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John T. A. Proctor

American ginseng is propagated by seed. In commercial practice ginseng seed is harvested in August or September, placed in a stratification box for about 12 months, and then direct seeded into raised beds. Germination takes place the following spring, some 18 to 22 months after seed harvest. Little is known about the dormancy-controlling mechanisms of ginseng seed. The objective of this study was to investigate seed development and temperature in the stratification box until it was removed 12 months later and seeded in the field. During stratification 3 embryo growth stages were identified. In Stage I of 250 days (September to mid-May) embryo length increased from about 0.5 to 1.0 mm, in Stage II of 100 days (mid-May to late August) length increased to 2.0 mm and in Stage III (late August to late November) length increased to 5.3 mm. Exocarp split width could also be placed in 3 stages. Changes in embryo length correlated with values for embryo: endosperm length ratio. The stratification box temperatures at all depths never exceeded -2°C even when the air temperatures dropped to -13°C and, therefore, were not damaging to the seeds.

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J.R. Dunlap, S.J. Maas, J.F. Gomez, and R. LaGrange

Two muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivars, Mission and Laguna, were direct-seeded in spring plantings separated by 30 days at the TAES farm in Weslaco. Females were tagged each morning for 8 consecutive days beginning on the first day of flowering and evaluated for fruit set 15 to 20 days later. Mean numbers of flowers and fruits produced on individual plants were compared across cultivars and planting dates. The flowering patterns appear to be bimodal with the majority of blooms occurring during the first 5 days followed by a sharp decline on day 6 and gradual increase, thereafter. The majority of the fruit is set during the first 5 days of flowering and failed to increase with the subsequent rise in flowering. Mission produced approximately 30% more female flowers per plant than Laguna; however, fruit numbers were the same for both cultivars. The environmental conditions associated with earlier plantings suppressed flowering in Laguna but had no effect on the daily rate of fruit-set. Fertilization and fruit set appear to be relatively unaffected by the population dynamics of female flowering.

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T. Fujita, K. Kosuge, S. Miyoshi, and S. Shoji

Polyolefin-coated urea commercially called “MEISTER” was invented by T. Fujita and his co-workers. It shows primarily temperature-dependent dissolution and is divided into two groups of dissolution: ordinary (linear) and delayed (sigmoid). The dissolution of MEISTER in the soil is predicted easily with reasonable accuracy by a portable computer using temperature data. Thus, we can select kinds of MEISTER that can release N meeting the plant demand. It has been common knowledge that polymer-coated materials are used mainly on lawns, professional turf, and container-grown ornamental and horticultural plants and to a limited extent, in vegetable production. However, MEISTER is applied not only to high-value crops but also to low-value crops in Japan because this fertilizer can contribute to innovative fertilizer placement and farming systems (described later in this abstract), thereby the total farming cost can be notably reduced. Innovative fertilizer applications; co-situs placement and single basal application Innovative farming systems; paddy rice 1) no-till rice culture by direct-seeding and a single basal co-situs application and 2) no-till transplanting rice culture by single basal fertilization; and upland and horticultural crops 1) multi-cropping by a single basal fertilization and 2) no-till cropping by a single basal co-situs application.

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R.M. Wheeler, C.L. Mackowiak, J.C. Sager, B. Vieux, and W.M. Knott

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. Waldmann's Green) plants were grown in a large, tightly sealed chamber for NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) program. Plants were started by direct seeding and grown in 64 0.25-m2 trays (six plants per tray) using nutrient film technique. Environmental conditions included: 23°C, 75% relative humidity, 1000 ubar (ppm) CO2, a 16/8 photoperiod, and 300 umol m-2 s-1 PPF from metal halide lamps. Although the chamber was typically opened once each day for cultural activities, atmospheric ethylene levels (measured with GC/PID) increased from near 15 ppb at 23 days after planting (DAP) to 47 ppb at 28 DAP. At harvest (28 DAP), heads averaged 129 g FW or 6.8 g DW per plant, and roots averaged 0.6 g DW per plant. Some tipburn injury was apparent on most of the plants at harvest. By 28 DAP, stand photosynthesis rates for the entire chamber (approx. 20 m2) reached 17.4 umol CO2 m-2 s-1, while dark-period respiration rates reached 5.5 umol CO2 m-2 s-1. Results suggest that good yields can be obtained from lettuce grown in a tightly sealed environment.

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Muddappa Ranqappa, Harbans Bhardwaj, and Madeha Showhda

Two experiments, one each with cilantro and dill, were conducted during 1994 to determine optimum rates of N, P, and K fertilizers. In these experiments, `C1410' cilantro and `Bouquet' dill were direct seeded in three-row plots with 0.3-m spacing between rows. A seeding rate of ≈40 seeds per meter of row length was used. Data were recorded, 45 days after planting, on moisture content, chemical composition of foliage (contents of essential oils, protein, and ash), and fresh yield following 25, 50, 75, and 100 kg·ha–1 application of each nutrient (4 × 4 × 4 factorial). Nitrogen rates significantly affected moisture, ash, and fresh yield of cilantro and dill. Phosphorus rates significantly affected moisture content and yield of dill but not cilantro. The effects of K applications were nonsignificant. The optimum N rate for both cilantro and dill was 25 kg/h. The optimum rate of P for dill was 25 kg/h. The data indicated that N and P requirements of cilantro and dill are modest. Further details of these results will be presented and discussed.

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J.E. Warren and M.A. Bennett

Improved germination under unfavorable soil conditions is an important safeguard against yield losses in direct-seeded crops. Osmoprimed seed has been shown to provide earlier and more uniform germination as well as improve low temperature germination. These attributes combined with the reduced rates of damping-off associated with Pseudomonas aureofaciens AB254 creates a bioosmopriming seed treatment that provides rapid germination under a wider range of soil temperatures while exhibiting the disease resistance and improved growth associated with bacterial coatings. The objective of this work is to combine biopriming and osmopriming into one procedure, thus creating an environment for adequate seed hydration and rapid multiplication of beneficial bacteria which will thoroughly colonize the seed surface. Processing tomato seeds (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `OH8245') were bio-osmoprimed in aerated –0.8 MPa NaNO3 at 20°C for 4 days. On the fourth day, a mixture of nutrient broth, a defoaming agent, and bacteria that have been adjusted to the same osmotic potential is added. This is done so that the removal of seeds from the tank at the end of the 7-day treatment coincides with peak populations of bacteria. Pseudomonas aureofaciens AB254 multiplies very rapidly in this environment, with colony forming units for tomato averaging 4 × 105/seed. Results will also be reported for cucumber seed (Cucumis sativus L. `Score'), which were treated using a similar procedure. Bacterial populations per seed, germination characteristics and pathogen control will be discussed.

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Timothy L. Grey, David C. Bridges, and D. Scott NeSmith

Field studies were conducted in 1993, 1994, and 1995 to determine tolerance of seeded and transplanted watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum and Nak.] to clomazone, ethalfluralin, and pendimethalin using method of stand establishment (directseeded vs. transplanted) and time of herbicide application [preplant soil incorporated (PPI), preplant to the surface (PP), or postplant to the surface (POP)] as variables. Yield and average fruit weight in plots with clomazone were equal to or greater than those in control plots for the 3-year study regardless of method of application. Bleaching and stunting were evident with clomazone in early-season ratings, but injury was transient and did not affect quality or yield. Of the three herbicides, ethalfluralin PPI resulted in the greatest injury, stand reduction, and yield reduction of the three herbicides. Pendimethalin (PPI, PP, or POP) reduced yield of direct-seeded but not of transplanted watermelon. Chemical names used: 2-[(-2-chlorophenyl)methyl]-4, 4-dimethyl-3-isoxazolidinone (clomazone); N-ethyl-N-(2-methyl-2-propenyl)-2,6-dinitro-4-(trifluoromethyl) benzenamine (ethalfluralin); N-(1-ethylopropyl)-3,4-dimethyl-2,6-dinitrobenzenamine (pendimethalin).

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Paul W. Bosland

Chile pepper (Capsicum spp.) hybrids are normally produced by hand-emasculating the female parent and then pollinating the emasculated flower by hand. Increased yield has occurred with F1 hybrid seed, but the seed is considered too expensive by growers to be direct-seeded, a common production practice in the southwestern U.S. chile pepper industry. In ornamental flowers, when F2 hybrid seed is available, it is cheaper than F1 hybrid seed. If F2 hybrid chile pepper cultivars could manifest heterosis, and produce fruit quality acceptable to the chile pepper industry, then a less-costly alternative would be available to growers. A series of field trials with jalapeños was conducted to test F1 hybrid cultivars to their F2 progeny for yield and fruit quality. The results indicated that in some instances the F2 progeny can yield as well as the F1 hybrid parent. Therefore, F2 hybrid cultivars can be used in a commercial production system. However, if a male-sterility system is used to produce the F1 hybrid cultivar, the F2 progeny will have significantly lower yield than the F1 hybrid parent, as was the case in one accession in this trial. Nevertheless, F2 hybrid cultivars are an additional way to supply high yielding hybrid cultivars to growers.

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S. Alan Walters and Jeffrey D. Kindhart

Various tillage systems were evaluated in summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) production in southern Illinois to observe the influence of these systems on yellow and zucchini squash production during 1998, 1999, and 2000. For squash production, suppression of a cover crop such as tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) or winter ryegrass (Secale cereale) must be accomplished to obtain the greatest possible yields. However, once the cover crop is killed via herbicides, squash yields tend to be similar among tillage, strip tillage, and no-tillage treatments. Previous studies indicated that early yields may be reduced when using a no-tillage production system, especially if direct seeding is the method of planting and would not be beneficial to growers seeking early production. This study found that squash growers can use transplants in a no-tillage system and not compromise early yields. No differences were observed for soil bulk densities between tillage and no-tillage treatments and may partially explain why similar yields were obtained between these treatments. Effective systems for weed control must be developed in no-tillage squash production before wide acceptance will occur. Observations from this study indicated that the success of no-tillage squash production depends on the availability of effective herbicides; however, few herbicides are currently labeled for use in summer squash. Future studies need to address the problem of weed control in no-tillage squash production.

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Thomas Björkman and Joseph W. Shail Jr.

Establishment of a weed-suppressive cover crop after vegetables harvested early in the season is important in the northeastern United States because of the short growing season. Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is an effective cover crop in vegetable production because of its short growing season, ability to outcompete many weeds, resistance to damage by insects and disease, and requirement for only moderate soil fertility. In two separate 3-year field experiments, we determined the best tillage techniques and the optimal timing for use of buckwheat as a cover crop after early vegetables in the northeastern United States. Incorporating crop residue with a disk was necessary and provided sufficient tillage to obtain a weed-suppressive buckwheat stand. Buckwheat growth was stunted when direct seeded with a no-till drill immediately after pea (Pisum sativum) harvest because of poor soil penetration by buckwheat roots. Planting buckwheat after incorporating the pea crop was successful; waiting 1 week to plant was optimal, whereas a 2-week wait produced a weaker stand. We determined that optimal timing for sowing buckwheat in central New York was late June to early August. Generalizing to other geographical regions in the United States, we calculated that a minimum accumulation of 700 growing degree days is necessary to reach 1 to 1.5 tons/acre of buckwheat dry matter at the appropriate growth stage for incorporation (6 weeks after sowing).