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  • Author or Editor: Mary Ruth McDonald x
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Field trials were conducted to evaluate resistance to clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae, pathotype 6) in green cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) and napa cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis) at sites in southern Ontario in 2009 and 2010. The reaction of green cabbage cultivars Kilaton, Tekila, Kilaxy, and Kilaherb and the commercial standard cultivars, Bronco or Atlantis, were evaluated on organic (two site-years) and mineral soils (two site-years) that were naturally infested with the clubroot pathogen. In addition, fluazinam fungicide was drench applied to one treatment of the commercial standard cultivar immediately after transplanting. The napa cabbage cultivars Yuki, Deneko, Bilko, and Mirako (in 2009) and Emiko, Mirako, Yuki, and China Gold (in 2010) were evaluated only on organic soils (two site-years). At harvest, the roots of each plant were assessed for clubroot incidence and severity. Also, plant and head characteristics of the resistant green cabbage cultivars were evaluated at one site in 2010. The green cabbage cultivars Kilaton, Tekila, Kilaxy, and Kilaherb were resistant to pathotype 6 (0% to 3.8% incidence), but ‘Bronco’ was susceptible (64% to 100% incidence). Application of fluazinam reduced clubroot severity on ‘Bronco’ by 6% at one of three sites. Resistance was more effective in reducing clubroot than application of fluazinam. Plant and head characteristics of the resistant cultivars were similar to those of ‘Bronco’ treated with fluazinam. Napa cabbage cultivars Yuki, Deneko, Bilko, Emiko, and China Gold were resistant to clubroot (0% to 13% incidence), and ‘Mirako’ was highly susceptible (87% to 92% incidence). We conclude that the clubroot resistance available in several cultivars of green and napa cabbage was effective against P. brassicae pathotype 6.

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The Nutrient Management Act (NMA) established in the province of Ontario in 2002 has prompted a re-evaluation of nitrogen (N) management practices. However, N management research in Ontario is currently outdated. The experiment in this 3-year study was designed to establish the yield response of carrot (Daucus carota) to N fertilization on mineral and organic soils and identify the relative yield effects of preplant and residual soil N. In 2002, N was applied at 0%, 50%, 100%, 150%, and 200% of recommended N application rates in Ontario as ammonium nitrate (organic soil: 60 kg·ha-1 preplant; mineral soil: 110 kg·ha-1 split 66% preplant/33% sidedress). Experimental units were split in half in 2003 and 2004, and N was applied to one half in 2003 and both halves in 2004 to identify the effects of residual N from the previous season on yield. Crop stand, yield, and quality were assessed at harvest, and storability was assessed by placing carrots into cold storage for 6 months. Nitrogen application rate had no effect on the yield, quality, or storability of carrots grown on organic soil. On mineral soil there were no effects of applied N in the first year of the 3-year study. In the second and third year on mineral soil, yield increased in response to increasing N, up to 200% and 91% of the recommended application rate, respectively, based on the regression equations. Yield declined above 91% of the recommended application rate in the third year due to a decrease in stand at higher N application rates. There were no effects of N on carrot quality or storability on mineral soil. On mineral soil, residual N from the 2002 season had more effect on yield at harvest in 2003 than N applied in 2003. This major effect of residual soil N on yield provides an explanation for the lack of yield response to preplant N application in previous studies conducted in temperate regions. These results indicate that there is no single N recommendation that is appropriate for all years on mineral soil. Assessing the availability of N from the soil at different depths at seeding is recommended to determine the need for N application.

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Chives, (Allium schoenoprasum) consumption and production are increasing in Ontario. Rust (Puccinia allii F. Rudolphi) has been a problem with some chive cultivars for some growers, and in Ontario, basic information on production is nonexistent. The objectives were to identify cultivars with high yields, disease resistance and winter survivability. Plantings of six cultivars of chives were established in 2002 and 2003 in two contrasting environments, on organic (Kettleby) and mineral (Simcoe) soils; and one cultivar of garlic chives (A. tuberosum) at Kettleby. Leaves were harvested to a length of 30 cm, weighed and assessed for visible signs of rust. In Spring 2003, the number of dead plants was recorded to determine the overwinter survivability of each cultivar. Performance varied among cultivars and between locations. In Simcoe, Staro produced the highest yield in 2002 while generic (unnamed) chives produced the highest yield in the second year. In Kettleby, yield was similar among cultivars in 2002 but in 2003 generic chives produced the highest yield. Overwinter survival also varied between locations and second season yields were much higher in Kettleby. Less snow cover and subsequent winter injury is a possible explanation for the lower yields and poorer winter survival in Simcoe. No symptoms of rust were found in either location. Chives are a viable crop in Ontario, and appear to have different adaptability to regional soils and climates.

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With the introduction of nutrient management legislation in Ontario, there is a need to improve the efficiency of nitrogen (N) utilization. One possibility is to use critical nutrient concentrations in plant tissue as an indicator of the N nutritional status of the crop. Plant tissue analysis was used to determine the total N and nitrate-N (NO3-N) concentrations of cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.), carrots (Daucus carota L.), and onions (Allium cepa L.) grown in Ontario. The tissue samples were collected from plants as part of N fertilization studies from 1999 to 2001 on the organic soils in the Holland/Bradford Marsh area and the mineral soils near Simcoe, Ontario. Yield was assessed at harvest as an indicator of the N requirement of the crop. Testing the usefulness of critical NO3-N concentrations to indicate the N requirement of the crop was problematic because: 1) few published references were available to indicate a critical level of NO3-N in these crops; 2) tissue NO3-N concentrations were highly variable; and 3) field data rarely matched published references. Tissue total N concentrations from the trials corresponded to published critical N concentrations in some cases, however, the use of published critical N concentrations would have resulted in either over or under-application of fertilizer to the crops. Cultivar, soil type, and climate were shown to affect tissue N concentrations. Based on these results it was concluded that local research and field verification is required before tissue N critical nutrient concentrations become useful for determining fertilizer needs of cabbage, carrots, and onions grown in Ontario.

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Nutrient management legislation has prompted an evaluation of alternative nitrogen (N) management techniques. SPAD (Soil Plant Analysis Development) chlorophyll and Cardy nitrate (NO3 -) meters were evaluated for their potential as tissue nitrogen tests in cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), onions (Allium cepa), and carrots (Daucus carota subsp. sativus). Cabbage, carrots, and onions were grown on both organic and mineral soils in Ontario, Canada in 2000 and 2001. Nitrogen was applied at five rates to cabbage and carrots and three rates to onions ranging from 0 to 200% of current provincial recommended N rates. In an additional treatment, 50% of the recommended rate was applied preplant and sidedress N applications of 40 kg·ha-1 (35.7 lb/acre) were applied when SPAD chlorophyll meter readings fell below 95 (2000) and 97% (2001) of the highest N rate treatment. Yields were generally unaffected by N rate, except in cabbage in 2000, suggesting adequate N was present in most treatments. SPAD chlorophyll meter readings were highly variable among soil types, cultivars, and years. Chlorophyll readings reached a plateau in adequately fertilized crops in many instances. Cardy readings were less variable among soil types, cultivars, and years. The relationship between N rate and sap NO3-N concentration was generally linear. The results suggest that the use of a well-fertilized reference plot is most appropriate for the SPAD meter on these vegetable crops, while the use of region-specific critical NO3-N concentrations was most appropriate for the Cardy NO3-meter. Both meters would be cost advantageous when over 500 samples are tested. The meters were generally easy to use, except for the SPAD meter on carrots. The meters have potential for N management of vegetable crops under Ontario growing conditions.

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There is a potentially large market for locally produced organic bitter melons (Momordica charantia L.) in Canada, but it is a great challenge to grow this warm-season crop in open fields (OFs) due to the cool and short growing season. To test the feasibility of using high tunnels (HTs) for organic production of bitter melons in southern Ontario, plant growth, fruit yield and quality, and pest and disease incidence were compared among three production systems: OF, HT, and high tunnel with anti-insect netting (HTN) at Guelph in 2015. The highest marketable fruit yield was achieved in HTN (≈36 t·ha−1), followed by HT (≈29 t·ha−1), with the lowest yield obtained in OF (≈3 t·ha−1). Compared with OF, there were several other benefits for bitter melon production in HT and HTN: increased plant growth, advanced harvest timing, reduced pest numbers and disease incidence, and improved fruit quality traits such as increased individual fruit weight and size, and reduced postharvest water loss. In addition to higher yield, HTN had fewer insect pests and disease incidence compared with HT. The results suggest that HTs can be used for organic production of bitter melon in southern Ontario and regions with similar climates. Also, the addition of anti-insect netting to HTs is beneficial to production if combined with an effective pollination strategy.

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