October is a fine time to be in the garden. Less bugs, less heat, but still some good sunshine, rain, and decent planting windows. Make sure to keep your garden planted either in fresh veggies or by starting your over-wintered cover crop.
I like to say that Ohio is a four season growing environment. I grow and harvest every month of the year including January and February. I recently did a class on Growing Over Winter and many asked if I had a recording of that to view. You are in luck. Check out the Growing Over Winter webinar below.
There is still plenty of time to get seeds in the ground so that you can enjoy some fresh veggies all year long.
August 11 is National 8/11 Day, and 811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number. If you are planning to dig, contact 811 (by calling 8-1-1 or visiting your state’s 811 center website) before digging to request the approximate location of buried public utilities are marked, to help avoid hitting a buried utility.
The second year of the statewide Home Garden Vegetable Trials kicks off during the month of February. Citizen scientists are recruited to contribute to our vegetable trials for Ohio. We look for people excited about growing vegetables in their home or community gardens and then letting us know what they think. Youth and adults are welcomed to participate. Each trial contains two varieties that are grown side by side to compare throughout the season. They can select multiple trials with 5 cool-season vegetables and 5 warm-season vegetables available. For each trial, participants get:
- Seed for two varieties of a vegetable
- Row markets
- A garden layout plan to prepare your rows or beds
- Growing information specific to the crop species you, including planting date, plant spacing, nutrient requirements, etc.
- An evaluation sheet (can be completed online)
Participants may select up to 5 trials. We are now asking you to complete the sign up and send payment. The trial catalog has a description of each variety that will be used this year. On the last page is a registration page that can be printed and filled out by hand for those who do not use computers.
Some seeds are from organic sources, but a few are not. The vegetables are not experimental, but some have been released in the last few years. Others are old favorites being compared to new varieties to see if they still stand the test of time. All seeds are non-GMO (as all vegetable seeds available are non-GMO) Each trial is $3. We have created an online registration site. Please go through the sign-up process and select your vegetables. On the payment page, you can choose to pay by card or check. If you choose check, the details for filling out and sending the check will be displayed. Please send that in as soon as possible. You will also see the $8 charge for home delivery added to your bill. We have had to do this because our Extension Offices have been temporarily closed. You also have the option of registering and paying for more than one person while visiting the site. The deadline for ordering is February 28 for guaranteed participation and March 15 while supplies last.
VEGETABLE TRIALS web site
go.osu.edu/veggies2021 registration site
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.
Peppers, at this point in the season should be winding down, however, disease pressure can force a premature end
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you a local food producer? We are in the process of compiling a list of local food producers by county and want to include you! Use this link to be added to the list.
If you are searching for places to purchase local foods, be on the lookout for our updated list.