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2022 Midwest Vegetable Guide

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Transplant Production Midwest Veg Guide 2022 23 Year 3 March-June: Leave winter-killed sorghum-sudangrass June-November: Pumpkin or winter squash production November-April of Year 4: Cereal rye as cover crop Year 4 March: Terminate cereal rye cover crop April-August: Potato production August-October: Cowpea as cover crop Year 5 Return to Year 1 Example 5 Year 0 Fall before Year 1: Yellow mustard as cover crop Year 1 March-May: Leave winter-killed mustard May-September: Cantaloupe production September-June of Year 2: Cereal rye and hairy vetch as cover crops Year 2 March-June: Terminate cereal rye and hairy vetch cover crops June-October: Sweet potato production October-April of Year 3: Triticale as cover crop Year 3 March: Terminate triticale cover crop April-July: Cauliflower production July-August: Buckwheat as cover crop August-November: Lettuce or spinach production November-May of Year 4: Cereal rye as cover crop Year 4 March-May: Terminate cereal rye cover crop May-September: Pepper production September-November: Mustard as cover crop Year 5 Return to Year 1 Transplant Production Reviewed by Liz Maynard – Aug 2021 Transplant production has replaced direct seeding for many vegetable crops. One of transplanting's primary advantages is earlier fruit production, allowing growers to capture better market conditions. In addition, the high cost of hybrid seed makes it desirable to use each seed as efficiently as possible. Transplanting also gives the crops a competitive advantage against weeds. This section addresses the special skills and knowledge required for successful transplant production. Most growers use polyethylene-covered greenhouse structures to provide warmth and protection from the environment. Although cole crops do not need the more moderating conditions a greenhouse provides, they can be grown in coldframes, lean-tos, or covered wagon beds. The heater is one of the most critical features of a transplant ghouse. Vegetable transplants must be kept at the appropriate temperatures. However, if heaters are improperly exhausted, the transplants can be stunted or deformed. To prevent heater fumes from returning into the greenhouse, chimneys should extend two feet above the ridge of the greenhouse. There should be some provision for bringing fresh air into the greenhouse. Some heaters vent fresh air into the greenhouse every time the furnace operates. For others, a hole or holes should be cut in the greenhouse wall and fitted with tubes to feed outside air to the heater. Avoid space heaters that may "spit" diesel or gasoline onto nearby plants. Heated air should be circulated using a perforated "sock" or tube that runs the length of the greenhouse, or fans placed on opposite sides of the greenhouse and blowing in opposite directions. Place thermometers in several locations to measure the temperature at plant level. At least one high-low thermometer is a good investment. For detailed information about greenhouse structures, see Greenhouse Engineering (NRAES-33), available from Cornell University Library, ecommons.cornell.edu . Transplant Containers A wide variety of transplant containers are available, each with advantages and disadvantages. The most common ones are: • Styrofoam trays (e.g., Speedling) • Polystyrene or PVC flats or trays. • Peat strips, pots or pellets (e.g., Jiffy). Peat pot containers have the advantage that the root system need not be disturbed upon planting. Peat pots also are more forgiving of overwatering than other containers. If peat pots are planted partially above ground, moisture is "wicked" away from the plant, often resulting in plant death — peat pellets do not have this disadvantage. Polystyrene and Todd planter flats are both designed so that transplants must be "popped" out of the trays, thus disturbing the root system. This is particularly true if the roots are allowed to grow into the ground beneath the tray. Avoid this problem by raising the flats off the ground. Both the polystyrene and Todd planter flats must be watered with care. Todd planter flats have a pyramidal design that forces roots downward to an open bottom where the roots are air pruned. Some polystyrene containers have open bottoms — tube types have open bottoms, groove types have small drainage holes.

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