Progress report for FNC22-1319
I am the only farmer for this project. I have over 10 years of experience in organic vegetable production on a small scale. I am currently growing tomatoes, greens (collards, mustards and kale), Okra, peppers (hot and bell) squash, zucchini, swiss chard, green beans, cucumber and garlic using regenerative practices on 1/5 of a acre.
Powdery mildew is a destructive disease for many crops but especially cucurbits such as Zucchini and Squash. This fungus is easily spread by the wind from plant to plant and can reduce production, decrease quality of fruit and even cause death. This project will compare two inexpensive organic preventative methods against two traditional forms of treatment to determine their effectiveness, benefits and cost efficiency. The four methods addressed in this project will be Korean Natural Farming fungicide treatment, raw milk dilution, Sturgas (biofungicide) and Cueva (Copper Fungicide). The data collected will be the total cost of each treatment, labor hours, yield, disease development and severity. The crops will be planted in late summer to ensure the likelihood of disease development without manual inoculation. Results from the project will be presented through a local workshop/conference supported and promoted by Central State University as well as on-farm tours and social media. The project’s results will provide farmers with a comparative analysis that will determine the most effective and cost-efficient treatment for a highly prevalent disease.
- Evaluate and compare effectiveness of preventing powdery mildew
- Evaluate the cost efficiency of each treatment
- Compare yield along with plant and fruit health
- Share finding with farmers via conference, farm demonstration and social media
Starting on July 8 Bed 1 was planted with 6 zucchini plants and 6 squash for the Cueva treatment. Bed 3 was planted with 6 zucchini plants and 6 squash for the Stargus treatment. Bed 5 was planted with 6 zucchini plants and 6 squash for the milk dilution treatment. Bed 7 was planted with 6 zucchini plants and 6 squash for the KNF treatment. Bed 9 was planted with 6 zucchini plants and 6 squash for the water only treatment. Between each bed I planted other powdery mildew resistant crops such as peppers and tomatoes. The treatments were applied on a weekly basis. The plants were monitored and graded on a scale of 1-7 (see image). As the fruit was harvested it was checked for deformities and counted to compare yield productivity of each bed in response to the applied treatment.
Educational & Outreach Activities
This portions of the project is not scheduled to start until this 2023 growing season. I am currently setting up for tours with the Black Farmers Conference happening later this season. I will also be holding educational tours for the Incubator Farming Program and will work with Central State University to produce a workshop and skill share for 2024.