High Tunnel Site Selection Tips

High tunnel production is important to an increasing number of vegetable farms in Ohio and many are installed in the fall. Installing a high tunnel is a major commitment, beginning with the one made to the soil that will be covered by the tunnel for decades to come (regardless of whether the high tunnel is moveable). The video at the link below summarizes factors to take into account when selecting sites for high tunnels. More input is available on the overall topic and each factor — just ask or look for follow-up publications, programs, and more!

high tunnel site selection primer

Wayne County IPM Notes from September 13-September 19

Vegetable Pests

Large masses of cucumber beetles on pumpkin plants late in the season. F. Becker photo.

Cucumber beetles continue to have high populations in pumpkin fields. The spotted cucumber beetle, which is also the southern corn rootworm adult, are migrating in masses out of corn fields as corn silks dry down and finding their way into pumpkin fields. So long as the beetles are not chewing on the skin of the pumpkin, they are not anything to be concerned about, however, if they start damaging the skin of the fall vine crops, an insecticide application may be warranted.

Scouting your latest plantings of cole crops is recommended to make sure that cabbageworms do not get out of hand. It can be easy to let your guard down as the season winds down, but if you want to have a marketable crop, you need to keep an eye out for the imported cabbageworms doing damage.

Vegetable Diseases

Peppers, at this point in the season should be winding down, however, disease pressure can force a premature end

Anthracnose lesions on a bell pepper. F. Becker photo.

to the season quite rapidly. One disease that can cause a rapid decline in peppers is anthracnose. At this point in the season, it is not worth the investment in any fungicide applications. For future planning, practice a three-year crop rotation with crops that are not in the Solanaceae family and consider doing seed disinfestation before planting. This disease can be managed with fungicides; however, it is important to address the issue of the origin of the diseases, rather than trying to fix the issue by applying a rescue fungicide every year.

At this point in the season, it is of your best interest to consider the cost of any fungicide application in respect to how much more you expect to get out of a crop. With pumpkins, for example, as the plants are beginning to die off at this point in the season, it is not likely that any fungicide application will be effective or result in any increase of yield or crop value. For a crop like cole crops that are just a few weeks in the ground, then you may have opportunity to apply fungicides, should the need arise. As always, follow the label and pay close attention to the pre-harvest interval when applying a fungicide.

Fruit Pests

Stink bugs are still active and can be found along wood-lines and field edges. I am still finding the occasional fruit that has been damaged by a stink bug. The damage is typically occurring in trees along the edges of orchard blocks, especially near wooded areas.

Fruit Diseases

Apples are now ripening and being harvested in orchards around Wayne County. F. Becker photo.

As fruit continues to ripen and be harvested, we continue to move forward through the growing season without many disease issues in our area. If you are doing any final treatments for fruit diseases, pay close attention to the PHI on the product label. The pre-harvest interval determines how long after you applied that product that you may harvest the crop. This is especially important to pay attention to as many varieties of orchard crops as well as grapes are maturing and nearing harvest.

Wayne County IPM Notes from August 30 – September 5

Vegetable Pests

Various sizes of stink bug nymphs in the leaf litter of fall vine crops. F. Becker photo.

With daytime high temperatures becoming cooler, we are starting to see more and more activity from the squash bugs. If you are actively harvesting your fall vine crops, the squash bugs may not be of concern to you. However, if you are not yet harvesting or choosing to leave your fall vine crops out in the field, the squash bugs can and will do damage to the skin of the pumpkins and gourds. The best time to scout your fields to look for squash bugs is early in the morning or into the evening when they are not in direct sunlight. More on squash bug management.

Cucumber beetles have made a late season come back, much to the dismay of many fall vine crop growers. The cucumber beetles, this late in the season, tend to do very little damage to the foliage of the plants. What they do go for is the fruit instead. Beetles will damage the skins of pumpkins and gourds. This leaves the pumpkins and gourds as less desirable crops and also opens them up to infection and secondary insect pests that would otherwise not affect the fruit.

Late season damage being done by cucumber beetles. F. Becker photo.

Stink bugs are out and doing damage to crops such as tomatoes. The stink bugs activity and feeding starts to increase most noticeably from late July through August and they remain active through the end of the growing season. Their damage on green tomatoes may appear as small, whiteish areas. On ripe tomatoes, the damage shows up as a golden yellow “starburst” pattern. While this damage is typically only cosmetic, higher amounts of feeding can result in infection and result in the fruit being unmarketable.

Vegetable Diseases

Plectosporium blight on pumpkin can cause significant crop losses. The disease typically presents itself as diamond shaped lesions on the stems and can also affect the veins on the leaves, although it can infect all parts of the plant. The lesions start out small but can quickly cover the entire stem. This disease has started to show up within the last few weeks in Ohio due to the favorable conditions of rain, and cooler temperatures.

Plectosporium blight lesions on a pumpkin stem. F. Becker photo.

A common thing to see in pumpkin fields as plants are maturing is yellowing leaves and the leaves starting to die back. Although there may be diseases such as powdery mildew present in the field, this rapid deterioration is not likely solely the result of the disease pressure and rather the natural senescence of the plant. As the plant matures and the pumpkins and gourds begin to cure, the plant has essentially reached the end of its life cycle. The leaves begin to change from dark green to a pale green/yellowish color and will eventually begin to die back. So long as this is happening at the end of the season and the pumpkins and gourds are mature, there should be no concern.

Fruit Pests

Spotted wing drosophila have been active in small fruits for some time, but with peaches now being harvested, the SWD can and will target the peaches as well. I have found peaches that have SWD larva feeding just under the skin. SWD can also do damage to grapes. I have started to find berries in grape clusters that were soft or looked poorly. Just under the skin of these grapes I found SWD larva feeding and moving around. Many grapes are ripening and getting close to harvest so anyone with grapes should consider treating for SWD.

Stink bugs can also do a lot of damage to fruit crops this time of year. I have set out traps and they are already showing very active stink bug populations. I am also finding damage from stink bugs in orchard crops. Most of the damage I am finding has been occurring in apples. This damage appears as a discolored depression in the skin with corking of the flesh all the way up to the skin. This damage can occur anywhere on the apple, although it can be frequently found on the “shoulder” of the fruit.

Fruit Diseases

Overall, disease pressure has been fairly limited this year. Hot and dry conditions have prevented favorable conditions needed for disease development. As fruit continues to ripen and be harvested, we continue to move forward through the growing season without many disease issues in our area. If you are doing any final treatments for fruit diseases, pay close attention to the PHI on the product label. The pre-harvest interval determines how long after you applied that product that you may harvest the crop. This is especially important to pay attention to as many varieties of orchard crops as well as grapes are maturing and nearing harvest.

Apple that has cracked and split after a heavy rain following drought conditions. F. Becker photo.

After this recent round of heavy rain and subsequent heat and high humidity, apple growers should be aware that some apples may crack or split while still on the tree. We are fortunate that we were beginning to have some more frequent rains that were starting to alleviate drought conditions, and this prevented rapid uptake from the trees. Typically, when a heavy rain occurs after prolonged dry spells or during drought conditions, there is large amounts of moisture taken up through the roots as well as absorbed through the skin of the fruit. This results in rapid cell expansion and thus cracking, and splitting occurs.

Wayne County IPM Notes from August 16 – August 22

Vegetable Pests

Stink bugs have started to feed on and damage crops such as tomatoes. The stink bugs activity and feeding starts to increase most noticeably from late July through August and they remain active through the end of the growing season. Their damage on green tomatoes may appear as small, whitish areas. On ripe tomatoes, the damage shows up as a golden yellow “starburst” pattern. While this damage is typically only cosmetic, higher amounts of feeding can result in infection and result in the fruit being unmarketable.

Flea beetles feeding on young, fall planted, cole crops. F. Becker photo

Flea beetles continue to feed on several crops including tomatoes and cole crops. The feeding on tomato plants is not of major concern mostly because the damage I am seeing is on the lower leaves. The damage on cole crops is of more concern due to the areas of the plants being damaged. The flea beetles are feeding on young tender leaves on kale plants as well as causing heavy damage on young plantings of broccoli and cabbage. Too much damage at this point can stunt the plants growth and result in reduced yield.

The trap counts for sweet corn pests in Wayne County are overall down. Sweet corn growers should be keeping an eye out for army worm damage as we have had reports of high fall army worm trap counts as well as damage that was being done by the yellow striped army worm. More on recent trap counts

Vegetable Diseases

            Downy Mildew is in Wayne and Medina counties and likely in surrounding counties as well. Cucumber growers need to be spraying for downy mildew.

Powdery mildew can be just as destructive on squash as downy mildew is on cucumbers. I have been finding powdery mildew consistently in younger squash plantings. Unfortunately, the earlier the plant is infected with powdery mildew, the shorter the life span of the plant. With an infected plant having a short life span, the yield for the plant can also be expected to decrease.

Smut is especially prevalent on sweet corn this year. Smut is more common during hot and dry weather, especially when followed by a heavy, warm rain. This year has been the perfect year for prime smut infection and growth.

In some pepper fields, there has been a few spots of anthracnose found on the fruit. Anthracnose typically does not affect the pepper foliage; however, the pepper fruits are highly susceptible to infection from the disease. Peppers develop large sunken lesions with pink to orange colored spores. This disease can be found typically on the lower sets of fruit, where they are more likely to be splashed with soil from heavy rains.

Fruit Pests

Spotted wing drosophila have been active in small fruits for some time, but with peaches starting to ripen, the SWD can and will target the peaches as well. I have started to find peaches that have SWD larva feeding just under the skin.

SWD can also do damage to grapes. This week I started to find berries in grape clusters that were soft or looked poorly. Just under the skin of these grapes I found SWD larva feeding and moving around. Many grapes are ripening and getting close to harvest so anyone with grapes should consider treating for SWD.

Brown marmorated stink bug trap with adults and nymphs present. F. Becker photo.

Stink bugs can also do a lot of damage to fruit crops this time of year. We have traps out for the brown marmorated stink bug, which will help us monitor its population, however, I am already finding some stink bug damage on peaches and apples. This damage appears as a discolored depression in the skin with corking of the flesh all the way up to the skin. This damage can occur anywhere on the apple.

Fruit Diseases

            Overall, disease pressure has been fairly limited this year. Hot and dry conditions have prevented favorable conditions needed for disease development. As fruit continues to ripen and be harvested, we continue to move forward through the growing season without many disease issues in our area.

Some grape varieties are nearing harvest. At this point, there should be no significant disease concerns, especially so close to harvest. The same goes for orchard crops.

If you are doing any final treatments for fruit diseases, pay close attention to the PHI on the product label. The pre-harvest interval determines how long after you applied that product that you may harvest the crop. This is especially important to pay attention to as many varieties of orchard crops as well as grapes are maturing and nearing harvest.

Optimizing Plant Spacing (Population) and Seasonal Nitrogen Rates in Grafted Watermelon Production

Data collection on fruit taken from two “grafted watermelon” experiments being completed at the OARDC in Wooster,OH has started. These experiments were outlined in VegNet posts on June 6 and July 11 and they are described in the image below, too.

Harvest 1 occurred on 8/19/20 with ‘Jade Star’ fruit harvest and analysis. The first harvest of ‘Fascination’ will be the week of 8/24 and a second harvest of each variety from both experiments is also planned. We assess the maturity of each fruit and its readiness for harvest using these criteria: a) yellow belly, b) dry vine tendril, c) developing longitudinal ridges, and d) white stripes brightening and widening (‘Fascination’). Occasionally, fruit weighing less than 8 lb meet one or more of these criteria, so they are harvested and photographed along with all other fruit from the same plot. Fruit weighing less than 8 lb are later separated from the group of fruit weighing more than 8 lb (marketable). In all pictures below, fruit are shown on a blue tarp slightly larger than 7 ft wide x 4 ft tall.

Pictures below are representative of what was observed in replicates 1-3 but conclusions should not be drawn from them. Data from Harvest 2 are needed to complete the picture and all data from 2020 must be analyzed along with data from previous years of the research (2018, 2019). On 8/19/20, in the “density” study, we observed that all four plots containing grafted plants produced a total of 12 fewer fruit than the four plots containing grafted plants at an in-row plant spacing of four feet. However, the situation was reversed at an in-row plant spacing of five feet since the four plots containing grafted plants produced a total of thirty-five more fruit than the four plots containing ungrafted plants at the same spacing.

The last planned fertilizer application (fertigation) in the “fertility” study was completed on 8/21/20. Two days before, the number of fruit taken from all twelve plots containing grafted plants was greater than the number of fruit taken from the twelve plots with ungrafted plants, regardless of seasonal nitrogen (N) rate. The difference in fruit number was greatest, moderate, and least at 75%, 100%, and 50% of the normal N rate, respectively. The pictures below are an example of the difference in fruit number at the standard N rate developed for watermelon production using ungrafted plants.

The experiments are being completed with USDA-SCRI program support and we look forward to sharing the results when the work is complete. In the meantime, please contact us (kleinhenz.1@osu.edu; 330.263.3810) for more information.

Wayne County IPM Notes for August 9 – August 15

Wayne County IPM Notes

Vegetable Pests

Aphids feeding on the under side of a pumpkin leaf. F. Becker photo.

In many crops, I am starting to see aphids feeding on the underside of the leaves. Most consistently, I have seen this in pumpkins. The aphids cause direct damage to the leaves via their feeding, but they can also cause other issues such as the sooty mold that happens as a result of their exudate known as honeydew. Additionally, aphids can potentially transmit viruses from plant to plant.

Flea beetles are still a problem in both young, recently transplanted crucifer crops, as well as cabbage and kale either in harvest or near harvest. Feeding damage from flea beetles on the younger crops can cause stunting and reduced yield. This damage can be especially impactful on heat stressed transplants. The foliar feeding being done on maturing crops can affect the visual appearance of the crop and may result in a less desirable product.

In cucurbit crops, the main pests causing problems are cucumber beetles and squash bugs. The cucumber beetle and their larvae can be found causing damage to both pumpkin and melon skins throughout the fields. Squash bug eggs are starting to hatch, and I am starting to find various stages of nymphs out in pumpkin fields and squash plantings. Currently most feeding is being done on the leaves; however, the focus of the feeding can shift to the fruit and cause scarring to the skin resulting in decreased marketability. The squash bug has also been found to be the vector of a bacterium that causes the disease Yellow Vine Decline.

Vegetable Diseases

            Downy Mildew is in Wayne and Medina counties and likely in surrounding counties as well. Cucumber growers need to be spraying for downy mildew.

Sweet corn ear with large smut galls. F. Becker photo.

As tomato plants put on more foliage, the airflow between plants is restricted, which results in higher moisture environments within the plants. This high moisture environment is conducive for several fungal infections such as Septoria leaf spot and early blight. Both of these diseases are currently becoming more prevalent in field tomato plantings. This is also happening after a few heavy rains where soil was splashed onto the lower leaves.

Powdery mildew can be just as destructive on squash as downy mildew is on cucumbers. I have been finding powdery mildew consistently in younger squash plantings. Unfortunately, the earlier the plant is infected with powdery mildew, the shorter the life span of the plant. With an infected plant having a short life span, the yield for the plant can also be expected to decrease.

Sweet corn growers have been finding a lot of smut on the ears and sweet corn plants. Smut is more common during hot and dry weather, especially when followed by a heavy, warm rain. This year has been the perfect year for prime smut infection and growth.

Fruit Pests

Japanese beetles are still feeding in nearly every crop that I am scouting. They are doing damage to apple leaves, peach leaves, grape leaves, blueberry leaves and blueberry fruit. It is important to watch the populations of Japanese beetles because they can transition from only feeding on the leaves to doing significant damage to the fruit.

In orchards I am seeing an increase in spider mite populations. This includes two spotted spider mites and European red mites. These mites, while not causing major damage initially, can cause significant damage over prolonged periods of feeding.

Spotted wing drosophila have been active in small fruits for some time, but with peaches starting to ripen, the SWD can and will target the peaches as well. I found a handful of ripe peaches this week with soft spots on them. Upon peeling the skin back, I could clearly see several SWD larva feeding in the peach.

There was a short time of limited codling moth and oriental fruit moth activity, however, the traps again picked up high counts of both moths this week.

Fruit Diseases

            Overall, disease pressure has been fairly limited this year. Hot and dry conditions have prevented favorable conditions needed for disease development. As fruit continues to ripen and be

Some grape varieties are nearing harvest. F. Becker photo.

harvested, we continue to move forward through the growing season without many disease issues in our area.

Apple and peach growers should continue their spray programs to manage fruit rots and diseases such as flyspeck and sooty blotch in apples and brown rot in peaches. Alternaria leaf blotch can be found on some apple trees right now. This can be made worse by red mite infestations. With high populations of mites and the leaf blotch, severe defoliation can occur.

Grapes should be starting to get some color to them as the clusters are starting to increase in size. Although symptoms of black rot may be showing up on untreated grapes, it is too late to do anything.  Growers with varieties of grapes that are not resistant to downy mildew should consider a spray program. Grape growers should also keep an eye out for powdery mildew, as this is the time of year when powdery mildew is typically found on grapes.

Wayne County IPM Notes for August 2 – August 8

Wayne County IPM Notes

Vegetable Pests

Yellow-striped army worm that was found down in the whorl of a V8 corn plant. F. Becker photo.

Army worms have continued to do damage to sweet corn plants. The damage I am finding is typically being done in the whorls on the young tender leaves. Another sign of army worm feeding is large areas along the leaf edges that have a ragged appearance.

Flea beetles continue to be a problem in both young, recently transplanted crucifer crops, as well as cabbage and kale either in harvest or near harvest. Feeding damage from flea beetles on the younger crops can cause stunting and reduced yield. This damage can be especially impactful on heat stressed transplants. The foliar feeding being done on maturing crops can affect the visual appearance of the crop and may result in a less desirable product.

In cucurbit crops, the main pests causing problems are cucumber beetles and squash bugs. The cucumber beetle and the larva can be found causing damage to melon skins throughout the fields. Squash bug eggs are starting to hatch, and I am starting to find various stages of larva out in pumpkin fields and squash plantings. Currently most feeding is being done on the leaves; however, the focus of the feeding can shift to the fruit and cause scarring to the skin resulting in decreased marketability. The squash bug has also been found to be the vector of a bacterium that causes the disease Yellow Vine Decline.

Vegetable Diseases

Early blight on a tomato leaf. F. Becker photo.

As tomato plants put on more foliage, the airflow between plants is restricted, which results in higher moisture environments within the plants. This high moisture environment is conducive for several fungal infections such as Septoria leaf spot and early blight. Both of these diseases are currently becoming more prevalent in field tomato plantings. This is also happening after a few heavy rains where soil was splashed onto the lower leaves.

Downy Mildew is in Wayne and Medina counties and likely in surrounding counties as well. Cucumber growers need to be spraying for downy mildew.

Powdery mildew can be just as destructive on squash as downy mildew is on cucumbers. I have been finding powdery mildew consistently in younger squash plantings. Unfortunately, the earlier the plant is infected with powdery mildew, the shorter the life span of the plant. With an infected plant having a short life span, the yield for the plant can also be expected to decrease.

Fruit Pests

In orchards I am seeing an increase in spider mite populations. This includes two spotted spider mites and European red mites. These mites, while not causing major damage initially, can cause significant damage over prolonged periods of feeding.

Japanese beetles are still feeding in nearly every crop that I am scouting. They are doing damage to apple leaves, peach leaves, grape leaves, blueberry leaves and blueberry fruit. It is important to watch the populations of Japanese beetles because they can transition from only feeding on the leaves to doing significant damage to the fruit.

After a few weeks of high numbers in both oriental fruit moth and codling moth traps, the trap counts have started to back down a bit.

Fruit Diseases

            Overall, disease pressure has been fairly limited this year. Hot and dry conditions have prevented favorable conditions needed for disease development. As fruit continues to ripen and be harvested, we continue to move forward through the growing season without many disease issues in our area.

Grapes should be starting to get some color to them as the clusters are starting to increase in size. Although symptoms of black rot may be showing up on untreated grapes, it is too late to do anything.  Growers with varieties of grapes that are not resistant to downy mildew should consider a spray program. Grape growers should also keep an eye out for powdery mildew, as this is the time of year when powdery mildew is typically found on grapes. “Managing Grape Diseases” 

Apple and peach growers should continue their spray programs to manage fruit rots and diseases such as flyspeck and sooty blotch in apples and brown rot in peaches. Alternaria leaf blotch can be found on some apple trees right now. This can be made worse by red mite infestations. With high populations of mites and the leaf blotch, severe defoliation can occur.

The Annual Pumpkin Field Day Goes Virtual!

For over 20 years the pumpkin field day held at the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston has hosted growers from around the state giving them a wide array of production and pest management research, demonstration, tips and tricks. Instead of driving over to the research station, participate virtually from your home, business or favorite coffee house / brewery!

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we won’t be able to hold a field day in person this year, but we are working hard to bring you the results of several demonstration and research projects via a pre-recorded video stream that will air on the OSU IPM YouTube channel on August 27 at 6 PM.

Registration for the virtual event will be necessary so we can send out the viewing links between August 26-27 for the roughly hour long field day. Please register at the link below by the deadline of August 25 at 8PM.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vpumpkin2020

Presentations will include a late season weed screen including an update on the new Reflex herbicide label from Tony Dobbels; Celeste Welty will talk about managing key pumpkin pests; and Jim Jasinski will give updates on powdery mildew fungicides and on the mustard cover crop biofumigation project.

We are also preparing a video to highlight all of the pumpkin and squash hybrids in the variety trial. As a special encore, will be releasing a 3D field scale model of the pumpkin hybrid trial to allow participants to “walk” around in the field virtually, looking at the foliage and fruit of each hybrid in the trial. Here is a small sample of the 3D environment:

https://mpembed.com/show/?m=h5pvoP8inMs&mpu=454

3D field scale model of pumpkin hybrid trial – doll house view.

Brooke Beam will help manage the process by stitching together the short video presentations into one coherent movie which will be approximately 60 minutes long. Contact Jim Jasinski (jasinski.4@osu.edu) for more information or details. Hope to see you on August 27!

Rotation Crops in High Tunnel Production

Many growers establish cash and non-cash rotation or cover crops each main season with the percentage of land in cash and non-cash crops varying farm to farm and year to year. Non-cash rotation crops are established to help maintain or improve soil health and nutrient levels, suppress weed growth, break pest and disease cycles, and provide other benefits. Despite these benefits, typically, high tunnel vegetable growers can be understandably reluctant to devote high tunnel space to non-cash crops in summer (main season). Perhaps as a partial consequence, soil health challenges (e.g., declines in organic matter and increases in nutrient imbalances, salt accumulation, compaction, and disease and pest pressure) are increasing in high tunnel soils. Anecdotal reports mention declines in crop yield and/or quality and increases in costs to maintain productivity. It is reasonable to expect that these trends could be be slowed or reversed through the consistent use of non-vegetable rotation crops in high tunnel production much like they have in open field production. However, few conclusive high tunnel-based experiments have been completed on farms or research stations.

This situation was not necessarily front of mind when the VPSL established cowpea, pearl millet, and sorghum sudangrass in many of its high tunnels at the OARDC in Wooster in early summer. Rather, the decision was primarily pandemic-related as vegetable experiments planned for the tunnels were suspended. That said, a summer including non-cash rotation crops is providing us with the opportunity to observe and learn about them and their potential value going forward. Currently, we consider cowpea, pearl millet, and sorghum sudangrass as just three of many potentially useful ‘alternative’ high tunnel crops for main season plantings, regardless of whether their use is planned or unplanned. The pictures below are examples of what we have observed to date. Please contact us (kleinhenz.1@osu.edu; 330.263.3810) if you would like to discuss the plantings or the “high tunnel rotation” question further.

Optimizing Soil Moisture in Drip-irrigated Soils

When a lot must get done and crop needs for water are high, fine-tuning irrigation is usually an afterthought. Still, consider a few issues when working to get the most from drip-irrigated crops. This is one thought that came to mind when I returned to an article published by Drs. Michael Dukes, Lincoln Zotarelli, and Kelly Morgan of the University of Florida. The article is available at https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/view/journals/horttech/20/1/article-p133.xml?rskey=f046lk. Do not be thrown by the title, there is something for Ohioans and others to gain from the summary. Sections on verifying and optimizing soil moisture distribution in drip-irrigated soils (especially within plastic-covered raised beds) are one example.

Of course, distribution is influenced by soil type, irrigation frequency and duration, loss (ET, drainage), and other factors. Sampling using a soil probe or other approach can reveal unexpected and, possibly, damaging surpluses and deficiencies which is a first step in correcting them. My team and I have experienced this firsthand many times over the years, including this season. Taking 10-15 minutes to pull soil samples has told us we can or cannot afford to delay an irrigation and where it is least or most important relative to crop need, weather, other tasks, etc. Also, the article from the Univ of FL includes pictures depicting desirable and undesirable distributions of soil moisture and effects of under-and over-watering. For example, the team used dye to track the movement of water and fertilizer through and outside the rooting zone. Seeing the pictures helps illustrate what is rarely seen (so must be imagined) but can be seen with a spade or shovel and a little time and care.

The Dukes, Zotarelli, and Morgan article (Use of irrigation technologies for vegetable crops in Florida; HortTechnology 20(1):133-142) is highlighted here. However, there are many other similarly excellent irrigation guides and resources. All contain bits of information we can act on. I am also glad to help resolve irrigation-related questions; just let me know if I can help (kleinhenz.1@osu.edu; 330.263.3810). Regardless of how you proceed, recall that in addition to the sunlight, air, nutrients, and protection crops require, the right amount, timing, location, and quality of water is also very important. As far as nutrients are concerned, recall that fertility experts often say root zone moisture strongly influences whether their levels, etc are optimal.