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- Author or Editor: Carl E. Sams x
Plant spacing and production systems are important factors for maximizing production of greenhouse-grown tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum). Two studies were conducted simultaneously and independently, each in a 33 × 96-ft greenhouse in Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 using perlite soilless bag culture. The purpose of the first study was to evaluate yield and fruit weight of ‘Trust’ tomatoes spaced 12, 16, 20, 24, or 28 inches in-row. The second study was conducted to determine the effect of pruning production systems on yield and fruit weight. The first system is pruning two plants per bag each to a single leader and the second is pruning one plant per bag to double leader. A plant spacing of 28 inches resulted in significantly more fruit per plant than the 12-inch plant spacing. However, yield per area decreased with wider plant spacings. Plants spaced 12 inches apart in-row produced 2.8 and 3.8 lb/ft2 total yield in the fall and spring, respectively, compared with plants spaced 28 inches apart that produced 1.7 and 2.2 lb/ft2 in the fall and spring. Using a production system with one plant per bag pruned to a double leader increased yield by 6.4 lb/plant in the fall and 15.7 lb/plant in the spring. On a per bag basis, pruning two tomato plants to one leader increased total yield by 2.6 lb/bag and was more economical in the fall; whereas, in the spring, the double leader production system did not affect yield but was more economical.
Using soybean oil to control insect pests, delay bloom, and thin fruit in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] production could reduce yield losses and fruit thinning costs compared to the current practice of using petroleum oil spray to control insect pests alone. The higher annua cost of soybean oil spray compared to petroleum oil spray was more than offset by higher average annual revenue from increased peach yields and lower thinning costs. At one location, soybean oil to delay bloom and thin fruit unambiguously reduced production risk. At another location, both mean and variance of returns were higher, but a lower coefficient of variation suggested lower relative risk for the soybean oil spray alternative. Risk resulting from the unanticipated influence of weather and mismanagement on the effectiveness of soybean oil spray were not considered in this analysis. More research is needed to hone in on the optimum soybean oil spray rates under alternative environmental and management conditions.
Lettuce is one of the major crops of the United States and can provide a large portion of income for small to medium size growers. Growing lettuce in adverse environmental conditions can have negative effects on quality. Elevated levels of potassium (K) have been shown to positively influence quality in various fruits and vegetables, such as tomato, pepper, and strawberry. However, research is lacking on the effects of elevated levels of K on leafy vegetables such as lettuce. Therefore, seeds of ‘Cimmaron’ lettuce were sown into a soilless medium and grown in greenhouse conditions at 25/20 °C (day/night). At 27 days after seeding, the plantlets were transferred to 3.8-L plastic nursery pots. Plants were grown under increasing K treatments of 98 (control), 185 (2×), 370 (3×), and 740 (8×) kg·ha−1. Plants were harvested 56 days after seeding. Application of elevated levels of K fertilizer treatments in red romaine lettuce had a positive quadratic effect on plant height increasing 7.0% from the control. Fresh weight (FW) increased 13.0% from the control and dry weight (DW) increased 15.5%. There was linear increase of 30.0% in sucrose concentrations in lettuce leaf tissue. In addition, the increase in K treatments caused an increase of 43.3% in K concentrations in the leaf tissue. In other nutrients, such as Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulfur (S), there was a decrease in the leaf tissue of 61%, 52%, and 46% when compared with the control treatment, respectively. The results of the current study suggest that increasing K fertilizer to 185 kg·ha−1 has the best results for plant height, FW and DW, and mineral nutrient concentrations. This study may initiate research that could examine the effects of increasing K fertilizer levels in lettuce or other leafy green vegetables on antioxidant levels and postharvest storability.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a succulent weedy annual in much of the United States. In other parts of the world, purslane is grown as a specialty crop, valued for its nutritional quality. As a leafy crop, purslane contributes carotenoid phytochemicals in the typical Mediterranean diet. Nitrogen (N) influences plant growth and alters pigment composition and accumulation. However, little is known about the impact N fertility may have on pigment concentrations in purslane shoot tissues. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of N fertility levels on biomass and concentrations of nutritionally important carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments in purslane. Green Leaf and Golden Leaf purslane cultivars were grown in nutrient solution culture under N concentrations of 13, 26, 52, or 105 mg·L−1. Plants were harvested at 45 days after planting (DAP), and measured for concentrations of shoot pigments using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methodology. There was no influence of N treatment concentration on purslane shoot tissue fresh weight (FW) accumulation. Nitrogen treatment significantly influenced shoot tissue β-carotene (BC), lutein (LUT), neoxanthin (NEO), total carotenoids, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total chlorophyll, and the chlorophyll a to b ratio in purslane shoot tissues. Concentrations of LUT, NEO, violaxanthin (VIO), chlorophyll b, total xanthophyll cycle pigments, and the chlorophyll a to b ratio differed between the purslane cultivars. Increases in N concentrations acted to increase concentrations of nutritionally important shoot tissue carotenoid pigments in only the Green Leaf purslane cultivar. Therefore, N fertility management and cultivar selection should be considered when producing purslane as a nutritious specialty vegetable crop.
Consumer interest in Edamame (edible soybean) is increasing due to reported health benefits associated with diets high in soy. The purpose of this study was to compare four varieties of edible soybean grown at four plant spacings on three planting dates. The lines were grown at the Plateau Research and Education Center in Crossville, Tenn. They were analyzed for horticultural traits and isoflavone content. All lines were at the R6 stage. Fresh weight of pods, weight of 200 pods per plot, the number of seeds per 200 pods, and the weight of 100 seeds were recorded from two-row plots (6.10 m x 1.52 m). A significant (P < 0.001) difference was found for fresh weight among planting dates. The May planting had the highest mean fresh weight (3118 g/plot), followed by the June (3068 g/plot) and July (2131 g/plot) dates. The weight per 100 seeds was significantly different (P < 0.001) for planting date and genotype. May seed weight was highest at 49 g, followed by June at 45 g, and July at 42 g per 100 seeds. `Gardensoy-43' was the highest-yielding variety, with a mean of 3253 g/plot. It was followed by `TN00-60' and `TN03-349', with mean fresh weights of 2730 and 2723 g/plot, respectively. The line `TN5601T' had the lowest mean fresh weight of 2389 g/plot. Both fresh weight (P < 0.001) and weight per 100 seeds (P < 0.05) were significantly different among plant spacings. Twenty-six plants per meter within rows yielded the highest total fresh weight per plot (3071 g), but had the lowest mean weight per 100 seeds (43 g). Spacing three plants per meter within rows resulted in the highest weight per 100 seeds (48 g), but the lowest fresh weight per plot (2122 g). Isoflavone content will be measured for each variety, planting date, and spacing.
The objective of this study was to examine efficacy of soybean oil dormant sprays to manage San Jose scale (Quadraspidiotus perniciosus Comstock) on apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). On 14 Feb. 1994 and again on 20 Feb. 1995, `Bounty' apple trees were: 1) left unsprayed (control) or sprayed to runoff with: 2) 3% (v/v) or 3) 6% degummed soybean oil with 0.6% (v/v) Latron B-1956 sticker spreader, or 4) 3% 6E Volck Supreme Spray petroleum oil. Crawler emergence occurred 17 May-28 June, 7 July-30 Aug., and 7 Sept.-24 Oct. 1994. First-generation crawler emergence had started by 8 May in 1995. Both 3% petroleum oil and 6% soybean oil sprays reduced the numbers of first- and second-generation crawlers by 93% in 1994 and first-generation crawlers by 98% in 1995. The 3% soybean oil treatment reduced first- and second-generation crawlers by 60% in 1994 and first-generation crawlers by 83% in 1995. In 1995, apple fruit infestations by first-generation scales on the 3% soybean-, 6% soybean-, and 3% petroleum oil-treated trees did not differ significantly, but all fruit were significantly less infested than the controls.
`Legacy' southern highbush blueberry plants at the Middle Tennessee Research and Education Center were sprayed on 22 Feb. 2005 with 0%, 6%, 9%, or 12% soybean oil. The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete-block design with five replications. Flower bud abortion was evaluated by sampling 25 flower buds/plant on 21 Mar., dissecting, and visually examining buds for browning of ovaries. Flower bud phonology was rated periodically until first bloom and then percentage of open bloom was rated every 2 to 3 days. Fruit were harvested for yield and 50-berry samples taken weekly for the first 4 weeks to determine berry size. Sprays of 6%, 9%, and 12% soybean oil delayed the 50% open bloom date of `Legacy' by 2, 4, and 9 days, respectively, but also caused 9%, 35% and 87% mortality of flower buds. `Legacy' bushes sprayed with 0%, 6%, 9% and 12% soybean yielded 11.6, 13.7, and 10.3, and 4.5 lb/bush, respectively. Berry size was increased by 14% to 23% by oil sprays. In a second experiment, `Climax' blueberries in a commercial planting in Spring City, Tenn., were sprayed on 4 Mar. with water, 5% TNsoy14 (96% soybean oil, a.i.), 500 ppm abscisic acid (ABA) (Valent BioSciences Corp., Long Grove, Ill.), or the combination of oil and ABA (seven replications). Flower bud development and bloom were rated as previously described. Spraying 5% TNsoy14 or 500 ppm ABA delayed the 50% open bloom date by 1 day and the combination of the two delayed bloom by an additional day. On 5 Apr., `Climax' bushes sprayed with 5% TNsoy14, 500 ppm ABA, and 5% TNsoy14 plus 500 ppm ABA had 49%, 41%, and 20% open bloom compared to 70% open bloom on control plants. The 5% oil, 500 ppm ABA, and the oil plus ABA treatments did not significantly affect crop load or berry size.
Biofumigation is an alternative to traditional methods of soil sterilization such as methyl bromide. Biofumigation utilizes volatile, pesticidal compounds in soil incorporated plant material from various Brassica species. Three experiments were conducted to study the degradation of allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) generated from the breakdown of glucosinolates present in Oriental mustard (Brassica juncea L. Czerniak). Mustard seed meal was incorporated into a sandy clay loam soil in all experiments. In the first experiment, samples were hydrated and then held in an incubator at 20 ± 0.2 °C. Samples were taken periodically for 7 days or until AITC was not detectable. For the second experiment, hydrated samples were removed from the incubator after 4 hours and 5 mL of ethyl acetate was added. The samples were then placed in a refrigerator at 4 ± 0.2 °C and samples were taken periodically over 77 days. For the third experiment, samples were taken from a strawberry plot experiment grown in a randomized complete block design. Samples were taken and 5 mL of ethyl acetate was added. Then samples were placed into a cooler until returning to the laboratory. The incubator experiment was repeated and showed that the highest concentration of AITC occurred between 2 and 8 hours after hydration. The storage experiment showed a stable relationship between time and AITC degradation. AITC was still present after 77 days. The strawberry plot experiment showed rapid AITC degradation similar to the incubator experiment. Future research will be done to confirm the effects of temperature and glucosinolate content on the amount of allyl isothiocyanate present.
Biofumigation is a sustainable method of soil management in cash crop rotations that can increase soil organic matter (SOM), moderate soil pH, suppress weeds and soilborne pathogens through glucosinolates (GSL), and increase water infiltration. This 2-year (2011–13) field study evaluated four different Brassica crops for their biofumigant potential in a chile pepper rotation system in southern New Mexico. The four cultivars included: three mustards (Brassica juncea ‘Caliente 61’, ‘Caliente 199’, and ‘Pacific Gold’) and one broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis ‘Arcadia’). As a result of concerns that these mustards could be hosts for nematodes, a greenhouse study was conducted in the second year to evaluate the biofumigant crops for their southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita, RKN) host suitability and their seedling establishment in the presence of RKN. In Year 1 (2011), conditions were ideal, which resulted in high mustard biomass production and, consequently, significantly higher SOM and lower pH than the bare soil control plots. However, there were no chile pepper yield differences among treatments. Conditions were much less favorable in Year 2 and the resultant poor biomass production did not cause an increase in SOM as seen in Year 1. In the RKN greenhouse study, broccoli was the least susceptible biofumigant crop. After one nematode generation (683 cumulative heat units), RKN populations were less than half of the original inoculum level on the broccoli. However, RKN populations increased in the presence of ‘Caliente 61’, ‘Caliente 199’, and ‘Pacific Gold’. Overall, broccoli produced lower biomass and lower GSL concentrations than the mustard treatments but may be a valuable crop for growers with nematode issues because RKN populations decreased in its presence. Based on high biomass production and high GSL concentration, ‘Caliente 199’ showed the most potential as a biofumigant crop for southern New Mexico.
Vegetable crops can be significant sources of nutritionally important dietary carotenoids, and Brassica are sources that also exhibit antioxidant and anticarcinogenic activity. The family Brassicaceae contains a diverse group of plant species commercially important in many parts of the world. The six economically important Brassica species are closely related genetically. Three diploid species (B. nigra, B. rapa, B. oleracea) are the natural progenitors of the amphidiploid species (B. juncea, B. napus, B. carinata). The objective of this study was to characterize the accumulation of important dietary carotenoid pigments among the genetically related Brassica species. High-performance liquid chromatographic quantification revealed significant differences in carotenoid and chlorophyll pigment concentrations among the Brassica species. Brassica rapa accumulated the highest concentrations of antheraxanthin [0.79 mg/100 g fresh weight (FW)], lutein (8.89 mg/100 g FW), and zeaxanthin (0.75 mg/100 g FW). The highest concentrations of β-carotene (4.41 mg/100 g FW) and total chlorophyll (125.9 mg/100 g FW) were found in B. juncea. Brassica nigra accumulated the highest concentrations of 5,6-epoxylutein (0.41 mg/100 g FW) and violaxanthin (2.28 mg/100 g FW), whereas B. oleracea accumulated the highest concentrations of neoxanthin (2.10 mg/100 g FW). For many of the pigments analyzed, the amphidiploids B. carinata and B. napus accumulated significantly less carotenoid concentrations than the diploid species and B. juneca. Brassica convey unique health attributes when consumed in the diet. Identification of genetic relationships among the Brassica species would be beneficial information for improvement programs designed to increase carotenoid values.