By Ashley Robinson
The April issue of VSCNews magazine is packed with information for both conventional and organic growers.
Asian vegetables grow well in Florida and have the potential for high value in the market. As interest in these crops increases throughout the state, an article written by a group of researchers at the University of Florida (UF) – Mary Dixon, Yanlin Wang and Guodong Liu – discusses 10 different varieties of Asian vegetables, including their uses and health benefits.
The watermelon spotlight returns to the April issue as growers are gearing up for harvest. Mimi Jenkins, an adjunct lecturer in biology at the University of Tampa, shares her research on the impact of wildflowers on watermelon pollinators. Based on her findings, when wildflowers and weedy flowers are available on the farm, growers will see a diverse community of beneficial insects that can contribute to the control of crop pests.
Phytophthora fruit rot and downy mildew are two troublesome diseases watermelon growers face. Bhabesh Dutta, assistant professor and Extension vegetable disease specialist at the University of Georgia, provides readers with tips on how to effectively manage these problematic diseases.
Lastly in the watermelon spotlight, Nicholas Dufault, UF associate professor, shares an update on another difficult disease southeastern watermelon growers deal with – fusarium wilt. Dufault provides management strategies and more on the disease.
Organic vegetable growers have limited tools for insect pest management. Because of this, they may have to look to cultural techniques to suppress pests. Oscar Liburd, a UF professor, provides research results on one technique in particular, companion plants, that may be beneficial to zucchini squash.
Finally, Sarah Bostick, a UF sustainable agriculture Extension agent, navigates readers through the process of becoming a certified organic grower. Bostick shares the most common misconceptions of becoming a certified organic grower and gives some tips on how to avoid making mistakes.
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