Organic Production Series

organic production series

Ohio State’s organic production winter webinar series will finish up in the next few weeks, but session recordings will remain available at, where you can also find log-in details for our final sessions.

These sessions are brief, free, and can be accessed online or by telephone. All sessions are 11:00-11:45 a.m. and will include time for questions and discussion. Speakers are from Ohio State unless otherwise noted. The webinars are intended for growers involved in, considering, or simply curious about organic agriculture.

March 31, 2021, 11 a.m.
Remediation of Post-Industrial Urban Soils by Organic Management – Larry Phelan
The loss of manufacturing in a number of U.S. cities, particularly in the Rust Belt, along with the 2008 housing crash, has led to population loss and abandonment of a large number of properties and land area. Unfortunately, what did not leave was the legacy of soil contamination and degradation caused by this industrial past. This project documents the impact of this history on chemical, physical, and biological dimensions of soil health in Cleveland’s vacant lots and investigates the changes associated with conversion of industrially damaged soils to urban organic farming.

April 14, 2021, 11 a.m.
The Organic Consumer: What We Know – Zoë Plakias
Knowing who your customers are, can help you reach them more effectively. Ohio State economist Zoë Plakias will share market research about consumer attitudes and behaviors toward organic products. Demographically, who are our customers? What motivates them to purchase organic products? How much extra are they willing to pay? And how can organic growers and retailers increase their appeal with these customers?

Previous sessions are available for viewing at, including:

  • Management Practices That Impact Soil Health and Organic Matter – Christine Sprunger
  • Tips for Using/Attracting Beneficial Insects – Mary Gardiner
  • Cultural Control Strategies for Nightmare Weeds – Douglas Doohan
  • Considerations for Organic High Tunnel Production – Matt Kleinhenz
  • Irrigation Basics – Larry Brown
  • Transition Q&A – Julia Barton, OEFFA
  • and more.

Heads Up on a Billion Heads Up!

Figure 1. Area shaded in orange is where brood X of the periodical cicada is expected to emerge in 2021 (from Periodical and “Dog-Day” Cicadas, OSU extension Fact Sheet ENT-58, by D. Shetlar and J. Andon, 2015;

In case you have been living underground for the past 17 years, take note of the map showing the impending mass emergence of billions of Brood X cicadas in central and southwestern Ohio (Figure 1).

There is also a useful timetable for when to expect the emergence, mating, oviposition and end of the Brood X cicadas (Figure 2). The whole process is temperature driven but should begin in April and be over by the end of June.

If you are primarily a vegetable grower, you can relax a bit as the cicada emergence will likely not affect or damage any crops but adults may randomly appear in a crop and serve as a noticeable and potentially loud contaminant.

Figure 2. Estimate for cicada stages and life cycle (source


For small fruit and tree fruit growers, there is a chance of damage to stems about ¼” in diameter due to cicada oviposition. Celeste Welty, OSU Dept. of Entomology,  wrote an excellent article for the Ohio Fruit Newsletter recently that covers chemical and cultural options (

For anyone with an interest in reporting locations of cicada emergence, there is an app called ‘Cicada Safari’ that is available for iOS and Android devices. It is interesting that most of the cicada broods do emerge as expected 17 years after the previous emergence, but if they are off-schedule, it is usually by 4 years, usually 4 years early. Excellent information about the biology and behavior of cicadas can be found at the cicada mania website: . Other general information about cicadas can be found there too.

Last but not least, why not take advantage of this rare free protein and try cicadas in a variety of tasty snacks and meals!


Bon appetite!

Re-Introducing The Vegetable Beet and Re-Thinking Transplant Production

Re-Introducing The Vegetable Beet

The Vegetable Beet is a live weekly interview and discussion focused on vegetable production challenges and opportunities coordinated by the Great Lakes Vegetable Producers Network. Callers participate live and others listen to session recordings when convenient. See for details and recordings (24 and counting).

On 3/17/21, Dr. Judson Reid of Cornell University shared excellent observations on and suggestions for initiating warm season production in high tunnels and open fields. Among other core principles, Jud emphasized routine soil testing, high quality seed and transplants, and tailoring fertility management to crop setting and other factors. We also discussed a range of issues related to using high tunnels for warm season crops only or warm and cool season crops (i.e., harvesting and marketing one season per year or year-round).

Drs. Mohammad Babadoost (University of Illinois) and Francesca Rotondo (The OSU) will be featured guests for the session on 3/24/21 and discuss seed selection, treatment, and starting, including for transplant production.

Please contact me or another program coordinator directly or use to suggest topics and guests for future sessions of The Vegetable Beet (or VegNet Newsletter!).

Re-Thinking Transplant Production

Some recall when bare-rooted seedlings (often produced outdoors) were the norm. That era was replaced by the one we are currently in featuring, for example, soilless rooting media, foam or plastic trays varying widely in cell shape and size, and highly soluble fertilizers. We also rely heavily on greenhouses for transplant production — that has many important implications for everyone involved since those greenhouses can be ours or someone else’s. Regardless, for many, transplant production has become so familiar and routine that it can be overlooked relative to other issues and stages in crop production. The general impression may be that transplant production is “all figured out,” that today’s overall approaches need little improvement. However, as successful businesspeople, you know that taking a fresh, hard look at the familiar and routine can spark innovations and reveal changes offering real returns on investment. So, as transplant production moves forward this season, consider how your system could be fine-tuned. Seed handling and starting practices, rooting medium and tray selection, temperature, light, and humidity control, fertility and irrigation management, and more are options.

Grower Survey to Assess Herbicide Drift Damage in the North Central U.S.


Midwest specialty crop growers are encouraged to participate in the current herbicide drift damage survey. The study seeks to document the frequency, severity, management, and economic impact of drift damage among specialty crop growers in the North Central U.S. Even if you have not experienced drift damage, your input will be helpful in determining risk factors.

If you haven’t already done so, please take the time right now to complete this survey at

The survey should take 5-20 minutes depending on your personal experience with herbicide drift. Results will help document needs for related research, education, or policy review around herbicide drift and drift management.

For more information on the study and resources on managing drift risk, please visit


IPM Video Library on YouTube

For over 100 years OSU Extension has delivered information to growers in the form of field days, workshops, conferences, newsletters, factsheets, guides, bulletins, etc. However, in the past decade there has been a shift in how people (including growers) search for and consume information. That newer method of information transfer is through the use of “how to” videos to show people how to do something or prepare for something, and it’s available free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Partial screen shot of OSU IPM YouTube Video Library.

The OSU IPM Video Library on YouTube ( embraced this digital delivery trend and was launched in 2009. The site now has 81 videos on a variety of crops (pumpkin, sweet corn, carrots, strawberry, hops, field crops and coming soon apples) and a number of topics including identification, monitoring and management of traditional and invasive pests.

Videos are added throughout the year to these categories called playlists and new playlists are being created to house specific content such as apples. In the next month or two, new videos on squash vine borer and striped cucumber beetles on pumpkin will be released. Updated videos on monitoring brown marmorated stink bug and spotted lanternfly are also on this list.

This year in addition to shooting in our traditional video format, we intend to experiment with shorter (one minute long?) but more frequent (weekly?) videos, including some live streaming from the field; stay tuned for more details on that.

How can YOU participate in adding content to the video library? What kind of topics would YOU like to see added to the YouTube channel? You can either email me directly at about specific topics or ideas you have or if you prefer to send them 100% anonymously, click on this link ( and leave your suggestion. One thing we always struggle with is how long to make the video. While we generally know that shorter is better, it can be challenging to convey the nuances of some pest management topics in shorter videos but we try!

We hope the content on the site is useful to your operation and our IPM Team is looking forward to your video suggestions. Remember, YOU put the You in YouTube!

Limiting Bird Damage in Sweet Corn

Bird damage in sweet corn and other specialty crop production can be significant and those affected by it need different types of effective solutions. Some are described in articles and publications such as,, and Still, the search for additional farm-ready ‘tools in the toolbox’ continues. A team led by the University of Rhode Island is working with growers in the Northeast and other regions to better understand the extent of the problem and success of current control measures. Consider completing their very brief (5-minute) survey at to help inform and get the most from the team’s work.