TOMATO TRANSPLANT AGE AND METHOD OF PLANT HARDENING AFFECT YIELD

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  • 1 Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Oklahoma State University, Box 128, Lane, Oklahoma, 74555

Wet soils can prevent growers from transplanting tomatoes at the ideal size and age. Experiments were conducted to determine the length of time that transplants can be held before yield is reduced Also, different techniques for holding and hardening plants were compared. Seven ages of `Sunny' tomato plants (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 weeks old at transplanting) were either grown normally, grown with limited water, or grown with limited fertilizer. Plants were grown in trays containing 128 cells, with each cell approximately 3.2 by 3.2 by 11 cm. Water was applied for 3 minutes either once a day or twice a day. Fertilizer (20-20-20) was applied either once a week or once during the entire seedling production period. Transplants were later planted in the field. The experiment was conducted in 1990, 1991, and 1993. The yield response to transplant age was quadratic, with maximum yield occurring with 6, 7, and 8 week old transplants. In general, the greatest yield occurred when water was withheld, and the lowest yield occurred when fertilizer was withheld from the transplants

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