Vegetable Insect And Disease Issues You Need To Know

Most flower growers are finished with their crops by the end of May or the beginning of June. Even if they plan to produce a fall crop, there is likely some down time, so many are looking at the potential for growing vegetables in those empty greenhouses between production cycles.

But vegetables can be a very different crop to grow all the way to fruit harvest, and that can present some unique challenges for growers used to working with ornamental crops. For example, growers who decide to produce tomatoes will find that this crop needs to stay at least 15 weeks in the greenhouses to harvest seven to eight trusses (or flower branches which set four to five fruit each). This is twice as much time in the greenhouse compared to many annual plants. That means twice as much time to develop unwanted populations of insect pests and diseases in the crop. And in this case, they’re starting a crop during summer where insects and diseases pressure from outside is high, which is very different from their experiences with an ornamental crop started in January.

Since these are edible crops, consumers will have higher quality expectations. Avoiding pest damage is even more important than with ornamentals, and many of the pest control solutions ornamental growers are familiar with may not be available for a vegetable crop. With this in mind, a grower must consider options in two different strategies to control insects: chemical or biological control.

Main Insect Pests. The three main insects found in greenhouse vegetable crops are whiteflies, two-spotted mites and aphids. Those are insects very well known to ornamental growers. While all three may be an issue in most vegetable and fruit crops, whiteflies can be a huge problem on tomatoes as are the two-spotted mites on cucumbers and aphids on peppers and leafy greens.

Biological Controls. Because of the limited number of effective insecticides for these pests on greenhouse vegetable crops, the use of biological control agents is often recommended. There are many beneficial insect suppliers in the market. They have strong skilled advisors that can guide you through the length of the crop. But more importantly, don’t forget vegetables are edible products. It is necessary to check the label closely to ensure the product you’re considering is labeled for greenhouse vegetable crops, and also has the least effect on beneficial insects.

Post-Harvest Interval. Considering that it is a food crop, the grower also has to know the minimum interval of time that must pass between the last pesticide application and the harvesting of the crop. Flower growers aren’t used to having to take this into account.

Disease Concerns. A greenhouse vegetable grower might have to deal with several disease problems as well. With tomato plants, for example, viruses that can be carried by whiteflies, bacterial diseases and fungal diseases such as grey mold, fusarium and powdery mildew are common. Powdery mildew can also be a big problem on peppers. The least number of diseases are with leafy greens and herbs; although one must be aware of pythium and other root diseases.

Another problem found in tomatoes in the last few years (particularly among some of the biggest greenhouse tomato operations) is bacterial canker. Growers need to know the first symptoms of bacterial canker and immediately quarantine these plants to avoid secondary spread.

Chemical Fungicides. Compared to ornamental crops, fewer chemical fungicides can be used but some are still very good and compatible with beneficial insects introduced. There are very good sources of information for growers who want to know more about fungicides’ side-effects on beneficial insects.

The maintenance of a crop health is essential. Growers need to follow the principles of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and guidelines of good application practices. The first time a grower switches to a vegetable crop, he should start in a small area or in a minimum number of greenhouses and combine frequent visits from a pest control and/or beneficial insect advisor during the first season. This advisor can tell you what pesticides are compatible with beneficial insects and which are not. They can be of tremendous help in the diagnosis of insects and diseases in helping you with your pest control program as you venture into a whole new world of greenhouse vegetable production.

Leave a Reply

More From Vegetables...

November 26, 2015

2015 Metrolina Greenhouses (Huntersville, NC) Field Trials Results

See the 2015 field trials results for Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, NC.

Read More
Yoshimi And Grace Shibata

November 26, 2015

American Floral Endowment Establishes Fund To Honor Legacy Of Yoshimi Shibata

Yoshimi “Shimi” Shibata, a flower grower and wholesale florist, passed away in October at the age of 100.

Read More
Vinca 'Valiant Lilac' (2015 Texas A&M University Field Trials)

November 25, 2015

2015 Texas A&M University (Overton, Texas) Field Trials Results

See the 2015 field trials results (includes photo gallery) for Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton, Texas.

Read More
Latest Stories
This row of tomatoes with large fruit load is part of an on-going project with DeRuiter Seed Co

November 20, 2015

What To Consider When Growing Vegetables Under Cover

Some critical points to think about before adding vegetables to your crop mix include market, crop choice, and labor.

Read More
Pleasant View Gardens Savor Pot

November 16, 2015

Pleasant View Gardens Launches New Savor Edibles And Fr…

This new line of nearly 150 vegetables and herbs is aimed at Millennials and will be available to garden centers in 2016.

Read More
Increased customer demand led Good Harvest Farms to add hydroponic lettuce in 2000

November 13, 2015

Ornamental Greenhouse Growers Must Do Their Homework Wh…

Good Harvest Farms began growing hydroponic lettuce 15 years ago. Owner Chris Powell says having a reliable market and emphasizing quality are critical.

Read More
To offer consumers an attractive crop, Local Appetite uses high tunnels to grow cherry tomatoes

November 13, 2015

Vegetable Grower Makes The Move To Protected Agricultur…

High tunnels have helped one Alabama grower produce high-quality crops year-round while providing a significant return on investment.

Read More

September 18, 2015

Grimes Horticulture And Seeds By Design Form Partnershi…

The new alliance will allow the two companies to take advantage of each of their strengths in breeding and marketing of new vegetable varieties for greenhouse growers and farm marketers.

Read More

August 4, 2015

New 2015 California Spring Trial Edibles For The Patio …

If you are looking to capitalize on the foodie trend and spread your risk beyond Spring sales, new vegetables showcased at 2015 California Spring Trials offer plenty of opportunities to focus on unique, flavorful vegetables and edible plants that also hold ornamental value. Here are a few of new varieties Editor Laura Drotleff and Group Editor Carol Miller discovered at Spring Trials that will help diversify your crop mix.

Read More

April 20, 2015

Three Michigan State University On-Demand Webinars Offe…

The first rule of effective insect and disease control for vegetables is to take action to prevent problems before they occur. But in order to do that, you need to have an effective pest and disease management strategy in place that incorporates best practices to ensure a successful outcome. Michigan State University offers three pest and disease management on-demand webinars that will get you started and keep you on the right track.

Read More

April 16, 2015

American Takii’s Asian Vegetable Line Is Designed…

Unlike many of the other breeders displaying at Spring Trials, American Takii didn’t have many new introductions. But it did have a new program that has prompted many visitors to post to social media — its Asian vegetables. Takii, which is well known for its vegetable breeding, is in the process of vetting the eight to 12 vegetables it will include in the program, and it should have its list fully complete by fall 2015. It is selecting plants that will be easy to use in Asian cooking and will help it stand out from the many vegetable programs in the ornamental market. The Takii marketing team designed bright-red Chinese food takeout containers to act as plant sleeves and a small booklet with five recipes. Honey Chicken With Pak Choy looked especially tasty. Take a look at how the program looks and let us know what you think.       HilverdaKooij is a […]

Read More
Zucchini 'Brice' (Syngenta Vegetables)

April 14, 2015

18 New Vegetables For Easy Growing And Healthy Eating

Current breeding efforts have focused on vegetable varieties that cater to small space and urban gardening trends and offer consumers good performance with minimal efforts. As a result, new, easy care vegetable introductions packed with flavor and loaded with fruits have swept onto the market. Here are 18 of the newest vegetables already on the market or hitting the market in 2016.

Read More

April 13, 2015

Keeping Your Greenhouse Vegetables And Fruits Safe: Ove…

This is the first installment of a four-part series that will bring you up to speed on what it takes to fulfill food safety mandates for greenhouse production.

Read More

April 10, 2015

5 Selection Principles For Vegetables That Sell

You gain a competitive edge when you select vegetable varieties that are right for your greenhouse and right for your customers. Here are five pieces of advice from breeders to help you stay ahead of the game.

Read More

March 31, 2015

California Summer Vegetable Trials To Be Hosted By Nati…

Vegetable breeding companies will come together this August to host the Summer Vegetable Trials in California. Like the long-standing California Spring Trials that are held annually in California, attendees will have the opportunity to visit breeding companies' trial sites in seven locations throughout the state, from August 20-21, 2015. National Garden Bureau (NGB), the non-profit organization promoting gardening on behalf of the horticulture industry, is organizing and publicizing this event on behalf of its members.

Read More

November 24, 2014

Root Crops And Plug Trays: A Perfect Match

Growing a plant to maturity in plug trays might be foreign to ornamental growers, but with a little help from plug tray manufacturers and breeders, there is little to hold growers back in this root crop category.

Read More

November 14, 2014

First Vegetatively Propagated All-America Selections (A…

All-America Selections (AAS) honors two vegetatively propagated impatiens with AAS winner status.

Read More

October 8, 2014

Gotham Greens To Build Rooftop Farm In Chicago

Gotham Greens announced October 7 that it has partnered with Method Products, an eco-friendly cleaning product company - to build what they are calling the "world's largest rooftop farm" at Method's new manufacturing plant in the Pullman neighborhood, on Chicago's south side.

Read More

August 19, 2014

A Look Ahead At Food Safety For Commercial Greenhouse V…

If you grow food in your greenhouse that is sold for consumption, food safety regulations will affect you. Here is a recap of Debbie Hamrick’s (North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation) Cultivate'14 presentation on food safety for commercial greenhouse vegetable production.

Read More

July 22, 2014

Bright Farms Launches Crowdfunding Campaign To Build Ur…

Urban farming pioneer Bright Farms is attempting to crowdfund what it hopes will be the "world's most productive urban farm," in Washington, D.C.

Read More

July 18, 2014

Meeting The Demand For Edibles: Go Green Agriculture In…

Read about how Go Green Agriculture Inc. took its business from the classroom to commercial reality in one of four articles on how growers are appealing to the growing interest in edibles.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]