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M.L. George and J.M. Zajicek

Persons ≥60 years of age comprise a significant and growing segment of the U.S. population. More than one half of the elderly are female, and as age increases, the ratio of women to men increases as well. Gardening has long been known to be beneficial to older adults physically and psychologically. Our quantitative objective was to investigate the relationship between gardening and life satisfaction, self-esteem, and locus of control of elderly women. Our qualitative objective was to investigate the motivations to garden and the personal, self-rated benefits of gardening experienced by older women. About 45 participants were chosen from 1) volunteers in a horticultural therapy program, 2) participants in a community gardening project for older adults, and 3) participants in a community health project. During the first of two interviews, the participants completed survey instruments measuring self-esteem, locus of control, and life satisfaction. They also provided brief information about their gardening history along with demographic variables of age, ethnicity, educational background, and income level. During the second interview, the participants expanded on their experiences as gardeners, relating information such as how they became gardeners, how they learned to garden, and what factors influenced them to continue gardening. They were specifically asked to relate how they have personally benefited from gardening. Results examine the relationship between gardening and the psychological well-being of the older women.

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N.J. George, D.L. Madhavi, and M.A.L. Smith

Many plants can produce bioactive chemicals with medicinal or health benefits, which has stimulated a whole new research effort aimed at extracting & improving natural phytochemicals. Begonia is a rich source of biologically-active phytochemicals and an excellent donor for natural anthocyanin pigments. High levels of triterpene compounds and a host of potentially-useful flavonoids have been isolated from Begonia sp., which may account for its frequent use as a medicinal plant remedy in a diverse array of cultures worldwide. Deliberate shifting of the physical and chemical microenvironments can have a significant effect on anthocyanins and precursors produced in vitro. This realization offers the potential to thoroughly screen and study valuable phytochemicals from Begonia. Begonia genotypes from 3 species were screened to identify callus induction techniques. Contamination inherent in the vascular system of one genotype, along with spontaneous organogenesis, were found to be recurrent problems. These were partially alleviated by light and growth regulator treatments. Studies comparing callus and in vitro vegetative tissues as resources for phytochemical extraction are scheduled.

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Jae H. Han, George L. Good*, and Harold M. Van Es

Field experiments were conducted in 1998 and 1999 to determine the effect of soil-incorporated, composted municipal biosolids on the growth and nutrient content of 30.8 cm-38.5 cm Rhododendron × `PJM' grown as containerized plants. Biosolid compost produced in Endicott, N.Y., was incorporated in May 1998 and 1999 at rates of 0, 9.8 Mg/ha and 19.7 megag/ha to a depth of 23 cm. Each treatment was replicated six times in a randomized block design. Plants were planted 10 June 1998 and 8 June 1999. Plants were harvested 10 June, 19 Aug., and 22 Oct. 1998 and 8 June and 22 Sept.1999 after which they were dried, weighed, and analyzed. During 1998, there was little difference in dry weight or nutrient content in plants harvested at the August harvest date, however, dry weight and most nutrient levels increased with increasing rates of compost application in plants harvested at the October harvest date. In 1999, no statistical differences were noted at the September harvest date in plant dry weight or nutrient content. In 1999, measured soil physical properties (water retention, bulk density, water content, and soil strength) did not differ significantly between treatments. Excellent soil structure and drainage, relatively low rates of compost application and a severe drought may have contributed to the lack of any conclusive results noted in 1999 though some positive plant responses to the treatments were evident in 1998.

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George M. Greene II, Cynthia L. Barden, and Laura Lehman-Salada

York Imperial is an important processing apple cultivar in the mid-Atlantic region and is often stored for up to eleven months. This experiment was designed to further examine the optimum CA storage conditions for this cultivar. Six orchards were used as statistical blocks. The factorial experiment was set up with 2 temperatures (0 and 2C), 2 oxygen (1 and 2%) and 3 carbon dioxide concentrations (2,3.5 and 5%). Sample size was 20 fruit at all analysis periods (at harvest, 4, 6, and 8 months). The apples were stored in a recirculating CA research facility and evaluated for firmness, soluble solids and weight loss. In the overall statistical analysis, orchard blocks, harvest dates and storage times significantly influenced all 3 quality parameters. Differences between blocks at harvest were substantial with firmness ranging from 9.5 to 11.3 kg and the soluble solids ranging from 12.8 to 14.8%. At the third storage removal (8 months), low oxygen increased firmness and decreased weight loss during storage while at the lower temperature, apples were firmer, had higher soluble solids and less weight loss than at the higher temperature. Although statistically significant, the differences may not be commercially important Block differences were generally maintained throughout storage.

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George L. Staby, Richard M. Basel, Michael S. Reid, and Linda L. Dodge

Three commercially available “anti-ethylene” treatment solutions were tested for their effectiveness in protecting carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus L. `Improved White Sim', `Atlantis', and `Nora'), Beard-Tongue (Penstemon hartwegii x P. cobaea `Firebird'), and Delphinium sp. from external ethylene levels ranging from 0.01 to 1.2 ppm. Flowers were treated according to label directions and then exposed to ethylene for 20 or 24 h at 20 to 23C after a 0-, 24-, or 48-h delay. Only the product containing silver thiosulfate (STS) provided protection against ethylene injury, whereas products containing inhibitors of ethylene synthesis identified as analogs of either aminooxyacetic acid (AOA) or aminoethoxyvinyl glycine (AVG) offered little or no protection. The safe commercial use of products containing STS is discussed.

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Nawab Ali, Robert M. Skirvin, Walter E. Splittstoesser, David E. Harry, and William L. George

Seed lots with the genetic background of `Baroda' and `Marketer' cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) containing all possible combinations (DF Df, Dfdf, dfdf) of df (which increases dormancy) and Df (wild type) were used. Dormancy was not solely due to the genotype dfdf and clear effects of genetic background were apparent. The df allele in the homozygous state induced a strong dormancy in `Baroda', but the Df gene could not restore normal germination. However, Df did reduce the dormancy period to 85 days. In `Marketer', df did not delay germination. Any treatment (puncturing, removal, cutting) that damaged the inner integument allowed `Baroda' dfdf to germinate, indicating an intact integument was essential for maintaining dormancy in this cultivar. All `Baroda' dfdf embryonic axes without the cotyledons germinated in 5 days. `Baroda' dfdf seeds with intact integuments imbibed adequate water to germinate but remained dormant, suggesting that the effect of the integument on dormancy was not related to imbibition.

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George E. Boyhan, Ray J. Hicks, Reid L. Torrance, Cliff M. Riner, and C. Randell Hill

In a 3-year study of poultry litter applications on short-day onion (Allium cepa) production, where rates ranged from 0 to 10 tons/acre, there was an increasing linear effect on total onion yield. Jumbo (≥3 inches diameter) onion yield did not differ with increasing poultry application rates, while medium (≥2 and <3 inches diameter) yields decreased with increasing applications of poultry litter. In addition, organic-compliant fertilizers, 4N–0.9P–2.5K at 150 to 250 lb/acre nitrogen (N), as well as 13N–0P–0K at 150 lb/acre N and in combination with 9N–0P–7.5K totaling 150 lb/acre N were evaluated. Comparison of these commercial organic-compliant fertilizers indicated that there were no differences in total or jumbo yields, while medium yields generally decreased with increased N fertilizer rate.

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George E. Boyhan, Reid L. Torrance, Ronald H. Blackley Jr., M. Jefferson Cook, and C. Randell Hill

Fertilizer rates of N, P, K were evaluated over 4 years (2000–03) as were different sources of experimental and commercial fertilizers. The highest total yields and yields of jumbos (≥7.6 cm) occurred with nitrogen rates of 140–168 kg·ha–1. Neither phosphorus nor potassium rates had an affect on total yield. Phosphorus rates of 0-147 kg·ha–1 and potassium rates of 0–177 kg·ha–1 were evaluated. Increasing nitrogen fertilizer resulted in increasing leaf tissue nitrogen, but did not affect P, K, Ca, or S. Increasing phosphorus fertilizer increased leaf tissue phosphorus only slightly (p = 0.060) with no affect on other leaf nutrient levels. Increasing potassium fertilizer did affect leaf tissue potassium 2 out of 4 years with none of the other leaf nutrient levels affected. Several fertilizers were also evaluated including an experimental fortified peat (10%N), calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, diammonium phosphate, 5–10–15 (56 kg·ha–1 N), 18-6-8 liquid, 14–0–12 8%S liquid, 19–8–19 slow-release at rates of 140 and 168 kg·ha–1 nitrogen. All were used to supply 168 kg·ha–1 nitrogen unless noted otherwise. P and K were supplied according to soil test recommendations unless they were part of the fertilizer formulation. There were no differences between the different fertilizer sources for total yield and differences in jumbo yields only occurred one year out of three years of testing and for medium (≥5.1 and <7.6 cm) yields there were differences two years out of three years of testing.

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Jae H. Han, George L. Good, Eric B. Nelson, and Harold M. Van Es

Composts vary in their ability to suppress disease activity when incorporated into growing media. Bioassays that enable a reliable and quick assessment of compost's ability to suppress disease activity can save time, funds and space. A bioassay using Lupinu× `Russell Hybrid' seedlings was evaluated as a short-term test for gauging the ability of three composts to suppress activity of P. cinnamomi. Colonized millet seeds were prepared via the V-8 agar method. The colonized millet seed were incorporated into the potting media at 0, 50, 100, 200, and 400 colonized millet seed/200 cc of the media used. Three composts, including composted sewage sludge, brewer's waste and cow manure, were incorporated into the media (50% sand: 50% sphagnum peat, by volume) at rates of 0%, 10%, 25%, and 50%, by volume. The media, including the inoculated millet seed, were placed in small plastic pots (7.6-cm-diameter and 6.7 cm high), after which 10 Lupine seeds were sowed in each pot. Percentage of seedling loss was determined after 43 days of observation. The composted sewage sludge and the cow manure proved suppressive at the 50% incorporation rate and the 10% and 25% rate of the latter compost. The brewer's waste compost proved ineffective in this regard; thus, research with this product was discontinued. In a greenhouse study the same inoculation and compost incorporation rates were used, but rooted cuttings of Rhododendro × PJM `Elite' were plotted into the various treatments. Suppression of disease activity by the composts was significant 2 and 4 months after initiation of treatments. Significance in disease suppression noted between these treatments decreased significantly during the fifth month of the experiment.

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Jae H. Han, George L. Good, Eric B. Nelson, and Harold M. Van Es

Composted municipal biosolids were incorporated into a potting mix containing sphagnum peat and sand (1:1 by volume) at rates of 0%, 25%, and 50%, by volume. A second medium was prepared by mixing cow manure compost in the same basic mix at rates of 0%, 10%, and 25% by volume. Each mix was inoculated with P. cinnamomi colonized millet seed at a rate of 200/200 cc of compost-amended media. The potted plants were placed outdoors under nursery conditions 14 July 2003. One half of the plants were irrigated every day, except when natural precipitation occurred; the other half was watered once each week. Soil water potential of all treatments was measured daily with tensiometers. Plants were harvested on 18 Aug. and 21 Oct. 2003, when the experiment was terminated. Frequent rainfall during the period prior to the first harvest masked any impact that the irrigation treatments may have had on disease suppression. Even so, three compost treatments proved successful in suppressing disease activity. Between the first and second harvest dates rainfall was significantly less frequent; thus, differences in P. cinnamomi activity between the wet and dry regimes was noted at the 21 Oct. harvest. Under the dry regime, all inoculated compost treatments, except the 25% municipal biosolid compost, exhibited disease suppression based on root symptom severity and percentage of root infection. Suppression based on shoot symptoms and percentage of shoot loss was evident only in the 50% and 25% biosolid and cow manure composts, respectively. Under the wet regime, only one treatment exhibited suppression of disease activity. All compost treatments held more water particularly at lower moisture tensions. The presence of more water would tend to favor more disease activity and not suppression.