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%
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.
`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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of varying solution N concentrations on fruit yield and NO3-N concentration in leachate from rockwool-grown `Midal' peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) in Florida. Treatment 1 plants received a series of nutrient solutions containing N at 60, 90, and 120 mg·liter–1 (60–90–120 mg·liter–1) during their growth cycle. Plants in treatments 2 and 3 were grown with N at 120 or 175 mg·liter–1, respectively, throughout their entire growth cycle. Two trials were conducted; trial 1 from 17 Nov. 1991 to 1 July 1992, and trial 2 from 31 July 1992 to 23 Feb. 1993. In both trials, total marketable fruit weight was significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher (16% to 67%) for plants grown with N at 175 than with 60–90–120 mg·liter–1. In trial 2, plants receiving N at 175 mg·liter–1 produced significantly more fruit (8%) and 14% higher total fruit weight than plants receiving N at 120 mg·liter–1. The trend toward higher yield with N at 175 rather than 120 mg·liter–1 also occurred during trial 1, but differences were not significant. Nitrogen concentration did not significantly affect the percentage of total fruit having blossom-end rot in either trial (41% in trial 1; 13% in trial 2). Nitrogen at 175 mg·liter–1 resulted in 10% to 40% increases in total nutrient solution use and 2.5- to 3.5-fold increases in leachate NO3-N concentration compared to N at 120 mg·liter–1.
Four experiments were conducted from 1992 to 1994 to determine the concentrations of N and P required to maximize yields of rockwool-grown cucumbers (Cucumis sativus `Vetomil') trained with a double-stem method. Concentrations of N and P in rockwool slabs were monitored throughout growth of greenhouse-grown cucumbers. The onset and duration of nutrient depletion in the slabs were related to cucumber yield. In Expt. 1, treatment-1 plants received a two-step solution containing N at 90 and 175 mg·L−1 during successive growth phases, while treatment-2 and -3 plants were grown with N at a constant 175 or 225 mg·L−1. Phosphorus was provided at 50 mg·L−1 in all treatments. Treatment 1 was excluded from Expt. 2. In Expts. 3 and 4, plants were grown with N at 225 or 275 mg·L−1 and P at 75 mg·L−1. Onset of N and P depletion (to <10 mg·L−1) in the growing slabs occurred during the early fruiting stage of cucumber, 1 to 8 days before first harvest. The duration of N and P depletion decreased, and cucumber yields increased with increasing N and P concentrations. When plants were grown with N and P at 275 and 75 mg·L1, respectively, N was depleted in the growing slabs during only one experiment and then for only 4 days, and slab P concentration remained >10 mg·L1. Therefore, under Florida conditions, when growing cucumbers in rockwool using a double-stem training technique, N and P should be provided at 275 and 75 mg·L−1, respectively, to minimize depletion of these nutrients from the growing medium.
Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L. `Vetomil') were grown in rockwool or perlite to evaluate these media for efficient hydroponic cucumber production under Florida greenhouse conditions. Plants were grown using a double-stem training method, and the frequency of irrigations was controlled by a weighing lysimeter for each treatment. In Expt. 1, plants were grown in rockwool with 29% or 17% leaching fraction (LF) and in perlite with a 17% LF. Nitrogen, P, and K concentrations in the complete nutrient solution were 175, 50, and 180 mg·L−1, respectively. In Expt. 2, N, P, and K concentrations were increased to 225, 60, and 225 mg·L−1, respectively. Other nutrient concentrations and LFs remained as in Expt. 1. In Expt. 1, yields (fruit count and total fruit mass) were higher from plants grown in rockwool at 29% LF than from plants grown in rockwool or perlite at 17% LF. However, in Expt. 2, when nutrient concentrations were higher, total fruit mass was greater from plants grown at the lower LF, although there was no difference in fruit number. In both experiments, cucumber yield did not differ when grown at the same LF in either rockwool or perlite. Electrical conductivity (EC) and pH of the nutrient solution from the growing bags were not affected when LFs were decreased. In Expt. 1, the pH and EC ranged from 6.1 to 7.0 and from 0.9 to 1.6 mS·cm−1, respectively, across all treatments. In Expt. 2, pH and EC ranged from 5.3 to 6.9 and from 0.6 to 2.5 mS·cm−1, respectively, across all treatments.