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  • Author or Editor: P.A. Thomas x
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In Georgia, horticulture is now the number two commodity in the state. The labor needs of the industry is increasing, however, enrollment in horticulture classes at UGA has been dropping. Most entry-level employees joining horticulture firms are completely without training or understanding of the industry, the type of work or the basic skills necessary to be functional. If horticulture was taught, it was by persons with Vo-Ag training in small engines, or animal husbandry etc. Students reported teachers had very little enthusiasm for the subject, no school facilities and that the school principle/administration had no vision for, or understanding of, horticulture. We are addressing this situation through an innovative partnership between Georgia High Schools, The Georgia Department of Education, and the University of Georgia. We can reverse the trend by training new and existing high school teachers by providing them a standardized floriculture curriculum and comprehensive training in greenhouse management, classroom teaching methods, industry awareness and a provide a long-term link to UGA. Our objective is to increase the number of students who are trained, motivated and willing to work in the field of horticulture as entry level workers. To do this we set about to standardize the course curriculum statewide, certify the high-school, faculty and administration for commitment and program continuity, Set up a model training greenhouse system at UGA, and conduct new teacher training at UGA through ALEC, and conduct postcertification training for teachers at UGA during the summer to upgrade skills, enthusiasm. The venture, including a model greenhouse at UGA, has been funded for over $100,000. The program currently has 218 Schools, 64 w/labs and greenhouses, 215 teachers and 25,049 students participating.

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In an effort to expand and improve the agriculture curriculum, the Georgia Department of Education set standards for new greenhouses to be built at high schools. These modern greenhouses are to serve as teaching facilities for new horticulture classes. However, current teachers had little or no background or experience in teaching greenhouse or nursery management courses. In response to the GDE needs, a summer workshop “Managing Crop Production and Equipment in the School Greenhouse” was held at CAES Griffin Campus and at Pike County High School. Faculty from UGA departments presented topics such as water quality, irrigation and crop nutrition, cultural guidelines for major floricultural crops, IPM, pesticide safety, and marketing, business planning and fund raising. Included in the program were numerous hands-on activities designed to cover the essential practical skills needed for a greenhouse employee—proper handling and planting of plugs, watering, calculating fertilizer rates, fertilizer injector maintenance and calibration, soil pH and fertility monitoring, scouting and pest identification, and proper pesticide handling and spraying techniques. Twenty-two teachers from schools with horticulture curriculum attended the training. The workshop evaluations indicated high satisfaction with the material presented. Teachers pointed out that the practical skills had not only been very useful but also the manner in which they were presented would be easily applicable to students. The knowledge acquired will be incorporated into the fall and spring curriculum. Through the effort of the floriculture specialist, a high-quality educational program was delivered to Georgia High School teachers, which in turn translate into attracting student into joining the growing ornamental horticulture industry.

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Abstract

Mechanical stress, whether from shaking or flexing reduced the elongation of greenhouse chrysanthemums. Stress for 30 seconds once a day was slightly less effective than twice a day. Mechanical stress may be used to reduce excessive stem elongation without the use of chemicals.

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Abstract

Aqueous extracts of asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) roots inhibited seed germination in tomato and lettuce, but not in cucumber. The extracts reduced hypocotyl growth in lettuce, shoot growth in asparagus, and inhibited radicle elongation in barley, lettuce, and asparagus. Seedling growth in tomato and two cultivars of wheat were not affected. Inhibition was concentration-dependent. Radicle growth in ‘Grand Rapids’ lettuce was sensitive to an extract concentration as low as 0.05 g dry root tissue/100 ml H2O. Asparagus radicles were more sensitive than asparagus shoots. In one experiment, phytotoxicity of crude extract was not altered by autoclaving. Aqueous root extracts of A. racemosis Willd. also inhibited germination and radicle growth in ‘Grand Rapids’ lettuce. A crude extract was purified by solvent partitioning, and charcoal adsorption, cation exchange, and thin-layer chromatography (TLC). A band from the TLC was found to fluoresce under ultraviolet light, react with phenolic-sensitive localization reagents, and inhibit the growth of lettuce and asparagus radicles.

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Bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are important pollinators of mostly self-sterile rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade). Annual bee colonies start from solitary overwintered queens who emerge in near-synchrony with rabbiteye blueberry bloom. Although colony populations may reach several hundred individuals by midsummer, in early spring most Bombus visiting rabbiteye blueberry are queens reared the previous season. Thus, practices that encourage production of queens in summer may increase populations of blueberry pollinators the next spring. In south Georgia, midsummer shortages of nectar-yielding plants may nutritionally limit queen production, and cultured bee forages may help overcome this deficiency. Candidate plants must not compete with the crop for pollinators, and they must be attractive to bees, easy to grow, vigorous, and non-invasive. In 3 years of trials, the following plants have shown promise as supplemental bumblebee forages in south Georgia: Althea (Hibiscus syriacus), abelia (Abelia ×grandifolia), vitex (Vitex agnuscastus), red clover (Trifolium pratense perenne), Mexican heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia), monkey grass (Liriope muscari), summer sweet (Clethra alnifolia), and giant sunflower (Helianthus giganteus).

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Candidate gene (CG) analysis can be an efficient approach for identifying genes controlling important traits in fruit production. Three chronological steps have been described for determining candidate genes for a trait—proposing, screening, and validating—and we have applied these to the problem of internal breakdown of peach and nectarine. Internal breakdown (IB), also known as chilling injury, is the collective term for various disorders that occur during prolonged cold storage and/or after subsequent ripening of stone fruit. Symptoms include mealiness, browning, and bleeding. Candidate genes for IB symptoms were proposed based on knowledge of the biochemical or physiological pathways leading to phenotypic expression of the traits. Gene sequences for proposed CGs were obtained primarily from the Genome Database for Rosaceae. Screening the CGs involved identifying polymorphism within a progeny population, relying mainly on simple PCR tests. Several polymorphic CGs were located on a peach linkage map and compared with phenotypic variation for IB susceptibility. A major QTL for mealiness coincided with the Freestone-Melting flesh locus, which itself is likely to be controlled by a CG encoding endopolygalacturonase, an enzyme involved in pectin degradation. Further gene sequences positioned on the consensus linkage map of Prunus by other researchers were co-located with QTLs for IB traits. Validation of the role of identified CGs will require detailed physiological or transgenic studies.

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Six commonly known peach rootstocks (i.e., Flordaguard, Guardian®, Halford, Lovell, Nemaguard, and Okinawa) were evaluated for their susceptibility to Meloidogyne mayaguensis in the greenhouse. All rootstocks were rated as either nonhosts (highly resistant) or poor hosts (resistant) of M. mayaguensis. Lovell generally supported greater numbers of M. mayaguensis eggs per plant and eggs per gram of dry root, whereas no nematode reproduction was noted on Flordaguard rootstock (nonhost). Root galling occurred on all six rootstocks. However, reproduction as measured by number of egg masses, eggs per plant, and eggs per gram of dry root was a better measure of host resistance than number of root galls per plant.

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The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) was genetically transformed with the bar gene, conferring tolerance to the phosphinothricin-based herbicide glufosinate. Plants of one `Pilgrim' transclone grown under greenhouse conditions were significantly injured by foliar treatments of 100 mg·L-1 glufosinate, although the injury was less severe when compared to untransformed plants. However, the same transclone grown outdoors in coldframes survived foliar sprays of 500 mg·L-1 glufosinate and higher, while untransformed plants were killed at 300 mg·L-1. Actively growing shoot tips were the most sensitive part of the plants and at higher dosages of glufosinate, shoot-tip injury was evident on the transclone. Injured transgenic plants quickly regrew new shoots. Shoots of goldenrod (Solidago sp.) and creeping sedge (Carex chordorrhizia), two weeds common to cranberry production areas, were seriously injured or killed at 400 mg·L-1 glufosinate when grown in either the greenhouse or coldframe environment. Stable transmission and expression of herbicide tolerance was observed in both inbred and outcrossed progeny of the above cranberry transclone. Expected segregation ratios were observed in the outcrossed progeny and some outcrossed individuals demonstrated significantly enhanced tolerance over the original transclone, with no tip death at levels up to 8000 mg·L-1. Southern analysis of the original transclone and two progeny selections with enhanced tolerance showed an identical banding pattern, indicating that the difference in tolerance levels was not due to rearrangement of the transgene. The enhanced tolerance of these first generation progeny was retained when second generation selfed progeny were tested.

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