2022 Pumpkin and Squash Hybrid Trial Results

What better day to post the pumpkin and squash hybrid trial results than Halloween?

A pumpkin and squash hybrid demonstration trial was conducted at the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston, OH. In order to have mature fruit for the late August field day, the following longer season hybrids were seeded early and transplanted on May 31: Giltedge Gold, Quigley Gold, Igor, Bannack Gold, Death Star, Tons of Fun, Sweet Baby Jane, Spartacus, Garnet Gold, Fireball, Autumn Frost and Icicle. The remaining eight hybrids were also direct seeded on May 31, bringing the total number of hybrids in the trial to 20. Hybrids in the trial included traditional orange jack-o-lantern fruit, other colorful or textured fruit, various edible ornamental squash types, and some recently released hybrids (Table 1).

The trial focuses on demonstrating host plant resistance to powdery mildew, as well as observing general plant health and vine growth. A second function of the trial is to evaluate hybrid fruit size, shape, color, etc. and to obtain some estimates of yield, average fruit weight and number of fruit per acre based on our production methods.

Each plot in the trial was 60’ long and planted on 15’ row centers (0.02A per plot). There was no replication of the plots, all data was collected from a single plot. In-row plant spacing was set at 3.5’ for all hybrids. Despite using FarMore FI400 treated seeds when possible some additional seedling losses occurred due to bacterial wilt infections. Some plants were also lost to mid-season infestations of squash vine borer. Reduced stand is noted in Table 1.

For weed control, Strategy (4pt) plus Dual (1.3pt) plus glyphosate (32oz) per acre was applied pre-emergent followed by Sandea (1oz/A) between the rows prior to the vines running. Hand hoeing and pulling on weekly basis prevented major weed escapes. Based on soil sampling no P or K was applied but ca. 75 lb N was sidedressed using 28-0-0 on June 24.

Table 1. Hybrids in trial and associated development notes. * = reduced stand, BW = bacterial wilt, BLS = bacterial leaf spot

Harvest data was collected on September 1 as the majority of plots showed 95+% mature fruit. From each plot, four representative fruit were clipped and weighed, with all other remaining mature and immature fruit counted and used to estimate yield data per acre. Please keep in mind this report only provides an estimate of yield and fruit potential based on our production methods which are likely quite different than traditional production farms. If harvest was delayed a few weeks later in the season, yield estimates would likely increase as immature fruit become mature.

Table 2. Hybrid trial yield data. * = reduced stand.

For powdery and downy mildew control, fungicides were initially applied July 25 but then re-applied on a 7-10 day schedule throughout the season following proper resistance management rotation guidelines. The last application was made on August 26. Spray applications were made at 36 GPA and 65 PSI using hollow cone nozzles.

 A group photo of all the fruit in the trial can be found in Figure 1, with a basketball and softball for size reference.

Figure 1. Group shot of 2022 pumpkin and squash fruit with basketball and softball as a size reference. On straw bales (L to R) Giltedge Gold, Lemonade, Eros, Fireball, Hermes, Garnet Gold, Spartacus. Large fruit in front of straw bales (L to R) Quigley Gold, Tons of Fun, Igor, Bannack Gold, Death Star, Sweet Baby Jane. Small fruit in front of straw bales (L to R) Autumn Frost, Autumn Pearl, Fort Knox, Winter Blush, Moon Stacker, Icicle, Warty Gnome.

If you have any questions about the trial, please feel free to contact Jim Jasinski, Jasinski.4@osu.edu.

Proper winterizing and storing your sprayer now help you mitigate costly problems in the spring

It is very likely that you will not be using your sprayer again until next spring. If you want to avoid potential problems and save yourself from frustration and major headaches next spring, you will be wise to give your sprayer a little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care) this time of the year. Yes, there may be still crop to be harvested, and you may still be a busy time of the year for some of you. However, do not forget about winterizing your sprayer. Do not delay it too long, if you already have not done so. You don’t want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing.  Here are some important things you need to do with your sprayer this time of the year.


It is very likely that you did the right thing when you used the sprayer the last time: you rinsed the whole system (tank, hoses, filters, nozzles) thoroughly. If you did not, make sure this is done before storing the sprayer. A sprayer that is not rinsed thoroughly after each use, and especially after the spraying season is over, may lead to cross-contamination of products applied for different crops next spring. Pay even more attention to avoid cross-contamination problems that may result in serious crop injury if you are using some of the new 2,4-D and Dicamba herbicides. Another problem that may result from lack of, or insufficient rinsing of the complete sprayer parts is clogged nozzles. Once the nozzles are clogged, and they remain in that condition a long time, it is extremely difficult to bring them back to their normal operating conditions you expect from a comparable clean nozzle. Leaving chemical residues in nozzles will usually lead to changes in their flow rates, as well as in their spray patterns resulting in uneven distribution of chemicals on the target.

Depending on the tank, proper rinsing of the interior of the tank could be easy or challenging. It will be very easy if the tank is relatively new and is equipped with special rinsing nozzles and mechanism inside the tank. If this is not the case, manual rinsing of the tank interior is more difficult, and poses some safety problems such as inhaling fumes of leftover chemicals during the rinsing process. To avoid these problems, either replace the tank with one that has the interior rinse nozzles, or install an interior tank rinse system in your existing tank.

For effective rinsing of all the sprayer components, circulate clean water through the whole sprayer parts several minutes first with the nozzles off, then flush out the rinsate through the nozzles. Rinsing should be done preferably in the field, or on a concrete chemical mixing/loading pad with a sump to recover rinse water. Regardless, dispose of the rinsate according to what is recommended on the labels of the pesticides you have used. Always check the label for specific instructions. However, most labels recommend following procedure: If rinsing is done on a concrete rinse pad with a sump, put the rinsate collected in the sump back in the tank, dilute it with water and spray it in the field where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby. If the rinsing is done in the field, make sure you are not flushing out the rinsate in the system in one area. It is best to further dilute the rinse water in the tank and, spray it on the field on areas where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby.


Rinsing the system with water as explained above may not be sufficient to get rid of chemicals from the sprayer. This may lead to cross-contamination problems. Residues of some pesticides left in the sprayer may cause serious problems when a spray mixture containing these residual materials is applied on a crop that is highly sensitive to that pesticide. To avoid such problems, it is best to clean and rinse the entire spraying system with some sort of a cleaning solution. Usually, a mixture of 1 to 100 of household ammonia to water should be adequate for cleaning the tank, but you may first need to clean the tank with a mixture containing detergent if tank was not cleaned weeks ago, right after the last spraying job was done. Some chemicals require specific rinsing solution. There is an excellent Extension Publication from University of Missouri which lists many commonly used pesticides and the specific rinsing solutions required for them. It is available online. Check it out (http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G4852). However, you should always check the product label to find out the most recent recommendations on cleaning agents.

Cleaning the outside of the sprayer components deserves equal attention. Remove compacted deposits with a bristle brush. Then flush the exterior parts of the equipment with water. A high-pressure washer can be used, if available. Wash the exterior of the equipment either in the field away from ditches and water sources nearby, or a specially constructed concrete rinse pad with a sump. Again, the rinsate should be disposed of according to the label recommendations. As I mentioned earlier, most labels recommend the same practice: put the rinsate collected in the sump back in the tank, dilute it with water and spray it in the field where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby.


Check one more time to make sure there is no liquid left inside any of the sprayer parts to prevent freezing. Especially the pump, the heart of a sprayer, requires special care. You don’t want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing.  After draining the water, add a small amount of oil, and rotate the pump four or five revolutions by hand to completely coat interior surfaces.  Make sure that this oil is not going to damage rubber rollers in a roller pump or rubber parts in a diaphragm pump. Check the operator’s manual. If oil is not recommended, pouring one tablespoon of radiator rust inhibitor in the inlet and outlet part of the pump also keeps the pump from corroding. Another alternative is to put automotive antifreeze with rust inhibitor in the pump and other sprayer parts. This also protects against corrosion and prevents freezing in case all the water is not drained. To prevent corrosion, remove nozzle tips and strainers, dry them, and store them in a dry place. Putting them in a can of light oil such as diesel fuel or kerosene is another option.


Find ways to protect your sprayer against the harmful effects of snow, rain, sun, and strong winds. Moisture in the air, whether from snow, rain, or soil, rusts metal parts of unpro­tected equipment of any kind. This is especially true for a sprayer, because there are all kinds of hoses, rubber gaskets and plastic pieces all around a sprayer. Yes, the sun usually helps reduce moisture in the air, but it also causes damage. Ultraviolet light softens and weakens rubber materials such as hoses and tires and degrades some tank materials. The best protection from the environment is to store sprayers in a dry building. Storing sprayers in a building also gives you a chance to work on them any time during the off-season regardless of weather. If storing in a building is not possible, try covering the sprayer with some material that will protect it from sun, rain and snow. When storing trailer-type sprayers, put blocks under the frame or axle and reduce tire pressure during storage.

Finally, check the condition of all sprayer parts one more time before leaving the sprayer behind. Identify the parts that may need to be worked on, or replaced. Check the tank, and hoses to make sure there are no signs of cracks starting to take place. Check the painted parts of the sprayer for scratched spots. Touch up these areas with paint to eliminate corrosion. By the way, don’t forget to cover openings so that birds don’t make a nest somewhere in your sprayer, and insects, dirt, and other foreign material cannot get into the system.

Erdal Ozkan, Professor and Extension Agricultural engineer, can be reached at 614-292-3006, or ozkan.2@osu.edu.

New Plant Hardiness Zone, Growing Degree Day, and Heat Zone Maps

Specialty crop growers and their workers, schedules, expenses, incomes, and crops are impacted by air and soil temperatures on and near their farms around the clock, even when production is suspended for the season. Temperatures never rest in influencing a long list of soil, crop, production, and cost-revenue variables. This fact explains why so much time, effort, and money are spent measuring, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting temperature data in ways useful to growers and others.

Two new resources outlined below will interest fruit, vegetable, and other growers.

The USDA-ARS manages information available at https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/pages/view-maps.

The page includes updated maps of plant hardiness zones available at high resolution (e.g., see the images below and scale bars). Maps can be downloaded, if needed. Plant hardiness zones affect cash and cover crop selection and performance, overall seasonal scheduling, and other variables.

The USDA and U.S. Forest Service manage the large amount of information and number of maps available at https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/9ee0cc0a070c409cbde0e3a1d87a487c. Pages and maps include descriptions of current and projected growing degree days, plant hardiness zones, and heat zones. Also, links to other pages with additional information are available. The current (top) and projected (bottom) heat zone maps below are interesting in what they could signal about potential long-term shifts in crop selection and scheduling, farm worker conditions, the use of plastic mulches and low and high tunnels and related technologies, biology (e.g., pests, diseases, weeds, beneficials), soil nutrient cycling, and more. Still, farmers appreciate that even small, more incremental changes in the short-term can be meaningful.



What impacts of temperature affect you most?

FREE soilborne disease testing for high tunnel soils

Soilborne pathogens nibble away at plant roots and your profits.  Follow this link to learn more about identifying soil born diseases in tomato and this link for a soil health and root rot checkup.    These pathogens are particularly bad in high tunnel vegetable production with limited crop rotation. The Ohio State Vegetable Pathology Lab along with USDA-ARS in Wooster, OH are offering free soilborne disease testing for high tunnel soils.  The submission form can be found here: https://u.osu.edu/growingfranklin/2022/10/07/high-tunnel-soil-borne-disease-testing/

Spotted Lanternfly and the Potential Impacts on the Maple Syrup Industry

There will be a free webinar on November 16, 2022, at 10:00 AM EST, titled Spotted Lanternfly and the Potential Impacts on the Maple Syrup Industry.

Extension Educator Brian Walsh, Penn State Extension, will discuss what is known about the spotted lanternfly and observations about maple trees that provide insight as to the impact the insect could have on the industry.

Ever since the spotted lanternfly was found in Southeast Pennsylvania, it has been causing damage to agricultural plants as well as non-agricultural plants. As the insect continues to expand its range, more is being learned about the insect’s lifecycle and its feeding habitats. Since the spotted lanternfly can feed very heavily upon certain tree species, the insect can potentially impact the maple syrup industry.

Click this link to register:  https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-and-the-potential-impacts-on-the-maple-syrup-industry

Wintertime Programs to Refresh, Reflect, Reconnect, and Prepare

Participating in wintertime educational programs offers opportunities to refresh after and reflect on the recent season, reconnect with friends and peers, and prepare for the upcoming season. Each year, Ohio fruit and vegetable growers have a range of programs available to them within relatively small distances of the farm (and other programs much farther away, too!). The flyer for a program featuring Wayne County is above and a partial list of state and regional programs to be held in upcoming months is below.

Ten State and Regional Winter-time Programs for Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Growers to be held in or near Ohio December 2022 – March 2023 (as of 10/15/22)

* Programs listed below occur annually with some having been held each year for decades. These programs tend to be comprehensive in terms of the number of crops and topics discussed. Watch VegNet and other outlets for announcements of additional programs focusing on specific crops and/or issues. Programs are also offered and announced via OSUE County Offices (https://extension.osu.edu/lao).

1. Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo … December 6-8, 2022; Grand Rapids, MI (https://glexpo.com/)

2. Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference … January 2-4, 2023; Bowling Green, KY (https://kyhortcouncil.org/2023-kentucky-fruit-and-vegetable-conference/)

3. The 77th Annual Muck Crops School … January 5, 2023; Willard, OH (Mike Gastier, OSUE Huron County – https://huron.osu.edu/people/mike-gastier)

4. Mid-Ohio Growers Meeting … January 12-13, 2023; Mt. Hope, OH (http://midohiogrowers.com/2017-brochure/)

5. Ohio Produce Network … January 16-17, 2023; Columbus, OH; (https://www.opgma.org/ohio-produce-network/)

6. Indiana Horticulture Conference and Expo … January 23-24, 2023; (https://www.indianahortconference.org/)

7. OAK Conference … January 26-28, 2023; Frankfort, KY (https://www.oak-ky.org/annual-conference)

8. Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention … January 31-February 2, 2023; Hershey, PA (https://www.mafvc.org/)

9. OEFFA Annual Conference … February 16-18, 2023; Newark, OH (https://www.oeffa.org/events.php)

10. Purdue Small Farm Conference; March 2-3, 2023 (https://extension.purdue.edu/anr/_teams/dffs/small_farm_conference/index.html)

Greater Success through Improved Management of High Tunnel Environments

Crop yield and quality can be maximized through properly manipulating or managing environmental conditions inside the high tunnel (e.g., light, temperature, relative humidity, and wind in addition to soil moisture, fertility, and other key variables). Temperature, relative humidity, and air movement inside the high tunnel follow conditions outside it and the position (open to closed) of the end-walls, sidewalls, and vents, which are set by the grower. Research underway in Wooster and on the farms of grower-cooperators is designed to minimize the guesswork associated with knowing just what the ventilation status of a high tunnel should be at any one time to achieve the desired cropping outcomes.

One study involves testing the impacts of “kneewalls,” which are sections of plastic installed behind approximately two-thirds of each sidewall for the fall through spring period. Most high tunnel sidewalls roll up to open. When ventilating fall through spring (e.g., to reduce temperature and/or relative humidity and/or increase carbon dioxide levels), opening standard sidewalls can expose crops or seedlings directly to cold air or wind and lower soil temperature, which is also undesirable. We suspect these problems can be mitigated by using kneewalls. We have experimented with them informally on a limited basis for four years and have been excited by our observations. We will soon begin rigorous, comprehensive assessments of the effects of kneewalls on crops and soils.

That effort is part of a much larger examination of relationships among: (a) outside weather conditions (light temperature, wind), (b) high tunnel ventilation status (sidewall and endwall position), (c) air and soil temperatures and relative humidity level inside the high tunnel, and (d) crop yield and quality and soil status.

This effort is starting with our recording data on those variables every five minutes in multiple high tunnels on a continuous basis; our current pace is approximately 130,000 measurements every thirty days in each high tunnel. This approach and pace are essential to achieving our goal of helping growers and others by clarifying relationships among the weather conditions, ventilation status, conditions inside the high tunnel, and crop and soil variables. Findings may reinforce some of what is commonly thought about those relationships and challenge other commonly popular ideas. We are optimistic that, ultimately, what is learned through the work will save growers time, money, and headaches … i.e., will help them be more successful. Stay tuned and contact us if you would like to participate in this research!

2021 Home Garden Vegetable Trial Results

The Ohio Home Garden Vegetable Trials are wrapping up their fourth year with growing participation across the state of Ohio. The vegetable trials were started to engage citizen scientists in evaluating vegetable varieties grown in real world conditions. The gardeners were directed to plant two varieties of a vegetable and then complete a comparison report on their successes and failures.

Each year, ten trials are offered for gardeners to select. This includes five cool-season vegetables and five warm-season vegetables. Gardeners may select to participate in up to five of the trials. They are required to plant a 10 ft. row of each variety or plant an equivalent number of plants in raised beds or containers. Growing recommendations and garden layout options are provided along with row labels and reporting sheets.

In 2021, an online reporting system was made available. Most gardeners chose to report using this method. Also in 2021, additional questions were added to the survey to find out about the gardener’s experience level and the gardening methods that were used. There were 134 participants representing 35 of Ohio’s counties. Their gardening experience ranged from 0 years to 45 years with almost equal distribution across the years. Additionally, there were a few gardeners that indicted that they had between 46 and 80 years of gardening experience.

Of the 134 participants, 68 reports were submitted. Almost 40% of the trials had a failure because of human error, wildlife issues, or weather events. Almost 30% of gardeners used no fertilizers in the garden, with an additional 26% using only compost. While most gardens were grown using traditional garden rows, many were grown in raised beds and increasing number were grown in containers.

The results and variety recommendations will be posted online so that other gardeners can access the information when they are trying to determine which varieties to grow in their own gardens. The 2021 results can be found at https://u.osu.edu/brown.6000/vegetable-trials/

Recruiting for the 2024 Trials will start on Jan.1 and will run through Feb. 15. If you would like to receive announcements about the upcoming trials, send your name and email address to Ed Brown at brown.6000@osu.edu

Weather Update: Cool, Dry Weather Continues

This article was originally posted in the CORN newsletter, 2022-34, written by Aaron Wilson.

After making landfall as a destructive Category 4 storm with winds to 155 mph along the southwest coast of Florida last week and another landfall in the Carolinas, the remnants of Hurricane Ian skirted across our far southeastern counties over the weekend with generally light rain and gusty winds (Figure 1). Elsewhere, lake-effect rain showers earlier in the week impacted counties in the northeast, but much of the state was dry. Temperatures have been running 3-10°F below normal for the past 7 days as well. Cool temperatures are limiting impacts from an overall drying trend across much of western and southern Ohio, but this is a good environment to continue drying crops ahead of harvest. The situation should be monitored in the coming weeks though for the potetnial for field and combine fires as the forecast indicates continued dry condtions. For the latest up-to-date conditions, seasonal outlooks, and monthly climate summaries, please visit the State Climate Office of Ohio.

Figure 1). Total precipitation over the period September 27- October 3, 2022. Figure courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (https://mrcc.purdue.edu).

Figure 1). Total precipitation over the period September 27- October 3, 2022. Figure courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (https://mrcc.purdue.edu).

High pressure will keep fair skies and calm winds locked over the state for Tuesday through Thursday. After a chilly start in the 30s on Tuesday morning with scattered frost, temperatures will moderate throughout the week with highs in the mid to upper 60s (north) to mid to upper 70s (south). A series of cold fronts will sweep through late in the week with spotty showers possible on Friday. Cooler air will filter into the state with highs on Friday and Saturday only likely to reach the upper 40s to mid 50s, with overnight lows well down into the low to mid 30s. This raises the possability of some areas of Ohio (e.g., NW and NE) reaching their first fall freeze conditions (temperatures < 32°F); though at this time, upper 20s are not likely. For more informaton on historical fall freeze conditions, check out October Usually Brings Our First Fall Freeze also in this week’s C.O.R.N. Newsletter.

The Weather Prediction Center is forecasting less than 0.10 of an inch of precipitation in Ohio this week (Figure 2).

Figure 2). Precipitation forecast from the Weather Prediction Center for 8pm Monday October 3 – 8pm Monday October 10, 2022.

Figure 2). Precipitation forecast from the Weather Prediction Center for 8pm Monday October 3 – 8pm Monday October 10, 2022.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 6–10-day outlook for the period of October 9 – 13, 2022 and the 16-Day Rainfall Outlook from NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Centershow temperatures and precipitation are leaning toward below normal levels (Figure 3). Climate averages include a high-temperature range of 68-72°F, a low-temperature range of 46-50°F, and average weekly total precipitation of about 0.70 inches.

Figure 3) Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Outlook valid for October 9 – 13, 2022, for left) temperatures and right) precipitation. Colors represent the probability of below, normal, or above normal conditions.

Figure 3) Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Outlook valid for October 9 – 13, 2022, for left) temperatures and right) precipitation. Colors represent the probability of below, normal, or above normal conditions.

October Usually Brings Our First Fall Freeze

The article below was originally posted in the CORN newsletter, 2022-34, written by Aaron Wilson and Eric Richer.

The calendar has turned to October, and with it, harvest and fall activities will accelerate over the next few weeks. We have already experienced a few chilly nights this past week with patchy frost in some areas, but when do we typically see our first freeze conditions? This first (last) official freeze is defined as the first fall (spring) day where the overnight low reaches 32°F.

The Midwest Regional Climate Center (MRCC) has developed a new Freeze Date Tool (https://mrcc.purdue.edu/freeze/freezedatetool.html) that relies on historical temperature data at the county level back to 1950 and allows users to select a freeze temperature threshold between 20°F and 40°F to visualize the earliest, average, and latest fall or spring event. For instance, many of us are interested in the hard freeze threshold of 28°F, the temperature at which our corn and soybean growing season comes to an end.

Figure 1 shows the average first fall freeze date for areas of the eastern corn belt for the period 1950-2021 using the 32°F threshold. The online version allows users to hover their mouse over a county of choice to view the average freeze date for that county. For instance, the Knox County average is October 8, October 11 in Darke and Fulton Counties, and October 17 in Fayette County. Areas near bigger cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati have first freeze dates closer to the end of the month.

Figure 1: Average first fall freeze (32°F) for the period 1950-2021. Figure courtesy of the Midwest Regional Climate Center.

Temperatures are expected to flirt with 32°F on Tuesday morning and again Saturday and Sunday mornings. Still, most of the earliest dates and even the earliest 10% of dates on record occurred in late September, so we are beyond those thresholds. More recent first freeze dates have been occurring later in the year, with some counties reporting a trend of more than 3 days later per decade (~21 days later over the full period). The Freeze Tool also allows users to view these trends as well as more detailed analysis for individual counties.

Other MRCC climate related tools are available with cli-MATE. For instance, Figure 2 shows the probability of an earlier freeze in the fall for the Wauseon Water Plant in Fulton County using data over the last 30 years. Note that 50% of the time, a hard freeze (28°F) occurs by October 30th (green line) for this site. These graphs can be generated for stations across the state.

Figure 2: Probabilities of an earlier freeze in the fall for five temperature thresholds for the Wauseon Water Plant in Fulton, County Ohio. Figure courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.