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M.D. Orzolek, J.H. Murphy and L. Otjen

Early weed infestation in vegetable crops reduces both early and total marketable yield and quality. Even if escape weeds (12 inches tall or larger) are later killed by a postemergence herbicide application, their skeletons can cause yield loss due to competition for light, temperature modification within the plant canopy, and interference with fungicide and insecticide applications. In addition, weeds can also serve as a reservoir for insect and disease organisms, especially viruses. Experiments in nonchemical weed control in cabbage were conducted at the Horticulture Research Farm, Russell E. Larson Research Center, Rock Springs, Pa., from 1993 to 1995. In addition to weedy and hoed check plots, flaming weeds at 2- to 4-leaf stage of growth with propane gas burners and planting annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) between the rows of cabbage, living mulch, were evaluated during 3 years. The cabbage cultivar Rio Verde was transplanted generally between 15 June and July during each year. Both flaming and living mulch treatments produced yield and head quality similar to the hoed check. Management and timing of ryegrass planting in relation to cabbage establishment is very critical for success with living mulch. Flaming requires straight rows of cabbage or other crop, tractor with driver that can maintain a straight line, and burners that are aligned to burn weeds and not the crop. Results will be discussed.

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M.D. Orzolek, W.J. Lamont and L. Otjen

Twenty-two ornamen tal corn (Zea mays) cultivars were evaluated in the summer of 1998. The cultivars were evaluated for marketable yield, percent cull, stalk characteristics, and ear characteristics. In addition, three ears of each cultivar were photographed to show size and variability in kernel color. The marketable yield of each cultivar was generally related to percent germination, established plant population, and ear size. Highest marketable yields (dozen/acre) were generally harvested from small-eared cultivars [ear size 2.0 to 4.5 inches (5.1 to 11.4 cm)]. Data from this trial suggest that multiple cultivars should be grown in Pennsylvania based on market requirements and extremes in weather patterns throughout the state.

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M.D. Orzolek, W.J. Lamont and L. Otjen

Twenty-two cabbage cultivars were evaluated in the spring and 26 cabbage cultivars evaluated in the fall of 1997. The cultivars were evaluated for uniformity of maturity, marketable yield, percent cull, stem core length, and head firmness. In addition, three heads of each cultivar were tasted at harvest by the summer farm crew and responses noted on the data collection forms. The highest yielding cultivars were not necessarily the best performing ones evaluated in the trial. Average head weight was significantly different between spring and fall plantings. Data from this trial suggests that multiple cultivars should be grown in Pennsylvania based on whether it is a spring or fall cabbage crop.