A learning community was developed for first-year students majoring in horticulture at Iowa State Univ. in 1998. Learning communities are a curriculum design that schedules courses for both students and faculty to encourage community and connections among students, between students and faculty, and among faculty. Learning communities can offer students more opportunities for interactions among each other, academic assistance through supplemental instruction and/or group study sessions, and planned horticulture-related activities, all of which are important for success and retention of first-year students. First-year students in the horticulture learning community enrolled in the same courses and sections of five courses. The first-year English composition course was linked to the second-year principles of horticulture course that requires writing-across-the-curriculum activities. Faculty mentoring was provided through local field trips to horticultural sites of keen interest to the students. Academic environment survey results showed students rated their expectations highly for developing a network of other students as a resource group and for learning cooperatively in groups. Iowa State Univ. supports learning communities by providing faculty development and facilitating course registration, peer mentoring, supplemental instruction for challenging core courses, and academic and student services, to strengthen undergraduate teaching programs within and outside of the classroom.
Gail R. Nonnecke
Craig Dilley and Gail Nonnecke
Sustainable strawberry production depends on effective weed and soil management. Alternative weed management strategies are needed because few herbicides are registered for use in matted-row strawberry culture. Soil analyses are often measured in terms of chemical and physical properties alone. Measuring biological indicators of soil quality that are sensitive to changes in the environment can enhance these analyses. The experiment compared the effects of four weed management systems on weed growth, soil quality properties, and strawberry yield, growth, and development. Treatments were killed-cover crop mixture of hairy vetch (Viciavillosa) and cereal rye (Secalecereale); compost + corn gluten meal + straw mulch; conventional herbicide; and methyl bromide soil fumigation. Results indicated that there were no differences in percentage of weed cover or number of strawberry runners between the four weed management treatments in the planting year (July or Aug. 2004). The soil quality parameters, infiltration rate, soil bulk density, earthworm number, and total porosity were similar for all treatments. Plots that received the straw mulch treatment had a soil volumetric water content 20% higher and air-filled porosity that was 26% higher than the average of other treatments. Although treatment plots received similar N, leaf nutrient analysis showed that plants receiving the straw mulch + corn gluten meal treatment had a similar amount of total N when compared to the conventional and methyl bromide treatments, but was 21% higher than the killed-cover crop treatment.
Gail R. Nonnecke
Soil probe samples were taken in the upper 1 m of the soil profile 0.5 and 1 m from the base of five blueberry cultivars (Vaccinium spp.) grown in a modified-pH soil. The samples were divided into 12 sections by depth: mulch, 0-5, 5-10, 10-20, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50-60, 60-70, 70-80, 80-90, and 90-100 cm. Weights of the organic fraction of blueberry roots were determined by subtracting ashed weights from dry weights for each sample section. Duplicate soil probe samples were taken and soil pH determined at the 12 depths and two distances. Root weights were highest in the upper 20 cm of the soil profile at the 0.5 m distance for all cultivars. Soil pH was 5 and below in the upper 20 cm of the soil. Yield of 11 cultivars was obtained for five years (1988-1992). Total yield averaged over 5 years showed `Blueray' as the highest yielding cultivar with 4.43 kg/plant per year. `Patriot', `Elliott', and `Colville' were lower than `Blueray' but similar to each other, with yields of 3.42, 3.11, and 3.03 kg/plant per year, respectively.
Penelope Perkins-Veazie and Gail Nonnecke
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus L., `Heritage') fruit were harvested at six stages of color development to determine the relationship between quality attributes and physiological changes during ripening. Soluble solids concentration and fruit weight increased, whereas titratable acidity decreased during ripening. Fruit darkened and color saturation increased with maturity. Raspberry fruit exhibited a nonclimacteric pattern of respiration, and ethylene (C2H4) was detected only after red pigment developed. Respiration and C2H4 production of whole fruit were similar to those of drupes. Ethylene-forming enzyme activity commenced in drupes and receptacle tissue from fruit at the yellow and mottled stages, respectively. These data indicate that ripening in raspberry fruit is independent of C2H4 production and is nonclimacteric.
Gail R. Nonnecke and Henry G. Taber
The purpose of this project was to investigate the use of evapotranspiration (ET) as a guideline for trickle irrigation timing in field-grown day-neutral `Tristar' strawberry. Proper management of trickle irrigation would allow optimum yields and quality with minimum water inputs. A randomized complete block field design with four replications was used at the ISU Horticulture Station in central Iowa. Irrigation treatments were based on % of ET and number of applications per week. The four treatments included: 30, 60, and 90 % of ET applied once per week (1X) and 30% of ET applied 3 times per week (3X). Total yield data (kg of fruit per season) indicated the 30% of ET (3X) treated plants yielded 15% more fruit than the 30% of ET (1X) plants. Berry number was 14% greater from plants receiving the 30% of ET (3X) treatment than from those receiving the 30% of ET (1X) treatment. Average berry weights for the entire growing season were similar among all treatments.
Cheryll A. Reitmeier and Gail R. Nonnecke
Sensory and objective attributes of fresh fruit of five locally grown day-neutral strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) cultivars (Tristar, Tribute, Mrak, Yolo, and Selva) were compared to those of California-grown strawberries available in the Iowa markets. `Tristar' and `Tribute' fruit were redder and more sour than fruit of other day-neutral cultivars, and `Tristar' fruit were the most juicy of the berries evaluated. `Tristar' and `Tribute' fruit had higher titratable acidity and lower Hunter L (lightness) values than those of other evaluated fruit. Sensory panelists rated the California-grown berries as the least red.
Dennis N. Portz and Gail R. Nonnecke
Yield of strawberry grown continuously on the same site often declines over time as a result of proliferation of weed seeds and pathogenic organisms in the soil. Plots were established and maintained in seven different cover crops and as continuous strawberry or continuous tillage for 10 years (1996 to 2005) in a site that was previously in strawberry production for 10 years (1986 to 1995). Cover crops included blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta L.), sorghum Sudangrass [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench], marigold (Tagetes erecta L.), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), and Indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash]. Treatments were ended in 2005 and plots were planted with ‘Honeoye’ strawberry in a matted row. Effectiveness of soil pretreatments in reducing weed populations and enhancing strawberry production was evaluated for four growing seasons by quantifying weed growth by type and biomass and strawberry plant density and yield. The results indicate that matted-row strawberry production plots that were either in continuous tillage or established in S. bicolor, P. virgatum, or A. gerardii before planting strawberry had lower weed biomass and greater strawberry plant establishment and yield than plots established in L. perenne or R. hirta or that had supported continuous strawberry production.
Gail R. Nonnecke, Lee-Ann M. Kastman and David R. Russell
A 200-level course at Iowa State Univ., Principles of Horticulture, has included a communication across the curriculum assignment for the past seven semesters involving ≈425 students. Each undergraduate student develops and writes an individual student newsletter on topics and for an audience of the student's choice. The semester-long project motivates students to practice a professional communication task, and teaches technical horticultural material and writing skills. The newsletters contain at least two separate articles for an intended audience, providing the students with an opportunity to learn technical information in subjects in which they are intensely interested, but may not be taught in a principles course. Drafts of the articles and newsletter project are peer-reviewed by the students to model the professional review process, provoke critical thinking, and provide students with more feedback than they would otherwise receive from the instructor alone. Additionally, peer-review facilitates writing intensive courses for the instructor who wishes to focus course activities on writing, but has limited time or resources for reviewing writing assignments. Student newsletter articles are selected to be included in quarterly department and extension newsletters, providing students with a real-world use of a communication across the curriculum assignment.
Craig A. Dilley, Gail R. Nonnecke and Nick E. Christians
Alternative approaches to strawberry production that rely on cultural practices, biological controls, or natural products to reduce or replace off-farm chemical inputs are needed. Driving this growing interest are environmental concerns and rising production costs. Corn gluten meal (CGM), a byproduct of corn wet-milling, has weed-control properties and is a N source. The weed control properties of CGM have been identified in previous studies. The hydrolysate is a water-soluble, concentrated extract of CGM that contains between 10% to 14% N. Our objective was to investigate corn gluten hydrolysate as a weed control product and N source in `Jewel' strawberry production. The field experiment was a randomized complete block with a factorial arrangement of treatments and four replications. Treatments included application of granular CGM, CGM hydrolysate, urea, urea, and DCPA (Dacthal), and a control (no application). Granular CGM and urea were incorporated into the soil at a depth of 2.5 cm at rates of 0, 29, 59, and 88 g N/plot. Plot size was 1 × 3 m. The field experiment was conducted from 1995-1998. The source of nitrogen showed few effects for all variables measuring yield and weed control for all years. In general, the rate of nitrogen had little or no effect on total yield. However, the rate of nitrogen at 88 g N/plot showed an increase in average berry weight, leaf area, leaf dry weight, and weed control.
Angela Shaw, Amanda Svoboda, Beatrice Jie, Aura Daraba and Gail Nonnecke
Foodborne outbreaks linked to poor hygiene indicate a need for education on the importance of hand hygiene during harvesting of fruit. This study simulated two potential scenarios (laboratory and field) that would lead to the transfer of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from hands to strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa), harvesters, and field plants. The potential of direct transfer of E. coli O157:H7 from contaminated “pig skin” hands to strawberries was shown in Scenario 1. The potential of E. coli O157:H7 being transferred from contaminated hands to strawberries during harvesting was shown in all treatments up to the 100th strawberry tested with a transfer rate of 71% (1 berry) to 45% (100 berries) of E. coli. Scenario 2 mimicked the “bacteria” transfer from the worker’s contaminated hands to the workers’ clothing and to the field with the use of glowing lotion. It was shown that contaminated hands can transfer “bacteria” to the worker’s clothing, shoes, the picked strawberries, and the strawberry plants, weeds and straw mulch within the field (average spread of 50.25 ft from starting point). The transfer rate varied from worker to worker. Hand hygiene and proper worker training are essential for food-safe harvesting to avoid foodborne outbreak events.