Horticulture Research Station

Optimizing Pollination of Muskmelon in Organic Mesotunnel Systems

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Bacterial wilt disease of cucurbits, caused by Erwinia tracheiphila, is spread by spotted and striped cucumber beetles. Organic muskmelon growers are especially vulnerable to bacterial wilt because they lack reliable control measures. A new production system called mesotunnels (3.5-ft-tall, nylon-mesh-covered tunnels) has shown promising results in smallplot organic trials, with yield increases of 100-450 percent in muskmelon and acorn squash compared with “low tunnels” (1.5 ft tall and covered with spunbond polypropylene) or non-covered plots. Mesotunnels are more durable, breathable, and spacious than low tunnels, and provide protection during most or all of the growing season. Key challenges for mesotunnel systems are how to optimize pollination and control of foliar fungal diseases in organic production. The objective of this 4-yr study (2019 was year 1) is to optimize the use of bees for muskmelon pollination under mesotunnels in organic production.


How to Cite: Mphande, K. & Gleason, M. L. (2020) “Optimizing Pollination of Muskmelon in Organic Mesotunnel Systems”, Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms Progress Reports. 2019(1).