Vegetables

North Carolina Researchers Find New Ways to Control Pest Mites in Tomatoes

MILLS RIVER, North Carolina – Predatory mites can control two-spotted spider mites in vegetable crops under the right management plan, according to a North Carolina State University researcher. James Walgenbach studied Phytoseiulus persimilis, a predatory mite, and its ability to control two-spotted spider mites in the tomato fields of North Carolina through a Southern Sustainable […]

How Soils Behave When We Grow Cover Crops

BELLE GLADE, Florida – Florida vegetable farmers who grow cover crops as a green manure between their cash crops anecdotally tout the health benefits, but a two-year study by University of Florida has provided the research to back it up. In a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, University of Florida […]

Using Row Covers to Protect Squash from Insect Pests

DURANT, Oklahoma — Using row covers on squash protects the vegetable crop from insect pests such as the squash bug, but timing of their removal can impact pollination and subsequent plant yields, according to Oklahoma State University research. In a two-year study, horticulturist Jim Shrefler analyzed pest and pollinator incidences and measured squash yields using […]

Grafting Can Help Control Diseases in Organic High Tunnel Tomatoes

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Grafting can help control diseases in organically grown high tunnel tomatoes, according to the results of a University of Florida study. In the study, funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, specialty tomatoes grafted onto two disease-resistant rootstocks effectively managed Fusarium wilt and improved the overall […]

Georgia Farmer Exploring the Use of Compost Tea to Control Southern Stem Blight

DECATUR, Georgia – When summer temperatures rise and moisture increases in the Southeast, so does Southern stem blight – a hard-to-control fungal disease that can quickly turn your healthy, productive tomatoes, squash or peppers into wilting, decaying plants. Southern stem blight is a nightmare for small-scale vegetable producers, especially those who follow organic practices and […]

Texas Producer Finds Asparagus Can Be Viable in the South Nearly Year-Round

LYFORD, Texas — A south Texas producer, interested in increasing the diversity of crop production for local farmers, has found that asparagus can be grown in the Texas heat practically year-round by mimicking the “die-back” that occurs in the plants during dormancy in colder climates. With a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Producer […]

Innovations in Large-Scale Trap Cropping for Reducing Insect Pests

Trap cropping is a unique pest prevention system that uses insect behavior to deter pest feeding. Benefits of trap cropping not only include effective pest management, but trap crops can also increase biodiversity, conserve natural enemies and reduce wind damage to main crops.

NCSU Researchers Develop Protocol for Measuring Food Waste on the Farm

RALEIGH, North Carolina – A North Carolina State University study quantifying food waste on the farm seems to suggest that the amount of edible and marketable vegetable crops being left in the field after primary harvest is much higher than previously thought. In a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant, researchers […]

Sun-Baked Virginia Farm Blooms Under a Berm and Swale Permaculture System

KENBRIDGE, Virginia — It’s 90 degrees, but feels like 105 on the empty white road cutting across Virginia’s flat, coastal plains. There hasn’t been rain in a month and the fields of corn clicking past are curled to grey spikes. The soil between the rows looks like powdered rust. But it’s here, hidden behind pine […]

Cover Crops Acting as Trap Crops Protect Vegetables from Pests

LIVE OAK, Florida – For farmers in central Florida, planting cover crops in strips as a trap crop alongside cash crops is proving to be a highly effective method for attracting beneficial insects and controlling pests. Farmers have been so pleased with the results that they have fully adopted the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy […]

Cover Crops Can Help Control Pests by Fostering Natural Enemies

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Cover crops used as refuge crops in vegetable production can control insect pests by fostering populations of natural enemies and competitor non-virus vectoring species, based on the results of USDA-ARS research. Research entomologists Stephen Hight with the USDA-ARS Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit in Florida, and Stuart Reitz with Oregon State […]

Prototype Farm Machine Expands Applications in Organic Vegetable Crop Production

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – University of Kentucky researchers have designed, built and tested a low-cost, mechanized system for organic vegetable production to help small-scale growers reduce their labor costs, increase their scale of operations, reduce input costs and increase production compared to conventional organic production practices. In a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm […]

UGA Studying Biocontrol Method to Control Cucurbit Diseases

ATHENS, Georgia – Some species of naturally occurring bacteria, when applied to the flowers of watermelon plants, can reduce the spread of bacterial fruit blotch – a cucurbit disease that causes fruit rot and economic losses. The technique of applying bacteria to the stigmas of female flowers to slow the spread of bacterial fruit blotch […]

High Tunnel Pest Exclusion System

Insect pests are one of the major problems in organic production systems. Organic IPM practice consists of a three-tiered approach consisting of systems-based practices, mechanical tactics, and biorational insecticides. Mechanical tactics encourage the use of physical barriers for pest exclusion. This bulletin provides preliminary research data and field observations about the success of shade cloths, or high tunnel pest exclusion (HTPE) systems, as a more permanent barrier system around the high tunnels.

High Tunnel Pest Exclusion System Part II

With the increasing demand for local foods across the Southeast, an increasing number of beginning, as well as experienced producers are producing vegetable crops in high tunnels for direct and whole sale markets. From the insect management perspective, it is extremely critical to adopt pest prevention practices; the high tunnel pest exclusion (HTPE) system is one of the best relatively-low cost pest preventive practices available to producers in the Southeast. This HTPE technology uses a variety of shade cloths for a relatively permanent pest prevention strategy. This bulletin provides information on the use of HTPE systems on the farm.

Sustainable Methods to Control Mexican Bean Beetle in Snap Beans

BLACKSBURG, Virginia – Reflective plastic mulches, such as silver (metalized) or white, significantly reduces populations of Mexican bean beetles on snap beans, while significantly increasing yields, according to the results of a Virginia Tech study. Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis Mulsant) is a serious pest of snap bean varieties, causing injury by feeding on the […]