Reinventing Sustainable Protection Systems for Cucurbit Production

Grants and Contracts Details


The goal of this two-state (Iowa and Kentucky), three-year project is to help organic growers in the eastern half of the U.S. produce cucurbit crops more profitably while building soil and protecting ecosystem services. Both field research objectives – 1) meshing new row cover technology with mulch and cover crops to defend muskmelon and acorn squash against major diseases and insect pests with minimal pesticide use and enhanced activity of natural enemies, and 2) adapting the new row cover systems for mechanized handling and multi-year re-use – meet grower priorities. We will also compare profitability of the new strategies to existing practices (objective 3). For students, we will publish two online case studies that explore strategies for managing pests and diseases sustainably (objective 4). Grower outreach (objective 5) will include a Community of Practice website featuring “virtual field day” video segments, an events calendar, and a chat room. On-farm trials, field days, and trade journal articles will complement the outreach. Long-term accessibility of the online case studies and Community of Practice website will insure impact beyond the project’s time frame. Stakeholder will guide our direction through surveys, focus groups, and an Advisory Panel. The project directly addresses the program goal of improving organic growers’ competitiveness as well as monitoring enhancement of ecosystem services and biodiversity (Priority 1), improving technologies to mitigate threats posed by climate change (Priority 2), and reaching out to students, educators, and growers (Priority 4).
Effective start/end date9/1/158/31/19


  • Iowa State University: $188,000.00


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