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  • Author or Editor: Phyllis Gilreath x
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Abstract

Budbreak of ‘Woodard’ and ‘Bluegem’ rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) occurred sooner than ‘Tifblue’ following chilling at constant 10 and 15°C and a diurnal regime of 8 hours at 15°/16 hours at 7°. Results indicate a narrower range of effective chilling temperatures for ‘Tifblue’. The temperature effect was more pronounced for ‘Woodard’ rooted cuttings than budsticks and was more significant for floral than vegetative budbreak. Floral budbreak of rooted cuttings subjected to 14 days at 30° in the middle of the chilling period was faster than at continuous chilling treatments. The number of days required for budbreak was significantly reduced as chilling hours increased.

Open Access

Abstract

Evaporative cooling by overhead sprinkling during rest advanced bloom of ‘Sungold’ nectarine [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] about 11 days. The bloom advance was due to water applied to the canopy and not to increased water in the root zone. A rest prediction model for low chilling nectarines which accurately predicted rest completion for all unsprinkled treatments failed to predict the date of rest termination for sprinkled treatments, suggesting other factors are involved in addition to temperature.

Open Access

Abstract

Floral bud break of 1-year-old rooted cuttings of ‘Sungold’ nectarine (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch) was observed following chilling at constant and diurnal temperature regimes. Continuous exposure to 10°C was as effective as 7°. Rate of bud break increased as chilling increased up to 750 hours. Floral bud break of plants exposed to 14 days at 30° during the middle of the chilling period was more rapid but failed to reach the level of activity of plants exposed to constant temperatures. A chill unit model developed for ‘Sungold’ nectarine which has a chilling requirement of 550 hours indicated a broader range of effective temperatures and a higher optimum for rest completion as compared to the Utah model and predicted rest completion more accurately than other methods when applied to orchard temperature data.

Open Access

U.S. agricultural producers are required to provide varying amounts of safety training to their employees depending on the nature of their operation(s). Hand washing is an integral part of several types of safety training including pesticide safety education, the Worker Protection Standard and Microbial Food Safety of Fruits and Vegetables. Generally instructions are to “wash thoroughly,” though some employees are told they should wash for 20 seconds. An easy way to get growers to “buy into” methods that verify hand washing is to include such demonstrations as part of pesticide safety education programs and workshops that grant Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for the renewal of pesticide applicator licenses. It is important that the demonstrations be highly visual so participants actually experience the difficulty in removing a contaminant from hands even though they have performed “thorough” hand washing. It also allows them to observe the ease of cross contamination from soiled hands. Once growers see how easy and inexpensive it is to do this type of training, they are being encouraged to use these demonstrations with various types of employees: mixer-loaders and other handlers, harvesting crews, packinghouse employees, and even field workers who routinely handle plants and may be spreading diseases. Details on different methods of training and grower reactions will be presented.

Free access

`Jupiter' and `Verdel' bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) transplants set to the depth of cotyledon leaves or to the first true leaf yielded more fruit than transplants set to the top of the rootball. Increased yields and early stand establishment criteria (number of leaves, leaf area, plant weight, and plant height) suggest that planting pepper transplants deeper than is now common is commercially beneficial in Florida. Deeper plantings may place pepper roots in a cooler environment and reduce fluctuations in soil temperature. Moderated soil temperature, in conjunction with earlier fertilizer and water acquisition, may give deeper-planted pepper plants a competitive edge in growth.

Free access

Abstract

First introduced for strawberries in the late 1950s, polyethylene mulch has been used widely for vegetable culture in Florida (4, 5). Currently, about 40,000 ha of vegetables are produced in Florida using polyethylene ground mulches. A full-bed mulch system is used for most of the tomato, pepper, and strawberry crops in Florida (2, 3).

Open Access

`Agriset', `All Star', and `Colonial' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) transplants set to a depth of the first true leaf and `Cobia' transplants set to a depth of the cotyledon leaves yielded more fruit at first harvest than plants set to the top of the rootball (root–shoot interface). The increase in fruit count was predominantly in the extra-large category. More red fruit at first harvest suggested that deeper planting hastens tomato maturity. The impact of planting depth diminished with successive harvests, indicating the response to be primarily a first-harvest phenomenon in tomato.

Free access

Florida, like other states, is developing BMPs for specific commodities. Vegetables are in a statewide document that includes field crops. Vegetable advisory committee members from the counties in southern Florida were concerned that the existing document was too broad in its scope and that many practices did not apply to production on sandy or calcareous soils. Based on grower comments, extension agents organized grower meetings to address these issues. The first meeting was a presentation by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Water Policy. The second meeting in Miami–Dade was a hands-on session, where growers and industry were divided into three areas—nutrition, pesticides, and water quality. Each group was facilitated by a faculty member or the NRCS conservationist. Other counties used newsletters and other methods to receive grower feedback. Participant comments were compiled and forwarded to FDACS, where they are being incorporated into a greatly revised document. Concerns will be presented.

Free access

Florida tomato growers generate about $600 million of annual farm gate sales. The Florida Vegetable and Agronomic Crop Water Quality/Quantity Best Management Practices Manual was adopted by rule in the Florida Administrative Code in 2006 and describes cultural practices available to tomato growers that have the potential to improve water quality. By definition, BMPs are specific cultural practices that are proven to optimize yield while minimizing pollution. BMPs must be technically feasible, economically viable, socially acceptable, and based on sound science. The BMP manual for vegetables endorses UF-IFAS recommendations, including those for fertilization and irrigation. Current statewide N fertilizer recommendations for tomato provide for a base rate of 224 kg/ha plus provisions for supplemental fertilizer applications 1) after a leaching rain, 2) under extended harvest season, and 3) when plant nutrient levels (leaf or petiole) fall below the sufficiency range. An on-farm project in seven commercial fields was conducted in 2004 under cool and dry growing conditions, to compare grower practices (ranging from 264 to 468 kg/ha of N) to the recommended rate. Early and total extra-large yields tended to be higher with growers' rate than with the recommended rate, but these differences were significant only in one trial. The first-year results illustrated the need for recommendations to be tested for several years and to provide flexibility to account for the reality of local growing conditions. Working one-on-one with commercial growers provided an opportunity to focus on each farm`s educational needs and to identify specific improvements in nutrient and irrigation management.

Free access