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Warren Roberts, Penny Perkins-Veazie, Jonathan Edelson, Jim Shrefler, and Lynn Brandenberger

Forty-one watermelon cultivars were compared for yield and fruit size. Fields were prepared with raised beds 1 m wide covered with black plastic and equipped with drip irrigation. Plots were 2.7 m wide × 15.2 m long, with 10 plants being spaced 2.7 m apart in the row, and the remaining 6.1 m of each plot being used as a buffer zone. There were 4 replications of each plot, arranged as a randomized complete block. Seeds were placed in pre-moistened Jiffy-9 pellets in a greenhouse on 16 June 2003. Germinated seedlings were transplanted to the field on June 30. There were 27 triploid cultivars grown, with an average yield of 34.3 t·ha–1, and 14 diploid cultivars grown, also with an average of 34.3 t·ha–1. The three highest yielding diploids were `Gold Strike' with 51.7 t·ha–1, `Jamboree' with 44.8 t·ha–1, and `Dulce'with 43.0 t·ha–1. The three highest yielding triploids were `Sweet Slice' with 49.1 t·ha–1, `Sweet Delight' with 46.6 t·ha–1, and `Samba' with 45.0 t·ha–1. Small, personal sized melons are gaining popularity in the markets, and several small sized cultivars were included in this study. The cultivars with the smallest fruit, and their average fruit sizes, were `HA 5133', 2.6 kg; `HA 6007', 2.7 kg; `HA 5109', 2.8 kg; `Minipol', 3.0 kg; `WD-02-05', 3.4 kg; `HA 6008', 3.4 kg; `HSR 2920', 3.5 kg; `HA 6009], 3.7 kg; `HA 5116', 3.7 kg; and `WT-03-05', 4.2 kg.

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Warren Roberts, Benny Bruton, Jonathan Edelson, Wenhua Lu, Penny Perkins-Veazie, Jim Shrefler, and Michael E. Stanghellini

Forty-one cultivars of triploid and diploid watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) were grown at Lane, Oklahoma in 2003. Seeds were placed in Jiffy-9 pellets in a greenhouse on 21 May. Fields were prepared with raised beds 1 m wide covered with black plastic. Plots were 3 m wide by 15 m long, with 4 replications, arranged as a randomized complete block. Seedlings were transplanted to the field on 4 June. From 4–9 June, rainfall occurred 5 days. Maximum soil temperatures at 5 cm, under bare soil, from 1–9 June were 34, 34, 35, 26, 22, 26, 31, 29, and 32 °C, respectively. On 9 June, 84% of the seedlings were dead. Lesions were observed on the roots and stems and isolations were made from symptomatic tissues. The predominant pathogen isolated from the seedlings was Pythium aphanidermatum. Some of the cultivars appear to have some degree of resistance to P. aphanidermatum. Mortality among the cultivars, averaged across all replications, ranged from 33% to 100%. The cultivars with the lowest mortality were “Tri-X Carousel” (33%), `Sunny' (40%), `WT-02-31' (53%), `Ole' (58%), and `Tri-X Palomar' (68%). New seeds were seeded in the greenhouse on 16 June, and transplanted to the field on June 30. The replacement seedlings were planted in the same field, in the same location as the previous plants. Maximum soil temperatures for the two week interval following the second planting ranged from 33 to 39 °C, with only one rain of 0.8 cm occurring 10 days after planting. There was no apparent plant loss due to P. aphidermatum in the second planting.

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Fumiomi Takeda, Gene Lester, Craig Chandler, Penny Perkins-Veazie, and Ronald Prior

Fresh strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch) are readily available throughout the year with several new cultivars being successfully grown in diverse environmental conditions (e.g., field and greenhouse). Consumption of strawberries with higher nutritive values and antioxidant activity may contribute to improved human wellness. Phytonutrient contents and antioxidant activity was measured as oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) were assayed in berries (`Camarosa', `Diamante', and `Gaviota') sampled in January, February to March, and April to May from fields in Plant City, Fla., and Oxnard, Calif., and from a greenhouse in Kearneysville, WV. Strawberry cultivars varied in skin color, soluble solids, total phenolics, and anthocyanins, ascorbic acid, folic acid, and ORAC activity. Response to environment was cultivar dependent. All phytonutrient constituents were lower in `Diamante' berries compared to `Camarosa' and `Gaviota'. For all cultivars, berry ORAC activity declined as TSS increased, and ORAC activity was coincident with phenolic content. ORAC activity in berries fruit harvested from plants grown in a temperature-controlled greenhouse did not change during the January to May sampling period. For `Gaviota', ORAC activity in greenhouse-produced berries was the same as that of field-produced berries. Whereas greenhouse vs. field-gown `Camarosa' and `Diamante' berries ORAC was higher and lower respectively. These findings demonstrate that the environmental conditions in greenhouses in Kearneysville, W.Va., from winter to spring are adequate for `Camarosa' and `Gaviota' color development, but not for `Diamante' strawberries. Of the three cultivars, only `Camarosa' was highly productive (1.2 kg berries per plant), even in the greenhouse. Berries were high in ascorbic acid, folic acid, phenolic acid, anthocyanins, and ORAC activity.