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Angela K. Tedesco, Gail R. Nonnecke, John J. Obrycki, Nick E. Christians, and Mark L. Gleason

Field plots of four production systems of `Tristar' dayneutral and `Earliglow' Junebearing strawberry (Fragaria xananassa Duch.) were established in 1993. Productions systems included conventional practices (CONV), best-management practices including integrated crop management (ICM), organic practices using corn gluten meal, a natural weed control product, (ORG-CGM), and organic practices using a natural turkey manure product (ORG-TM). `Earliglow' plants grown with ORG-CGM showed the highest number of runners and total vegetative biomass. Plots with CONV and ICM systems using standard herbicide treatments had lower total weed numbers (11 and 18, respectively) than ORG-CGM (63) and ORG-TM (58). `Tristar' plant growth, yield and berry number were reduced when plants were grown under straw mulch in ORG-CGM and ORG-TM compared to CONV and ICM plots with polyethylene mulch.

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Wayne L. Schrader, Ronald E. Voss, Kent J. Bradford, and Carol O'Neil

The Univ. of California's Vegetable Crops Research and Information Center (VRIC) has developed a new World Wide Web site that allows the rapid development and peer review of multi-discipline, research-based information. The VRIC website (http://vrichome.ucdavis.edu) disseminates peer-reviewed fact sheets, research results, updated publications, and multi-media educational resources relating to critical issues, best management practices, postharvest handling, and marketing of vegetable crops. The website disseminates multi-discipline information originating from the Univ. of California, the USDA, and cooperating agencies and universities. The VRIC website proactively sends peer-reviewed critical-issue fact sheets to selected news media, government, industry, and academic contacts. These fact sheets help personnel frequently contacted by the media during crises to answer questions effectively. The website directs visitors to additional agricultural information resources and contains information on careers and educational opportunities available in the field of vegetable crops.

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S. B. Sterrett, D. B. Taylor, C. W. Coale Jr., and J. W. Mapp Jr.

An interdisciplinary approach had been developed to examine the production, economic, and marketing feasibility of new crops. The methodology requires the determination of yield potential and product quality, construction of production budgets, and completion of marketing window analyses. Potential for integration of new crops into the existing farm enterprise is assessed using linear programing techniques that consider labor and equipment constraints, crop rotations and best management practices. Risk analyses consider yield, production costs, and price of both new and traditional crops. By using this method, broccoli has been identified as a potential new crop for eastern Virginia, with labor requirements and slush ice availability being the major constraints to integration into vegetable production in this area.

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Daike Tian, Ken M. Tilt, Jeff L. Sibley, Floyd M. Woods, and Fenny Dane

Lotus (Nelumbo) is a highly valued plant with a long history for vegetable, ornamental, and medicinal use. Little information is available on the effects of planting time on performance of lotus, especially when grown in containers. The objectives of this study were to find a suitable planting time and to determine best management practices that are of importance for container lotus production. Effects of planting time and disbudding on plant growth indices in southeast Alabama were evaluated in a container production system for the ornamental lotus, N. nucifera ‘Embolene’. Results indicated that plant growth indices were little influenced by different planting dates in March, but were much influenced by planting dates with a difference over a month between February and May. Plants potted and placed outdoors in March and April performed best, and lotus planted in the greenhouse in February and planted outdoors in February and May performed worst. Flower number was not largely influenced by the planting time, but flowering characteristics, especially the flowering peaks, were different among treatments. Planting lotus outdoors between March and May produced the largest return. Influence of planting time on plant growth indices of lotus appeared to be explained by effects of growth-season climate conditions after planting. Disbudding had no impact on plant height but significantly increased underground fresh weight and the number of propagules. Therefore, disbudding should be considered a best management practice to maximize the yield of rhizomes or propagules. Positive linear, quadratic, or cubic relationships were detected among emerging leaf number, underground fresh biomass, and propagule number. Based on the regression models, the yield of lotus rhizomes or propagules can be predicted by the number of emerging leaves. This research provided a guide for nurseries, researchers, and collectors to select the best time to plant lotus outdoors.

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Greg D. Hoyt

This experiment was designed to compare best management practices for conventional and conservation tillage systems, chemical IPM vs. organic vegetable production, and rotation effect on tomatoes. Four vegetables were grown under these management practices with peppers (first year), yellow squash and fall broccoli (second year) on half of the field plots and tomatoes on the other half. For the third year, both sections of the field plots were tomatoes. The treatments were: 1) conventional-tillage with chemical-based IPM; 2) conventional-tillage with organic-based IPM; 3) conservation-tillage with chemical-based IPM; 4) conservation-tillage with organic-based IPM; and 5) conventional-tillage with no fertilizer or pest management (control). This poster describes pepper, yellow squash, fall broccoli, and tomato yields from the various treatments over the 3-year rotation. These results are for the third rotation sequence (years 79). Pepper yields were higher in treatments with chemical fertilizer and pest control. Fall broccoli yields were in the order: strip-tilled-chemical ≥ strip-till-organic ≥ conventional-tilled-chemical ≥ conventional-tilled-organic ≥ control. Yellow summer squash yields were in the order: conventional-tilled-chemical ≥ conventional-tilled-organic ≥ strip-till-chemical ≥ strip-tilled-organic ≥ control. Tomato yields were in the order: conventional-tilled chemical ≥ strip-till-chemical ≥ conventional-tilled-organic ≥ strip-tilled-organic ≥ control for each of the 3 years.

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Glenn D. Israel, Janice O. Easton, and Gary W. Knox

The Florida Cooperative Extension Service (FCES) teaches residents the importance of proper landscaping practices. FCES offers several educational programs that teach residents how to integrate energy and water conservation, pest management, and waste recycling practices into their home landscapes. In 1997, extension staff and volunteers planned and conducted environmental landscape management (ELM) programs resulting in >800,000 customer contacts. A survey was conducted to measure the adoption of recommended best management practices by program participants and nonparticipants. Results show that, of 39 practices examined, Master Gardener trainees increased the number of practices used by an average of 7.3, while educational seminar and publications-only participants increased by an average of 4.5 and 2.8 practices, respectively. Nonparticipants showed essentially no change. When practices are examined one at a time, the Master Gardeners made statistically significant increases in 28 of the 39 recommended practices. Educational seminar and publications-only participants made similar gains in 31 and 6 practices, respectively, and the nonparticipant comparison group made significant increases in 2 practices and decreases in 8. The results suggest that the publications-only strategy for delivering information to homeowners is less effective than strategies combining educational seminars or intensive training with relevant publications.

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S. Varlamoff, W.J. Florkowski, J.L. Jordan, J. Latimer, and K. Braman

A survey of Georgia homeowners provided insights about their use of fertilizers and pesticides. Knowledge of current homeowner practices is needed to develop a best management practices manual to be used by Master Gardeners to train the general public through the existing outreach programs. The objective of the training program is to reduce nutrient runoff and garden chemicals and improve the quality of surface water in urban water-sheds. Results showed three of four homeowners did their own landscaping and, therefore, fully controlled the amount of applied chemicals and the area of application. Fertilizers were primarily applied to lawns, but a high percentage of homeowners also applied them to trees, shrubs, and flowers. Insecticides were applied by a larger percentage of homeowners than herbicides. Control of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) was likely the reason behind the frequent use of insecticides. The desire for a weed free lawn was the plausible motivation behind the use of herbicides, which were used mostly on lawns. Fungicide use was infrequently reported by Georgia homeowners. The pattern of fertilizer and pesticide use suggests that the developed manual should emphasize techniques and cultural practices, which could lower the dependence on chemicals, while ultimately assuring the desired appearance of turf and ornamental plants.

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G.A. Picchioni, C.J. Graham, and A.L. Ulery

Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal is an underused tree species with demonstrated potential as a new fruit crop and landscape ornamental plant. Best management practices for A. triloba are not adequately defined, particularly for field establishment in high-Na conditions characteristic of numerous southern U.S. production areas. We evaluated the growth and net macroelement uptake of field-grown A. triloba seedlings on soil amended with a single addition of gypsum at 0, 7.5, or 15.0 t·ha-1 and later receiving a regular supply of Na-affected but nonsaline irrigation water [sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) of 15.5 and electrical conductivity (EC) at 0.4 dS·m-1]. Over two growing seasons, the soil saturation extract Ca concentration increased while the soil saturation extract SAR decreased with increasing gypsum rate. Amending the soil with gypsum increased total lateral branch extension per tree by 60% to 73% and trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA) per tree by 68% to 87% above a non-gypsum-amended control treatment. Total dry matter accumulation and the net uptake of N, P, and K per tree were over 100% greater following gypsum application as compared to controls. The growth and mineral uptake-enhancing effects of gypsum were likely related to functions of Ca at the root level and on soil physical properties that should be considered in establishing young A. triloba trees with irrigation water containing high sodicity but relatively low total salinity.

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Chris A. Martin and Jean C. Stutz

A distance learning course called Southwest Home Horticulture was developed and implemented at Arizona State University using video and Internet technologies to give nonhorticulture students an overview of urban horticulture in the southwestern United States. Fourteen, one-half-hour video programs about topics in southwestern residential landscaping, plants materials and landscape best-management practices were produced in ≈800 working hours. The video programs are now telecast weekly, each academic semester, on the regional public television station and the educational channel of several cable television systems. We found that students who enrolled in the course were most likely to tape the programs on a video cassette recorder and watch them at their own convenience, one to three times. A World Wide Web (Web) site on the Internet was developed as a supplement to the video programs. The Web site was organized into a modular format giving students quick access to auxiliary course-related information and helpful resources. When asked, ≈90% of the students indicated that the Web site was a helpful supplement to the video programs. Use of video and Internet technologies in tandem has enabled nonhorticulture major students to learn about home horticulture in an asynchronous or location and time independent fashion.

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J.P. Mueller, M. E. Barbercheck, M. Bell, C. Brownie, N.G. Creamer, A. Hitt, S. Hu, L. King, H.M. Linker, F.J. Louws, S. Marlow, M. Marra, C.W. Raczkowski, D.J. Susko, and M.G. Wagger

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is dedicated to farming systems that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Established in 1994 at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS) Cherry Farm near Goldsboro, N.C.; CEFS operations extend over a land area of about 800 ha (2000 acres) [400 ha (1000 acres) cleared]. This unique center is a partnership among North Carolina State University (NCSU), North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University (NCATSU), NCDACS, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other state and federal agencies, farmers and citizens. Long-term approaches that integrate the broad range of factors involved in agricultural systems are the focus of the Farming Systems Research Unit. The goal is to provide the empirical framework to address landscape-scale issues that impact long-run sustainability of North Carolina's agriculture. To this end, data collection and analyses include soil parameters (biological, chemical, physical), pests and predators (weeds, insects and disease), crop factors (growth, yield, and quality), economic factors, and energy issues. Five systems are being compared: a successional ecosystem, a plantation forestry-woodlot, an integrated crop-animal production system, an organic production system, and a cash-grain [best management practice (BMP)] cropping system. An interdisciplinary team of scientistsfrom the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU and NCATSU, along with individuals from the NCDACS, NGO representatives, and farmers are collaborating in this endeavor. Experimental design and protocol are discussed, in addition to challenges and opportunities in designing and implementing long-term farming systems trials.