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)

Regional Reports (western and southern Illinois)

Fruit and Vegetable Production and Pest Management (Phytophthora in Cucurbits, Determining Grape Harvest Readiness, Diamondback Moth damage in cruciferous crops)

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

August 14, 2017

Flyway Family Farm, Makanda, IL
• Mushroom Production

Regional Reports

Bare root strawberries planted
on white plastic. Photo: M. Roegge

From western Illinois... On July 26th we received .6" of rain, others in the area received from .4-1.5". It had been 3 weeks to the day since our last rain, and with the high temperatures and water demand from the crops, we were very thankful. Pumpkins were wilting during the day.

Sweet corn sales have slowed, which is normal. We started picking on July 3rd. Corn earworm moth numbers have dropped to about zero the past two weeks. When we started trapping the middle of June, moth numbers were between 50-100 per night. But when field corn began to silk, numbers declined significantly. Thus we were able to increase our spray interval to 4 days, even in the high heat, and still provide insect free produce. Due to the high temperatures our sweet corn was maturing much faster than anticipated.

Green beans had quit blooming with the heat and dryness. They too were maturing much too fast for us to keep up with, and we had to let them go due to not being able to harvest timely and allowing soft, rubbery pods to occur.

We pulled our onions this past week, bringing them into our garage and placing on pallets and cardboard and using fans to stir the air to allow them to cure. We had some rather large ones this year, some weighing in at 2#. We plant white and red candy, a sweet onion.

I began to see the first signs of cercospora in asparagus last week and began a fungicide treatment that I'll repeat every two weeks for control. On our older asparagus field, we must be vigilant to scout and treat as in recent years we've lost quite a sizeable portion of the fern before the plant goes dormant, and that reduces the amount of food reserves which can impact next years' yields.

The beginning of August is when we traditionally begin our fungicide spray program for control of powdery mildew of pumpkin. Most of the jack o lantern pumpkins we raise are PM "resistant" so that allows us some time before we need to begin treatment. Scout fields for the telltale sign of PM by looking first on the vines. As Dr. Babadoost has mentioned, once you can observe PM on the leaves, it has reached epidemic proportions. His spray schedule can be found at . We're already finding some good sized fruit on some vines.

Japanese beetle numbers are finally beginning to recede. They were extremely high this summer, and repeated treatments were required to keep the beetle in check. Let's hope for a cold winter.

We planted our bare root strawberry plants this week on white plastic. We've been experimenting with them for 3 years now, trying to find the varieties that best fit our picking schedule and have decent yields. Last year the bare root yielded equal to the plugs that we plant the end of August on black plastic.

I've talked to a number of home gardeners and all are mentioning the fact that tomatoes are slow in maturing. Not sure of the reason, but it helps our sales out! We've had to deal with spider mites in one of the tunnels and have applied several treatments to get the problem under control. I've included a fungicide in the spray to help prevent leaf mold, and have yet to notice any. We traditionally have to battle this disease each year.

Mike Roegge (217-223-8380;

'Mars' table grape. Photo: N. Johanning

From southern Illinois... We have finally broke from the most excessive heat last weekend with a front that brought a quite pleasant reduction in humidity and highs in the mid 80s.  The heat and humidity have come back some, with highs in the 90s but nothing like it was.  Rainfall has been highly variable.  I had a report of 2.5" earlier this week from Randolph Co. and at home at the farm south of Waterloo, 1.1", and here at Murphysboro about 3 drops.  This has been the pattern.  We have some rain chances through Thursday night so hopefully those that still have missed the rain will get some.  For those that have missed the rains, things are very dry and rain is very much needed.  With the rain chances comes a front which is supposed to leave us with beautiful weather with highs at or below 80° for the weekend.

Peach harvest continues, and also, some table grapes are starting to get ripe.  I picked a few 'Mars' seedless table grapes over the weekend at home.  Most vegetable crops have been doing fairly well as long as they have had water available when they need it.  Over the weekend, I sidedressed an additional 50 lbs N/A on my pumpkins and applied a grass herbicide.  With the drier conditions and preemergence herbicides, I have had limited emergence of new broadleaf weeds except a few morningglories, prickly sida, and hophornbeam copperleaf, but not enough that I couldn't do a quick walkthrough with a hoe to clean up.  I did see some cucumber beetles, but so far no squash bugs or powder mildew.  It is time to be starting those protective sprays for powdery mildew.  As always for pest management options consult the 2017 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide

Nathan Johanning (618-687-1727;

Fruit and Vegetable Production and Pest Management

Phytophthora on Cucurbits

I would like to share these couple pictures that I received from northern Illinois. All cucrubit plants in northern Illinois (other parts of the state too) should be sprayed for Phytophthora. Spray with Revus alternated with Orondis Opti or Ranman. For pumpkins, add ProPhyt to all sprays, as the canopies are dense.

Mohammad Babadoost (217-333-1523;

Notes on Grape Sampling to Determine Harvest Readiness

Time of wine grape harvest is always a complex process and can vary from year to year due to not only environmental conditions throughout the growing season and cultivar characteristics, but also considerations like vintner preference (wine style), upcoming predicted rain (rain at harvest causes cracking of fruit), and availability of labor. 

In order to predict when wine grape harvest will occur for each cultivar, grapes are sampled periodically before harvest to see how the levels of sugar, pH, acids and flavor compounds are progressing through the season.  In general, as berries ripen, sugar levels and pH increase, and titratable acidity decreases.

Sugar level is critical for determination of final alcohol content and whether chaptalization or amelioration will be needed in the winery.  Sugar content is measured with a hydrometer in degree Brix (grams of sugar per 100 grams of juice) and desirable levels are usually between 18 and 24 °Brix.  There are exceptions.  "Foxiness" is a characteristics of many, but not all, American grape cultivars and usually refers to a musty or wet fur smell.  Anyone growing up in North America who has consumed anything made out of 'Concord' grape is familiar with foxiness. This is a case were a small amount is desirable but a large amount becomes undesirable and overwhelms the balance of the wine.  'Edelweiss' is a good example of a cultivar that is sometimes harvested early and chaptalized to decrease foxiness.    

The tartness associated with organic acids (predominantly tartaric, malic and citric acids) balances the sugars in a wine and also influences wine stability, color and pH.  Total acidity (TA) levels decrease during processing so wineries typically have a desired starting point for each wine they produce, general between 0.6 and 0.8 grams of titratable acids per 100 mL of juice at harvest.  TA is measured by titrating sodium hydroxide into a sample of grape juice, then plugging the amount of sodium hydroxide needed to neutralize the acid in the juice into a formula to determine how much acid was in the juice. 

The third parameter is pH, which is the measure of active acidity in the juice and wine.  The pH level influences a number of factors in the wine, including but not limited to microbial stability (spoilage), efficacy of SO2 additions against microbial growth, oxidation, color and flavor.  Since pH levels greater than 3.6 are very challenging to correct in the winery, typical desired levels for harvested white grapes are at a pH of 3.1 to 3.3 and red grapes at a pH of 3.3 to 3.5.  A bench or handheld pH meter are suitable for measuring pH.

From an article by Imed Dami, Ohio State University Extension Viticulturist, titled "Determining Grape Maturity and Fruit Sampling," he list the following tips on fruit sampling.

Sampling guidelines: A proper sampling procedure is listed as follows:

Things to remember and consider when sampling:

To read Imed Dami's complete article, go to

Elizabeth Wahle (618-344-4230;

Diamondback moth causing damage in collards and cabbage

Diamondback moth (DBM) is a destructive pest of cabbage and other cruciferous crops, although collards are the most preferred. I first noticed the infestation on collards in mid-July. You should scout your field for the pest. The larval form (pictured on right) is a good indicator. Feeding damage can be confused with that of imported cabbage worm but DBM larva leave a 'window-pane' type damage on the leaf after feeding. Recommended management (from Growing Produce, July 25, 2017)

Photo: J. Theuri (left), Photo: N. Johanning (right)

Traditional (Conventional) Pesticides


Active Ingredient

Mode of Action

Who's making the recommendation

Radiant (Dow)


Spinosyn-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor allosteric agonist

John Polumbo, University of Arizona

Proclaim (Syngenta)

emamectin benzoate

Avermectin-chloride channel activator


Avaunt (DuPont)


Voltage-dependent sodium channel blockers

Alton "Stormy" Sparks, University of Georgia

Rimon (Arysta LifeScience)


Inhibitors of chitin biosynthesis, Type O


Coragen, Exirel and Verimark (DuPont)


Ryanodine receptor modulators


Lannate (DuPont)


Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors


Organic (Biopesticides)


Active Ingredient

Mode of Action

Who's making the recommendation

Entrust (Valent)


Spinosyn-nicotinic acetyl-choline receptor allosteric agonist


Xentari (Valent)

Bt subsp. aizawai

Microbial disruptors of insect midgut membranes


DBM is highly capable of insecticide resistance; integrated pest management is highly encouraged.

For more on identifying and managing DBM, see July 25, 2017 issue of Growing Produce:

James Theuri (815-933-8337;

Less Seriously...

I was looking for jokes related to county fairs, it being fair season and all, and most had to do with $10 airplane rides, animal husbandry, and women's hair color.  And while I find humor in almost all topics, I am always fearful of insulting someone or hurting someone's feelings, but I think the joke below will keep me out of trouble.

A DEA officer stops at a ranch in South Dakota, and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs." The rancher says, "Okay, but do not go in that field over there," as he points out the location.

The DEA officer verbally explodes saying, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me." Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removes his badge and proudly displays it to the rancher. "See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish, on any land. No questions asked or answers given. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand? "

The rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull......

With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it seems likely that he'll get gored before he reaches safety. The officer is clearly terrified. The rancher throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs.....

"Your badge! Your badge! Show him your BADGE!"

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