to an earlier harvest.

Plot Care
Each farm will follow their own standard weed, insect and disease control and fertility practices on the 8 strips. The fungicides used on the crop will need to be discussed ahead of time so we can limit the use of fungicides that might help control Plectosporium blight. These fungicides are Flint, Cabrio, Quadris, Inspire Super and Merivon.

Disease ratings of incidence on vines, foliage and fruit will be taken at 14-21 day intervals from vining until fruit maturity. Sections of all strips will be harvested and fruit will be weighed and graded for disease.

Sign up
If interested in participating in this project or have questions, please contact me at 937-484-1526 or by March 19.

If growers want to see a video detailing the steps and processes involved with planting MCC as a biofumigant, check out the work we did in 2019 at

This project is being funded by the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program and the IPM Program.

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