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J.T. Baker, D.I. Leskovar, V.R. Reddy, and F.J. Dainello

A temperature experiment with two cultivars of muskmelon (`Gold Rush' and `Mission') was conducted in growth chambers to determine how main vine leaf appearance rates responded to temperature. We identified three cardinal temperatures for leaf appearance rate: the base temperature (10 °C) at which leaf appearance rate was zero, an optimum temperature where leaf appearance rate was at a maximum (34 °C) and an upper threshold temperature (45 °C) where leaf appearance rate returned to zero. Using these three cardinal temperatures, we constructed a simplified thermal unit accumulator for hourly measurements of air temperature. Main vine plastochron interval (PI), thermal time to harvest and final yield was determined for three cultivars of muskmelon (`Explorer', `Goldrush', and `Mission') grown in the field over six transplanting dates. The PI was calculated for each cultivar-transplanting date combination as the reciprocal of the slope of main vine node number vs. accumulated hourly thermal units (Tu). The PI was significantly affected by both cultivar and transplanting date. Final yield was sharply reduced in the last two planting dates, presumably due to high temperature stresses impacting reproductive development. As air temperatures warmed during the field experiment, the time interval from transplanting to 10% final harvest were reduced by between 21 to 28 days among the three cultivars and the first four transplanting dates. Our goal was to construct a simple muskmelon phenology model that could be run with easily obtainable weather station data and used by growers to quantify phenological development and aid in projecting harvest dates. We also wanted to test whether main vine node number was a useful description of vegetative development for muskmelon.

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Jeffrey T. Baker, Frank J. Dainello, and D. Ron Earhart

The active ingredient of a product known as “AmiSorb” is carpramid, a long-chained polyaspartate polymer. This product is currently being marketed as a soil or irrigation water applied nutrient absorption enhancer for vegetable crops. Our objective was to evaluate the growth, yield, and leaf photosynthetic responses of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L., `Caravelle') and bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L., `Enterprise') to a range of carpramid application rates under well irrigated and fertilized conditions. Carpramid solutions were applied at concentrations of 0, 200, 400, 600, and 800 mL·L-1 (0 to 0.18 mL per carpramid plant) in both greenhouse and field experiments. Biomass of individual plant parts and leaf area were measured at weekly intervals during the greenhouse experiment by destructive sampling. Light saturated leaf photosynthetic rates as a function of both carpramid treatment as well as leaf position on the vine were measured for muskmelon in the field experiment. Final yield was determined for both muskmelon and bell pepper in the field experiment. None of the plant response variables were significantly (P ≤ 0.05) affected by carpramid treatment in either the greenhouse or field experiments. Leaf photosynthetic rates increased from the youngest leaf on the vine to the sixth leaf, counting basipetally. We conclude that further research under nutrient deficient conditions may be warranted for this product.

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E.T. Maynard, C.S. Vavrina, and W.D. Scott

Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. cvs. Superstar and Mission) transplants were grown in seedling flats with individual cells ranging in volume from 7 to 100 cm3. The smallest cells were in a 338-cell polystyrene flat 33 cm wide × 66 cm long × 4.75 cm deep; the largest cells were in a 32-cell plastic flat 30.5 × 50.8 × 6.5 cm. The study was conducted in Florida and Indiana during the 1993 and 1994 growing seasons. Seedlings of uniform age were transplanted to the field and grown to maturity using standard cultural practices. Early yield of `Superstar' muskmelon, measured as number of fruit per plot or percentage of total yield, increased as transplant cell volume increased. In one trial, plants from 7-cm3 cells produced no early yield, while plants from 100-cm3 cells produced 40% of the total yield in the first three harvests. In three of the four trials, total yield of `Superstar' increased as cell volume increased. Marketable early yield of `Mission' muskmelon, measured as number or weight per plot, increased as cell volume increased in three of four trials. In Florida, total yield of `Mission' also increased as cell volume increased. Size of `Superstar' fruit was not influenced by cell volume. In Florida, size of early `Mission' fruit increased as cell volume increased.

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Frank J. Dainello, Larry Stein, Guy Fipps, and Kenneth White

Competition for limited water supplies is increasing world wide. Especially hard hit are the irrigated crop production regions, such as the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the Winter Garden areas of south Texas. To develop production techniques for reducing supplemental water needs of vegetable crops, an ancient water harvesting technique called rainfall capture was adapted to contemporary, large scale irrigated muskmelon (Cucumis melo var. reticulatus L.) production systems. The rainfall capture system developed consisted of plastic mulched miniature water catchments located on raised seed beds. This system was compared with conventional dry land and irrigated melon production. Rainfall capture resulted in 108% average yield increase over the conventional dry land technique. When compared with conventional furrow irrigation, rainfall capture increased marketable muskmelon yield as much as 5355 lb/acre (6000 kg·ha-1). As anticipated,the drip irrigation/plastic mulch system exceeded rainfall capture in total and marketable fruit yield. The results of this study suggest that rainfall capture can reduce total supplemental water use in muskmelon production. The major benefit of the rainfall capture system is believed to be in its ability to eliminate or decrease irrigation water needed to fill the soil profile before planting.

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Alvaro O. Pacheco, G.J. Hochmuth, D.N. Maynard, A.A. Csizinszky, and S.A. Sargent

Optimum economic yield is produced when nutrients in the proper amounts are supplied to the crop. Crop nutrient requirements (CNR) of essential elements have been determined for the major vegetables produced in Florida. However, for minor crops, such as muskmelon, little research has been conducted to determine the CNR, especially potassium. In many vegetables, yield has responded to increasing K rates when other elements were not limiting. Our objective was to determine the K fertility requirement for optimum yield of muskmelon and to evaluate the Mehlich-1 soil test calibration for soil testing low in K (<20 mg·kg–1). Experiments were conducted in the spring and fall seasons of 1995. Potassium at five rates (0, 56, 112, 168, and 224 kg·ha–1) was injected weekly, approximating the growth curve of `Galia' and `Mission'. There were significant yield responses to K fertilization for both cultivars during both seasons. During spring, average marketable yield was 14.5, 26.1, 31.9, 31.5, and 36.3 Mg·ha–1 and for fall, average marketable yield was 15.8, 32.9, 37.8, 37.2, and 36.4 Mg·ha–1 for the previously described K treatments, respectively. The cultivar response for both seasons was described by a linear-plateau model. In spring, yield was maximized with K at 116.8 and 76.3 kg·ha–1 for `Galia' and `Mission', respectively. In fall, K at 73.3 and 68.3 kg·ha–1 produced the peak response for the same cultivars. These results indicate that maximum yield of muskmelon in Florida can be obtained at considerably less K than the current recommendation of 140 kg·ha–1.

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Gene Lester

1 e-mail: I thank Aleena Tarshis Moreno for muskmelon fruit production and measurements. Reference to a brand or firm name does not constitute endorsement by the USDA over others of a similar

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Wilfred Singogo, William J. Lamont Jr., and Charles W. Marr

Four cover crops {alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. `Kansas Common'), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), Austrian winter pea [Pisum sativum subsp. arvense (L.) Poir], and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. `Tam 107')}, alone and in combination with feedlot beef manure at 5 t·ha–1 were evaluated for 2 years to determine whether sufficient N could be supplied solely by winter cover cropping and manure application to produce high-quality muskmelons (Cucumis melo L. `Magnum 45') in an intensive production system using plastic mulch and drip irrigation. Among the legumes, hairy vetch produced the most biomass (8.9 t·ha–1) and accumulated the most N (247 kg·ha–1). Winter wheat produced more biomass (9.8 t·ha–1) than any of the legumes but accumulated the least N (87 kg·ha–1). Melon yields produced using legume cover crops alone were similar to those receiving synthetic N fertilizer at 70 or 100 kg·ha–1. Melons produced on plots with cover crops combined with beef manure did not differ significantly in yield from those produced on plots with only cover crops. Legume cover crops alone, used with plastic mulch and drip irrigation, provided sufficient N for the production of high-quality muskmelons.

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Tetsuya Nakamura

In greenhouse-grown muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivation at Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, growth, fruit enlargement, and translocation rates must be controlled by water content of plants through environment control. To produce high-quality muskmelons, growers have to control soil moisture appropriately through daily watering, but it has been difficult to estimate the suitable amount of water. Our study was performed to estimate watering using simple watering model. It is well known that evaporation and transpiration rates are in proportion to the differences between water vapor density of atmosphere and that of leaf and soil, respectively, and are inversely related to their resistances. Therefore, an amount of water to be watered was estimated from air temperature, soil temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, and grower's experience. The evaporation and transpiration resistances were set up to make evapotranspiration close to amount of watering. First, to estimate amount of irrigation, the relationship between the grower's imaginary watering, which ignored neither yesterday's watering nor today's soil moisture, and today's weather index, which indicate today's evapotranspiration rate, was investigated. Secondly, the yesterday's estimated evapotranspiration and yesterday's amount of evapotranspiration rate were compared. From the comparison, soil moisture conditions before watering whether soil is wet or dry were estimated. Third, revised coefficient of watering was decided by grower. Finally, estimated amount of watering was obtained from the following things; today's weather index, comparison of the prediction and actual evapotranspiration, revised coefficient. As the result, anybody who had no special knowledge could manage the soil moisture by only observing today's weather like skilled growers.

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José A. Franco and Daniel I. Leskovar

Containerized `Lavi' muskmelon [Cucumis melo L. (Reticulatus Group)] transplants were grown in a nursery with two irrigation systems: overhead irrigation (OI) and flotation irrigation (FI). Initially, root development was monitored during a 36-day nursery period. Thereafter, seedling root growth was monitored either in transparent containers inside a growth chamber, or through minirhizotrons placed in the field. During the nursery period, OI promoted increased early basal root growth, whereas FI promoted greater basal root elongation between 25 and 36 days after seeding (DAS). At 36 DAS leaf area, shoot fresh weight (FW) and dry weight (DW), and shoot to root ratio were greater for OI than for FI transplants, while root length and FWs and DWs were nearly the same. Total root elongation in the growth chamber was greater for FI than for OI transplants between 4 and 14 days after transplanting. Similarly, the minirhizotron measurements in the field showed a greater root length density in the uppermost layer of the soil profile for FI than for OI transplants. Overall, muskmelon transplants had greater root development initially when subjected to overhead compared to flotation irrigation in the nursery. However, during late development FI transplants appeared to have a greater capacity to regenerate roots, thus providing an adaptive mechanism to enhance postplanting root development and to withstand transplant shock in field conditions. At harvest, root length density and yield were closely similar for the plants in the two transplant irrigation treatments.

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Luis A. Ribera, Marco A. Palma, Mechel Paggi, Ronald Knutson, Joseph G. Masabni, and Juan Anciso

result of this outbreak. On Mar. 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted the FDA of a multistate Salmonella food poisoning that spanned through 16 states and several Canadian provinces attributed to muskmelon ( FDA, 2008a