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Robert T. Eddy and Phillip J. Belfiore

Many studies have described the ability of individuals with mental disabilities to learn vocational tasks commonly performed in greenhouses, and a survey of horticulture employers reports a favorable perception toward the work habits of these individuals. Productivity data are not available from these studies, however. We sought to quantify productivity of individuals with and without mental disabilities performing entry-level greenhouse tasks. Information on ten tasks was compiled from surveys of four vocational centers with greenhouse production and six commercial greenhouses. Individuals with mental disabilities produced at rates of 46% to 192% of corresponding commercial rates, with seven often skills performed. above 75% of the commercial rate. The results from this pilot study suggest that individuals with mental disabilities can achieve satisfactory productivity in real work settings. While significance was not achieved due to limitations of the study, the results provide a baseline for further study by other researchers. The practical significance of these findings can be judged by trainers and employers.

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Brent Tisserat and Paul Galletta

Plans are presented for the construction of a three-channel reversible peristaltic pump that can operate at a rate of 45 ml/minute per channel. The cost of this peristaltic pump is about $84 compared to $620 for a commercially available peristaltic pump of similar design and capability. An electronic control scheme for pump operation is presented also.

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Brent Tisserat

The influence of the culture chamber size and medium volume on the growth rates of shoot tips of peas, lettuce, kidney beans, and spearmint were determined after 8 weeks of incubation. Cultures were grown in a variety of culture chambers including culture tubes, baby food jars, Magenta GA-7 containers, 1-pint Mason jars, 1-quart Mason jars used with and without an automated plant culture system (APCS), 0.5-gal Mason jars with and without an APCS, Bio-safe chambers with an APCS, and polycarbonate culture chambers with an APCS having culture chamber volumes of 55, 143, 365, 462, 925, 1850, 6000, and 16,400 ml, respectively. Plans are presented for the construction of various culture chambers used in an APCS. The APCS consisted of a peristaltic pump, media reservoir containing 1 liter of liquid nutrient medium, and a culture chamber. Cultures grown with an APCS consistently produced higher fresh weights than cultures using any of the agar culture systems tested. Growth rates varied considerably depending on the plant species and culture system tested. Peas, lettuce, and spearmint exhibited flowering only when grown in the APCS. A cost comparison using the APCS versus various conventional tissue culture systems is presented.

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Miguel Urrestarazu, Isidro Morales, Tommaso La Malfa, Ruben Checa, Anderson F. Wamser, and Juan E. Álvaro

fertigation methods for the automation of fertigation systems in soilless cultures (e.g., Cáceres et al., 2007 ; Rodríguez et al., 2015 ; Steidle et al., 2014 ). Fertigation methods and their automation are based on the following: 1) the fertigation

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Myles Lewis, Chieri Kubota, Russell Tronstad, and Young-Jun Son

week, we estimated these labor hours input and rate for each step considering the other conditions selected for the scenarios (such as use of automation) and then computed the cost per plant. Miscellaneous labor was assumed to be 20% of all other labor

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D.C. Sanders

The following should be considered when installing and maintaining a drip irrigation system for vegetable crops: water source (surface or ground water); water quality (salinity, particulate matter, contaminants); size of area to be irrigated; pump size; soil type; drip tape type; crop to be irrigated; management skill of the operator; automation needs; water meter and budget. Use a professional designer.

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

This report summarizes responses to a survey of Virginia's commercial greenhouse industry, conducted in 2000-01. The survey included questions about interests and needs of growers to assist Virginia Tech Horticulture faculty and staff in planning educational and research programming. Respondents were asked about current cultural practices, future plans for automation and technology, and impact of issues facing the greenhouse industry such as regulations and labor. The 273 responses were categorized based on the amount of heated greenhouse space: small, medium, large, or other (including part-time). Following analysis of the responses, focus groups were conducted across Virginia to further discuss issues raised in the survey.

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Matthew Rogoyski, Alvan Gaus, Israel Broner, and Thomas Mourey

An evaporative cooling system for apple trees was implemented. The system is automated to conserve irrigation water. The automation is based on the digital, integrated thermometer and thermostat chip embedded in the artificial fruit. The thermometer–thermostat chip drives a solid state relay. The relay controls a solenoid operated valve. A typical duty cycle consisted of 1 to 2 minutes of wetting (water on) to 4 to 10 minutes drying (water off). Differences in the length of duty cycles between individual chips were observed. The reliability of the system was adequate. The waterproofing of the system's electrical components was its weak point. Irrigation water deposits accumulated on the apple fruit surface during the growing season were readily removable with a simulated brush technique.

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Jung-Myung Lee

Similar to many Asian countries, the production and utilization of vegetables in Korea are quite different as compared to western countries. Koreans were used to favor easy-to-grow leafy and root vegetables, but this preference is gradually shifting to other vegetables, due partially to the recent surge in per capita income and westernization of cultures. In Korea, most vegetables are being utilized in fresh state with only a few exceptions, such as Kimchi, spicy vegetables, etc. Growing technics as well as the specialized production systems of several selected vegetable crops will be introduced. These include commercial production of vegetable seed and seedlings of special kinds (grafted or plug-grown), use of virus-free garlic cloves and potato mini-tubers, hydroponic culture of lettuce and other vegetables, automation of greenhouse crop production, off-season growing, and specific growing systems for minor vegetables.

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J.M. Vogel, A. Rafalski, M. Morgante, G. Taramino, W. Powell, M. Hanafey, and S.V. Tingey

DNA-based diagnostics are now well-established as a means to assay diversity at the locus, chromosome, and whole-genome levels. As technology has advanced, DNA sequence-based assays have become easier to use, more efficient at screening for nucleotide sequence-based polymorphisms, and available to a wider cross-section of the research community. A review of the use of molecular markers in several different areas of genetics and plant breeding will be presented, as well as a discussion about their advantages and limitations. Recent advances in several areas of technology development and laboratory automation will also be presented, including a summary of direct comparison of different DNA marker systems against a common set of soybean cultivars.