Address any questions or comments regarding this newsletter to the individual authors listed after each article or to its editors, Nathan Johanning, 618-687-1727, or Bronwyn Aly 618-382-2662, The Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News is available on the web at: To receive email notification of new postings of this newsletter, contact Nathan Johanning at the phone number or email address above.

In This Issue:

Upcoming Programs (listings for beginning and established growers)

News & Announcements (Upcoming marketing webinars, 2017 Summer Hort Field Day, "Whats in Season" app)

Regional Reports (north central Illinois, east central Illinois, southern Illinois)

Fruit and Vegetable Production and Pest Management (Modified Growing Degree Days for Insect Development, Black Cutworm Update)

University of Illinois Extension educators and specialists in fruit and vegetable production and pest management

Upcoming Programs

Check the Illinois SARE calendar for a full list of programs and links for registration. and
Also see the University of Illinois Extension Local Food Systems and Small Farms Team's website at: and the calendar of events at

News & Announcements

Upcoming Farmers Market Webinars

In a series of four webinars, the Illinois Farmers Market Association and the University of Illinois Extension are partnering to provide vendors and farmers market managers with information to better understand their markets, improve their market stands, and increase and retain a loyal customer base.  These webinars will provide information on Farmers Market Metrics and some of the best practices for data collection and data use; modern marketing and merchandizing essentials; engaging and building a loyal customer base through special events; and grant writing basics for farmers market managers.  While a couple of these webinars are for members only of the Illinois Farmers Market Association (offered at no cost), anyone interested in joining the Illinois Farmers Market Association is encouraged to visit their website. To find out more about each of these webinars, please visit the University of Illinois Extension Local Foods/Small Farms website in the upcoming events calendar or contact Laurie George at 618-548-1446 or .

Bronwyn Aly (618-382-2662;

2017 Summer Horticulture Field Day

Join us on Thursday, June 8th at Christ Orchard in Elmwood, IL for this year's Summer Hort Field Day! This orchard has been in production for over 35 years. The first trees were planted by the Midland Coal Company in the early 1970s. Later, when the orchard began producing, Elmwood School's FFA was asked to tend and operate the land. As a high school student, Kurt Christ was integrally involved in the care of the orchard. Upon his graduation, he first rented and ultimately purchased the orchard in the mid-1980s. Kurt & Connie Christ have been the co-owners of Christ Orchard for nearly 30 years. As their children, Beth, Lena, Molly, Karl, and Amy, grew up, the small orchard grew as well. Now the 2nd generation has joined the business. They continue to work together to provide quality fruit and farm fresh products to their customers.


8:00 AM

Registration Opens

8:30 AM

Welcome + Meet & Greet Time

9:00 – 11:30 AM

Field & Store Tours

Christ Orchard:

• Outdoor Walking & Hayrack Ride Tour:

Kurt Christ

• Store Presentations:

Molly Christ & Aaron Graham

U of I Extension:

   Entomology: Dr. Rick Weinzierl

Horticulture: Dr. Mosbah Kushad

   Plant Pathology: Dr.Mohammad Babadoost

Weed Mgt – Fruits: Dr. Elizabeth Wahle

   Pumpkins, FSMA: James Theuri

Weed Mgt – Veg: Nathan Johanning

12:00 – 1:30 PM

Lunch (catering by Raber Packing)


• Welcome & President's Comments:

Jeff Broom

• Special Topics:

   ISGA Address

Jim Fraley & Randy Graham

   FFA Talk

Amy Christ

   FSMA & Small Businesses

Laurie George

• State-Wide Crop Reports


• Illinois Hort Day Awards Ceremony:

Aaron Graham

• Exhibitor Presentations:


1:30 PM

Q & A Session with the Experts

2:00 PM – close

Open Discussion & Meeting Time


2:00 PM

Cider Production & Cold Storage

3:30 PM

Kickapoo Creek Winery

Illinois State Horticulture Society * University of Illinois Extension * Illinois Specialty Growers Association

New "What's in Season Phone" App features Illinois Specialty Growers

This summer Illinois consumers can use their smart phones to see what is currently in season where ever they happen to be. On it they can also find the growers that produce those products as well as the nearest farmers markets where they can shop for fresh locally grown products. The "What's in Season" phone app was made possible through the Illinois Specialty Growers Block Grant Program and is a collaboration between Illinois Food MarketMaker and the Illinois Farmers Market Association.

"Our hope is to get people in the habit of eating seasonal products when they are at peak freshness and most widely available." says Darlene Knipe, National Leader for the Food MarketMaker program and a member of the "What's in Season" development team. "By also connecting them to the producers and the local farmers markets, we can make it as easy as possible for them to find locally grown fruits and vegetables."

The app currently uses information growers and farmers markets provide to Illinois Food MarketMaker,, Illinois Farmers Market Association ( and Illinois Prairie Bounty Directory Producers or markets who would like to be included in the app can create profiles through any of the affiliated directories or through the app itself. Mary Hosier, Illinois lead for MarketMaker stresses the importance of making sure your profile is up to date.

The "What's in Season" App is part of Connect Fresh Illinois, a cooperative effort to promote locally grown products and local farmers markets throughout Illinois.  If you would like to learn more about Connect Fresh Illinois and its partners visit

Mary Hosier, Project Manager, NCR FSMA Training Center (217-333-7512;

Regional Reports

From north central Illinois... Did it just turn to summer? Hot temperatures have led to stress in some of the cool season crops. My high tunnel is currently transitioning out of cool season vegetables. The turnips have been pulled, and almost all the lettuce has been harvested. Some bibb and buttercrunch remain. We have a raised bed outside of romaine that has handled the hot temperatures very well. It looks like some timely rain is in the forecast along with cooler temperatures.

We have our drip irrigation system going. This year I have set everything up on a timer that I control from my tablet device. We trenched a 4-inch plastic drain tile conduit from the spigot to the garden and pulled the hose through so guests, volunteers, and myself are not tripping over garden hose all growing season. Feeding the hose through the conduit was quite simple. To snake your initial string to pull the hose through, we tied a plastic grocery bag to rope and on the opposite end used a shop vac to suck it through. The bag acts like a parachute and easily transverses through the pipe.

Potatoes are busting through along with onions. Tomatoes and peppers were planted outside last week. I'm still working on getting the trellis up for the pole beans and cucumbers. Ginger and turmeric have been hardening off this week, and I am excited to experiment with this new crop.

Asparagus harvest is coming to a close, and locally grown strawberries are starting to make their way to the market and my dinner table. Once asparagus harvest concludes, weed control begins. Many growers will mow any remaining plants as low as possible then spray with an herbicide. Another option is to spray gramoxone or similar product labeled for asparagus after the last harvest. Gramoxone will burn down any existing asparagus ferns and weeds, but does not translocate. Combine with a residual herbicide such as Diuron, Lorox, Sandea, Savage, or Sencor for longer weed control. Post-emergent controls for grassy weeds include Poast, Fusillade, and Select Max.

The pheromone traps captured the first codling moths last week. Peaches are over an inch, and plums range between ¼-inch to ½-inch. This year I will be using a kaolin clay product to evaluate its effective control of common fruit tree pests.

Chris Enroth (309-837-3939;

From east central Illinois... Early strawberries are getting ripe. Recent warm weather and sunny days have helped field planted crops grow rapidly and return to a healthy green color after two cool, cloudy weeks. Some field planted crops have suffered due to heavy rainfall in areas causing waterlogged soils with poor emergence due to seedling rots and crusted topsoils.

Be Alert for Spotted Winged Drosophila!!!  With the above normal temperatures of the past winter and early spring, we are seeing ripe strawberries in central Illinois and getting reports of Spotted Winged Drosophila (SWD). This invasive species of fruit fly lays its eggs in soft skinned fruits near the beginning of fruit harvest, which can result in harvested ripe fruit with small white larvae inside. SWD are known to attack soft-skinned fruit: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, elderberries, peaches and cherries.

I point this out, because I have seen SWD infested berries sold at local farmers markets and commonly find SWD larvae in local wild blackberries. With a few simple management changes, farmers can continue to produce local berries without the risk of selling infested fruit to customers. According to Michigan State University, the practices of thinning fruit crop canopy, frequent fruit harvest of ripe or nearly ripe and rapid refrigeration of harvested fruit can go a long way in reducing the incidence of this pest. Sanitation is extremely important during the frequent harvest cycle of once per day or at least harvesting every other day. When harvesting fruit, pickers need to pick nearly ripe fruit to just ripe fruit (checking for soft spots or watery lesions), any fruit that is overripe or damaged needs to be placed in a "cull" bucket and destroyed. Allowing infested fruits to stay in the fruit planting increases the severity of the SWD infestations.

SWD traps can give you an idea whether your plantings are infested, but the traps are not 100% percent accurate and fruit may be infested before an adult SWD is caught in a trap. To be sure that your fruits are SWD-free, you can sample your fruit for the presence of larvae. There are two common methods of doing this – a sugar floatation method and a salt floatation method .

For more factsheets and webinars on the Spotted Winged Drosophila, here in the Midwest is the Michigan State University Extension SWD site, and nationally the Cornell University SWD site is another good resource.

Doug Gucker (217-877-6042;

From southern Illinois... We are finally drying out from our rains from two weeks ago. From that 5-7 day time frame, growers from the area reported totals of 8 to over 14 inches of rain.  Last late week, we did have a system pass through, but fortunately many of us either missed the rain or received a half inch or less.  Overall, temperatures have been warm in the 70s and most of this week we have had highs in the 80s.  The last few days have also been extremely windy. N We have more rain predicted for the end of the week into the weekend, but the forecast keeps pushing the rain back so we will see what ends up happening with that weather system.

In the field, the dry weather has allowed continued planting and field work.  Many growers continuing to get out main crops of summer vegetables like sweet corn, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, along with getting additional plastic mulch laid that did not get in earlier.  Plasticulture strawberries have done well overall and harvests are starting slow down.  In the orchard, some are starting to thin peaches, and tart cherries are getting very close to ripe. 

Here at the office, tomatoes and cucumbers in the high tunnel are really taking off, and we have been harvesting cucumbers for about a week now.  In the field, last week, we transplanted a colored bell pepper variety trial and planted an ornamental corn variety trial; the ornamental corn in just now poking through the ground.  The asparagus has rebounded from mowing and postharvest herbicide application with spears 4-5 feet tall.  Also, we have some ryegrasses and small grains cover crop plots planted between black plastic.  Hopefully this trial will yield some good, manageable cover crop options for our summer vegetables on plasticulture; stay tuned for more updates on that as they grow more!

Nathan Johanning (618-687-1727;

Fruit and Vegetable Production and Pest Management

Modified Growing Degree Days (Base 50°F, January 1 through May 14) for Insect Development

Station Location

Actual Total

Historical Average (11 year)

One- Week Projection

Two-Week Projection






St. Charles













































Rend Lake










Dixon Springs





Insect development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity.  Degree day accumulations calculated using the Illinois IPM Degree-Day Calculator (a project by the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and the Illinois Water Survey).

Kelly Estes, State Survey Coordinator, Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (217-333-1005;

Black Cutworm Update and More

In an update from the April 20th IFVN Newsletter, black cutworm flights have continued across Illinois over the past several weeks. Several counties have recorded multiple significant flights and many more have had near significant flights.

These reports serve as reminders to sweet corn growers to scout for cutworm injury from seedling emergence through 6-leaf stage (or at least until plants are greater than 6 inches tall). The first three stages of black cutworm larvae typically feed on leaves, and the fourth and later stages feed through the bases of plants, cutting them near ground level.

The common decision-making rule is to control infestations if more than 3 to 6 percent of plants are cut ... use the 6 percent threshold if most larvae are large (greater than ½-inch long) and the 3 percent threshold if larvae are small (less than ½-inch long), as they're going to continue feeding longer and damage yet more plants.

See the 2017 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers for insecticides labeled for use in sweet corn along with rates and restrictions. Generic products containing the same active ingredients are available for most of these products.

Kelly Estes, State Survey Coordinator, Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (217-333-1005;

Less Seriously...

First cave man to 2nd cave man: "I don't care what you say. We never had such unusual weather before they started using bows and arrows."        

Consider one of the most perplexing questions of our time: Where do' solutions go when a candidate gets elected?

There was a farmer who raised watermelons. He was disturbed by some local kids who would sneak into his watermelon patch at night and eat watermelons. After some careful thought he came up with a clever idea that he thought would scare the kids away for sure. So he made up the sign and posted it in the field. The next day the kids show up and they see this sign, it says "Warning!! One of the watermelons in this field has been injected with cyanide." So the kids run off, make up their own sign and post it next to the sign that the farmer made. The farmer shows up the next week and when he looks over the field he notices that no watermelons are missing but he notices a new sign next to his. He drives up to the sign which read: "Now there are two".

University of Illinois Extension Specialists in Fruit and Vegetable Production & Pest Management

Extension Educators – Local Food Systems and Small Farms

Bronwyn Aly, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Pope, Saline, and White counties


Bill Davison, Livingston, McLean, and Woodford counties


Laurie George, Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion, & Washington counties


Zachary Grant, Cook County


Doug Gucker, DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt counties


Nathan Johanning, Franklin, Jackson, Perry, Randolph, & Williamson counties


Grant McCarty, Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties


David Shiley, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties


James Theuri, Grundy, Kankakee, and Will counties


Extension Educators – Horticulture

Chris Enroth, Henderson, Knox, McDonough, and Warren counties


Richard Hentschel, DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties


Andrew Holsinger, Christian, Jersey, Macoupin, & Montgomery counties


Extension Educators - Commercial Agriculture

Elizabeth Wahle, Fruit & Vegetable Production


Campus-based  Extension Specialists

Mohammad Babadoost, Plant Pathology


Mosbah Kushad, Fruit & Vegetable Production