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  • Author or Editor: Garry G. Gordon x
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Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus ‘Clemson Spineless’) was grown on an Orangeburg sandy loam soil in Shorter, AL. Okra was direct-seeded in single rows. Treatments consisted of five mulch colors: black, white, red, silver, and blue installed either with or without spun-bonded row cover. Soil temperatures were 4 to 7 °C lower than air temperatures in all treatments. The use of darker (black, blue, red) -colored plastic mulches increased early and total yield of okra compared with bare soil with and without row cover. Increased soil and air temperatures did not always correlate to an increase in yield. It can be concluded that the use of dark plastic mulch is advantageous to growers of okra in climates that do not have cool springs, but the added use of row covers to plastic mulch has no effect on growth and yield. The profit of marketable okra produced using a row cover was $1.37 versus $1.35 per pound without a cover in 2003 and $1.28 versus $1.29 per pound in 2004. Blue plastic mulch is ≈$0.08 per foot more expensive than black plastic. Our data do not show an economic advantage for blue over black mulch for okra, but the positive effect cited by other authors may be more pronounced with leafy vegetables.

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