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  • Author or Editor: Bizhen Hu x
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Hydroponic systems have become increasingly popular for growers in recent years for year-round local production. Whereas optimal air temperature for plant growth has been considered, optimal root zone temperatures have not been examined as thoroughly. The objective of this research was to determine the optimal water temperature for growing different types of basil hydroponically. Research was conducted at the greenhouses in Stillwater, OK. Seventeen cultivars were selected from six main types of basil and transplanted into Nutrient Film Technique hydroponic systems, and three water temperature treatments were applied: 23, 27.5, and 31 °C. Height, width, average leaf area, leaf number, chlorophyll concentration (chlorophyll readings obtained with the Minolta-502 SPAD meter), shoot fresh weight, shoot dry weight, and root dry weight were evaluated. In general, the 27.5 and 31 °C treatments were not greater than each other in terms of leaf number and root dry weight but were greater than the 23 °C treatment. The 31 °C treatment had the greatest height, whereas width, average leaf area, shoot fresh weight, and shoot dry weight were not different from the 27.5 °C treatment. The 23 °C treatment had the greatest chlorophyll concentration (SPAD) value. Cultivar differences were significant in average leaf area and SPAD, with ‘Spicy Bush’ having the smallest leaf area and purple basil having the greatest SPAD value. For all cultivars except purple basil and ‘Large Leaf Italian’, a 27.5 °C water temperature would be recommended for greater plant growth.

Open Access

The primary objective of this study was to test an improved method for estimating vegetable seedling vigor, which is important in grafting and other contexts. The study was also designed to test correlations between destructive and nondestructive measures of seedling growth and the effect of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) rootstock and scion seedling vigor on graft success. Emergence and biomass accumulation and distribution of 18 tomato rootstock and five scion cultivars were monitored in the greenhouse through 18 days after sowing using seven destructive and nondestructive measures; growing conditions were also monitored. Plant and environmental data were used: 1) to develop cultivar growth curves, rank-sum values, and multicomponent seedling vigor values, and 2) to test correlations between percent canopy cover and other foliar measures. Also, seedlings representing all 90 rootstock–scion combinations and their associated seedling vigor values were cleft-grafted using accepted methods and grafted-plant survival was evaluated 2 weeks later. The experiment was conducted twice. Overall seedling vigor and its components differed significantly between runs of the experiment and among cultivars, although most cultivars had similar rankings (relative vigor) in both runs. Rank-sum and seedling vigor values ordered cultivars similarly. However, the range of cultivar seedling vigor values (3–11,504) greatly exceeded the range of rank-sum values (4–92). Correlations between destructive and nondestructive measures were significant. Graft success did not differ among cultivar combinations. We conclude that 1) the method to estimate seedling vigor described herein is useful in grafting and other contexts, including when discerning cultivar and other treatment effects, 2) nondestructive measures can substitute for some destructive ones, and 3) graft success in tomato is unrelated to rootstock and scion seedling vigor, provided proper grafting and healing techniques and commercial cultivars are used.

Full access

Algae is not desirable in hydroponics and creates problems such as reduced yield and decreased dissolved oxygen, and affects the physiology of plants and, thus, needs to be controlled. An experiment was conducted in Ebb and Flow hydroponic systems to investigate the application timing and rates of two hydrogen peroxide products (Zerotol and PERpose Plus). Treatments included 35 mL weekly, 35 mL biweekly, 70 mL weekly, 70 mL biweekly, and a control with no application of hydrogen peroxide using a 40-gallon reservoir of water. Pepper ‘Early Jalapeno’ and ‘Lunchbox Red’ and tomato ‘Geronimo’ and ‘Little Sicily’ were used. The study was conducted in a split-plot design with two replications over time. Plant growth parameters, including plant height, flower number, net CO2 assimilation, fresh weight, and dry weight were recorded. Algae data, including dry weight, algae cell counts, and chl a were also measured. Results indicated that with increasing rate and timing of either product decreased algae counts, dry weight, and chl a values. However, weekly and biweekly application of 70 mL of both products were not different for algae quantification. In pepper, plant height, shoot fresh and dry weight, and root fresh and dry weight were found to be significantly greater with Zerotol 35 mL biweekly, Zerotol 70 mL weekly, PERpose Plus 35 mL biweekly, and PERpose Plus 70 mL weekly compared with the control. ‘Lunchbox Red’ was significantly greater than ‘Early Jalapeno’ in all growth parameters, except soil plant analysis development (SPAD). ‘Lunchbox Red’ had the greatest flower number, with weekly application of 70 mL PERpose Plus. In tomato, greatest flower number and SPAD were observed in ‘Geronimo’ with a weekly application of 70 mL PERpose Plus and 70 mL Zerotol, respectively. Greater shoot and root fresh and dry weight for both tomato cultivars were recorded with 35 mL biweekly or 70 mL weekly application with either product. The results from both plants as well as algae analysis suggest that weekly application of 70 mL of either Zerotol or PERpose Plus produced the best results in terms of controlling algae and improving the growth of pepper and tomato plants.

Open Access

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is one of the most extensively cultivated horticultural crops in the world. Factors such as yield, size, taste, and lycopene content are important criteria that may impact the selection of tomato cultivars for different production systems. The aim of the current study was to evaluate different slicer and cherry tomato cultivars for production under greenhouse and open field conditions. Three cultivars of slicer (BHN 964, Trust, and Geronimo) and cherry (BHN 268, Favorita, and Sakura) tomatoes were tested using randomized complete block design in 2019 and 2020. Results showed that the performance of tested cultivars differed under greenhouse verses open field conditions. Among cherry tomato cultivars in 2020, BHN 268 and Sakura produced significantly greater yield under open field conditions, while under greenhouse conditions yield of BHN 268 was the lowest. Similarly, cherry tomato fruit size from ‘BHN 268’ and ‘Sakura’ was also significantly greater than ‘Favorita’ under field conditions, whereas under greenhouse conditions, the fruit size of ‘Sakura’ was significantly greater than both ‘BHN 268’ and ‘Favorita’. Among slicer tomato cultivars, BHN 964 produced significantly greater yield and had a greater average fruit size than the other two cultivars under greenhouse conditions in 2020 while, Geronimo produced significantly similar or larger yield and had a similar average fruit size compared with BHN 964 under open field conditions. Tomatoes produced under open field conditions were rated significantly greater for taste compared with those produced under greenhouse conditions. Lycopene content in both slicer and cherry tomato cultivars was influenced by the interaction of production type, cultivars, and harvest time. Therefore, it can be concluded that BHN 964 and Geronimo were the highest in lycopene among slicer tomato cultivars for greenhouse and open field production, respectively. Among cherry tomato cultivars, BHN 268 was the highest in lycopene for open field production and Sakura for greenhouse production. Additionally, open field–produced tomatoes taste better than greenhouse-produced tomatoes, but lycopene content may be constrained for mid- and late-season fruits due to high temperature conditions under open field conditions.

Open Access

‘Cherokee Purple’ tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) plants are a highly sought-after heirloom cultivar in the United States but are low yielding and highly susceptible to soil-borne pathogens, and may benefit from being grafted. Soilless systems such as aquaponics and hydroponics help increase yield, mitigate disease, and serve as an alternative to field production. The objective of this study was to evaluate a grafting combination of ‘Cherokee Purple’ × ‘Maxifort’ and nongrafted controls in 1.85-m2 media grow beds with hydroponic and aquaponic systems using copper nose bluegill in a greenhouse. Grafting increased stem diameter, leaf count, stem height, flower count, and bud count compared with nongrafted plants. In aquaponics, grafting increased the phosphorus uptake over nongrafted plants grown in the aquaponic system. Grafting resulted in greater fresh (49.2%) and dry (40.0%) shoot biomass, and fresh (33.3%) and dry (42.8%) root biomass. Grafting also increased the uptake of copper and sulfur in the aquaponic systems. The hydroponic systems resulted in greater leaf count, soil plant analysis development, stem height, shoot biomass, and greater boron, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and manganese levels than aquaponic systems. Total fruit number and weight were greater in hydroponic systems than in aquaponic systems by 35.4% and 30.4%, respectively, but fruit splitting was a problem in both. Aquaponics resulted in greater root fresh weight than hydroponics. The nutrients zinc and copper increased with the use of aquaponic systems over hydroponic systems. This research suggests that the type of system can affect growth and nutrient uptake, and ‘Cherokee Purple’ should not be used in a soilless system because of excessive fruit splitting, leading to unmarketable fruit and low yield, unless environmental conditions can be managed during the heat of the summer.

Open Access