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Edward F. Durner

Two- to three-week-old `Sweet Charlie' strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) plug plants were conditioned [seven 9-hour short days without chilling (21 °C day/21 °C night) followed by seven 9-hour short days with chilling during the nyctoperiod (21 °C/12 °C night)] in September, then planted in a vertical hydroponic system for winter greenhouse production. Conditioned plugs produced significantly more fruit than did nonconditioned control plugs in January and February, but the difference was nonsignificant in March and April. Fruit yield increased linearly with height in the column (≈40 g/plant for every 30-cm increase in column height), probably because of increasing light level. When productivity is considered on an area basis (kg·m–2) and the column height effect on yield is accounted for, productivity over a 4.5-month period was 4.8 kg·m–2 for controls and 7.8 kg·m–2 for conditioned plugs. Conditioned plug plants offer the potential for increasing strawberry productivity and therefore the profitability of a winter greenhouse production system.

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Chang-Tsern Chen, Ching-Lung Lee, and Der-Ming Yeh

Growth and photosynthetic parameters were measured in Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinn. ‘Umihonoka’ grown hydroponically under nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), or magnesium (Mg) deficiency in 1/2 strength of modified Johnson’s solution. Plant height, node number, and leaf area were all reduced under N, P, K, and Ca deficiencies but not under Mg deficiency as compared with plants grown in the complete nutrient solution. Shoot and root dry weight were reduced in the N-, P-, K-, and Ca-deficient treatments, whereas root but not shoot dry weight was lowered by Mg-deficient treatment. Shoot-to-root dry weight ratio decreased under N and P deficiencies, increased under K and Mg deficiency, but was not altered under Ca deficiency. Decreased net photosynthetic rate (Pn) of N-, P-, and K-deficient leaves was all related to lower stomatal conductance (g S), whereas N-deficient leaves also accompanied by a higher intercellular carbon dioxide concentration (Ci). The Mg-deficient treatment did not alter chlorophyll fluorescence Fv/Fm, maximal fluorescence (Fm), or minimal fluorescence (Fo). Decreased Fv/Fm of N-, P-, K-, and Ca-deficient leaves was all related to lower Fm, whereas N- and P-deficient leaves also accompanied by lower Fo. A key was developed for the identification of N, P, K, Ca, and Mg deficiency symptoms.

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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 peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) to 50% and 85% relative humidity (RH). The objective was to determine the effects of RH on pod and seed yield, harvest index, and flowering of peanut grown by the nutrient film technique (NFT). `Georgia Red' peanut plants (14 days old) were planted into growth channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m). Plants were spaced 25 cm apart with 15 cm between channels. A modified half-Hoagland solution with an additional 2 mm Ca was used. Solution pH was maintained between 6.4 and 6.7, and electrical conductivity (EC) ranged between 1100 and 1200 μS·cm–1. Temperature regimes of 28/22 °C were maintained during the light/dark periods (12 hours each) with photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) at canopy level of 500 μmol·m–2·s–1. Foliage and pod fresh and dry weights, total seed yield, harvest index (HI), and seed maturity were greater at high than at low RH. Plants grown at 85% RH had greater total and individual leaflet area and stomatal conductance, flowered 3 days earlier and had a greater number of flowers reaching anthesis. Gynophores grew more rapidly at 85% than at 50% RH.

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P.J. Grant, J.Y. Lu, D.G. Mortley, P.A. Loretan, C.K. Bonsi, and W.A. Hill

The sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] breeding clone TU-82-155 was grown during Spring 1990 and Summer 1991 in standard Tuskegee Univ. (Alabama) growth channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m) for 120 days in a greenhouse using a hydroponic (nutrient film) system with a modified half-strength Hoagland nutrient solution. The nutrient solution was changed every 2, 14, or 28 days. Total N, oil, ash, amino acid, vitamin, and mineral concentrations in storage roots generally were higher and dry weight and starch concentration were lower with 2-day solution changes than with those less frequent.

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Samuel J. Dunlop, Marta Camps Arbestain, Peter A. Bishop, and Jason J. Wargent

Greenhouse tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.) producers are urged to reduce their environmental footprint. Here, the suitability of biochar produced from tomato crop green waste as a substrate for soilless, hydroponic tomato production was evaluated. Substrates containing different combinations of biochar (BC) and pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) sawdust (SD) were produced (BC0-SD100, BC25-SD75, BC50-SD50, BC75-SD25, and BC100-SD0) and characterized. The effect of these substrates on tomato growth, yield, and fruit quality was studied. Most of the measured properties of substrates containing biochar were suited to use as a soilless substrate. The electrical conductivity (EC) of substrates containing biochar was initially high (>4.6 mS·cm−1), but was easily reduced to <0.5 mS·cm−1 by rinsing with water before use. The pH of substrates containing biochar was higher than is considered acceptable for tomato production (7.5–9.3) but did not significantly (P < 0.05) affect any plant growth, yield, and fruit quality indicators measured compared with those of plants grown in pine sawdust. The results support the concept of creating a closed loop system whereby biochar produced from tomato crop green waste is used as a substrate for soilless, hydroponic tomato production, providing a sustainable means to support the growth of high-value food crops.

Open access

Athanasios P. Papadopoulos and Herman Tiessen

Abstract

Cultivars of greenhouse tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were grown in the greenhouse and in growth chambers to study the effects of root and air temperature on flowering and yield. A low air temperature of 19° (day)/14°C (night), during the fall crop, caused no reduction in yield when compared with the commonly used 22°/17° air temperature. A 13°/8° air temperature during the spring crop drastically reduced yield compared with the 19°/14°C air temperature. Flowering of ‘Ohio MR-13’ in growth chambers was delayed significantly at air temperatures of 24°/8° compared to 24°/17°, but the flowering of ‘Vendor’ was unaffected by air temperature treatments. Marketable yield of ‘Vendor’ was significantly higher at 24°/8° compared to the 24°/17° treatment, while the marketable yield of ‘Ohio MR-13’ was unaffected. At a constant, day air temperature of 24°, the amount of small fruit decreased as night air temperature was lowered from 17° to 8° and maturity was delayed as night air temperature was lowered from 14° to 8°. The effect of low air temperature on flowering and yield of tomatoes was large and could not be offset by increasing root temperatures. At air temperatures of 24°/17°, 24°/14°, and 24°/8°, marketable yields were affected adversely by the absence of root thermoperiodicity (day to night root temperature variation).

Open access

Athanasios P. Papadopoulos and Herman Tiessen

Abstract

Four cultivars of greenhouse tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were grown in the greenhouse and two cultivars were grown in growth chambers in order to study the effects of root and air temperature on the elemental composition (N, P, K, Ca, and Mg) of leaf tissue. Most of the variation observed in the nutrient composition of leaves was due to air temperature and the cultivar used; only few root temperature effects were significant. Low air temperatures (24°/14°C, 24°/8°, 19°/14°; day/night) resulted in higher N concentrations in the leaf tissue, whereas root temperature had little effect on N. Response to air temperature was similar for P or for N. However, response to high root temperature (27° and 24° in the greenhouse and the growth chamber, respectively) was greater for P than for N. Air and root temperatures had little effect on K concentration in tomato leaves. Consistently high Ca and Mg levels resulted with low air temperatures (24°/8°, 19°/14°, 13°/8°), whereas root temperature had no effect on accumulation of these two nutrients. The incidence of blossom-end-rot in the fruit of all cultivars used in the study was associated with low Ca and Mg levels in the leaf tissue.

Open access

Sharon L. Knight and Cary A. Mitchell

Abstract

Several levels of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) were tested for effects on growth of 4 cultivars of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) under controlled-environment conditions. Growth of ‘Salad Bowl’, ‘Bibb’, and ‘Ruby’ was greater at 932 µmol s -1m-2 than at ≤ 644 µmol s-1m-2 under a 16-hour photoperiod. Thirty mM NO3 - or 5 mM NH4 + + 25 mM NO3 - increased leaf dry weight while reducing leaf chlorosis in ‘Salad Bowl’ and ‘Grand Rapids’ relative to that with 15 mM NO3 -, and reduced leaf purpling in ‘Bibb’ and ‘Ruby’ with little or no effect on yield. Continuous illumination with 455 or 918 µmol s-1 m-2 stimulated yield of ‘Salad Bowl’ and ‘Bibb’ when 30 mM N as NH4 + + NO3 - was used relative to that with 15 mM NO3 -.

Open access

Mikal E. Saltveit Jr. and Eric Young

Abstract

A method is described for studying the 3-dimensional distribution of roots grown in a medium consisting of small pieces of glass. After growing to a desired size, the plant is sacrificed by evaporating all water from the media with flowing air. To visualize the undisturbed root system, an immersion oil with the same refractive index as the glass is added to the glass container in which the plant was grown.

Open access

Penelope A. Rousos and Helen C. Harrison

Abstract

The identification of exceptional genotypes in a breeding program can involve evaluating the responses of large numbers of plants to environmental stress (2). Major hydroponic systems include aerated standing or flowing-nutrient solution, mist, and nutrient film cultures. Flowing solution culture currently provides the most consistent environment for roots, but it is costly and difficult to maintain (1, 3).