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Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Growers

Southwestern Illinois Update: Pumpkin fruit accelerate growth

pumpkin on vine

Pumpkins are doing well. I gave my pumpkins a side dress application of nitrogen the first week of August and they have really taken off we have fruit starting to size nicely. I have not seen any signs of powdery mildew yet but have started spraying preventative fungicides, especially given the high heat and humidity.

I have seen a few cucumber beetles and just a couple of squash bug eggs, but nothing enough to warrant an insecticide spray. I have noticed quite a few ladybugs, so I am hopeful that I can delay any need for insecticide as long as possible.

Weed control has been good overall. I sprayed a grass herbicide to clean up a few foxtail and some volunteer wheat. Copperleaf and morning glories are the only other weeds that I have some issues with and fortunately they are not widespread and localized to certain areas. I have tried to spot spray and hoe to clean up those areas as best I can. We lucked out and caught about the perfect rain after planting to activate the herbicide, in addition to a low weed seed bank from a good weed management in rotational row crops. 

It just feels like summer in southern Illinois outside. We are preparing for a week of temperatures near 100° and lots of humidity. The past week actually brought a break from the humidity for most of the week and nice temperatures. We are still on the dry side but a few rains over the past few weeks along with the humidity have kept crops fairly happy for now. Forecasts for temperatures near 100° is really going to bring back the stress to the plants with no major chance for rain in the next week, but hopefully the plants can draw from past experience (and root system) on drought survival.

  • Early apples are starting to show up in markets and starting to wind down on the peaches available.
  • I had some very good ‘Cresthaven’ peaches from a local farm a couple of weeks ago. Although not a great crop, most growers have been very happy with what peaches they do have after the damage from last winter. 
  • All summer vegetables are still in harvest. 
  • Tomatoes and peppers have really hit their peak and plants are still very healthy.
  • I have a fall crop of green beans up pushing out their first trifoliate leaf and fall cauliflower and broccoli transplants hopefully will go in the ground later this week. 

The generally dry conditions have been good for limiting some plant diseases, but the moisture limitations can also bring other challenges as well. Aphids, spider mites and other pests have been especially problematic. I can even see more feeding from wildlife as especially irrigated crops can be the most green, lush food available in areas. 

pumpkin field
Pumpkins are taking advantage of the summer heat with crop canopy. Johanning
pumpkin fruit
Pumpkins are taking advantage of the summer heat with good fruit set. Johanning

About the Author


As Commercial Agriculture Educator, Nathan Johanning develops and delivers research-based programs which address all issues related to the local food system. Johanning collaborates with extension educators, campus-based specialists and various other agencies to provide timely and relevant programming focused around agronomic and horticultural crop production, including cover crops, pest management, soil and nutrient management, and food safety and security.