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J.M Kemble, J. Brown and E. Simonne

The effect of various mulch colors (black, yellow, red, blue, white, and aluminum) on growth and development of `Vates' collards was evaluated in Fall 1996 at the E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter, Ala. Black polyethylene mulch was installed onto raised, fumigated beds, then sprayed with a 1: 2 (v/v) mixture of exterior oil-based enamel paint to paint thinner with one of the five mulch colors listed. Five-week-old plants were transplanted into beds. Beginning two weeks after transplanting and continuing every other week thereafter, heads were harvested to determine head fresh weight and dry weight. Hourly soil temperatures at 10 cm soil depth were recorded and growing degree days (GDDs) with a base temperature of 4.4 °C were calculated. At two weeks after transplanting, average head fresh and dry weight were highest for the aluminum-colored treatment with head fresh (24.7 and 12.3 g, respectively) and dry weights (2.7 and 1.3 g, respectively) twice that of the yellow treatment (P ≤ 0.05). By four weeks after transplanting and up through the final harvest, marketable yield and average head fresh weights did not differ among the treatments (17,900 kg/ha, 1.4 kg per head, respectively). The red and black mulch treatments accumulated more GDDs than the other treatments, but total marketable yields did not differ among any treatments.

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E.T. Stafne and J.S. Brown

A computerized relational database is an efficient and powerful way to store, retrieve, query, and manipulate data. Databases have been prevalent in the scientific community for several years but, recently, have become more immediately available. Personal computers and local area networks (LAN) have revolutionized the accessibility of shared data. At the USDA-ARS Sugarcane Field Station, a database has been created to streamline the entry and recovery of data for the breeding program using Microsoft (MS) Access 2000, a readily available and inexpensive product, which makes it highly adaptable to a variety of breeding programs. Data collection from the sugarcane breeding program has previously consisted of field books and separate computer files. This method of documentation can lead to errors and lost data, therefore a multi-user database was needed to avoid continued problems in data handling. Data entry is performed though a series of self-explanatory forms. Once entered, data can be accessed through the LAN and easily sorted or grouped as desired or queried for items of interest. Reports can then be output as a means of storing important hard copy records. Data from stage I and stage II (the first two clonally propagated selection stages) of the breeding program have currently been included in the database, as well as the seedling stage (true seed planting). Future plans are to incorporate data from stage III and IV (the final two clonally propagated selection stages). The database also handles the Canal Point breeding collection inventory, crossing information, seed (fuzz) inventory, and pedigree tracking. This type of database has widely applicable properties that can be implemented to handle data for any crop, either agronomic or horticultural.

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V. A. Khan, C. Stevens and J. E. Brown

Early okra production was evaluated using `Clemson Spineless' transplants grown under clear polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VCM), black polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VBM), clear polyethylene mulch (CM), black polyethylene mulch (BM) and bare soil (BS) for two years. Early yield (1st four harvests in early June) was significantly greater for VCM treatment while total marketable yield at the end of 8 wks were significantly greater for VCM, BM, and VBM treatments, respectively in both years. Enterprise budget analysis showed that VCM and BM treatments had the highest net-return to management on a per acre basis.

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V. A. Khan, C. Stevens and J. E. Brown

Early okra production was evaluated using `Clemson Spineless' transplants grown under clear polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VCM), black polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VBM), clear polyethylene mulch (CM), black polyethylene mulch (BM) and bare soil (BS) for two years. Early yield (1st four harvests in early June) was significantly greater for VCM treatment while total marketable yield at the end of 8 wks were significantly greater for VCM, BM, and VBM treatments, respectively in both years. Enterprise budget analysis showed that VCM and BM treatments had the highest net-return to management on a per acre basis.

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V.A. Khan, C. Stevens, M.A. Wilson, J.Y. Lu, E.G. Rhoden, D.J. Collins and J.E. Brown

In 1995 a study was conducted in split-split-plot design to determine the effect of single, double, and equilateral planting configurations with a single and double recommended rate of fertilizer (NPK), would have on the yield of four sweetpotato cultivars. TU-1892, Jewel, TU-82-155, and Georgia Jet were planted on a raised shaped bed 2 ft wide. Fertilizer was banded in the center of the bed and plants were then placed 6 inches away on both sides of this band for the double and equilateral configurations and on one side for the single configuration. Plants were spaced 12 inches apart within rows and the rate of fertilizer used for both single and double rows was the recommended rate for single rows. All plots were side dressed with an additional 80 lbs/acre of K at the time of flowering. Marketable yield data showed that by doubling the recommended rate of fertilizer yield increased for all cultivars which ranged from 26%-41% for single, 35%-88% for double, and 64%-104% for equilateral configurations, respectively. The results also indicated that net returns for TU-1892 was 217%, Jewel 136%, TU-82-155 203%, and Georgia-Jet 171%, for double and equilateral configurations, respectively, when the rate of fertilizer was doubled.

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V.A. Khan, C. Stevens, M.A. Wilson, J.Y. Lu, E.G. Rhoden, D.J. Collins and J.E. Brown

In 1994, a study was conducted in split-plot design to determine the effect single- and double-row plantings would have on the yield of five sweetpotato cultivars. `TU-1892', `Carver', `Jewel', `TU-82-155', and `Georgia Jet' were planted on a raised shaped bed 2 feet wide. All recommended fertilizers were banded in the center of the bed and plants then were placed 6 inches away on both sides of this band for the double rows; single rows consisted of plants placed only on one side of the fertilizer band. Plants were spaced 12 inches apart within rows, and the rate of fertilizer used for single and double rows was the recommended rate for single rows. All plots were sidedressed with an additional 80 lbs/acre of K at the time of flowering. Marketable yield data showed that double-row planting of `Jewel', `TU-82-155', and `TU-1892' resulted in 36%, 38%, and 33% significant increase in yield, respectively, compared to single-row plantings. Double-row planting also significantly increased the yield of U.S. no. 1 `TU-82-155', `Jewel', and `Carver' sweetpotatoes by 40%, 43%, and 19%, respectively. All cultivars used in the study showed a significant increase in canners yield when planted in double vs. single rows. The results also indicated that `TU-1892', `Jewel', and `TU-82-155' may be more efficient in fertilizer use because higher yields were obtained in double-row plantings at the single-row fertilizer rates without the additional application of fertilizers.

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C. Stevens, V. A. Khan, J. Y. Lu, M. A. Wilson, Z. Haung and J. E. Brown

In 1988 and 1989 a muscadine vineyard at Tuskegeee, Alabama was treated by post plant soil solarization (PSS) (covering of moist soil around 'Carlos' muscadine plants (Vitis rotundifolia Michx.) with clear polyethylene plastic mulch to achieve high soil temperature for 30 and 75 days, respectively during PSS. Grape plants grown in solarized soils showed increases in growth response such as increased yield. Foliage of grape plants was evaluated for reaction to black rot incited by Guignardia bidwellii. A significant reduction of the foliage disease black rot was observed. The number of lesions per leaf, lesion size and percent leaves with lesions were significantly reduced by as much as 56% up to three years after solarization.

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C. Stevens, V. A. Khan, M.A. Wilson, D. J. Collins, J. E. Brown and J. Y. Lu

Agriplastic black mulch (BM), row cover (spunbonded) plus black mulch (RBM) and solarized soil treatments plus black mulch (SBM). row cover plus black mulch on solarized soil (RSBM) and row cover plus solar&d soil (RSBS) increased Floradade tomato yield from 56 to 285%. number of tomatoes and plant height compared to the non-solarized bare soil (BS). When comparing increased growth response (IGR) of the plants grown in the solarized soil with no row cover agriplastic treatments, there was no significant differences among them. When comparing the IGR parameters of tomato plants grown under SBS, BM, and RBS there were no significant differences among them. Spunbonded row cover treatments increased IGR of tomatoes over all treatments without row cover. A significant increase in plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) was observed in the rhizosphere soil of Floradade tomatoes grown in solarized soil alone and in those other agriplastic treatments compared to bare soil. There appear to be no differences in PGPR population among SBS and all agriplastic treatments.

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J.E. Brown, R.P Yates, C. Stevens and V.A. Khan

Effects of planting methods and rowcover on the production of yellow crookneck squash, Cucurbita pepo L. var. melopepo Alef., were evaluated over 2 years at the E.V. Smith Research Center, Shorter, Ala. Summer squash was direct-seeded or transplanted in the field with or without black plastic mulch and grown with or without rowcover. Yield of transplanted squash was significantly increased over the same squash direct-seeded. Neither plastic mulch nor rowcover had an effect on summer squash production. Transplants matured 8 to 10 days earlier than the direct-seeded plants.

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J.E. Brown, R.P. Yates, W.T. Hogue, C. Stevens and V.A. Khan

Yellow crookneck `Dixie' hybrid summer squash, Cucurbita pepo L. var. melopeop Alef., was evaluated at E.V. Smith Research Center, Shorter, Alabama. Summer squash was grown in single rows spaced 6 feet apart. Plants were seeded 18 inches apart within 20-foot row plots. Treatments were: 1) black plastic mulch (BPM), 2) yellow painted plastic mulch (YPM), 3) white plastic mulch (WPM), 4) bare soil (BS), 5) aluminum painted plastic mulch (APM) and 6) bare soil with Diazinon insecticide (BSI). Aphid traps caught more aphids in BS or BPM plots than those from APM or YPM plots. The onset of mosaic disease incidence of squash infected with the two viruses identified as zucchini yellow mosaic and cucumber mosaic was delayed by as much as three weeks when compared to BSI or BS. Summer squash planted in APM, WPM, YPM and BPM produced 96%, 98%, 75% and 21%, respectively, more total squash yield than that produced on bare soil (control). A higher percentage of green squash (virus infected) was produced from plants grown over BPM (72%), BSI (68%), BS (59%), YPM (57%) or WPM (57%) than from APM (39%)