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  • Author or Editor: Alvaro O. Pacheco x
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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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