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Penn State Extension to offer course on excess water raising disease issues in vegetables

PHOTO PROVIDED White fungal growth of Phytophthora capsica on cucumber fruit.

By TOM BUTZLER

For The Express

What will weather conditions look like for 2020? Tough to say but the past two years were pretty rough on many growers, especially during the growing season. The biggest issue was water — too much!

The National Weather Service stated that “2018 was the wettest year on record in Pennsylvania.” This past summer was looking like another wet year, but the rains shut off mid-summer.

Excess water can be problematic in that it can lead to soil compaction (if worked while wet), soil erosion, and loss of nutrients. It can also create the ideal environment for several diseases such as phytophthora blight.

The disease thrives in low-lying, poorly drained areas of a field, which was prevalent the past two years. Not only is it destructive during the growing season, it can survive in the field for years (kind of like a gift that keeps on giving).

Penn State’s Professor of Vegetable Pathology, Dr. Beth Gugino, will present information on the particulars of the disease and control strategies at the Sugar Valley Small Fruit and Vegetable meeting at the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School in Loganton. It is scheduled for Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. until noon.

Information will also be presented on concerns and issues of mixing and loading of pesticides. The meeting has been approved for two credits in categories 3, 18, Private, and Core.

Registration can be done online at https://extension.psu.edu/small-fruit-vegetable-meeting or call 1-877-345-0691.

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