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Laura Pickett Pottorff and Karen L. Panter

Crops grown in high tunnels are just as susceptible to pests and diseases as those grown under greenhouse and field conditions. Crops that lend themselves economically to this type of production system are edible and/or minor crops. Therefore, labeled pesticides for these crops are limited and sometimes nonexistent. However, there is a wide range of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies available to high tunnel producers. These strategies include biological control, which is often left out of traditional IPM programs when labeled pesticides are available. High tunnel production is very conducive to the inclusion of biological controls and allows for a truly IPM system. This article provides a selective overview of common arthropod pests and diseases encountered in high tunnels, as well as strategies that have potential for becoming best management practices in high tunnels with additional research.

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Wayne L. Schrader, Ronald E. Voss, Kent J. Bradford, and Carol O'Neil

The Univ. of California's Vegetable Crops Research and Information Center (VRIC) has developed a new World Wide Web site that allows the rapid development and peer review of multi-discipline, research-based information. The VRIC website (http://vrichome.ucdavis.edu) disseminates peer-reviewed fact sheets, research results, updated publications, and multi-media educational resources relating to critical issues, best management practices, postharvest handling, and marketing of vegetable crops. The website disseminates multi-discipline information originating from the Univ. of California, the USDA, and cooperating agencies and universities. The VRIC website proactively sends peer-reviewed critical-issue fact sheets to selected news media, government, industry, and academic contacts. These fact sheets help personnel frequently contacted by the media during crises to answer questions effectively. The website directs visitors to additional agricultural information resources and contains information on careers and educational opportunities available in the field of vegetable crops.

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S. B. Sterrett, D. B. Taylor, C. W. Coale Jr., and J. W. Mapp Jr.

An interdisciplinary approach had been developed to examine the production, economic, and marketing feasibility of new crops. The methodology requires the determination of yield potential and product quality, construction of production budgets, and completion of marketing window analyses. Potential for integration of new crops into the existing farm enterprise is assessed using linear programing techniques that consider labor and equipment constraints, crop rotations and best management practices. Risk analyses consider yield, production costs, and price of both new and traditional crops. By using this method, broccoli has been identified as a potential new crop for eastern Virginia, with labor requirements and slush ice availability being the major constraints to integration into vegetable production in this area.

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Daike Tian, Ken M. Tilt, Jeff L. Sibley, Floyd M. Woods, and Fenny Dane

Lotus (Nelumbo) is a highly valued plant with a long history for vegetable, ornamental, and medicinal use. Little information is available on the effects of planting time on performance of lotus, especially when grown in containers. The objectives of this study were to find a suitable planting time and to determine best management practices that are of importance for container lotus production. Effects of planting time and disbudding on plant growth indices in southeast Alabama were evaluated in a container production system for the ornamental lotus, N. nucifera ‘Embolene’. Results indicated that plant growth indices were little influenced by different planting dates in March, but were much influenced by planting dates with a difference over a month between February and May. Plants potted and placed outdoors in March and April performed best, and lotus planted in the greenhouse in February and planted outdoors in February and May performed worst. Flower number was not largely influenced by the planting time, but flowering characteristics, especially the flowering peaks, were different among treatments. Planting lotus outdoors between March and May produced the largest return. Influence of planting time on plant growth indices of lotus appeared to be explained by effects of growth-season climate conditions after planting. Disbudding had no impact on plant height but significantly increased underground fresh weight and the number of propagules. Therefore, disbudding should be considered a best management practice to maximize the yield of rhizomes or propagules. Positive linear, quadratic, or cubic relationships were detected among emerging leaf number, underground fresh biomass, and propagule number. Based on the regression models, the yield of lotus rhizomes or propagules can be predicted by the number of emerging leaves. This research provided a guide for nurseries, researchers, and collectors to select the best time to plant lotus outdoors.

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Greg D. Hoyt

This experiment was designed to compare best management practices for conventional and conservation tillage systems, chemical IPM vs. organic vegetable production, and rotation effect on tomatoes. Four vegetables were grown under these management practices with peppers (first year), yellow squash and fall broccoli (second year) on half of the field plots and tomatoes on the other half. For the third year, both sections of the field plots were tomatoes. The treatments were: 1) conventional-tillage with chemical-based IPM; 2) conventional-tillage with organic-based IPM; 3) conservation-tillage with chemical-based IPM; 4) conservation-tillage with organic-based IPM; and 5) conventional-tillage with no fertilizer or pest management (control). This poster describes pepper, yellow squash, fall broccoli, and tomato yields from the various treatments over the 3-year rotation. These results are for the third rotation sequence (years 79). Pepper yields were higher in treatments with chemical fertilizer and pest control. Fall broccoli yields were in the order: strip-tilled-chemical ≥ strip-till-organic ≥ conventional-tilled-chemical ≥ conventional-tilled-organic ≥ control. Yellow summer squash yields were in the order: conventional-tilled-chemical ≥ conventional-tilled-organic ≥ strip-till-chemical ≥ strip-tilled-organic ≥ control. Tomato yields were in the order: conventional-tilled chemical ≥ strip-till-chemical ≥ conventional-tilled-organic ≥ strip-tilled-organic ≥ control for each of the 3 years.

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Russell T. Nagata, Kenneth L. Pernezny, Darrin M. Parmenter, Eugene McAvoy, and Kent E. Cushman

Twenty-five varieties of bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) were transplanted in commercial pepper fields in Immokalee and Delray Beach, Fla., to evaluate horticultural characteristics and resistance to race 3 bacterial spot of peppers caused by Xanthomonascampestris pv. vesicatoria. All cultural and management procedures were based on commercial best management practices. Eighty to 90% of marketable fruits had three or four lobes. Total marketable fruit yield from three harvests ranged from 4596 to 7089 kg·ha-1 and marketable fruit number ranged from 20,571 to 31,224 fruit/ha. Most fruit were slightly elongated with length to diameter ratios between 1.1 and 1.2. Seminis 7602 had a ratio of one, while lines ACR 252, PRO2R-3, and PR99R-16 had ratios of 1.40, 1.36, and 1.28, respectively. Significant differences were observed for fruit wall thickness, with those grown in Delray Beach having thicker fruit walls that averaged 7.5 mm vs. 5.3 mm for the Immokalee site. Bacterial spot infection at both sites did not affect yield, due to late natural infection of the field. Susceptible control `Jupiter' had a mean foliage disease incident rating of 26% after the final harvest and was surpassed only by 7682 and 8328 from Enza. The most resistant lines with disease ratings of <3% were 5776, 7141, and 8302 from Seminis, and Telstar from Hazera.

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Sudeep Vyapari*, S.M. Scheiber, and Richard C. Beeson Jr.

During Fall 2003, a study was conducted to determine the effect of soil amendments on growth and response of Pentas lanceolata `New Look Red' in the landscape. Pentas were grown in 250L drainage lysimeters in an open-sided clear polyethylene covered shelter filled with local top soil (Apopka fine sand). The treatments used were non-amended top soil (control) and soil amended with either compost (5% by volume) or clay (5% by volume) in the top 15 cm. Best Management Practices were followed. Irrigation frequency and rate were regulated using a tensiometer-controlled automatic irrigation system. When plant available water in each soil type had declined to 70% or less, the plants were irrigated back to field capacity. Data were recorded on initial and final growth indices, shoot dry weight, and root dry weight. Final growth indices between control and soil amended with compost were not different; however, growth in the clay-based soil was significantly less than the compost-based soil type. The mean shoot dry weight (77.2 g) produced from plants in compost amended soil type was significantly higher than either control (57.45 g) or clay amended (54.92 g) soil types. No significant differences were found for either initial growth indices or root dry weight among the three treatments.

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Thomas H. Yeager* and Kenneth A. Kuhl

Nursery operations have strategically positioned themselves close to markets and many are now an agricultural entity surrounded by urban encroachment. The environmental pressures of society have mounted at unprecedented rates, resulting in additional regulations for nurseries. Development and implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the nursery industry allows nurseries to be proactive and not wait for regulations that might harm the industry. Univ. extension personnel with BMP subject matter expertise can play a pivotal role in assisting the industry with development and implementation of proactive BMPs. Important steps that have served as a model for BMP development and implementation include the following. Establish need—the industry leadership must explain to nursery personnel the reasons why BMPs are needed and elicit assistance with BMP development from university personnel. Committee guidance—the industry leadership establishes a steering committee of nursery personnel representing various interests of the industry to work with university and regulatory personnel to conceptualize BMPs and develop objectives. Consensus development—steering committee communicates their objectives to the nursery industry, explains the impacts, and provides a mechanism for feedback to achieve broad-based stakeholder participation. BMPs drafted - steering committee writes a draft BMP manual that is available for industry review. Industry-wide input—steering committee aggressively seeks input from the industry, implements as many suggestions as possible, and informs industry of BMP manual revisions. Educational programs—university extension personnel conduct training for nursery operators implementing BMPs and track the impact of BMPs on nurseries.

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Tom L. Weinert, Thomas L. Thompson, Scott A. White, and Michael A. Maurer

Microsprinkler irrigation may result in increased efficiency of N and water application to citrus. However, best management practices (BMPs) have not yet been developed for microsprinkler use, particularly on newly established citrus. Experiments were conducted during 1997-98 in central Arizona to evaluate the effects of N rate and fertigation frequency on `Newhall' navel oranges (Citrus sinensis) planted in Mar. 1997. Two experiments were conducted, each with factorial combinations of N rate (0 to 204 g/tree/year) and fertigation frequency (weekly to three times per year). In one experiment, nonlabeled N fertilizer was used, and in the other 15N-labeled fertilizer was used. Trunk diameter, leaf N, and 15N partitioning in the trees were monitored. During 1997, neither trunk diameter nor leaf N were affected by N rate or fertigation frequency. No more than 6% of N applied was found in the trees. During 1998, leaf N in fertilized plots was significantly higher than in nonfertilized plots, but leaf N in all trees remained above the critical N concentration of 25 mg·g-1. During 1998, no more than 25% of the fertilizer N applied was taken up by the trees. Results suggest that N applications are not needed during the first growing season after planting for microsprinkler-irrigated citrus in Arizona. Only low rates of N (≤68 g/tree/yr) may be needed during the second growing season to maintain adequate tree N reserves.

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Chris A. Martin and Jean C. Stutz

A distance learning course called Southwest Home Horticulture was developed and implemented at Arizona State University using video and Internet technologies to give nonhorticulture students an overview of urban horticulture in the southwestern United States. Fourteen, one-half-hour video programs about topics in southwestern residential landscaping, plants materials and landscape best-management practices were produced in ≈800 working hours. The video programs are now telecast weekly, each academic semester, on the regional public television station and the educational channel of several cable television systems. We found that students who enrolled in the course were most likely to tape the programs on a video cassette recorder and watch them at their own convenience, one to three times. A World Wide Web (Web) site on the Internet was developed as a supplement to the video programs. The Web site was organized into a modular format giving students quick access to auxiliary course-related information and helpful resources. When asked, ≈90% of the students indicated that the Web site was a helpful supplement to the video programs. Use of video and Internet technologies in tandem has enabled nonhorticulture major students to learn about home horticulture in an asynchronous or location and time independent fashion.