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  • Author or Editor: Frank Dainello x
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Abstract

The covered trench (CT) planting system was evaluated for increasing early yield of ‘Grande Rio 66’ bell pepper (Capsicum annum). Trenches covered with either one of three polyethylene materials (black, solid clear, or slitted clear) were compared to standard, raised flat-topped beds. Treatments were applied with a modified sled-type bed shaper and a conventional plastic mulch applicator. The slitted clear polyethylene CT treatment resulted in 45% of the total marketable fruit harvested in the first harvest as compared to 29% from the raised flat-topped beds. This treatment also increased total yield by ≈ 2000 kg·ha−1 over the standard, raised flat-topped beds.

Open Access

A system for collecting winter rainfall and storing it for crop use during the growing season was developed and tested for three seasons for non-irrigated cantaloupe production. In early fall raised beds on 2-m centers were shaped with two trenches ca. 30 cm wide and 10 cm deep spaced 50 cm apart. Black plastic mulch was applied over the beds, with small mounds of soil placed on the plastic over the trenches to conform the mulch to the shape of the beds. Slits 15 cm long were made in the bottom of the trenches at 1 m intervals. Fifty kg/ha of a polyacrylamide gel was incorporated into the top 10 cm of some beds prior to shaping. Precipitation falling prior to spring planting was channelled into the beds through the trenches and prevented from evaporating by the mulch. Cantaloupes were seeded through the plastic in the spring and grown without irrigation. The rainfall capture system increased soil moisture in the surface 15 cm by 50% and in the top 60 cm by over 20%. Plant stands were increased from <10% in uncovered plots to nearly 70% under the system. Under drought conditions in two of the three seasons, yields were significantly higher in the rainfall capture plots than in uncovered plots, although not commercially acceptable. In a wet season, similar differences were noted and good commercial yields were obtained with the system. The rainfall capture system in conjunction with supplemental irrigation has the potential to allow excellent cucurbit production with limited water.

Free access

Trenched beds covered with plastic mulch was used to capture and retain precipitation for dryland cantaloupe production. Two trenches were formed in the fall in raised beds. Plastic mulch was laid over the beds and slitted at ca. 1 meter intervals over the trenches. Soil was placed over the slits, conforming the plastic to the shape of the trenches and channeling precipitation into the beds. Cantaloupes were seeded in the spring and grown with no supplemental irrigation. Planting moisture was significantly greater under the capture system than in unmulched beds. Seedling emergence time was reduced from 18 to 6 days and vine growth in the first 6 weeks was almost doubled. Total and marketable yields were doubled and fruit size significantly increased when water was limiting. Elevated soil temperatures under the mulch enhanced plant growth and yield even when moisture was not limiting. Combining a moisture capture system with supplemental irrigation could allow commercial production of cucurbit crops under limited water conditions in semi-arid areas.

Free access

Abstract

Only one of 12 chemical compounds was effective in stimulating suberization and wound periderm activity in cut potato seed pieces. Polyram applied as a 7% dust had a consistently favorable effect on suberization. However, it did not stimulate wound periderm activity as efficiently as it did suberization in cut seed pieces from any of the clones.

Open Access

Plant problems often are diagnosed by comparing the problem in hand to a set of color photographs of known symptoms. Color photographs are expensive and time consuming to publish and distribution of books and pamphlets is costly. Delivery of high resolution color photographs of common plant disorders via the World Wide Web is a cost-effective alternative. A web-based diagnostic resource has been created to assist problem identification of cucurbit disorders including nutritional, disease, and insect problems. The diagnostic tool consists of arrays of high resolution, color images grouped by similarity of appearance. The image arrays are clickable image maps, and the user is provided with increasingly detailed information and larger images as images are selected. At the final selection, the user is presented with a full screen image and text information describing the identity and control recommendations for the problem illustrated. This tool is intended to allow experienced diagnosticians to confirm a problem diagnosis, and to aid less experienced individuals in making proper diagnoses.

Free access

One-year old `Coho' spinach seeds (Spinacea oleracea L.) were primed, air-dried, and germinated for 12 days to determine the effects of multi nutrient liquid chelate compound (Crop-Up) and its single nutrient chelate components on the germination performance of old seeds. Treatments consisted of Crop-Up, Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, Zn, Cu, and B chelate solutions at concentrations of 5, 0.25, 0.11, 0.28, 0.25, 0.34, 0.10, and 0.05%, respectively. Distilled water was used for the check. Crop-Up-, Fe-, Zn-, and Cu-priming significantly increased both seedling fresh and dry weights, and improved seed germination by 23 to 32% over the check treatment. Al1 nutrient treatments, except Cu, had a delaying effect on time of emergence. Fe-, Zn-, and Cu-priming treatments increased germination performance index by 21, 11, and 9%, respectively.

Free access

Research shows that food irradiation is a safe food technology effective in reducing pathogenic microorganisms, prolonging shelf life, and controlling pests, such as mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), to avoid quarantine. The purpose of this research was to study the effectiveness of a professional development program designed with a variety of experiential education strategies targeting food industry regulators, extension agents, and others in the food industry. A short course employed experiential education components, such as presentations by experts in food irradiation technology, tours of food irradiation facilities, group activities, and a taste-test of irradiated produce and meat. Data were collected that assessed participants' knowledge, perceptions, and concerns about food safety and food irradiation, using Likert-type scales. The short course produced significant knowledge gains. Respondents' perceptions of food safety and food irradiation issues were improved significantly as a result of participation in the short course. Also, respondents' perceived knowledge and understanding of food safety, food irradiation, and the technology behind food irradiation improved significantly upon completion of the short course.

Full access

Competition for limited water supplies is increasing world wide. Especially hard hit are the irrigated crop production regions, such as the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the Winter Garden areas of south Texas. To develop production techniques for reducing supplemental water needs of vegetable crops, an ancient water harvesting technique called rainfall capture was adapted to contemporary, large scale irrigated muskmelon (Cucumis melo var. reticulatus L.) production systems. The rainfall capture system developed consisted of plastic mulched miniature water catchments located on raised seed beds. This system was compared with conventional dry land and irrigated melon production. Rainfall capture resulted in 108% average yield increase over the conventional dry land technique. When compared with conventional furrow irrigation, rainfall capture increased marketable muskmelon yield as much as 5355 lb/acre (6000 kg·ha-1). As anticipated,the drip irrigation/plastic mulch system exceeded rainfall capture in total and marketable fruit yield. The results of this study suggest that rainfall capture can reduce total supplemental water use in muskmelon production. The major benefit of the rainfall capture system is believed to be in its ability to eliminate or decrease irrigation water needed to fill the soil profile before planting.

Full access

Abstract

Four seedbed configurations, north-sloped, south-sloped, mid-bed trenched, and standard flat-topped beds, were evaluated for influence on plant growth, development, and yield in ‘TAM Uvalde’ muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.). The most desirable growth rate and yield pattern was produced in mid-bed trenches. This configuration significantly increased early yield. Early season yield (June harvest) was 8670 kg/ha or 48% of total yield for the mid-bed trenched treatment as compared with 7170 (38%), 4730 (32%), and 3380 kg/ha (20%), respectively, for the south-sloped, standard, and north-sloped beds.

Open Access

Abstract

A complex of viral pathogens are responsible for the decline of profitable pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) production in Texas and other areas throughout the United States and the world (1). ‘Rio Grande Gold’ (RGG) is the first nonpungent (sweet), small yellow wax pepper with multiple virus resistance (MVR) to tobacco etch virus (TEV), potato virus Y (PVY), pepper mottle virus (PeMV), and tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) developed by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (TAES). The distinguishable yellow pepper flavor and the absence of capsaicin make this sweet wax-type pepper a potentially popular ingredient for salads and pickled products.

Open Access