Fertilizer particularly nitrogen is part of the concern about groundwater contamination. Many floricultural and ornamental plants do not need the high rates of nitrogen that are typically recommended. However, whenever one alters the quantity of a given nutrient the overall nutrient balance, as well as other physiological processes, changes. A brief overview of our research on poinsettias, roses, and chrysanthemums will be presented. Suggested ratios, critical S levels and nutrient problems associated with incorrect balances will be shared. Limitations due to statistical methods and the impact nutrient balance has on certain plant processes such as flowering and coloring and thus, consumer acceptance will be summarized. Future plans in this area may focus on the need for new statistical techniques, nutrient acquisition by roots and consumer perceptions of plant quality.
As a floriculturist, when I first decided to grow strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa) in the greenhouse, I thought it would be a snap. After all, I could practice what I preach to my classes in that I would use all the sustainable growing tricks from floriculture, create a production time line and it would be ready, set grow. However, moving a field-grown summer crop into a greenhouse as a winter crop was not the same as moving a winter greenhouse-grown crop outside for the summer. Not only were the plants typically grown in lush field soil, but also the fertilizer recommendations were not directly translatable (i.e., parts per million nitrogen). The pesticides used were not licensed for greenhouses and of course, there were no clues as to schedules of what to do when. Finally, there were the mystery problems that occurred. With high gas prices and the interest in local food production, it seems probable that over the next 5 to 10 years, more and more fruit, vegetables and even nut plants will be moved into greenhouse and high tunnel production. The purpose of this article is to identify the kinds of information needed to make a “smooth” transition from field to greenhouse for alternative crops, like strawberries, grown during nontraditional seasons.
To start such a topic as this, one could turn to a dictionary to define “networking.” Personally, I like to refer to the comics—in this instance the comic strip “Nancy”. The first frame finds Nancy, in class, turned around in her seat earnestly talking to another young colleague. In the next frame Nancy has turned in response to the teacher asking her if she was talking. Nancy replies, “Talking? No Ma'am, I'm not talking. I'm establishing contacts and exchanging information with my peers.” The middle frame shows Nancy grumbling, “OK, whatever you say… ” and the final frame of the comic shows Nancy, at her desk, busily writing “I will not network in class, I will not network in class, I will not network in class.” Yes, some of the terms may have changed, but the point is still why network or, more specifically, why join a formal network or a group that networks?
Nitrogen and sulfur are macronutrients required by plants to form amino acids used in protein synthesis and other metabolic processes. Commercial poinsettia nutrient recommendations suggest N levels of 350-400 ppm later reduced to 200-250 ppm N. Previous hydroponic research determined that N may be reduced by half if supplied S levels are adequate. The purpose of this study was to look at multiple N and S levels and gauge the effects these combinations had on plant quality.
Poinsettia cv. `Dark Red Hegg' plants, grown in a soilless mix, were fertilized with 56 N and S combinations. N was supplied from 100-275 ppm and S from 0-75 ppm. Plants were evaluated quantitatively by chroma meter readings every three weeks and qualitatively by marketability evaluations from commercial producers, retailers, and consumers.
Results indicate 0 ppm S plant color was more yellow-green than all others. Plants were greener as N increased from 100-150 ppm with no difference above 175 ppm. Evaluators identified plants receiving 0 ppm S and 100 or 125 ppm N as unmarketable. N may be reduced to 175 ppm with no effect on plant quality if adequate S is applied.
previous studies indicate that there is a significant relationship between the levels of nitrogen and sulfur applied and the growth of floricultural crops. Poinsettia and roses grew well in experiments involving hydroponic solutions that contained reduced nitrogen and some sulfur.
Cuttings of Dendranthema grandiflora cv Dark Yellow Fuji Mefo, were grown in hydroponics with either 64, 127, or 254 ppm N in combination with either 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 ppm S. Plants were grown unpinched and short day treatment started at the end of week 3. Data recorded included symptoms of S deficiency, date of flower initiation, stem length, flower diameter and visual observation of root growth. Color difference of leaves was measured with a chromameter. New leaves and flower heads were taken for sulfur analysis; mature leaves were used for N analysis.
Plants receiving no S showed depressed initiation and development of branch roots, delayed flower initiation, reddened lower leaves and reduced plant growth. Plants receiving some S in combination with any level of N showed good color and acceptable flower diameter and stem length.
A model for the creation of shared synchronous courses between universities has been developed based on our experiences during the development and delivery of an upper-level undergraduate/graduate course in Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Management offered by Kansas State Univ. and the Univ. of Nebraska–Lincoln. The course was conducted during the Spring 1999 semester using two-way compressed video so that instructors and students at both sites could see and hear each other in live time. Our model is set up as a flow-chart and currently has 10 steps that include areas such as “Identifying the Need,” “University Must-Do's,” “Distance Class Technology Requirements,” and “Advertising the Course.” Each step details procedures to follow, offers ideas and suggestions, and includes examples taken from our course. Also included is information about web site development and chat room use. The model is easily adapted for use with distance technologies similar to two-way compressed video such as Internet 2. An electronic version of the model can be accessed at http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/dp_hfrr/Floriculture.