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  • Author or Editor: P. J. Temple x
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Abstract

Greenhouse-grown root, foliage, fruit, and seed crops were exposed to peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) at 0, 5, 10, 20, and 40 ppb, 4 hours per day, twice per week, from germination to maturity of harvestable product. A response of PAN dose and growth or yield parameters was significant only for lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Empire) and Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris L. var. cicla, cv. Fordhook). Leaf fresh weight was reduced by 13% in ‘Empire’ lettuce and by 23% in chard in the 40 ppb PAN treatments relative to 0 ppb PAN controls. Peroxyacetyl nitrate at 10 ppb appeared to stimulate the growth of most crops. The threshold for inhibition of growth by PAN, under conditions of 2 exposures per week, appeared to be between 10 and 20 ppb. These results suggest that PAN, at concentrations below the threshold for visible injury, can alter the growth of plants, but that significant reductions in growth or yield may occur only in highly susceptible cultivars of leafy crops.

Open Access

Conservation tillage (CT) row crop production is currently not widely adopted in California. Recently, however, interest in evaluating the potential of CT systems to reduce production costs and improve soil quality is growing in many areas in the state. In 1997 and 1998, we evaluated four cover crop mulches (rye/vetch, triticale/vetch, Sava medic, and Sephi medic) in a CT-transplanted tomato system relative to the conventional winter fallow (CF) practice. In both years, yields were comparable to the CF under the triticale/vetch and rye/vetch mulches. Earthworm populations after 2 years of CT production were increased 2- to 5-fold under mulches relative to the CF system. Soil carbon was increased by 16% and 6% after 2 years of CT production under the triticale/vetch and rye/vetch mulches, respectively. Weed suppression under the triticale/vetch and rye/vetch was comparable to the CF with herbicide system early in the season in both years but was maintained through harvest in only one season. Soil water storage (0-90 cm) was similar at the beginning of the tomato season in triticale/vetch, rye/vetch, and fallow plots but was higher under the mulches during much of the last 45 days of the 1998 season. Further refinement of CT practices in California's vegetable production regions is needed before wider adoption is likely.

Free access

No-till processing tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.) production in four winter cover crop-derived mulches was evaluated in 1997 and 1998 in Five Points, Calif. The effectiveness of two medics, `Sava' snail medic (Medicago scutellata Mill.) (sava), and `Sephi' barrel medic (Medicago truncatula Gaertn.) (sephi), and two cereal/legume cover crop mixtures, triticale/`Lana' woolypod vetch (X Triticosecale Wittm./Vicia dasycarpa Ten.) (triticale/vetch) and rye/`Lana' woolypod vetch (Secale cereale L./V. dasycarpa) (rye/vetch), was compared with two conventionally tilled fallow controls (with and without herbicide) (fallow+h and fallow-h) in suppressing weeds and maintaining yields with reduced fertilizer inputs. The comparison was conducted as a split plot, with three N fertilization rates (0, 100, and 200 lb/acre; 0, 112, and 224 kg·ha-1) as main plots and cover crops and fallow controls as subplots. Tomato seedlings were transplanted 3 weeks after the cover crops had been mowed and sprayed with herbicide. There were no significant differences in weed cover in the no-till cover crop treatments relative to the fallow controls in 1997. Early season weed suppression in rye/vetch and triticale/vetch plots was similar to herbicide-treated fallow (fallow+h) in 1998, however, later in the 1998 season weed suppression was best in the fallow+h. Tissue N was highest in the fallow treatments in both 1997 and 1998. Yields were highest in the triticale/vetch and fallow and lowest in sephi treatments in 1997, but there were no differences among treatments in 1998. These results demonstrate the feasibility of no-till mulch production of furrow irrigated processing tomatoes and identify opportunities for further optimization of the system.

Full access

Field experiments were conducted in 2000 and 2001 in Meridian, Calif. to evaluate the effects of cover crop mixtures and reduced tillage on yield, soil nitrogen (N), weed growth, and soil moisture content in organic processing tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum) production. The trial was set up as a randomized complete-block design with eight treatments consisting of a 2 × 3 (cover crop × tillage) factorial design, a fallow control (F) and a single strip-till (ST) treatment. Cover crop mixtures were either legumes (L), common vetch (Vicia sativa), field pea (Pisum sativum) and bell bean (Vicia faba), or those legumes with grasses (GL), annual ryegrass/triticale (Lolium multiflorum/xTriticosecale) in 2000; cereal rye (Secale cereale)/triticale in 2001. Tillage treatments included an incorporation of the cover crop at planting (IP), a delayed incorporation (DI) (17 to 19 days after planting), and no-till (NT). Due to regrowth of the annual ryegrass in 2000, tomato fruit yields in 2000 were reduced by 50% to 97% within all GL treatments. However, regrowth of the cover crop was not a problem in 2001 and yields were not different among treatments. Total percent weed cover was 1.6 to 12.5 times higher in NT than IP treatments in 2000 and 2.4 to 7.4 times higher in 2001 as weed pressure was mainly affected by tillage practices and less by cover crop type. In 2000, available soil N was 1.7 to 9.4 times higher in L than GL treatments and was significantly influenced by tillage, but there were no treatment effects in 2001 due to a 60% reduction in weed pressure and minimal or no cover crop regrowth. Soil moisture content did not differ between treatments in either year. These results demonstrate the importance of appropriate selection and termination of cover crops for their successful adoption in organic conservation tillage systems.

Full access

The Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) Project was established in 1988 to study the transition from conventional to low-input and organic farm management in California's Sacramento Valley. We evaluated the effects of these alternative farming systems on soil compaction, water-holding capacity, infiltration, and water storage in relation to tomato yield and fruit quality within the SAFS cropping systems comparison 10 years after it had been established. Soil bulk density (0-15, 15-30, 30-45, and 45-60 cm) was not significantly different among the farming systems. In situ water-holding capacity at 24, 48 and 72 h after water application was significantly higher in the organic system at all times and depths except 45-60 cm. Cumulative water infiltration after 3 h in the organic and low-input cover crop-based plots was more than twice that of the conventional system. The more rapid infiltration in the low-input and organic systems resulted in increased total irrigation needs, more water stored in the soil profile throughout the 30 days before harvest, and lower fruit soluble solids and titratable acidity in these systems relative to the conventional system. Yields were not significantly different in the organic, low-input, and conventional systems during either 1997 or 1998.

Free access