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  • Author or Editor: Mike Orzolek x
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Current and future plans for reductions in federal and state funding suggest that government supported programs must find ways to reduce costs while maintaining or expanding programs. The current model of extension, with an agent for each commodity in every county is not likely to survive. Furthermore, the days when university-based specialists could afford to make house calls also are probably limited. Yet, the need for extension support in the floriculture industry is as great as ever. Increased chemical costs and regulatory pressure are restricting grower options and making it increasingly important that information dissemination and technology transfer occur in timely and appropriate ways. To try to meet the needs of the floriculture industry in Pennsylvania, we have begun a program to help develop independent greenhouse crop management associations to work with milti-county and university-based extension specialists to improve program delivery to the member greenhouses. The first of these associations has been established in the Capital Region in central Pennsylvania and is providing IPM scouting and crop management services to member greenhouses. Development of associations and linkages with and the role of extension are discussed.

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`FTE 30' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) transplants were produced in Florida under standard commercial conditions and supplied with one of six treatments: zero, low (20% of the control rate), or high (control) super-phosphate (SP) fertilizer, or 0.5%, 1%, or 2% buffered-phosphorous fertilizer (Al-P). Growth characteristics were evaluated for four sets of transplants, produced in January, April, May, and August. Two sets of transplants were grown in the field in Florida (started in January and August) and one set was grown in Pennsylvania during the summer (started in May). Phosphorus concentration in leachate was measured weekly from one crop. Plants grown with Al-P showed a 72% to 88% reduction in P released in leachate compared with the high SP control. Transplants produced with 1% or 2% Al-P were of equal size and quality compared with transplants produced with conventional (high SP) fertilization, and had greater total root length and specific root length (length per unit root weight). Transplants grown with 0.5% Al-P were sometimes smaller than other fertilized treatments, while no-P plants were very small and grew slowly after transplanting. There were no significant differences in growth, yield, or fruit quality of plants fromtransplants grown with 1% or 2% Al-P or high SP at either site. Therefore high quality tomato transplants can be produced using buffered-P fertilizer, while reducing P leaching from the containers.

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