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K.S. Mayberry and T.K. Hartz

Trials were conducted in California to evaluate techniques to extend storage life of netted muskmelons (Cucumis melo L.). The use of polyethylene bags, either as individual melon wraps or as liners for 18-kg commercial cartons, minimized water loss and associated deterioration of the fruit. Individual bags and carton liners were equally effective. A 3-minute dip in 60C water effectively checked surface mold development on wrapped fruits. Lower temperature and/or shorter exposure treatments were less effective. When applied in addition to hot water treatment, imazalil fungicide did not confer significant additional benefit. The combination of polyethylene bags and hot water treatment maintained high quality, marketable fruit for at least 28 days of storage at 3C,

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K.S. Mayberry, T.K. Hartz, and M. Cantwell

Trials were conducted in California to evaluate techniques to extend post-harvest life of Western shipper-type muskmelon cultivars (Cusumis melo L.). The use of .025 mm polyethylene bags, either as individual melon wraps or as liners for 18 kg commercial cartons, minimized water loss and associated softening of the fruit. A three minute dip in 58-60°C water effectively checked surface mold and decay. The combination of hot water dip and polyethylene carton liner maintained high quality marketable fruit for at least 30 days of cold storage at 2-4°C. This technique would require only modest changes in commercial handling practices, with minimal additional per carton cost. Commercial utilization of this technique could stimulate the export of California muskmelons to Pacific Rim countries.

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K.S. Mayberry, J.A. Principe, and W.L. Schrader

The artichoke, Cynara scolymus, is normally propagated by cuttings from mother plants; however, it is possible to produce some types of artichokes from seed. Methods used for producing open-pollinated seed of onion and carrots may be suitable for producing artichoke seed. Outcrossing in artichokes occurs because of differences in maturity of the staminate and pistillate phases within flowers. Producing artichoke seed by simple inbreeding techniques is usually not successful because of vigor loss and low pollen production, low seed production, and late maturity of progeny. Outcrossing is the preferred method of creating a new variety. The cultivar `Imperial Star' was developed by crossing a thornless French line with an Italian line that had sharp woody spines, and a uniform, olive-green color. The French line was a bright green with some light purple at the base of the bracks. The F1 generation from this cross had good hybrid vigor, and produced abundant seed and pollen. The F2 generation segregated widely with many recombinant types that neither parent showed (e.g., extreme thorniness of leaves and petioles). Two plants were selected for sibling pollination. Subsequent generations of siblings within this type produced higher percentages of the desired type—glossiness, earliness, and high seed yield. Subsequent sibling crossing led to the selection of `Imperial Star', PVP. 9000179.

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T.K. Hartz, K.S. Mayberry, M.E. McGiffen, M. LeStrange, G. Miyao, and A. Baameur

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C.A. Sanchez, M. Wilcox, J.L. Aguiar, and K.S. Mayberry

Twenty field experiments were conducted to evaluate the response of iceberg lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) to N and evaluate various diagnostic technologies as tools for assessing the N nutritional status of lettuce. Lettuce yields showed a curvilinear response to N in most experiments. Generally, the dry midrib nitrate-N test and the sap nitrate-N test appear to be sensitive indicators of the N nutritional status of lettuce after the folding stage of growth. The chlorophyll meter was not a sensitive indicator of the N nutritional status of lettuce. Preliminary data also show that canopy reflectance, including digital analysis of aerial photographs, is correlated to N nutritional status of lettuce. However, reflectance technologies do not readily distinguish between N deficiencies and other factors (insects, diseases, water stress, etc.) that affect plant biomass and color. Because plant tests do not appear to be sensitive indicators of N nutrition during early growth stages (before folding), a post-thinning (and pre-sidedress) soil nitrate-N test is currently being evaluated.