Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist Mac Riedel and doctoral plant pathology student Andy Wyenandt have found that growing pumpkins on cover crop mulches helps control fungal diseases, mainly Fusarium fruit rot, and helps keep the fruit clean of dirt.
"The mulches act like a physical barrier to prevent the pumpkins from coming into contact with the soil," said Wyenandt
.The result is a cleaner fruit that growers can easily market to consumers and a more disease-free pumpkin.The results of the study will be a topic of discussion at the Pumpkin Field Day on August 11th at the Western Branch of the Ohio Arigcultural Reseach and Development Center."Fusarium fruit rot attacks the fruit from the belly side, the side that is in contact with the soil," said Wyenandt
said that rye or a mixture of rye and vetch are good cover crops to use because they break down slowly compared to other cover crops like hairy vetch sown by itself.The fall rye and rye/vetch combination provided 89 percent and 85 percent ground cover, respectively."The one drawback to growing rye or vetch is that a grower is looking at nearly a year of pumpkin production, rather than a five-month window," said Wyenandt
. "Growers unable to sow fall cover crops can try spring-sown oat.That will cut production down to nearly half the time when compared to fall-sown cover crops."Study results revealed that spring-sown oat provided 77 percent protection against Fusarium fruit root, but provided only 23 percent ground cover resulting in more Fusarium fruit rot and in dirtier fruit than fall-sown rye and rye/hairy vetch.For more information, contact Andy Wyenandt
at email@example.com, or call 614-292-9355 (ph).