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  • Author or Editor: N. Soltani x
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`Crimson Sweet' watermelon plants grown under various mulches and rowcovers were harvested weekly and analyzed for absolute growth rate (AGR), relative growth rate (RGR), net assimilation rate (NAR), leaf area ratio (LAR), specific leaf area (SLA), specific leaf weight (SLW), leaf weight ratio (LWR), leaf area duration (LAD), biomass duration (BMD), and runner growth. Hourly air and soil temperatures were monitored inside the rowcovers. Vispore and Reemay rowcovers generally showed greater mean AGR, LAR, SLA, LAD, and BMD than Agronet black-clear and black mulches. No significant differences in LWR were found between mulched and rowcovered plants. Plants under mulches and rowcovers showed significant increases in AGR, RGR, NAR, LAR, SLA, LAD, and BMD over noncovered (bare ground) plants. Longest runner length was highly correlated with total runner length. Growth analyses depicted decreased growth rate inside the rowcovers during the hottest weeks of the summer, and generally correlated well with the earliness and total yield of the crop.

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Groundwater, contaminated with sulfur (S) at concentrations higher than allowable for drinking water, may be suitable for irrigation. Our objectives were to determine the growth response and mineral uptake of two vegetables grown in high-S irrigation water. Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea L.), grown in 8-L pots containing a calcareous sandy loam, were irrigated with waters containing from 58 to 582 mg S/L. Plants were harvested and growth was measured at 4, 8, or 12 weeks. Soil paste extracts and dry plant tissue were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectroscopy at each harvest. Bean shoots and pod dry weight decreased by 32% and 28%, respectively, as S concentration increased. Although final pod number was not affected by the irrigation treatments, pod yields (4 weeks) decreased as S concentration increased. Broccoli growth was not affected by increasing S concentration at any of the harvest dates, though head diameter did decrease as S increased. Magnesium, sodium, and sulfur accumulated in shoot tissue (leaves and stems) of both species in proportion to their concentration in the irrigation water. It appears that high-S waters can be used to grow these vegetables without negative effects on growth.

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Groundwater contaminated with sulfate (SO4 2−) at concentrations greater than allowed for drinking water may be suitable for irrigation. Our objectives were to determine the growth response and mineral uptake of two vegetables grown with high SO4 2− irrigation water. Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea L.) were grown in a calcareous sandy loam soil irrigated with water containing 175 to 1743 mg SO4 2−/L. Plants were harvested and growth was measured at 4, 8, or 12 weeks. Soil paste and dried ground plant tissue extracts were analyzed for elemental composition at each harvest by inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy. Bean shoot dry mass decreased as SO4 2− concentration increased. Although pod number at 4 weeks decreased as SO4 2− concentration increased, pod number at 12 weeks was not affected by irrigation treatments. Broccoli growth was not affected by increasing SO4 2− concentration at any of the harvest dates, although head diameter decreased as SO4 2− increased. Magnesium, sodium, and sulfur accumulated in shoot tissue (leaves and stems) of both species in proportion to their concentration in the irrigation water. Soil Na and electrical conductivity levels increased as SO4 2− concentration increased even with a 20% leaching fraction. These results suggest that bean and broccoli can be successfully grown with high-SO4 2− irrigation water.

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