A Tomato Grower Offers Pointers On Irrigation, Crop Protection

Dave and Denise Dyrek operate Leaning Shed Farm in Michigan. Photo credit: Dave Dyrek
Dave and Denise Dyrek operate Leaning Shed Farm in Michigan.
Photo credit: Dave Dyrek

Dave Dyrek, owner of Leaning Shed Farm in Berrien Springs, MI, uses a drip irrigation system and grows in plastic for his 30 acres of heirloom vegetables. Dryek also is planning to construct a greenhouse and grow in high tunnels, thanks to a USDA grant.

To keep the soil healthy and reduce disease pressure, he rotates crops, mentioning that his biggest pest is tomato hornworms. He typically applies Dipel (Valent BioSciences) when needed to control the worms. In the past two years, however, the worms came so late in the season, he didn’t spray for them.

One thing Dyrek notices that occurs every year is splitting on his cherry tomato varieties. This year, he stopped irrigating his cherry tomatoes in August. He noticed that plant growth and ripening slowed down, but the “tomatoes were a lot more agreeable.”

The end result was fewer tomatoes split. He also stopped watering his heirlooms in mid-September. As this technique has been successful, Dyrek plans to implement this practice in the future.

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