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  • Author or Editor: Joseph M. Kemble x
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In 1994, a study was conducted in Crossville, Ala., to determine if differences in leaf P concentration and crop yield occurred when P was applied as either a broadcast or banded treatment. Phosphorus (0, 34, 67, 101, and 134 kg·ha–1) was banded (2 × 2) or broadcast applied and incorporated before planting. Other nutrients were applied based on current recommendations and soil testing. As level of P increased from 0 to 134 kg·ha–1, fresh weight of harvested ears increased quadratically. There was no difference in fresh weight of harvested ears between banding and broadcasting. Yields were not maximized within the range of applied P, although it seems that yield reaches a plateau near the highest rate of applied P. Percent of P in corn ear leaves did not differ among treatments. There was no difference in P leaf concentrations between the banded and broadcast treatments, indicating that response in yield occurred due to rate of P application, not method.

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Experiments were conducted in 1989 to determine the heritability of shortened fruit maturation (SFM) period in 871213-1, an inbred cherry tomato line (Lycopersicon esculentum var. cerasiforme (Dunal.) A. Gray), and to determine the relationship between this trait and fruit size. In the first study, a cross was made between 871213-1 and NC 21C-1, an inbred cherry line. NC 21C-1 had a mean maturation period of 40.8 days compared to 32.0 days for 871213-1. A mean maturation period for the F1 hybrid of 32.9 days and 32.2 days was found using 871213-1 as the female and male parent, respectively. Analysis of the data from parental, F1, F2 and backcross generations yielded estimates of broad-sense and narrow-sense heritabilities for SFM as 0.72 and 0.56, respectively. Further analysis indicated that genetic control of SFM was quantitative in nature and highly dominant. A test for epistatic interaction showed significance. In the second study, an F2 population from the cross 871213-1 x NC 309-1, a large-fruited tomato line (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), was evaluated to determine if any correlations existed between fruit size and SFM. Two fruit characteristics, locule number and fruit weight, were used as estimates of fruit size. Correlations between SFM and these two characteristics were +0.28 and +0.61, respectively. Broad-sense heritability of SFM was estimated as 0.64.

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The efficacy of garlic spray (GS; Garlic Barrier™) as an alternative to conventional chemical control of disease and insect pests was evaluated on bell pepper and lettuce. Treatments consisted of a recommended chemical spray as needed (Treat. 1), GS applied once (Treat. 2) or twice (Treat. 3) a week, and water spray applied twice a week (Treat. 4). Because of no pest pressure during the test, no chemical sprays were used in Treat. 1. Differences among bell pepper yields were not significant (P > 0.50). For lettuce, Treat. 2 resulted in significantly (P = 0.02) higher head yield. Differences among treatments were not visually detectable in the field. These results suggested that GB applied at the manufacturer's rate (Treat. 2) did not adversely affect bell pepper and lettuce growth and yield. Garlic smell was not detectable on either vegetables, even after Treat. 3. Due to a low pest pressure, this study failed to identify beneficial effects of the GS. Without more scientific reports, relying only on GS to control pests of bell pepper and lettuce may involve uncontrolled risks.

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A TurboPascal computer program was developed to calculate daily water budgets and schedule irrigations. Daily water use (di) is calculated as pan evaporation (Ep) times a crop factor (CFi), where i is crop age. The water balance uses a dynamic rooting depth, the soil water holding capacity (SWC) and rainfall data (Ri). di is added to the cumulative water use (Di-1) and Ri is subtracted from Di. An irrigation in the amount of Di is recommended when Di approximates allowable water use. The program cart be adapted to most crop and soil types, and can be used for on-time irrigation scheduling or for simulating water application using past or projected weather data. This program should increase the acceptance of modem scheduling irrigation techniques by farmers and consultants. Additionally, this program may have application in an overall water management programs for farms, watersheds or other areas where water management is required.

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The effect of irrigation scheduling method (variable crop factor, 1; constant crop factor, 2; empirical, 3), soil water tension (25, 50, 75kPa SWT), tillage (disc arrow, DA, moldboard plow, MP) and planting dates (PD) on total irrigation (TI), number of irrigations (NI), useful (UR) and lost rainfall (LR) was studied using a Pascal program that simulated water budgets of 720 crops of snap bean over 10 years. NI and TI were significantly (p<0.01) lower with met.1. Met.3 had the lowest LR and highest UR, but did not allow the complete calculation of the water balance. TI was significantly higher at 25kPa. MP tillage requested fewer NI and less TI, had lower LR and higher UR. Early PD requested fewer NI and TI, and had higher LR. Hence, when water supply was not limiting and weather data were available, a combination of Met.1, MP at any PD provided a continuous supply of water to the crop while controlling water deficit.

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Most potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is produced as a non-irrigated crop in the southeastern United States. This practice makes potato yields dependent on rainfall pattern and amount. An irrigation scheduling method based on a water balance and class A pan evaporation data (Ep) was evaluated in Spring 1996 on a fine sandy loam soil with `LaSoda' potatoes. Planting date was 9 Apr. and standard production practices were followed. The model was (12.7 DAH + 191) * 0.5 ASW = D(DAH-1) + [Ep (0.12 + 0.023 DAH - 0.00019 DAH*DAH) - R(DAH) - I(DAH)], where DAH is days after hilling (DAH = 0 on 14 May), ASW is available soil water (0.13 mm/mm), D is soil water deficit (mm), R is rainfall (mm) and I is irrigation (mm). Root depth expanded at a rate of 13 mm/day to a maximum depth of 305 mm. Root depth at hilling was 191 mm. Controlled levels of water application ranging between 0% and 161% of the model rate were created with drip tapes. The model scheduled irrigations on 35, 39, 43 and 49 DAH. On 85 DAH, potatoes were harvested and graded. Irrigation influenced total yield, marketable yield, and combined US #1 grades (P < 0.01; R 2 > 0.85). Mean marketable yields were 19, 28, and 21 t/ha for the 0%, 100%, and 160% irrigation rates, respectively. These results suggest that supplementing rainfall with irrigation and controlling the amount of water applied by adjusting irrigation to actual weather conditions could increase potato yields. Excessive water, as well as limiting water, reduced potato yields.

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Compact-growth-habit (CGH) tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) do not require the pruning, staking, and tying required for many fresh-market tomato cultivars. In 1990, 5-week-old transplants of the CGH tomato breeding line NC 13G-1 were grown in single rows with in-row spacings of 31, 46, 61, and 76 cm and in double rows with in-row spacings of 31 and 46 cm. NC 13G-1 produced high early and total season marketable yields when grown in either double-row treatment compared to any single-row treatment. In 1991 and 1992, 4- and 5-week-old NC 13G-1 transplants were produced in five root cell volumes (8.6, 13.6, 27.0, 37.1, and 80.0 cm3), transplanted into double rows with an in-row spacing of 46 cm, and evaluated for yield. Five-week-old transplants produced in 37.1- and 80-cm3 cells flowered sooner after transplanting and produced higher early season yields than 4-week-old transplants produced in the three smaller cells. Midseason yields increased quadratically and late-season yields decreased quadratically as root cell volume increased. Total season marketable yields did not differ among treatments. In 1991, production costs were influenced by root cell volume, but not in 1992. In 1992, net returns for the four smallest cell volumes were similar, and lower than for transplants grown in the largest cell volume. In both years, highest net returns were achieved with transplants produced in 37.1-cm3 cells. Considering the estimated 1992 net returns of $17,000/ha, production of CGH tomatoes may provide an alternative for staked-tomato growers concerned with labor availability and production costs, even though marketable yield from NC 13G-1 was lower than with a conventional cultivar under the standard system.

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The influence of flat cell volume (cavity containing growing medium) on transplant growth and development of NC 13G-1, a compact-growth-habit, fresh-market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) breeding line, was compared to that of a normal growth habit line, NC 8288. Transplants of each line were produced in four cell volumes (3.3, 27, 37.1, and 80cm3) for 5 weeks, evaluated and then transplanted to larger containers, and grown until anthesis. During the first 5 weeks after seeding, plant dry weight did not differ between the lines; however, plant height of NC 13G-1 was ≈60% of the height of NC 8288. For both lines, number of days from sowing to anthesis decreased as root cell volumes increased. For space-efficient production of large quantities of compact-growth-habit tomato transplants, flats with root cell volumes as small as 27 and 37 cm3 can be used without greatly delaying anthesis.

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In-season nitrogen (N) management is a common challenge in organic vegetable production. This is especially true when using polyethylene mulch combined with fertigation. Soluble organic N sources suitable for fertigation in organic vegetable production are needed. The objective of this research was to evaluate an organic fish fertilizer in a squash/collard rotation and to compare its effectiveness to inorganic sources. A 2-year crop sequence of yellow squash (Cucurbita pepo) and collards (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) was used. To eliminate the rotation order effect, the crops were switched each year: yellow squash-collard in Year 1 and collard-yellow squash in Year 2. Three N sources were used along with a zero N control: hydrolyzed fish fertilizer (HFF), inorganic N source with secondary and micronutrients (INORGWM), and inorganic N without secondary or micronutrients (INORGWO). Three N rates and a control were also included: 1) N at the recommended rate (152 kg·ha−1 for yellow squash and 110 kg·ha−1 for collards); 2) N at 80% of the recommended rate; 3) N at 60% of the recommended rate; and 4) a zero N control. Year 2012 yellow squash had a 30% higher yield when grown with inorganic N as compared with squash grown in HFF. Year 2012 collards had a 21% higher yield when grown with INORGWM as compared with collards grown in the HFF. In the second year, highest yields of collards were again produced in the INORGWM treatments followed by those grown in the HFF treatments. Second-year squash grown in the inorganic N treatments produced highest yields, and squash grown in the HFF had a 16% lower yield as compared with those grown in the two inorganic N sources. INORGWO produced lower marketable collard yields than INORGWM or HFF as a result of sulfur deficiency. Although yields were reduced in the crops grown in HFF treatments, the premium price and resultant profit associated with organic products were enough to offset the reduced yield. If growers can obtain the price premiums associated with organic produce, the use of HFF could be an economically feasible option in organic vegetable production.

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Mini-watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.)] cultivars Valdoria and Vanessa were evaluated at 20, 30, 40, or 50 days after anthesis to determine maturity at harvest. Fruit circumference, weight, ground spot color, and number of senescent tendrils were measured as external indicators for each watermelon. Soluble solids content (SS), pH, and SS:total acid ratio (SS:TA) of each watermelon were determined to provide an indication of internal maturity. Regression and Akaike Information Criterion fit statistics analyses were performed to determine significant relationships and best predictors for external indicators of internal maturity factors. In this study, external predictors were most closely linked to fruit pH rather than to SS or SS/TA. Of the external indicators tested, fruit weight, circumference, number of senescent tendrils, and International Commission on Illumination (CIE) b* color coordinate values of the ground spot were best related to fruit pH. According to the regression models, two completely senesced tendrils, a circumference of 53 cm, weight of 3 kg, and CIE b* coordinate ground spot value of 40 are each sufficient to predict maturity when pH is used as the internal indicator of maturity under the conditions of this experiment.

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