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  • Author or Editor: Lurline E. Marsh x
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Increasing seed moisture has been beneficial in improving seedling emergence of some crops. Seed moisture contents of three cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) genotypes (MN13, Pinkeye Purple Hull, and IT 82E-16) and two pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) (ICPL 85024 and ICPL 8304) were modified by incubating a 10 seed: 4 celite: 13 water (by weight) mixture at 15C. Conditioned seeds had moisture contents ranging from 46% to 64%, while nontreated seeds ranged from 4% to 8%. Matriconditioned and nontreated seeds had <15% emergence at 28 days after planting (DAP) in dry field conditions, where precipitation was <41 mm. In greenhouse tests at 14 DAP, matriconditioning had a negative effect on seeds in flooded, moist, and dry soils. The percent emergence for these seeds was 40% when compared to 60% for nontreated ones. Conditioning did not affect percent emergence at 7 DAP, days to first emergence, and percentage of germinated, unemerged seeds at 14 DAP. In the dry soil, emergence was less and later, and more germinated, unemerged seeds were present at 14 DAP. Cowpeas averaged 56% germination and pigeonpeas were 27%.

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Twenty cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) and 10 early maturing pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) genotypes were grown at 20/10 C, and 17/10 C day/night and 16 hr. photoperiod to assess their germination and growth. At 20/10 C eighteen cowpea genotypes including the line MN13, and the cultivar, Pinkeye Purple Hull commenced germination at 6 days after planting and showed at least 80% germination 21 days later. Generally, genotypes did not differ significantly in germination and seedling growth up to 45 days later. At 17/10 C two of the cowpea genotypes IT 82E-16 and IT 84E-124 attained at least 90% germination within 21 days after planting. Seedling, growth of these genotypes did not differ and plants began to die 70 days after planting. The pigeonpeas at 17/10 C commenced germination at 9-10 days like many of the cowpeas. Most had at least 50% germination and did not differ in shoot elongation and leaf production. All pigeonpeas flowered between 109 and 136 days after planting and produced pods with immature seeds.

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The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to determine the competitive ability of three Rhizobium strains introduced into Antiguan soil. Strain-specific antisera were prepared against each strain. Field experiments were conducted in Antigua using Rhizobium strains USDA 3384, USDA 3473, and USDA 3474 as a peat-base inoculant and pigeon pea as the test crop. Nodules from the respective treatments were removed and prepared for ELISA studies. There was cross reactivity between the antisera, but it was greatly reduced or eliminated by repeat adsorption with the cells of the cross-reacting strains. Nodule occupancy by plants treated with Rhizobium 3384, 3473, and 3384 was 70%, 90%, and 100%, respectively. Nodules from 3384 and 3474 treated plants contained cells with no antigenic homology to the three antisera. We concluded that these nodules were developed from indigenous Rhizobium strains found in Antiguan soils.

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Ginger (Zingiber officinale, Roscoe) is a tropical rhizome crop typically grown from rhizome pieces, but can also be produced from seedlings. No information is available on how the seedling method compares with the rhizome piece method in organic ginger culture. In addition, information on the growing of organic ginger in the mid-Atlantic region is lacking. Some of the challenges include limited knowledge of rhizome storage, types of propagation materials for planting in the field or high tunnel, and acceptable organic fertilizers that will not increase the excess P currently polluting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The objective of this study was to assess plant development, soil nutrients, and economic feasibility of organic ginger derived from different storage conditions and planting materials when grown in different nutrient sources in a high tunnel. Three types of plant material (single-shoot transplant seedlings derived from 36.5–40.0 g/rhizome, multishoot transplant seedlings derived from 60–120 g/rhizome, and rhizome seeds of 60–120 g) and three fertilizers types [cotton seed meal, 6N–0.9P–0.8K (0.18 kg⋅m–2), plus AZOMITE (1 kg⋅m–2); Nature Safe, 13N–0P–0K (0.07 kg⋅m–2); and Phytamin All Purpose Liquid fertilizer, 4N–1.3P–3.3K (0.26 L⋅m–2)] were used in 2018. In 2019 and 2020, three types of plant material and two fertilizer types at modified rates from the 2018 study, plus two storage containers (pans and flats), were tested. In general, the rhizome storage container did not affect plant height, leaf soil plant analysis development (SPAD) index, and rhizome yield, and its effect on tillers was none or mixed. Fertilizer type had mixed effects on plant height and tiller number, and no effect on the leaf SPAD index. Rhizome yields in 2019 and 2020 were unaffected by fertilizer, but Nature Safe produced a greater benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) and profitability index (PI) than Phytamin. Soil P was generally less in Nature Safe–fertilized soil than in Phytamin-fertilized soil. Multishoot seedlings produced the greatest rhizome yield, BCR, PI, and tallest plants, and had some of the highest tiller numbers. These findings show that it would be more profitable to use multishoot seedlings as planting material in high tunnels compared with single-shoot seedlings and rhizome seeds. Furthermore, the lower P levels in the Nature Safe–fertilized soils compared with the Phytamin soils, and greater PI suggest that using Nature Safe will be a better choice than Phytamin for growing organic ginger.

Open Access