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2022 Midwest Vegetable Guide

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Fruiting Vegetables – Horticulture 146 Midwest Veg Guide 2022 earliness. Drip irrigation beneath the mulch provides a uniform water supply and can deliver fertilizer during the growing season. Typical beds are 30 inches across, 4 to 6 inches high, and centered 5 to 6 feet apart. Bare ground production uses row spacings of 2-1/2 to 5 feet. Eggplant for fresh market: Space plants 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 feet apart in the row on beds, or 1-1/2 to 3 feet apart in bare ground rows. Eggplants may benefit from staking and support from a trellis-weave system if plants tend to break, lean, or lodge. Eggplants require full sun and well-drained soil. Eggplants grow best with warm soil, and hot weather. Peppers for fresh market: Space plants 1 to 1-1/2 feet apart in a single or double row on beds, or 1 to 1-1/2 feet apart in bare ground rows. Peppers may benefit from staking and support from a trellis-weave system if plants tend to break, lean, or lodge. If peppers are in a double row on a bed, a row of short stakes strung with twine along the outside of each row will support the plants. Peppers for processing: Hand harvest is common for processing peppers, and similar spacings are used as for fresh market production. For machine harvested crops, select row spacing and bed formation that will work with available harvesting equipment. Tomatoes for fresh market: Space plants 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 feet apart in the row on beds, or 1-1/2 to 3 feet apart in bare ground rows. Tomatoes may be left to grow over the ground or may be supported by cages, stakes, strings, or a trellis- weave system. Supported tomatoes produce higher quality fruit than unsupported plants and marketable yield is usually much greater. Tomatoes supported by stakes or trellises are sometimes pruned, which involves removing several or all of the branches up to the branch just below the first flower cluster when the branches are a few inches long. For tomatoes supported by a vertical string, only one or two stems are allowed to grow and so pruning continues throughout the season to remove branches that develop above the first flower cluster. Pruned plants produce larger fruit than unpruned plants, but the quantity of fruit is reduced. Tomatoes for machine harvest and processing: Select row spacing and bed formation that will work with available harvesting equipment. Double rows 16 to 20 inches apart on 5 to 6 feet centers are common, with plants 1 to 2 feet apart in the row. Fertilizing pH: Maintain a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes for Fresh Market: Before planting, apply 30 pounds N per acre, 0 to 240 pounds P 2 O 5 per acre, and 0 to 300 pounds K 2 O per acre based on soil test results and recommendations from your state. At transplanting, a starter solution at a rate of 1 cup (8 ounces) per plant is recommended. If the transplant flat receives a heavy fertilizer feeding just prior to setting, the starter solution can be eliminated. Sidedress with 30 to 40 pounds N per acre three to four weeks after transplanting, and then again six to eight weeks after transplanting. Sidedressing may be replaced by supplying N through a drip irrigation system at about 1 pound N per acre per day. Reduce the amount of fertilizer N applied by the value of N credits from green manures, legume crops grown in the previous year, compost and animal manures, and soils with more than 3 percent organic matter. The total amount of N from fertilizer (including starter) and other credits should be 100 to 120 pounds per acre. K 2 O may also be supplied through drip irrigation at a rate of 1 to 1-1/2 pounds per acre per day for peppers and eggplant, and 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 pounds per acre per day for tomatoes. Reduce the amount of K 2 O applied before planting by the amount that will be supplied through drip irrigation. Tomatoes for Processing: Before planting, apply 40 pounds N per acre, 0 to 240 pounds P 2 O 5 per acre, and 0 to 300 pounds K 2 O per acre based on soil test results and recommendations from your state. At transplanting, apply a starter solution containing N and P. Sidedress with 40 to 50 pounds N per acre four to five weeks after transplanting or after first fruit set. Reduce the amount of fertilizer N applied by the amount of N credits from green manures, legume crops grown in the previous year, compost and animal manures, and soils with more than 3 percent organic matter. The total amount of N from fertilizer (including starter) and other credits should be 80 to 100 pounds per acre. Physiological Disorders There are several tomato problems related to environmental and nutrient factors that are not infectious diseases caused by pathogens. Blossom End Rot: Tomatoes and peppers are susceptible to calcium deficiency even when adequate calcium levels are present in the soil. Deficiency results in a disorder called "blossom end rot." It often occurs under conditions of inadequate or excessive watering and/or excessive N fertilization with an ammonium source. Where the soil pH has been adjusted to 6.0 or higher, additional soil-applied calcium does not correct the disorder. To limit this problem, choose less susceptible varieties, avoid drastic moisture fluctuations with irrigation monitoring and mulches, and maintain soil pH and calcium levels in desired range. Catfacing: Flower buds that have been exposed to cold temperatures very early in development have shown a higher proportion of catfaced fruit. Large-fruited varieties tend to be more susceptible to this disorder. In some heirloom varieties,

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