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A.P. Papadopoulos and S. Pararajasingham

In growing greenhouse tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) using the nutrient film technique (NFT), HNO3 or H3PO4 is usually added to offset the increase in pH of the recirculating solution. For economic and environmental reasons, HCl would be a possible substitute for either HNO3 or H3PO4. Therefore, experiments were initiated to evaluate HCl as an alternative acid in controlling the pH of the recirculating solution in NFT-grown greenhouse tomato. The effects of HNO3, H3PO4, and HCl on the growth, fruit yield, and fruit quality were quantified. In 1995, these effects were tested using `Trust' and `BST 7804' at a recirculating solution pH of 5.5, 6.0, or 6.5; in 1996, only `Trust' was grown at a recirculating solution pH of 6.2. In the 1995 experiment, genotypic differences in marketable fruit yield tended to be smaller when HCl was used to control the recirculating solution pH at 6.0 than when either H3PO4 or HNO3 was used. In `Trust', at a pH of 5.5 under the HCl treatment, fruit quality tended to be higher than in other treatment combinations. In 1996, over a 45-day period, the concentration of Cl that accumulated in the recirculating solution from added HCl was 313 mg·L−1 (313 ppm). There were no significant effects of the treatments on the growth, fruit quality, or yield of the crop. The total marketable yield was better when HCl had been used, likely due to high fruit production at the early part of the harvesting period. Potential savings for the season can be achieved if HCl is substituted for H3PO4 to regulate the nutrient solution pH in NFT-based greenhouse tomato production.

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Wendy L. Zellner

concentrations in hydroponics solutions. Plants were maintained under these conditions until the first flowers were present (4–8 weeks, depending on the cultivar), at which time plants were harvested. Tissue from each cultivar was collected on the same day

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Anthony S. Aiello and William R. Graves

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis Rupr. & Maxim.) has potential as a more widely grown nursery crop, but little information is available on effects of media and nutrition on growth of containerized plants. We compared growth of seedlings in five media and determined growth responses to two fertility regimes. After 35 days, total dry mass of plants grown in 1 perlite: 1 vermiculite (by volume) or in 5 sphagnum peat: 3 perlite: 2 soil was 3.2 times the dry mass of plants grown in three soilless media that contained composted bark; and after 70 days, growth was greater in the medium with soil than in 1 perlite: 1 vermiculite. Plants grown in solution culture with N at 0.75 mm had 1.8 times the dry mass of those provided N at 3.75 mm. Form of N in solution did not affect dry mass, but N content of leaves of plants grown with >50% \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NH}_{4}^{+}\) \end{document} was 1.3 times as great as that of plants provided only \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document}. Plants in containers attained maximal dry mass when fertilized with solutions containing N at 10.8 mm from \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document}, \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NH}_{4}^{+}\) \end{document}, and urea or N at 7.5 mm with equal amounts of \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document} and \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NH}_{4}^{+}\) \end{document}. None of the soilless media used consistently evoked growth similar to growth of plants in the soil-based medium.

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D.G. Mortley, C.K. Bonsi, P.A. Loretan, W.A. Hill, and C.E. Morris

Growth chamber experiments were conducted to study the physiological and growth response of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] to either 50% or 85 % relative humidity (RH). Vine cuttings of T1-155 were grown using the nutrient film technique in a randomized complete-block design with two replications. Temperature regimes of 28/22C were maintained during the light/dark periods with irradiance at canopy level of 600 μmol·m-2·s-1 and a 14/10-hour photoperiod. High RH (85%) increased the number of storage roots per plant and significantly increased storage root fresh and dry weight, but produced lower foliage fresh and dry weight than plants grown at 50% RH. Edible biomass index and linear growth rate (in grams per square meter per day) were significantly higher for plants grown at 85 % than at 50% RH. Leaf photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were higher for plants at 85 % than at 50% RH. Thus, the principal effect of high RH on sweetpotato growth was the production of higher storage root yield, edible biomass, growth rate, and increased photosynthetic and stomatal activity.

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M.A. Woodard, B.C. Bearce, S. Cluskey, and E.C. Townsend

`Inca Yellow' marigolds (Tagetes erects L.) were planted in polyethylene bags containing coal bottom ash (CBA), pine wood peelings (PWP), a mixture of 1 CBA: 1 PWP (v/v), and loose Grodan rockwool (RW) and grown in a circulating nutriculture system. Three fertigation frequencies of 12, 6, or 4 cycles per 12-hour light period were set with a duration of 5 minutes each. Flower diameters of marigolds grown in CBA, PWP, and CBA-PWP exceeded flower diameters of RW-grown marigolds, and days from planting to harvest were less in CBA and CBA-PWP than in the other two media. There was no interaction between medium and fertigation frequency. Foliar analysis showed no significant differences in plant elemental composition among root media or fertigation frequencies. Postharvest PWP water extracts contained higher P levels than extracts of other media, and CBA-PWP water extracts contained higher K, Ca, and Mg. In the CBA-PWP mixture, decomposition products from PWP may have increased P volubility and solubilized the K, Ca,-and Mg-in CBA.

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Hyeon-Hye Kim, Changhoo Chun, Toyoki Kozai, and Junya Fuse

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) was chosen to demonstrate that the respective vegetative or reproductive conditions of transplants can be controlled in their early stages of development under artificial light in a closed system. Transplant production under artificial light was divided into three growth phases and the photoperiod during each of these phases was varied. The rate of floral development was controlled by photoperiod, but floral initiation itself was not affected. Short photoperiod treatments (8 or 12 hours/day) retarded floral development and stem elongation (bolting). This delay continued even after the transplants were transferred to natural long-day (15.5 hours/day on average) conditions with high temperatures (17 and 37 °C minimum and maximum). We concluded that by using short photoperiods during transplant production, marketable plants with reduced bolting could be produced under natural long-day conditions. In Japan, spinach with this rosetting capacity would be of greater value. Further, this concept opens the possibility of producing better quality transplants of several species under artificial lighting conditions of appropriate length, and thereby controlling their floral development and/or bolting.

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D.D. Treadwell, G.J. Hochmuth, R.C. Hochmuth, E.H. Simonne, S.A. Sargent, L.L. Davis, W.L. Laughlin, and A. Berry

Greenhouse experiments were conducted in 2005 and 2006 near Live Oak, FL, to develop fertilization programs for fresh-cut ‘Nufar’ basil (Ocimum basilicum) and spearmint (Mentha spicata) in troughs with soilless media using inputs compliant with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program (NOP). Four NOP-compliant fertilizer treatments were evaluated in comparison with a conventional control. Treatments and their analyses in nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) contents are as follows: conventional hydroponic nutrient solution [HNS (150 ppm N, 50 ppm P, and 200 ppm K)], granular poultry (GP) litter (4N–0.9P–2.5K), granular composite [GC (4N–0.9P–3.3K)], granular meal [GM (8N–2.2P–4.1K)], and GM plus a sidedress application of 5N–0.9P–1.7K fish emulsion (GM + FE). Electrical conductivity (EC) of the media, fresh petiole sap nitrate (NO3-N) and K concentrations, dried whole leaf NO3-N, P, and K concentrations, and yield and postharvest quality of harvested herbs were evaluated in response to the treatments. Basil yield was similar with HNS (340 g/plant) and GP (325 g/plant) in 2005 and greatest with HNS (417 g/plant) in 2006. Spearmint yield was similar with all treatments in 2005. In 2006, spearmint yields were similar with the HNS and GP yields (172 and 189 g/plant, respectively) and greater than the yields with the remaining treatments. In both years and crops, media EC values were generally greater with the GC than with the GP, GM, and GM + FE treatments but not in all cases and ranged from 1.77 to 0.55 dS·m−1 during the experiments. Furthermore, HNS media EC values were consistently equal to or lower than the GP media EC values except with EC measurements on 106 days after transplanting in both crops in 2005. Petiole NO3-N and K results were variable among crops and years, but provided valuable insight into the EC and yield data. We expected EC, petiole NO3-N, and petiole K to be consistently higher with HNS than with organic treatments, but they were not, indicating a reasonable synchrony of nutrient availability and crop demand among the organic treatments. The postharvest quality of both basil and spearmint was excellent with all treatments with few exceptions.

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Desmond G. Mortley

The effects of 0.25, 1.0, 2.5, 10, and 100 mg Mn/liter on sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] were evaluated in a greenhouse during 2 years using the nutrient film technique. Foliage and storage root dry weights declined linearly as Mn concentration increased in either whole plants or fibrous roots. Foliage and storage root dry weights were equally sensitive to Mn concentration in whole plants but 5 to 15 times more sensitive to increased Mn concentration in the fibrous roots. Foliar N, P, K, Ca, and Mg concentrations were adequate and did not appear to limit plant growth. Manganese concentrations in solution had very little effect on Fe, Zn, or B concentration. Manganese concentration was higher in the foliage than in fibrous roots. Plant roots showed browning at the higher (10 or 100 mg Mn/liter) concentrations in solution, which indicated the presence of oxidized Mn. Characteristic toxicity symptoms were observed in plants receiving 2.5 (moderate), 10, or 100 mg Mn/liter in solution.

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Logan S. Logendra, Thomas J. Gianfagna, and Harry W. Janes

Rockwool is an excellent growing medium for the hydroponic production of tomato; however, the standard size rockwool blocks [4 × 4 × 2.5 inches (10 × 10 × 6.3 cm) or 3 × 3 × 2.5 inches (7.5 × 7.5 × 6.3 cm)] are expensive. The following experiments were conducted with less expensive minirock wool blocks (MRBs), on rayon polyester material (RPM) as a bench top liner, to reduce the production cost of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) grown in a limited-cluster, ebb and flood hydroponic cultivation system. Fruit yield for single-cluster plants growing in MRBs [2 × 2 × 1.6 inches (5 × 5 × 4 cm) and 1.6 × 1.6 × 1.6 inches (4 × 4 × 4 cm)] was not significantly different from plants grown in larger sized blocks (3 × 3 × 2.5 inches). When the bench top was lined with RPM, roots penetrated the RPM, and an extensive root mat developed between the RPM and the bench top. The fruit yield from plants on RPM was significantly increased compared to plants without RPM due to increases in fruit size and fruit number. RPM also significantly reduced the incidence of blossom-end rot. In a second experiment, single- and double-cluster plants were grown on RPM. Fruit yield for double-cluster plants was 40% greater than for single-cluster plants due to an increase in fruit number, although the fruit were smaller in size. As in the first experiment, fruit yield for all plants grown in MRBs was not significantly different from plants grown in the larger sized blocks. MRBs and a RPM bench liner are an effective combination in the production of limited-cluster hydroponic tomatoes.

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Changhoo Chun, Ayumi Watanabe, Toyoki Kozai, Hyeon-Hye Kim, and Junya Fuse

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L. cv. Dimple) was chosen to determine whether bolting (i.e., elongation of flower stalks) could be controlled by manipulating the photoperiod during transplant production in a closed system using artificial light. Plants grown under various photoperiods during transplant production were transferred and cultured under natural short photoperiods and artificial long photoperiods. Vegetative growth at transplanting tended to be greater with the longer photoperiod because of the increased integrated photosynthetic photon flux. Bolting initiation reacted qualitatively to a long photoperiod, and the critical photoperiod for bolting initiation was longer than 13 h and shorter than 15 h. The plants grown under a longer photoperiod during transplant production had longer flower stalks at harvest. The long photoperiod and/or high temperature after transplanting therefore promoted flower stalk elongation. Growing plants under a photoperiod that was shorter than the critical photoperiod during transplant production reduced elongation of the flower stalks, thus there was no loss of market value even though the plants were cultured under a long photoperiod and high temperature for 2 weeks after transplanting.