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  • Author or Editor: Crofton Sloan x
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A circular garden, divided into eight sections or “slices,” was established for the purpose of demonstrating agriculture to youth. Each section of the garden represents a form of agriculture associated with the consumption of pizza. Soybeans were planted to represent oil, wheat to represent flour, vegetables to represent tomato sauce and vegetable toppings, herbs to represent spices, and pine trees to represent paper and cardboard products. A dairy cow, beef cow, and pig were fenced within separate sections to represent cheese, beef, and pork, respectively. The idea originated in Madera, Calif., from Thank-a-farmer, Inc. and was used with permission. The garden is an ongoing cooperative effort between research and extension personnel of Mississippi State University, local county officials, and area schools. The project has garnered support from the Mississippi Cattle Industry Board (start-up and maintenance funds), Heritage Vinyl Products (fencing), D.P. Fence Co. (construction), and Dominoe's Pizza (pizza lunches for the youth). We anticipate at least 1000 school children to visit the “Pizza Farm” each year, and we expect the community to continue to support and take pride in this project.

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The sweetpotato foundation seed program in Mississippi is committed to producing and supplying high-quality sweetpotato seed to the Mississippi sweetpotato industry. In 1991, a study was initiated to evaluate the effects of small heteroclinal chimeras in foundation seed roots on the root flesh quality in subsequent generations. The presence of small heteroclinal chimeras in parent seed roots did not increase the number or size of chimeras in three subsequent generations of storage roots.

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Rose (Rosa) cultivars from two breeders, Meilland Star and W. Kordes Söhne, were planted in field beds at Verona, Mississippi, to evaluate cut flower production potential. Seventeen cultivars of an outdoor cut flower series of roses from W. Kordes Söhne and nine cultivars of the Romantica series from Meilland Star were planted in adjacent field beds. The number of stems produced per plant and stem length were measured to assess the field production potential of cut flower stems in Mississippi. Based on 2 years of assessment, the best performing W. Kordes Söhne roses were ‘Fantasia Mondiale’, ‘Masquerade’, and ‘Pinguin’, averaging three to 12 stems/plant per month that were at least 30 cm long, and the best Meilland Star cultivars for outdoor cut flower production were ‘Frederic Mistral’, ‘Michelangelo’, ‘The McCartney Rose’, and ‘Traviata’, averaging three to 20 stems/plant per month that were at least 30 cm long. These cultivars performed well during the heat of the Mississippi summer.

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Thirteen single-stem and 16 branching sunflower (Helianthus annuus) cultivars were evaluated in field trials at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona for cut flower production. The objective of this study was to assess the production potential of field-grown, pollen-free sunflowers in the Mississippi environment. The stem length, stem diameter, and bloom diameter of the sunflower cultivars were assessed over six planting dates during the summer growing season to determine cultivar market potential. All the single-stem cultivars produced stem diameters greater than 1.4 cm and were too large for general florist usage. The stems and flowers of the branching cultivars were smaller than the single-stem cultivars, and were a better size for many floral arrangements. The yield of stems from the branching cultivars ranged from three to 13 stems per plant over six planting dates. In the branching group, the dark-flowered cultivars produced the greatest number and the longest stems in the trial. Yellow/gold-flowered branching sunflowers in this trial did not produce as many stems and the stem lengths were shorter compared to the dark-flowered sunflowers.

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Apple leaves from current seasons' growth at mid-season (July) and during dormancy (December) were used to determine the influence of various apple scion/rootstock combination on total non-structural carbohydrates (TNC). `Empire' and `Royal Gala' had higher foliar TNC at mid-season compared to `Ultra Gold' on MM.106. `Empire' had higher foliar TNC on Mark than on MM.111, M.7A and M.26. `Blushing Golden' had higher foliar TNC on MM.111 than on the remaining rootstock% There was no significant interaction between cultivar and rootstock. Foliar TNC During Dormancy: `Blushing Golden' had the highest and lowest foliar TNC on MM.111 and M.7A, respectively. Cultivar differences did not exist with any rootstock. Foliar TNC results of this study indicated that there was a higher foliar TNC percentage in leaves at mid-season compared to leaves during dormancy. Data indicated cultivar influences on foliar TNC only at the mid-season. It seems that cultivar differences in TNC might be due to an increase in TNC formation, which during dormancy was stabilized. Rootstock influenced foliar TNC both at mid-season and during dormancy.

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Urban soils are often not ideal planting sites due to removal of native topsoil or the mixing of topsoil and subsoil at the site. Adding pine bark based soil amendments to a clay soil altered soil bulk density and soil compaction which resulted in improved plant growth. Addition of nitrogen (N) or cotton gin waste to pine bark resulted in improved plant growth compared to pine bark alone. Growth of pansies (Viola × wittrockiana) during the 1999-2000 winter growing season was enhanced by the addition of pine bark plus nitrogen at 3- and 6-inch (7.6- and 15.2-cm) application rates (PBN3 and PBN6) and pine bark plus cotton gin waste at the 6 inch rate (CGW6). Plant size and flower production of vinca (Catharanthus roseus) were reduced by pine bark amendments applied at 3- or 6-inch rates (PB3 or PB6). Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) grown in plots amended with 3 or 6 inches of pine bark plus cotton gin waste (CGW3 or CGW6) and pine bark plus nitrogen at 3- or 6-inch rates (PBN3 or PBN6) produced greater shoot growth than other amendment treatments. In some instances PB3 treatments suppressed growth. High levels of N and soluble salts derived from CGW and PBN soil amendments incorporated into the soil probably contributed to the improved plant growth observed in this experiment.

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One hundred U.S. sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatus (L.) Lam.] plant introductions (PIs) and four control cultivars were screened for insect injury in 1993. Of the least injured by insects, 56 and 31 were tested again in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Among control cultivars, the most highly resistant was `Regal' (moderately resistant), followed by `Beauregard' (susceptible), `Centennial' (susceptible), and `Jewel' (susceptible). Stem and root injury by the sweetpotato weevil (SPW) [Cylas formicarius elegantulus (Summers)] and root injury by the wireworm (Conoderus sp.)–Diabrotica sp. (cucumber beetle)– Systena sp. (flea beetle) (WDS) complex were measured. SPW stem injury was less severe (P ≤ 0.05) in 1994 and 1995 in PIs 508523, 531116, and 564107 than in control cultivars. PIs 508523 and 531116 also suffered less SPW root injury than did `Regal'. In the six PIs with least SPW root injury, PIs 538354, 564149, 508523, 538286, 531116, and 564103, 70% to 85% of the roots were not injured compared with 36% in `Regal' and 6% in `Jewel'. SPW root injury scores (0 = no injury; 5 = severe injury) in those PIs averaged 0.5 vs. 2.3 for `Regal'. Only in PI 538286 was WDS injury to roots less than in `Regal' over 2 years. However, eight additional accessions suffered less WDS injury than `Regal' in 1995 and four of those were among the six with least SPW injury. The lower levels of combined insect injury found in these four PIs (compared to `Regal') show that PIs have potential use for increasing insect resistance in sweetpotato improvement programs.

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Seventeen plant bed fertilizer treatments including different rates of N, P, and K were evaluated for the effect on plant production and sweetpotato yield. `Beauregard' storage roots were bedded. Treatments were 0, 40, 80 lb N/ac; 0, 80, 160 lb P/ac; or 0, 75, 150, and 300 lb K/ac. Each nutrient was evaluated in a separate trial. After the first cutting, half of the N treatments and all P and K treatments had 40 lb N/ac top-dressed on the beds. For the first cutting the high rate of N (80 lb/ac) had a higher green weight than the low rate of 0 lb/ac. There wer no other differences found in the first or second cuttings for plant production or yield. Plant bed fertilization also had no effect on transplant survival.

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