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Lois Berg Stack

Information presented in greenhouse management courses has changed in response to several factors. Increasingly, students must learn about:

  1. new technologies such as the use of computers in crop management, and new techniques such as implementation of biological pest management;

  2. regulations like the EPA/OSHA chemical safety laws;

  3. experimental procedures, to be able to assess future technologies and techniques during their careers; and

  4. professionalism (industry leadership, ability to work with the media, knowledge of how to impact law).

Changes in course content and procedures over time, and methods of teaching increased types and amounts of information, are discussed through results of a survey of current instructors of greenhouse management courses.

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Lois Berg Stack

Master Gardener programs were conducted through 10 of Maine's 16 county offices in 1993. In an effort to reduce the number of identical presentations given by the limited number of instructors, 5 of the 10 sessions were conducted via interactive television (ITV), while the remaining 5 sessions were held locally. Participants (n=215) were surveyed about their learning experience in fall 1993. Data compare the local ITV audience vs. 7 distant audiences viewing sessions in real time vs. 2 audiences viewing taped sessions at a later date, on test scores of material presented, and on attitudes about the program. Data also summarize the types of projects on which Master Gardener volunteer hours were applied, and participants' attitudes about how volunteer programs could be made more effective.

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Lois Berg Stack

Five of the ten training sessions for Maine Master Gardeners (MGs) were taught using interactive television (ITV) in 1993. Trainees at one location participated in the sessions live; trainees at seven locations participated in the sessions from distant locations but in real time; and trainees at two locations viewed videotapes of the ITV sessions at later dates. Trainees (n = 215) were quizzed weekly to assess their level of learning and surveyed about their learning experience 6 months after completing their training. ITV distance learners' quiz scores and hours of volunteerism were equal to those of local learners. More than 90% of all respondents would enroll in a MG program again if it were conducted and taught locally, while 83.9% would enroll in a program taught half locally and half using ITV.

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Lois Berg Stack and Gleason Gray

Penobscot Co. (ME) Master Gardeners initiated a highly successful demonstration garden in 1994, on the university's sustainable agriculture farm. Five factors for the garden's success are suggested for consideration by groups planning similar projects: 1) The garden has a permanent site with excellent road visibility, on a public farm that supports public service; 2) The farm manager tills the plot and manages cover crops; 3) 10 to 12 Master Gardeners and two extension educators commit significant ongoing labor to the project; 4) Local businesses supply plants and other materials; 5) A vital statewide Master Gardener Program assures an ongoing supply of volunteers, ideas and enthusiasm.

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Lois Berg Stack and Gleason Gray

The Penobscot County (Maine) Master Gardeners (MGs) initiated a demonstration garden in 1994, on a 0.75-acre plot at the Univ. of Maine's sustainable agriculture farm. In addition to producing public education through on-site events, newspaper articles and weekly television broadcasts, the garden is the venue for these program successes. 1) New MGs see the garden as an on-going volunteer project and 2) grow as gardeners by working in the garden. 3) The Garden helps develop the camaraderie that begins among MGs during their training. 4) Advanced training is easily accomplished in the garden. 5) The garden provides an infrastructure for new project, 6) accomplishes positive public relations for Cooperative Extension and the MG program, and is an excellent MG recruitment tool.

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Philip A. Stack, Francis A. Drummond, and Lois Berg Stack

The application of supplemental blue light in greenhouse chrysanthemum production is part of a biological control strategy to enhance reproduction of Orius insidiosus Say, a natural predator of the western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande. Two greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine the influence of a blue light—supplemented long day on flowering and vegetative growth in three cultivars of the short-day plant Dendranthema ×grandiflora (Ramat.) Kitamura. In Expt. 1, two cut chrysanthemum cultivars (`Manatee Iceberg' and `Naples') were exposed to: a) 9-hour ambient light and 15-hour artificial blue-biased (400-500 nm) light at two blue light intensities (3.6 or 7.0 μmol·m-2·s-1); b) 9-hour ambient light and 15-hour artificial broad spectrum light at a broad spectrum intensity of 3.6 μmol·m-2·s-1; c) 9-hour ambient light maintained with black cloth; or d) an ambient short day. Under a continuous photoperiod, flower initiation in both cultivars in the lower intensity blue light was not significantly different from that in short-day regimes. However, in both blue light intensities, flower size and dry mass were significantly less than in the short-day regimes. Increasing the dose of blue light decreased flower dry mass in `Naples' by 60% and in `Manatee Iceberg' by 72%. Plants were shorter with less vegetative mass in the short-day regimes. In Expt. 2, `Naples' and the pot chrysanthemum `Boaldi' were exposed to a) 9-hour ambient light and 6-hour artificial blue-biased (400-500 nm) light at four blue light intensities (0.4, 0.7, 1.6, or 3.5 μmol·m-2·s-1); b) 9-h ambient light maintained with black cloth; or c) an ambient long day. For both cultivars, in all blue light regimes, neither flower dry mass nor vegetative dry mass differed significantly from those in the short-day regime. The results indicate that exposing D. grandiflora to a blue light—supplemented long day at blue light intensities <3.5 μmol·m-2·s-1 does not adversely affect flower initiation and development.

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Diana George Chapin and Lois Berg Stack

A 2-year field study was initiated in May 1994 to show the effects of alternative weed control methods on weed suppression and cut flower yield. Cultural and economic analyses evaluate the feasibility of various management decisions. Gomphrena globosa cv. Woodcreek Pink seedlings were transplanted at 12-inch spacings with the following treatments: 10 mm chopped straw mulch, 10 mm shredded paper mulch, 1.25 mm black plastic mulch, bare soil with postemergent herbicide (Glyphosate) and bare soil with hand weed control. First-year results of the study show weed control was statistically equal between plastic, herbicide, and hand control. These methods provided significantly better barriers to weed growth than shredded paper and oat straw. Economic analyses show variation in the cost efficiency of these methods, however. It is expected that the results of the first year will be corroborated in 1995 for the herbicide, hand control, and plastic treatments, but will reflect change in the chopped straw and shredded paper treatments due to improved focus on experimental design and material selection.

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Leonard P. Perry and Lois Berg Stack

Our future horticulture students are growing up in an electronic world, and are gaining knowledge increasingly from computers, videotapes and television, and decreasingly from books and other written media. We need to understand their interests and motivations in order to determine how to market our educational programs to them. This study profiles our future students on several career-oriented factors, including their plans after high school, their academic interests, their impressions of and experiences in agriculture and horticulture, and the sources of information they look to when seeking assistance in choosing a career track. Results compare male vs. female students, urban vs. rural students, regional differences, and differences between fifth and tenth graders (critical ages in career decision-making).

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Lois Berg Stack and Leonard P. Perry