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Anne M. Hanchek

Why do people visit the grounds of a botanical garden or arboretum? What draws them to that “experience of nature”? What can we do as horticulturists, landscape architects, and educators to make garden areas more appealing and fulfilling to visitors? The Prairie Interpretive Committee of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum asked these questions in 1991 as it convened to analyze the current and future status of the Arboretum's Bennett/Johnson Prairie. To understand visitor usage and needs, Arboretum members were surveyed about frequency of visits, reasons for visiting, specific visitor services, and suggestions for improvements. Among the 151 responses, the major reasons for visiting were the pleasures of walking, observing, and being at peace. “Open”, “wild,” and “natural” were common key words. There was keen interest in native plants and their historical role as well. Sitting areas, maps, path markers, plant labels, and self-guided tours were the primary requests for improvement. A high percentage found the demonstration area interesting and useful. The Interpretive Committee used this research to guide the landscape architect, create a brochure, and develop an integrative master plan for the prairie area.

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J.J. Ferguson and G.D. Israel

During Summer 1996, a disproportionate systematic sampling procedure was used to obtain an initial sample of 955 citrus growers from the mailing lists of extension agents in 27 counties. Of these, 451 usable responses were returned (67% response rate), providing an expected error of ± 4.3% with a 95% confidence interval. Surveyed growers obtained weather information during the 1995–96 winter from multiple sources, including the National Weather Service (NWS) (48%), commercial radio/TV (48%), Extension offices (18%), private meteorologists (9%), and other sources (10%). After the NWS discontinued agricultural freeze forecasts in Apr. 1996, growers indicated they would rely on commercial radio/TV (72%); private meteorologists (20%), and their County Extension Office (32%) for weather reports. When deciding which cold protection method to use, respondents adopted Extension (35%) and consultants' recommendations (30%), assessed the costs and benefits of cold protection (32%), and assessed risks based on grove history (38%). Cold protection methods used by percent respondents included: flooding groves (22%); grove heaters (2%); wind machines (2%); permanent overhead irrigation systems (2%); ground microsprinklers (76%); in-tree microsprinklers (18%); tree wraps (13%); and tree wraps or covers with microsprinklers (6%). Seventy-three percent of growers reported that their cold protection methods were very effective for a freeze with minimum temperatures of –2°C for at least 4 hr, with 12% and 3% reporting cold protection measures being very effective at –7 and –9°C, respectively.

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C. Catanzaro, S. Bhatti, S. Muhammad, and S. Abdullah

A high quality finished plant from each of 22 cultivars was displayed at a poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch] open house at Tennessee State University in Dec. 2004. The cultivars represented the range of flower colors, flower traits, and plant vigor available through the major suppliers Dummen USA, Ecke, Fischer, and Oglevee. Attendees of the open house completed a written survey (n = 101) in which they were asked to rate their cultivar preferences. Cultivars (identified only by an alphabetic letter) were rated by respondents on a Likert-type scale (1 = strongly dislike to 5 = strongly like). Highly rated cultivars (mean ≥4) included `Freedom Red', `Premium Red', `Nutcracker White', `Early Orion', `Cortez Electric Fire', and the new cultivars `Visions of Grandeur' and `Kris Krinkle'. Cultivars were also rated on the price range potential consumers were willing to pay. Respondents were willing to pay the most to purchase `Visions of Grandeur', which is a vigorous cultivar with large, pillowy, peach-colored bracts. Overall, traditional red cultivars and large, non-red cultivars were preferred. Most of the respondents indicated that they purchased red plants, and color was the most important selection criterion. Results suggest that although most consumers prefer traditional red cultivars, women prefer some alternative inflorescence colors and unique bract shapes more than men.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton*

The success of long-term vegetable production and maintenance of environmental quality is dependent on soil quality. Indicators of soil quality include cation exchange capacity (CEC), organic matter (OM), carbon (C), pH, and the number and community structure of soil organisms. The use of appropriate compost has been shown to improve soil quality and enhance the response to fertilizer, therefore improving growth and yield of vegetable crops. The objective of this study was to evaluate changes in the chemical and biological properties of soil in response to compost use in conventional vegetables production systems. A survey was conducted on 5 farms (three in Immokalee, and one each in Delray Beach, and Clewiston) growing tomato, pepper, and specialty vegetables. Most of the farms were applying composted yard trimming waste alone or in combination with biosolids or horse manure at application rates of between 7 to 112 Mg·ha-1 once a year. Soil samples were taken from composted and non-composted areas in each farm during Feb. and Mar. 2002. Soil pH, OM, C, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, MN and Zn were higher in the composted areas compared with the non-composted areas for each farm. CEC values in composted areas were double those in non-composted areas. Most importantly, application of compost enhanced the overall soil microbial activity as determined by total microorganism number, SRD (species richness diversity), and TSRD (total species richness diversity) of six functional groups including heterotrophic aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, pseudomonads, and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, in all the participating farms. The greatest soil quality improvement was seen in soils receiving the highest rates of compost for the longest time.

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Kathryn M. Santos, Paul R. Fisher, and William R. Argo

eight commercial greenhouse locations surveyed. Within each crop, there were five replicate measurements of each of the following variables located randomly within the crop: volume, pH (Pinnacle Corning pH Meter model 430; Nova Analytics Corp., Woburn

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Kathleen M. Kelley, Bridget K. Behe, John A. Biernbaum, and Kenneth L. Poff

of the products named nor criticism of similar ones not named. We thank Mike Rutter and Judy L. Pfaff for their statistical support. We also thank the Garden Days coordinators at Michigan State Univ. for permission to conduct the survey and the

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Bridget K. Behe

Michigan fresh asparagus marketers were interested in profiling asparagus consumers in the Northeast and Midwest with regard to preferences, purchases, preparation, and consumption. A computer-assisted survey was conducted with a total of 1126 respondents representative of the population on average in 12 selected states in the Northeast and Midwest. Even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults consume three servings of vegetables daily, on average over the 2 weeks before taking the survey, 62% did not. Only 39% of the persons in the sample ate fresh asparagus in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Twenty-five percent ate it steamed on the stovetop. The conjoint analysis accounted for 63% of the variance in asparagus preference with attribute relative importance decreasing from price (42.0%), to brand (29.9%), to spear diameter (23.5%), to spear segment (4.6%). Light users consumed fresh asparagus at least once in the 4 weeks before the survey, during the peak fresh asparagus season. The potential to increase consumption in this large group (28% of the sample but 71% of asparagus consumers) is tremendous. They placed high relative importance on price per pound and will likely be the more price-sensitive group. If their consumption can be increased by one more asparagus consumption event per month, it could increase asparagus demand by 14%. Results show there is good market potential for a prepackaged fresh asparagus product in the Northeast and Midwest.

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Grady L. Miller

A survey of selected land-grant universities was conducted to gather information related to design and operation of their turfgrass research units. The objective of this survey was to help the University of Florida in planning a new research unit that will be constructed in 2004–05. The survey provided information related to turf area, building facilities, equipment, supplies, and maintenance. Type of monetary support, cost sharing, labor requirements, utilities, and capitol improvement outlays were documented. The number of support people and faculty with activities at the unit varied depending upon the location, with a mean of five research support people, two support staff, and seven faculty across all units. With the exception of fertilizers (50% donated vs. 50% purchased), most (>80%) of the chemicals, seed, and sod was donated to the units. About one-third of the monetary support for operating and general labor expenses for the units was from soft money and one-third from direct state support. Results from this survey provided ideas that could be used to design and staff a new turfgrass research unit or support for updating an existing unit. In addition, turfgrass industry representatives have an interest in the data since they provide a significant portion of the monetary support and supply of materials to turf research units.

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Holly L. Scoggins, Joyce G. Latimer, and Victoria T. Barden

A survey was conducted in 2000-01 to provide a comprehensive description of Virginia's commercial greenhouse industry. A total of 274 responses were analyzed. Responses were categorized based on the amount of heated greenhouse space: small, medium, large, or other (including part-time). The survey included questions about growing space, number of employees, education and experience of respondent, crops grown, gross receipts, and target markets. Seventy-five percent of the respondents were owners or owners/growers and respondents reported an average of 15 years experience. Most greenhouse operations were classified as small or less than 10,000 ft2 (929.0 m2). A wide variety of crops were reported, with more than 50% growing bedding plants and nearly 50% growing herbaceous perennials in the greenhouse. Market outlets were about equally divided between wholesale and retail.

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Moriah Bellenger, Deacue Fields, Kenneth Tilt, and Diane Hite

data from a 2004 survey of 2286 Alabama green industry producers to evaluate some impacts of migrant labor in the industry. The specific research objectives are to estimate the effects of migrant labor on wages, hours worked, and gross sales. In