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Gerald B. Odell, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Herbert H. Bryan and Peter J. Stoffella

Primed, pregerminated, or nontreated `FloraDade' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) seeds in combination with several soil amendments were evaluated in three experiments for stand establishment characteristics and fresh-market fruit yields. Total percent emergence, seedling shoot weight, and marketable fruit yield were not consistently improved by GrowSorb, gel-mix, plug-mix covers, or mixtures with seeds as compared with a control (soil cover). However, rate of emergence was generally faster for plots containing primed or pregerminated seeds with soil amendments than for plots with a soil cover. Primed or pregerminated seeds emerged faster, and had higher total percent emergence and heavier seedling shoot weights than nontreated seeds, but there was little difference in response between primed and pregerminated seeds. Plants from the primed or pregerminated plots produced earlier (first harvest) marketable fruit than did plants from nontreated seed plots in one of three experiments. Priming or pregermination of tomato seeds resulted in a more consistently improved stand establishment than soil amendments.

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Gerald B. Odell, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Herbert H. Bryan and Peter J. Stoffella

Primed, pregerminated, or nontreated tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) seeds were field-sown with several soil amendments to assess stand establishment at high temperatures. Soil amendments did not consistently improve tomato stand establishment. However, covering seeds with a fine-textured calcined montmorillonite clay (Growsorb) resulted in similar or improved total percent emergence, emergence rate, and seedling shoot dry weight as compared to the soil cover (control) for nontreated, primed, or pregerminated seeds. Plug-mix (a peat-vermiculite medium) or gel-mix [a 1:1 mixture (v/v) of plug-mix and gel, starch-acrylate copolymer, or polyacrylate polymer], covered over or mixed with nontreated, primed, or pregerminated seeds, did not consistently improve total percent emergence over the soil cover. However, soil amendments generally resulted in faster emergence than the soil cover. Pregerminated seeds imbibed for 60 or 72 hours at 25C generally resulted in reduced stands compared to primed or nontreated seeds. Moisturized seeds imbibed for 48 hours at 25C had faster emergence and heavier seedling shoots than nontreated seeds, regardless of soil amendment. However, primed seeds generally resulted in faster emergence and more plants with heavier seedling shoot weights than nontreated or pregerminated seeds sown at high temperatures.