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Charles S. Vavrina, Kenneth D. Shuler, and Phyllis R. Gilreath

`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.

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Charles S. Vavrina, Stephen M. Olson, Phyllis R. Gilreath, and Mary L. Lamberts

`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.