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Vegetables & Specialty Crops

Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
2015 Virginia OnFarm Soybean Test Plots

These demonstration and research plot results are a collaborative effort of Virginia Cooperative

Extension (VCE) Agents and Specialists, area producers, and agribusiness. The purpose of this publication is to provide research based information to aid in the decision making process for soybean producers in Virginia. It provides an unbiased evaluation of varieties, management practices, and new technologies through on farm replicated research using producer equipment and time. These experiments enable producers to make better management decisions based on research and provide greater opportunities to improve yields and profits, which improves quality of life for them and their families.

Jan 25, 2016 ANR-177NP
2016 Mid-Atlantic Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations Jan 29, 2016 456-420 (AREC-168NP)
Anthracnose on Snap Beans Jan 29, 2014 450-719 (PPWS-26NP)
Arthropod Pest Management Research on Vegetables in Virginia – 2010

This booklet contains arthropod pest management research conducted on vegetable crops in eastern Virginia in 2010. If not noted otherwise in the individual reports, all research was conducted at the Virginia Tech Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Painter, VA and at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Virginia Beach, VA. All plots were maintained according to standard commercial practices. Soil type at the ESAREC is a Bojac Sandy Loam. Soil type at the HRAREC is tetotum loam (average pH: 5.7). Most of the research involves field evaluations of federally‐labeled and experimental insecticides. Much of the information presented herein will be published in a similar format in Arthropod Management Tests: 2011, vol. 36 (Entomological Society of America). We hope that this information will be of value to those interested in insect pest management on vegetable crops, and we wish to make the information accessible. All information, however, is for informational purposes only. Because most of the data from the studies are based on a single season’s environmental conditions, it is requested that the data not be published, reproduced, or otherwise taken out of context without the permission of the authors. The authors neither endorse any of the products in these reports nor discriminate against others. Additionally, some of the products evaluated are not commercially available and/or not labeled for use on the crop(s) in which they were used.

Feb 22, 2011 3102-1532
Asparagus Beetles

Two species of asparagus beetles are found in Virginia, the asparagus beetle, Crioceris asparagi (L.), and the spotted asparagus beetle Crioceris duodecimpunctata (L.). Adults of the asparagus beetle are 1/4 inch (6.25 mm) long, metallic blue to black, and have wing covers with three or four white spots and reddish margins. The thorax is red and usually marked with two black spots. The spotted asparagus beetle is about 1/3 inch (8.3 mm) long and orange with 12 spots on its wing covers. Larvae of both are olive green to dark gray with a black heads and legs. Larvae measure about 6/100 inch (1.5 mm) at hatching, and as they develop they become plump and attain a length of about 1/3 inch (8 mm). Both have eggs that are approximately 4/100 inch (1 mm) long, oblong, shiny, black,\ and are attached by one end to asparagus spears.

May 1, 2009 444-620
Asparagus Beetles on Asparagus

The asparagus beetle is a sporadic pest that can be aggravating for asparagus growers throughout Virginia. The shoot damage not only reduces the quality of the spears but this beetle is also unique in the pest world, as it is an insect that is controlled because the eggs laid on the shoots is objectionable to consumers. With a little background on this pest most growers are able develop an effective pest management program.

Jul 29, 2009 2906-1352
Bean Leaf Beetle Biology and Management in Snap Beans

Order: Coleoptera

Family: Chrysomelidae

Species: Cerotoma trifurcata (Forster)

Size: Adults are about 1/4 inch (64 mm) long.

Description: Adults range in color from yellow to a dull red with variable numbers of black spots (Fig. 1). Although some have no spots, most will have four black spots down the center of the back with marginal spots or stripes on the edge of the elytra. The distinguishing characteristic is that all have a distinct black triangle behind the prothorax. Eggs are reddish orange ovals about 3/100 inch (0.8 mm) long and have tapered ends. Larvae are white, cylindrical grubs with a black head and anal plate. They have well-developed thoracic legs as well as anal prolegs. The pupae are white and resemble the adult in size and shape.

May 1, 2009 444-009
Bt Sweet Corn: What Is It and Why Should We Use It?

Transgenic Bt sweet corn hybrids are a genetically modified organism (GMO) that are the result of combining commercially available sweet corn varieties with genes from a naturally occurring soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner or Bt.

Jul 17, 2009 2906-1300
Cabbage Webworm

The cabbage webworm is found throughout the southern United States from Virginia to Florida and west to California. It is rarely a pest in northern climates. In eastern Virginia, it is a common pest on broccoli and cabbage, particularly late in the summer and fall.

May 1, 2009 2811-1022
Chemical Control of European Corn Borer in Bell Pepper

The European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), is one of the most economically important pests of agricultural crops in much of the eastern and central United States.

Jul 29, 2009 2906-1355
Colorado Potato Beetle

Scientific Name: Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae, Leptinotarsa decemlineata

Size: Adults are ~ 3/8 inch long by 1/4 inch wide; mature larvae are 1/2 inch long.

Color: The adult thorax is orange with black spots and the wing covers have five yellowish white and five black alternating stripes running lengthwise (Fig. 1); the larvae are reddish in color with two rows of black spots along each side (Fig. 2); and eggs are yellow (Fig. 3).

Description: The adult beetle is convex above; larvae are smooth, soft-bodied, and humpbacked; and individual eggs somewhat resemble small sausages standing on end.

May 1, 2009 444-012
Consider Pumpkins and Gourds for Fall Harvest Crop Options

Pumpkins and gourds can be grown in areas all across Virginia. As fall-harvest crops, they offer growers the opportunity to further diversify.

Aug 4, 2009 2906-1368
Consider Rhubarb as an Addition to Your Spring Roadside Market Mix

Rhubarb is an over-looked vegetable that can be a good choice as a complementary spring vegetable, particularly for strawberry growers, and other early season roadside marketing situations.

Jul 23, 2009 2906-1322
Considering Specialty Crops?

Over the years in extension I have often had opportunity to consult with folks interested in growing specialty crops. Many have experience with other agricultural crops and have been farming for years, some are already involved in some aspect of specialty crop farming, while a fair share are new growers with limited experience. Many have preconceptions and are idealistic in their goals; others being more practically grounded.

Jul 24, 2009 2906-1325
Consumer Campaign Targets Ethnic Produce at Arlington Markets

The immigration boom of the 1990's has changed the landscape of Washington DC and its surrounding suburbs. According to 2000 census figures, more than one in four Arlington residents is originally from another country. In Arlington County, roughly half of the immigrants are from Latin America, but newcomers have arrived from far and wide with other large groups coming from India, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Mexico, Philippines, and Pakistan. The growing diversity in Arlington has brought with it many new influences, including food from other cultures.

Jul 27, 2009 2906-1335
Controlling Bean Leaf Beetle on Snap Beans

In eastern Virginia, the bean leaf beetle (BLB), Ceratoma trifucata (Forster), has caused serious damage to snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in recent years.

Jul 16, 2009 2906-1332
Crop Yields for Vegetables and Small Fruits Grown on Raised Beds with Plastic Mulch and Drip Irrigation

Use of raised beds with plastic mulch and drip irrigation for the production of vegetable and small fruit crops will result in higher crop yields and quality compared to bare ground culture.

Jul 17, 2009 2906-1302
Cruiser 5FS: Supplemental Label for Use on Edible Beans

A supplemental label has been approved in Virginia for the use of Cruiser 5FS (Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.) seed treatment for beans, both shelled and edible podded. Snap beans and wax beans are included on this label, as well as lima beans, broad beans, blackeyed peas, southern peas, cowpeas, runner beans, asparagus beans, Chinese longbeans, moth beans and yardlong beans.

Jul 30, 2009 2906-1357
Diagnosing stink bug injury to vegetables

In the mid-Atlantic U.S. vegetable crops are attacked by several different stink bug species (1). The primary pest species include: the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, which has become the dominant species in most landscapes (2), brown stink bug, Euschistus servus Say, which is the most common species attacking tomatoes; green stink bug, Chinavia hilaris Say (3); and harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica, which is primarilly a pest of brassica vegetables only (4). All stink bugs are piercing sucking feeders that insert their stylets into the fruit, pods, buds, leaves, and stems of plants.

Nov 13, 2015 ENTO-173NP
Diamondback Moth in Virginia

The Diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella (L.), is considered to be the most destructive insect pest of crucifer crops worldwide. DBM larvae feed on leaves of crucifer crops such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. All plant growth stages from seedling to head are susceptible to attack. DBM larvae can reach high densities and cause substantial defoliation as well as contamination and malformation of heads in cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. The absence and reduction of effective natural enemies, especially parasitoids, as well as insecticide resistance, contribute to the status of DBM as a pest.

May 1, 2009 444-007
Do Fall Crucifers Have A Place In Virginia?

One of the reasons we are re-visiting these crops is to focus on their potential for SW Virginia, where crucifers, in particular cabbage, have been grown for decades in the elevational regions near Hillsville.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1304
Downy Mildew in Cucurbits: Occurence of QOI Resistance in the USA and Impact on Managing Disease

Strains of the cucurbit downy mildew fungus resistant to QoI (also known as strobilurin) fungicides were detected in GA and NC in fall 2004 and in FL in spring 2005. The genetic mutation detected is the same as that in QoI-resistant cucurbit powdery mildew fungal strains.

Aug 12, 2009 2906-1385
European Corn Borer in Sweet (Bell) Pepper

The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), is a significant pest to over 200 different plant species. In Virginia, it is the number one pest of pepper, Capsicum annuum L. This pest can damage over 50 percent of pepper fruit if control measures are not taken.

May 1, 2009 444-006
Evaluating Vegetable Transplants

With Spring just around the corner, thoughts of transplanting must be on everyone's mind and priority list. Assuming the transplant order was made several months ago for both local and Southern tray plants, there are several important plant characteristics that will help you determine if the transplants you intend to plant will establish quickly and grow rapidly or fail in the field.

Apr 24, 2015 2906-1358 (AREC-140P)
Evaluation of Blackberry Varieties in Virginia

Blackberries (Rubus spp.) are of interest among strawberry and vegetable growers in Virginia looking to diversify their crops. Including blackberries in farm plans could allow these growers to keep their farms and pick-your-own activities open to customers for a longer duration, increasing agritourism and sales; however, Virginia growers lack information on blackberry varieties that perform well in the state. 

Oct 7, 2016 HORT-226P
Fall Armyworm in Vegetable Crops

Scientific Name: Lepidoptera: Noctuidae Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith)
Size: Caterpillars vary in length from 1/2 inch (2mm) as first instar larvae to 3/4 to 1 inch (35 to 50mm) as mature larvae (See Fig. 1). Adult moths have a wingspan of 1.2 to 1.6 inches (32 to 40mm).

Color: Larvae vary in color from light tan or green to dark brown (nearly black) [base color ranging from yellow-green to a dark brown to gray] with three yellowish-white lines down the sides and back from head to tail and four dark circular spots on the upper portion of each abdominal segment. Front of the head is marked with a prominent inverted white Y, but this characteristic is not always a reliable identifier. The forewing of adult male moths is generally shaded gray and brown, with triangular white spots at the tip and near the center of the wing. The forewings of females are less distinctly marked, ranging from a uniform grayish brown to a fine mottling of gray and brown. The hind wing is iridescent silver-white with a narrow dark border in both sexes.

Description: Larvae are hairless and smooth skinned (See Fig. 1).

May 1, 2009 444-015
Forced-Air Produce Cooler

Field heat removal from freshly harvested produce is critical for subsequent handling and storage. Heat removal should be done immediately after harvest to maximize storage potential of the produce. The longer heat removal is delayed, the shorter the shelf life. Force air cooling has been design to remove field heat to bring the produce temperature down to the storage temperature.

Jan 28, 2015 442-060 (AREC-118P)
GAPs and FSMA – an Overview for Hop Growers in Virginia

Food safety is a hot topic for hop
growers and brewers. With multiple
acronyms for various practices,
standards, and regulations: GAPs,
FSMA, PSR, PCR, and more; the
confusion is understandable. Let’s
examine where the small-acreage hop
grower fits in. Caveat: this publication
is simply an orientation to these
standards, regulations, and practices;
it is in no way a complete set of
guidelines or substitute for training.

Dec 20, 2016 HORT-237NP
Getting Started in Asparagus Production Part 1: Asparagus Varieties

This is the first of a four part series on asparagus written by Carl Cantaluppi, North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. Carl is a well-known national expert in asparagus production, and in this series he shares with us his many years of experience working with this crop and provides key considerations for grower success.

Jul 16, 2009 2906-1296
Getting Started in Asparagus Production Part 3: Harvest

Research shows that asparagus can be harvested for 2 weeks the year after planting with no harm. In fact, this stimulates more buds (spears) to be produced on the crown that gives rise to greater yields in future years as compared with not harvesting them until the second or third year after planting.

Jul 16, 2009 2906-1297
Getting Started in Asparagus Production Part 4: Field Care

This is the last of a 4-part series on asparagus production. This installment deals with field care issues.

Jul 16, 2009 2906-1295
Getting Started in Asparagus Productions

Asparagus will grow well on a sandy loam soil or a heavier soil, as long as it drains well. Try to enrich the soil as much as you can before planting by increasing the organic matter content.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1305
Glorious Garlic, Herb of the Year 2004

Garlic ranks behind only onion as the second most important Allium crop in the world (1), and has finally begun to assume the same importance in this country as it has always enjoyed in the rest of the world.

Jul 31, 2009 2906-1360
Green Peach Aphid on Vegetables

Homoptera: Aphididae, Myzus persicae

Distribution. The green peach aphid can be found worldwide and is considered a pest of numerous vegetable crops throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

May 1, 2009 2902-1081
Growing American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) in Forestlands Jan 13, 2011 354-313
Hops Budget Tool May 7, 2015 HORT-181NP
Hops in Virginia – 2014 Grower Survey Mar 6, 2015 HORT-167P
Hops in Virginia: Need-to-Know Information about Extension Resources May 7, 2015 HORT-182NP
Hops in Virginia: Need-to-Know Information about the Industry Mar 4, 2016 HORT-183NP (ANR-186NP)
IMPACT: Virginia Potato Disease Advisory Impact Nov 13, 2014 ANR-105P
Japanese Beetle Pest Management in Primocane-Bearing Raspberries Sep 15, 2009 2909-1411
Keeping Produce Safe During the Harvest Season

Produce safety is a topic all growers need to be concerned about. As we move into the busy peak of the harvest season here in Virginia, keep in mind two primary areas of safety concern:

1. Use of registered pesticides only, and abiding by re-entry and harvest interval restrictions for pesticides.
2. Bacterial contamination of produce.

Jul 22, 2009 2906-1311
Leaf‐ Footed Bugs Dec 21, 2010 3012-1522
Management of Aphids in Spinach

In Virginia, spinach can be a profitable crop to grow and is harvested in the spring and the fall. Aphids, especially the green peach aphid (GPA), Myzus personae Sulzer) (see Figure), can be major pests to spinach production.

Jul 27, 2009 2906-1338
Managing Plant Diseases with Biofungicides

Diseases in greenhouse vegetables and floriculture crops can be managed effectively with biological fungicides (biofungicides). A biofungicide is composed of beneficial microorganisms, such as specialized fungi and bacteria that attack and control plant pathogens and the diseases they cause (USDA). These specialized fungi and bacteria are microorganisms that normally inhabit most soils.

Jul 17, 2009 2906-1298
Monitoring and Management of Beet Armyworm and Other Rind-feeding Larvae in Watermelon

The following are categories of plants known to thrive in the southeastern/Hampton Roads area of
Virginia that also support bees. *Plants identified as major honey plants for bees

Apr 21, 2011 3104-1540
New Pumpkin Guide Released By NRAES

In June the folks at Cornell released a new guide for pumpkin production entitled "Pumpkin Production Guide" by Dale Miles Riggs, a noted pumpkin researcher, and several other contributing authors.

Jul 27, 2009 2906-1341
New Regulation of Wild American Ginseng Harvest and Sale

In August of 2005, the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior enacted a new regulation that affects persons who dig wild ginseng roots and for persons who buy wild ginseng roots in Virginia. The new law requires wild roots of American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, to be 10 years of age or older to be exported from Virginia.

Aug 17, 2009 2906-1388
No-till Organic Culture of Garlic Utilizing Different Cover Crop Residues and Straw Mulch for Over-wintering Protection, Under Two Seasonal Levels of Organic Nitrogen

Garlic is a crop that can be grown organically with a minimum of effort. It is usually planted in the Fall so that cloves have time to grow and develop roots, and meet chilling requirements for proper bulbing in the Spring.

Aug 17, 2009 2906-1389
Organic Production of Watermelons

Seedless and seeded watermelons can be grown without the use of agricultural chemicals, for organic markets. Compared to many other fruit and vegetable crops, watermelons are not heavily attacked by either insects or diseases.

Jul 27, 2009 2906-1342
Peanut Variety and Quality Evaluation Results, 2015 I. Agronomic and Grade Data

Due to suitability to the environmental conditions and existence of a strong peanut industry tailored to process primarily the large-seeded Virginia-type peanut, growers in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina generally grow Virginia-type cultivars. In the view of a common interest in the Virginia-type peanut, the three states are working together through a multi-state project, the Peanut Variety Quality Evaluation (PVQE), to evaluate advanced breeding lines and commercial cultivars throughout their production regions. The objectives of this project are: 1) to determine yield, grade, quality, and disease response of commercial cultivars and advanced breeding lines at various locations in Virginia and the Carolinas, 2) develop a database for Virginia-type peanut to allow research-based selection of the best genotypes by growers, industry, and the breeding programs, and 3) to identify the most suited peanut genotypes for various regions that can be developed into varieties. This report contains agronomic and grade data of the PVQE tests in 2015.

Jan 25, 2016 AREC-164NP
Pepper Maggot in Sweet (Bell) Pepper

The pepper maggot, Zonosemata electa (Say) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is native to eastern North America and is thought to have moved from the weedy perennial horse nettle, Solanium carolinense L., to domesticated crops like the bell pepper. Pepper maggot occurrence in pepper is patchy and sporadic. However, infestation can reach 100 percent of the fruit with only a single maggot causing the destruction of an entire pepper fruit.

May 1, 2009 444-005
Performance of Insecticides on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug on Vegetables Dec 14, 2012 ENTO-28NP
Pest Management Guide: Field Crops, 2017 Feb 17, 2017 456-016 (ENTO-221P)
Pest Management Guide: Horticultural and Forest Crops, 2017 Feb 17, 2017 456-017 (ENTO-222P)
Potato Aphid on Tomatoes

Homoptera: Aphididae, Macrosiphum euphorbiae


The potato aphid is found throughout the United States and southern Canada but is only considered a serious pest in the northeast and north central regions of the United States.

May 1, 2009 2901-1031
Potato Seed Selection and Management Apr 27, 2015 2906-1391 (HORT-172NP)
Potential for Vegetables During the Strawberry Season

The potential of bringing early vegetable crop sales into the strawberry season is a marketing opportunity worth considering. It makes sense to have early season vegetable crops available as customers come out for the first strawberries of the season.

Aug 4, 2009 2906-1365
Pumpkin Post Harvest Handling

The most popular fall decoration is the pumpkin. And many growers are in the process of harvesting their pumpkin crop to satisfy the market demand. As we approach the prime market season, we must consider the duration of the buying season.

Aug 4, 2009 2906-1367
Pumpkin and Winter Squash Harvest and Storage

Although there are many late fields with immature fruit, pumpkins in some fields are turning orange. If the current warm sunny days continue, more and more fruit will color up in the next several weeks. Pumpkins may need to be held for several weeks before they can be marketed.

Jul 28, 2009 2906-1344
Sampling for European Corn Borer in Bell Pepper

The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis Hubner (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), is one of the most economically important pests of agricultural crops in much of the eastern and central United States. O. nubilalis is particularly damaging to sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) because it causes direct injury to the fruit, premature fruit ripening, and fruit rot, a result of pathogens such as Erwinia carotovora entering the feeding wound.

Jul 30, 2009 2906-1356
Scouting for Wireworms before Planting Vegetables

Wireworms are the larval stage of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae). They are worm-like, hard-bodied, and have 3 pair of legs and a distinct head.

Jul 24, 2009 2906-1329
Seed-Piece Treatments for Insect Control in Potatoes

Tops-MZ-Gaucho is a new seed treatment produced by Gustafson LLC. This product enables potato growers to apply both an insecticide, Gaucho (Bayer Corp.), and a fungicide (Tops-MZ) prior to planting.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1310
Selected Vegetable Diseases Jul 2, 2015 426-363(HORT-179P)
Southeastern U.S. 2016 Vegetable Crop Handbook Feb 17, 2016 AREC-66NP (AREC-169NP)
Soybean Growth and Development

Proper management of the soybean crop requires knowledge of how environmental conditions and pests affect growth during vegetative and reproductive stages. For example, too little or too much soil moisture at certain stages may hinder growth and lower yield, and insect pests may damage the crop at one stage but not another. The information below can help you determine the proper timing of various management practices.

Nov 13, 2015 CSES-134NP
Specialty Crop Profile: Asparagus

Asparagus, (Asparagus officinalis), is a hardy perennial vegetable belonging to the Lily Family. It is grown for its succulent early spring vegetative shoots that originate from an underground crown (Figure 1). Nutritionally, asparagus is almost 92 percent water, and it provides fairly high amounts of carbohydrates, vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, and phosphorus. A native of coastal Europe, asparagus has naturalized over much of the eastern United States. With the assistance of man and birds that have spread the seeds, asparagus can be found in gardens, old homesteads, fencerows, roadsides, and railroad right of ways across the state. It is well adapted to most of Virginia, preferring well-drained loam soils and easily tolerating winter cold and summer heat. Asparagus is long lived, and a well-managed planting can last 10 to 15 years. For those considering it as a potential crop, good planning and soil preparation are essential for long-term success.

Jan 28, 2015 438-102 (HORT-91P)
Specialty Crop Profile: Blueberries for the Upper Piedmont and Mountain Regions - Part 2

Planting of bare-root stock should be scheduled as early as possible in the spring (Feb-March) when the danger of severe frost has passed. Containerized plants can be set in the fall (Sept-Oct.), in all but the coldest elevation regions.

Aug 11, 2009 2906-1380
Specialty Crop Profile: Ginseng

For those familiar with ginseng they know it as a tender perennial native of the Appalachian region. As a wild plant it has been sought after and dug since the times of Daniel Boone, who reportedly was into the export business of this profitable root which still enjoys great demand as a medicinal herb in Asian markets.

Jul 28, 2009 2906-1345
Specialty Crop Profile: Globe Artichoke

Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) is an herbaceous perennial that is grown for its tender, edible, immature flower buds. The globe artichoke should not be confused with Jerusalem artichoke, another member of the composite family native to North America, which is grown for its fleshy tubers. Globe artichoke plants can become large: four to five feet tall and wide, with long, heavily serrated silvery green leaves (Figure 1a). Unopened flower buds resemble large pinecones (Figure 1b). Buds can grow up to three to four inches in diameter, are rounded at the base, and tapering to the tip or blocky in shape. Many spiny, pointed, green bracts (small, leaf-like structures) surround the hidden flower parts. The buds are harvested at an immature stage before they open and expose the flower. The base of each bract and the large fleshy base or receptacle (artichoke “heart”) on which the flower and bracts are borne are fleshy and edible. If the buds are allowed to mature and open, the resulting flowers are quite attractive, large, and fragrant (Figure 1c) , but the base and bracts harden and become inedible.

Jan 28, 2015 438-108 (HORT-92P)
Specialty Crop Profile: Horseradish

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana Gaertn., Mey, and Scherb.) is an herbaceous perennial. It can grow to two to three feet tall and wide and has a distinct rosette growth habit with numerous erect and long-petioled leaves originating from a central crown (Figure 1). Plants develop a deep root system of multiple branches and many finer rootlets. The roots are thick and fleshy tan to medium brown and smooth to corky on the outside and pure white on the inside. The edible, very pungent

May 1, 2009 438-104
Specialty Crop Profile: Ornamental Gourds

Ornamental gourds are an important addition to the fall sales mix, along with pumpkins, Indian corn, and fall mums (Figure 1). They fit both direct market and commercial bulk sales outlets. Like pumpkins, gourds are usually packed by bulk box or bin for shipping. In direct markets, they usually are sold by the piece, sometimes by weight. Compared to pumpkins, gourd market windows are longer with the advantage of being sold through the Thanksgiving holiday season. Gourds also can be sold throughout the year as a decorative craft items, such as birdhouses and carved or decorated gourds (Figure 2). Gourd crafting represents a significant value-added opportunity for the creative marketer and is not bound by traditional marketing seasons for produce.

May 1, 2009 438-101
Specialty Crop Profile: Pawpaw (part 1)

This first article of a two-part series provides some background information about pawpaw, and its potential and problems in development as a niche specialty crop in the Eastern US.

Jul 22, 2009 2906-1318
Specialty Crop Profile: Pawpaw (part 2)

The following article is the second and final part of this specialty crop profile on pawpaw:


Jul 22, 2009 2906-1319
Specialty Crop Profile: Popcorn

Popcorn is a niche crop often seen in various direct market settings. Usually marketers buy pre-packaged shelled product or sell the small ears as an ornamental along with the other types of Indian corns on the market.

Aug 4, 2009 2906-1364
Specialty Crop Profile: Pumpkins

Pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) are an important specialty crop for Virginia with over 2,000 acres grown annually. The scale of production ranges from an acre or two to several hundred acres per grower. Pumpkins are marketed as an ornamental crop. The primary market window, the Halloween season, usually starts in late September and goes through October (Figure 1).

The information provided in this publication covers the basics of growing pumpkins as a specialty crop, from understanding the various types and classifications of pumpkins, to field production, harvest considerations, and marketing.

May 1, 2009 438-100
Specialty Crop Profile: Rhubarb

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is an herbaceous edible perennial and a member of the buckwheat family. It has also been classified as Rheum rhaponticum, Rheum x hybridum, and Rheum x cultorum, and there are many related, non-edible Rheum species. It is native to Siberia, and has been used as a medicinal plant in Asia for over 5,000 years. Rhubarb was once a very well-known and popular vegetable in this country. But it is not as widely grown as it was in the past. Introduced by European settlers in the 1700s, it is commonly known as “pie plant” and is grown for its edible, but very tart leaf petioles (leaf stalks), which can reach 12 to 18 inches long and one to two inches thick with a crispy texture similar to a large celery stalk (Figures 1a, b). The leaves are toxic because of their oxalic acid (soluble oxalates) content, which can cause human and animal poisoning and must be trimmed from the petiole prior to use.

May 1, 2009 438-110
Stink Bugs

Adults and nymphs suck sap, feeding primarily on buds and seedpods. This feeding results in weakened plants and malformed buds and fruit. On okra and bean pods, the damage appears as pimples or wart-like growths. On tomatoes and peppers, white marks, often resembling halos, appear on the fruit. On pecans and beans, the damage shows up as brown spots on the nutmeat or seed. On some tree fruit, stink bugs can cause a deforming condition called cat facing on the fruit.

May 1, 2009 444-621
String Trellising of Tomatoes to Improve Quality and Profits

Tests to compare caging, ground culture, and trellising systems of tomatoes were conducted at the Virginia Tech Horticulture Research Farm in the early 1970's with earlier determinate or short growing tomato varieties. Varieties with fewer vines and "self-topping" types were grown in short cages on mulches as early season companions to later-maturing trellis varieties. Many growers adopted short cage culture, using black plastic mulch under the determinate vines.

May 1, 2009 438-017
Taking Another Look At Globe Artichokes At Virginia Tech

Many readers may be familiar with globe artichoke, an herbaceous perennial and relative of thistle harvested for its immature flower buds. The market for this crop is dominated by California, which has several coastal areas amenable to perennial production of this unique crop. In recent years, annual production of artichoke in the desert areas of California and Arizona has grown, where off-season production under cooler winter temperatures is employed.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1306
The Basics of Hardwood-Log Shiitake Mushroom Production and Marketing Apr 3, 2014 ANR-102P
Time to Plant Garlic

Garlic is an important crop for many market growers in Virginia. For direct marketers, garlic can be an important sales item to complement other early summer crop offerings. Though it requires advance site preparation and planning, garlic is generally an easy crop to grow, and one which lends itself well to organic production.

Jul 28, 2009
Tips for Handling Gourds this Fall Season

Each year I observe more direct market and wholesale growers adding gourds to their fall sales mix, along with pumpkins, ornamental corn and fall mums. Proper harvest timing, handling and curing are important to ensure maximum longevity of gourds once the consumer brings them home.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1307
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

A high incidence of Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) has occurred in crops in Virginia and other Mid-Atlantic states this season. Be on the lookout for this plant virus in tomatoes, peppers, peanuts, potatoes, and tobacco.

Jul 24, 2009 2906-1326
Tomato Variety Trial, 2006 May 1, 2009 423-401
Use of In-furrow Fungicide Treatments and Seedpiece Dusts for Disease Control in White Potato

On the Eastern Shore of Virginia, potato growers plant potatoes in early spring for summer harvest. Fungicide dusts have been typically used to protect the potato seedpiece from infection when planted in cool, wet soil in the early spring.

Aug 18, 2009 2906-1394
Vertical Gardening Using Trellises, Stakes, and Cages May 7, 2015 HORT-189NP
What in the World? International Produce Takes a Stand at Virginia Farmers Markets

Virginia is an increasingly attractive place for people
from other countries to call home. According to the
2010 census, Virginia had the 7th highest
immigration rate nationwide, with the greatest
concentrations in the Northern Virginia, Richmond,
and the Hampton Roads metropolitan areas.
Regional diversity broadens the landscape of
culinary options, both for long-term residents and

May 25, 2016 HORT-225NP
Wine Making for the Home Gardener

Wine making has increased in popularity as a hobby  for home gardeners who have taken the science and craft beyond the grape vineyard to the bramble patch, vegetable garden, and flower garden. The American Homebrewers Association estimates that more than one million Americans brew beer or make wine at home at least once a year.

Feb 4, 2016 HORT-213NP
Wireworm Pest Management in Potatoes

Wireworms are the subterranean larval stage of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae). They are pests of many agricultural crops including corn, sorghum, small grains, tobacco, and various vegetables, but are particularly damaging to potatoes, since the marketable portion of that crop is in the soil. Wireworms are found throughout the world, and species vary greatly across regions. In Virginia, three important pest species of agricultural crops are the corn wireworm, Melanotus communis, the tobacco wireworm, Conoderus vespertinus, and a related species, C. lividus (Fig. 1). A field survey of more than 60 fields in eastern Virginia from 2002 to 2004 revealed that 80% of wireworms collected were the corn wireworm, M. communis. This is the primary soil pest attacking potatoes in Virginia.

May 1, 2009 2812-1026