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Robert Wiedenfeld, Eden Hinojosa, and Robert Stubblefield

A study was conducted in subtropical south Texas in 1989 to determine the effects of planting method, polyethylene mulch, and rate of drip irrigation on cantaloupe growth, yield and quality. Irrigation at .25, .50, .75, 1.0, or 1.25 times pan evaporation had little effect on soil moisture or yield, with all water application levels keeping the soil close to field capacity. Transplanting vs. direct seeding enhanced early vine growth and caused earlier yield, although direct seeded plants later caught up and had final cumulative yields slightly higher than the transplants. Black polyethylene mulch also improved earliness and reduced the number of culls compared to bare soil, but at the lowest watering level total yields were reduced by the mulch due to deflection of the rainfall received. The combined practices of transplanting and polyethylene mulch caused approximately a 9 day earliness advantage over the treatment that was direct seeded on bare soil although final yield was unaffected. Soil salinity buildup may cause problems which would affect the position of the drip line and the frequency and amount of water applied.

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Winston Dunwell, Dwight Wolfe, William Maksymowicz, and Darrell Slone

Alternative use for float system greenhouse space is being studied in Kentucky. High sugar sweet corn (Zea mays L.) cultivars direct seeded into cool soils germinate poorly. A float transplant production system was used to produce high sugar sweet corn transplants that could be planted into cool soils. 100 seeds of sugar enhanced (se) 'How Sweet It Is' and super sweet (sh2) 'Early Xtra Sweet' sweet corn cultivars wars seeded into trays with a cell size of either 19 or 49 ml/cell. The trays were floated on heated or unheated water in the greenhouse. Percent germination was significantly influencedby cultivar. A greater percent germination was observed for 'How Sweet It Is' compared to 'Early Xtra Sweet' and for seeds sown in the 49 ml/cell trays compared to the 19 ml/cell trays. No significant differences resulted from varying the water temperature. Transplants were planted into cool soils with direct seeded sweet corn on April 21, 1992. The use of transplants resulted in a significantly greater plant stand and a two week earlier harvest than the use of the direct seeding.

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Brian A. Kahn, James R. Cooksey, and James E. Motes

Raw seed, primed seed, and transplants were compared for effects on stand establishment, plant morphology, and yield of paprika pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) Raw seed seemed satisfactory for stand establishment, although primed seed had the potential to provide better initial stands. When populations were equalized, there were few differences in plant growth, plant morphology, or fruit yield attributed to seed treatment. Morphology of plants established by direct seeding generally was favorable for mechanical harvest. Use of transplants did not result in higher marketable fruit yields than direct seeding in two out of three years. When compared to plants established by direct seeding, three trends were consistent across all three years for plants established by transplanting: a) they were more massive: b) they had larger vertical fruiting planes: and c) they had more branches. These traits would increase the difficulty of mechanical harvest and would create the potential for more trash in the harvested product. Thus, transplanting is not recommended for stand establishment of paprika intended for mechanical harvest.

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James R. Cooksey, Brian A. Kahn, and James E. Motes

Nontreated seed, primed seed, and transplants were compared for effects on stand establishment, plant morphology, and yield of paprika pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Nontreated seed was satisfactory for stand establishment, although primed seed had the potential to provide greater initial stands. When populations were made equal by thinning, there were few differences in stem and leaf dry weight, fruit yield, or plant morphology attributed to seed treatment. Generally, morphology of plants established by direct seeding was favorable for mechanical harvest. Using transplants did not result in higher marketable fruit yields than direct seeding in 2 of 3 years. When compared to plants established by direct seeding, three trends were consistent across all 3 years for plants established by transplanting: 1) they were more massive, 2) they had larger vertical fruiting planes, and 3) they had more branches. These traits increase the difficulty of mechanical harvest and create the potential for more leaves and stems (trash) in the harvested product. Thus, transplanting is not recommended for stand establishment of paprika pepper intended for mechanical harvest.

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S.B. Sterrett and C.P. Savage Jr.

Commercial production of bunched broccoli on the Eastern Shore of Virginia has been limited because of shortened internodes resulting in thick, tough stalks. A field study was completed to examine the influence of plant type (transplants or direct seeded), plant population (5800 or 8700 plants/ha), and N application (112 kg/N with zero, one, or two sidedress applications of 40 kg·ha–1) on marketable yield, head diameter, and stem diameter of `Packman' broccoli. None of the measured characteristics improved significantly with sidedress N application. Marketable yield and average head weight were significantly correlated (P = 0.01) to the total number of heads harvested (r = 0.70 and r = –0.91, respectively). More heads were harvested for the high population, direct-seeded treatment and fewer for the low-population transplants. Average stem diameter of transplants was slightly greater than that of direct-seeded broccoli being significant (P = 0.05) in the second and third harvests. However, few stems were of commercially acceptable diameter regardless of treatment combination. Additional evaluation of cultural management strategies and cultivar selection is needed to successfully promote commercial production of bunched broccoli in this growing area.

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Theodore M. Webster and A. Stanley Culpepper

Halosulfuron is a proposed alternative to methyl bromide for managing nutsedges (Cyperus spp.) in several vegetable crops, including cucurbits. Field studies were conducted to evaluate the crop sensitivity to halosulfuron in a spring squash (Cucurbita pepo L.)—fall cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) rotation from 2000 to 2002. Treatments included application of halosulfuron to the soil surface after forming the bed, but before laying mulch (halosulfuron-PRE), halosulfuron applied through drip irrigation (halosulfuron-DRIP) after forming bed and laying mulch, metham applied through drip irrigation after forming bed and laying mulch, a nontreated control with mulch, and nontreated control without mulch. Each treatment was applied to both direct seeded and transplanted zucchini squash. Halosulfuron treatments reduced squash plant diameter relative to metham, however plant diameters in halosulfuron-PRE (transplant and direct seed) and halosulfuron-DRIP (transplant) treatments were not different from the nontreated control. Halosulfuron-PRE delayed squash fruit production relative to the mulched nontreated control. However, application of halosulfuron-PRE and halosulfuron-DRIP did not reduce squash yield at the conclusion of the season, relative to the nontreated control. Cucumbers were transplanted and direct seeded into previous squash plots and received either an application of halosulfuron-DRIP, or were not treated. Differences in cucumber yields were not detected with second crop treatments. Cucumbers appear to have adequate tolerance to halosulfuron, making it a potential replacement for methyl bromide for nutsedge control. Suppression of early season squash growth by halosulfuron may hinder the adoption of halosulfuron as a methyl bromide alternative for squash.

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Daniel I. Leskovar, Daniel J. Cantliffe, and Peter J. Stoffella

`Sunny' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) containerized transplants were grown with the standard or conventional systems (SS) and with recently developed flotation systems (FS). Standard system and FS transplants, and direct-seeding using coated seeds were evaluated in the field for root and shoot growth and yield at Parrish, Bradenton, and Naples during fall, winter, and spring plantings. Plant growth characteristics were measured weekly before, during, and after transplanting or sowing. In the Parrish and Bradenton Fall 1987 and Bradenton Spring 1988 experiments, SS transplants had greater leaf area, root volume, shoot dry weights, and shoot: root ratios than FS transplants. During early development, the FS transplants had more lateral root growth than SS transplants, but had similar total root growth and horizontal and vertical root distribution after transplanting in the field. Transplants and direct-seeded plants allocated 72% of the total root mass in the upper 0 to 10 cm of the soil. In Fall 1987, SS transplants had between 29% and 41% more fruit yield than FS transplants at Bradenton and Parrish, respectively. In the Naples Winter 1988 and Parrish and Bradenton Fall 1989 experiments, both transplant types had similar fruit yields, but more than direct-seeded plants. Transplants grown with the flotation system are recommended for use provided that seedlings are grown and maintained with minimum hardening before establishment in the field.

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Regina P. Bracy and Richard L. Parish

Stands of brassica crops obtained with precision seeders are sometimes inadequate or nonuniform. Although several types of covering devices and presswheels are available from precision seeder manufacturers, the effects of covering devices and presswheels on plant emergence of direct-seeded Brassica crops have not been determined. In Spring and Fall 1996, six crops of mustard [Brassica juncea (L.) Czerniak] and four crops of cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. capitata group) were direct seeded with a precision belt seeder using four covering devices and four rear presswheels. All of the covering devices and presswheels evaluated were adequate for direct seeding mustard and cabbage under the soil moisture conditions and soil type (silt loam or fine sandy loam) found in these experiments. Although poor stands were obtained with all seed covering devices and presswheels when 7.8 inches (199 mm) of rain occurred within 3 days of planting, plant stand of cabbage was greater when the paired arm device was used than with drag-type or no covering devices.

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Stephen M. Olson, George J. Hochmuth, and Robert C. Hochmuth

Studies were conducted at the NFREC, Quincy, and AREC, Live Oak, Fla., to compare watermelon {Citrullus lanatus [(Thumb.) Matsum & Nakai]} plant establishment by transplanting and direct-seeding. Cultivars used were `Charleston Gray' in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1989; `Jubilee' in 1988 and 1989; and `Crimson Sweet' in 1987 to 1990. Early yields were greater with transplants for all three cultivars in all years. With `Charleston Gray', total yields with transplants were higher in 1985 and 1989, but not in 1984 or 1986. The average fruit weights with transplants were also greater in 1985 and 1989 than in 1984 or 1986. With `Jubilee', total yield with transplants was higher in 1989, but not in 1988. Average fruit weight with transplants was greater in 1989 than in 1988. With `Crimson Sweet', total yields were higher with transplants in 1989 and 1990, but not in 1987 or 1988, but fruits were larger with transplanting compared to direct-seeding only in 1990. In all experiments, yields with transplants were never less than those with direct-seeded plants.

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Charles L. Webber III and James W. Shrefler

Corn gluten meal (CGM) has been identified as a potential organic preemergence and preplant-incorporated herbicide. It is an environmentally friendly material that has demonstrated ability to decrease seedling development and plant survival by inhibiting root and shoot development. Unfortunately, CGM can also decrease the development and plant survival of direct-seeded vegetable crops. As a result, the use of CGM is not recommended in conjunction with direct-seeded vegetables. The development of equipment to apply CGM in banded configurations has created an opportunity to investigate whether banded CGM applications will provide significant crop safety for direct-seeded vegetables. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of banded CGM applications on squash plant survival and yields. A factorial field study was conducted during the summer of 2004 on 81-cm-wide raised beds at Lane, Okla., with two application configurations (banded and solid), two CGM formulations (powdered and granulated), two incorporation treatments (incorporated and non-incorporated), and three application rates (250, 500, and 750 g·m–2). The two CGM formulations at three application rates were uniformly applied in both banded and solid patterns on 18 Aug. The banded application created a 7.6-cm-wide CGM-free planting zone in the middle of the raised bed. The CGM applications were then either incorporated into the top 2.5 to 5.0 cm of the soil surface with a rolling cultivator or left undisturbed on the soil surface. `Lemondrop' summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) was then direct-seeded into the center of the raised beds. When averaged across the other factors, there was not a significant difference between powdered and granulated CGM formulations or incorporating and non-incorporating the CGM for either squash plant survival or yields. CGM application rates made a significant difference for both squash survival and yields, when averaged across all other factors. As the CGM application rate increased, the plant survival and yields decreased. When averaged across all other factors, the banded application resulted in significantly greater crop safety (59% plant survival) and yields (228 cartons/ha) than the solid applications (25% plant survival and 118 cartons/ha). The research demonstrated the potential usefulness of CGM in direct-seeded squash production, if used in a banded application configuration. Additional research should further investigate the interaction of CGM application rates and the width of the CGM-free zone on crop safety for various vegetables.