Managing Cucurbit Diseases & Insect Pests in Organic Production Systems

This one-day course will focus on field diagnosis of key diseases and insect pests affecting cucurbit crops in organic production systems in South Carolina. Participants will learn about techniques for sampling and identification of key diseases and their symptoms, and for insect pests and their natural enemies. Participants will gain experience in the field monitoring disease and insect pests at the Clemson Organic Farm and will practice disease and insect identification using stereo microscopes and hand lenses in a lab setting. All participants will receive a hand lens to take home. Lunch will be provided, and there will be ample time for questions and discussion about disease and insect problems and solutions.

WHERE: Clemson University Student Organic Farm, Clemson, SC
WHEN: July 11, 2016, 9:30am – 4:00pm


Dr. Anthony Keinath, Professor of Plant Pathology, Clemson University.  Dr. Keinath serves as the vegetable pathologist for South Carolina. He has served as chair of the Publications Board for the American Phyopathological Society, and as Editor-in-Chief of Plant Disease, the leading international journal for applied plant pathology research.  His research focuses on management, ecology, and epidemiology of fungal and bacterial pathogens of cucurbits and cole crops and general integrated pest management for vegetables. His area of expertise is the fungus Stagonosporopsis citrulli, the cause of gummy stem blight and black rot on cucurbits.

Dr. C. Powell Smith is a professor of Entomology and Extension Vegetable Specialist at Clemson University. Dr. Smith is based in Lexington County and serves as our state vegetable IPM specialist and is a regional lead Extension agent for vegetable and small fruit crops. He is an expert on sampling and identification of pest and beneficial insects, and his research and outreach programs have helped South Carolina vegetable growers reduce reliance on toxic insecticides in favor of more environmentally friendly pest management strategies.

Michael Mazourek Michael’s vegetable breeding program is focused on developing new cultivars of pea, squash, melon, cucumber, bean and pepper crop for organic farming systems.  This process of breeding new varieties through traditional methods of cross-pollination is informed by surveys of natural diversity and studies into the underlying genetic mechanisms.  His grower-driven traits focus on fungal and insect resistances in regionally adapted backgrounds to provide a reliable, productive harvest and reduce the need for pesticide applications.  His consumer-driven traits focus on color, quality, flavor and novelty to drive the consumption of naturally nutritious food.


Registration (coffee and refreshments provided).  Clemson University Student Organic Farm

Welcome and introduction: Kelly Gilkerson, Sustainable Agriculture Program Coordinator

Demonstration of disease and insect monitoring; collection of disease and insect material in the field Tony Keinath and Powell Smith

Participants practice disease and insect monitoring with assistance from instructors and collect samples for identification

Board vans and travel with disease/insect samples to Plant Pathology Lab on campus

USDA OREI grant project to evaluate different cucurbit varieties for organic production and disease resistance. (Michael Mazourek)

Lunch (provided)

Monitoring and identification of key insect pests and their natural enemies (J. Powell Smith)

Monitoring and identification of key cucurbit diseases and their symptoms (Dr. Tony Keinath)

Move to Head House lab: Microscope orientation; participants practice disease and insect identification using stereo microscopes; discussion on identification, sampling and management

Regroup in G100 for questions

Adjourn and return to farm in vans


Registration includes lunch. The cost to participate is $20.  Register here:


Please contact Kelly Flynn Gilkerson at


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