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  • Author or Editor: Lovre Bucan x
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Suggested watermelon planting densities and N rates vary on a large scale, indicating that there is insufficient knowledge about their effects. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of N rate and planting density on growth, yield and quality of watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai] grown on black polyethylene mulch. The field experiments with `Crimson Sweet' watermelon were conducted in two climatologically different growing regions. The treatments were factorial combinations of three in-row plant spacings (0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 m) and three N rates (115, 195, and 275 kg·ha-1). Part of the N (35 kg·ha-1) was applied preplant and the remainder was fertigated. Vine length increased linearly up to 7 weeks after planting (WAP) as N rate increased from 115 to 275 kg·ha-1, and up to 9 WAP as plant spacing increased from 0.5 to 1.5 m. Total and marketable yields per ha or per plant did not increase with N rates above 115 kg·ha-1. Average fruit weight and fruit size distribution were generally unaffected by N rate. Leaf N concentration increased as N rate increased, although leaf N concentrations at the lowest N rate (115 kg·ha-1) even at 9 WAP were relatively high (43.3 to 47.3 g·kg-1). Total and marketable yields per ha were linearly decreased with an increase in plant spacing from 0.5 to 1.5 m, and the same was noticed with the total and marketable number of fruit per ha. With increased plant spacing average fruit weight increased and fruit size distribution shifted to larger categories.

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Globe artichoke is a native crop of the Mediterranean region with about 80% worldwide production. It is estimated that about 3,000 ha are grown in the U.S., mostly in California. Artichoke crop can be grown as a perennial, by vegetative cuttings, or as annual by seeds. Crop production can be limited by freezing winter temperatures leading to irreversible plant damage or by high summer temperatures causing poor head quality. Successful artichokes production, particularly in areas with constraining climatic conditions, requires proper selection of cultivars and planting dates. Cultivars with low vernalization requirements are more prone to a short growing season. The application of GA3 to overcome the lack of low temperatures and fulfill the vernalization requirements of early cultivars is well known. The goal of this multi-year project is to select production strategies contributing to earliness, extension of harvesting period, and improved yield and head quality under a variety of environmental conditions in Croatia and Texas. Selecting cultivars with different maturity groups and planting dates enabled harvesting period from autumn to late spring depending on locations. When GA3 was applied (12.5 to 125 ppm) on a naturally vernalized crop from autumn planting, early yield was substantially increased without affecting earliness. Conversely, application of GA3 (30 or 45 ppm) on nonvernalized plants established during late spring or summer was necessary for fall harvest in the Croatian locations. Head quality evaluated as head weight and size, or crude protein and total fiber concentration, progressively decreased during late spring harvest in Texas. Shifting the harvesting period towards early spring may be essential for improving head quality and for increasing the market share. To achieve adequate yields, longer harvesting period, and superior head quality, it is necessary to develop and adjust cultural practices for the specific growing area.

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