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Field research was conducted in Deerfield, Mass. to study the effects of leguminous cover crops on sweet corn yield. Oat was planted alone and in combination with four leguminous cover crops August 8, 1990. Cover crop residue was disked once and sweet corn seeded April 23, 1991. Each cover crop combination had three rates of nitrogen added in two applications. Sweet corn seeded into stands of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) yielded the highest of the cover crop combinations. All leguminous cover crop treatments yielded higher than oat alone or no cover crop when no synthetic nitrogen was added. Cover crop combinations were seeded again in the same field plots August 12, 1991. Oat biomass in November was greater where there had been leguminous cover crops or high rates of synthetic nitrogen. Legume growth was retarded in the plots that had previously received high nitrogen. It is thought that legume growth was reduced in the high nitrogen treatments due to increased oat growth and higher soil nitrogen levels which could inhibit root nodulation.

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Hot cherry peppers were grown after incorporation of the following three winter cover crop regimes in Summer 1994—hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) plus winter rye (Secale cereale), hairy vetch alone, and no cover crop. For each main effect there were three N rates applied to peppers in three applications over the course of the season: 0, 85, and 170 kg·ha–1. The pepper yield was significantly higher with hairy vetch plus rye than rye alone or no cover crop. There was also no significant yield increase with the addition of N fertilizer to the peppers grown with hairy vetch. Soil nitrate–N levels taken just prior to N sidedress were significantly higher in plots that had hairy vetch plus rye compared to other treatments. There was also a significant linear relationship of the soil nitrate–N levels among the three N rates. Based on the results of this study, sidedressing peppers would be recommended when soil nitrate levels are above the 25 ppm that is the current threshold for other crops. SPAD readings were taken several times during the season. There was a high correlation of SPAD readings to pepper yield very early and very late in the season. The correlation of SPAD readings to pepper yield was poorest when taken at the time of N sidedress.

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Field research was conducted in Deerfield, Mass. to study the effects of different cover crop species seeded between plastic mulch on weed pressure and pepper yield. A complete fertilizer was applied before plastic was laid on Sept. 13, 1991. Two cover crop treatments were seeded Sept. 13, 1991: white clover (Trifolium repens) alone and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) in combination with winter rye (Secale cereale). On May 27, 1992 the vetch and rye were mow-killed with the biomass left on the soil surface. Annual rye (Lolium multiflorum) was then seeded on the same day as the third cover crop treatment. The remaining two treatments were a weedy check and a hand-weeded check. Peppers were transplanted into the plastic on May 31. Both the annual rye and clover were mowed three times over the course of the experiment with the biomass left between the plastic mulch. The white clover and annual rye were much more competitive with weed species than the dead mulch of vetch and rye. The three cover crop treatments had pepper yields that were severely depressed compared to the hand-weeded treatment. Among the three cover crop treatments, only the annual rye yielded more peppers than the weedy check.

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Cover crops have been used in agricultural systems for thousands of years and are still an important part of vegetable production in the Northeast. Winter rye (Secale cereale) is by far the dominant cover crop species on conventional vegetable farms in the New England states. It is use is primarily for erosion control. Winter rye is popular since it is cheap, easy to establish, can overwinter in the harsh winters of northern New England, is efficient in “capturing” excess nitrogen at the end of the cash crop season, and it can produce substantial amounts of organic matter in the spring. As many positive attributes that winter rye has, it is important to be aware of many of the other potential cover crop species that are available to us. For example, many conventional growers are exploring the use of leguminous cover crops as an alternative to chemical nitrogen fertilizers which are more readily leached and are only going to get more expensive. Cover crops can also be seeded and managed in innovative ways to suppress weeds and other pests, add organic matter and conserve soil moisture.

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Planting date influences grain soybean yield and quality, but no information is available regarding the responses of seed chemical compositions to delayed planting date in vegetable soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. Three vegetable soybean cultivars, CAS No.1, Tai 292, and 121, were planted on 3 May, 15 May, 27 May, and 8 June in the field during the 2010 and 2011 growing seasons. The experiment was a randomized complete block design with three replications on a typical Mollisol (black soil). We found that late planting reduced fresh pod yield in all cultivars and years. The reduction in fresh pod yield to delayed planting was significantly correlated with the reduction in the number of two-seed pods per plant. Cultivars with strong capacity in retaining more two-seed pods may possess an advantage if planting is delayed. Planting after 15 May increased seed protein content by 4.1% to 7.5% and reduced oil content by 2.4% to 26.3% for different cultivars. The contents of free amino acid, sum of fructose and glucose, raffinose, and stachyose in seed were also increased by late planting. By contrast, late planting reduced the seed sucrose content ranging from 7.6% to 45.5% for the different cultivars. Planting on 3 May usually produced the greatest fresh pod yield and highest seed sucrose content. These results demonstrated that late planting after early May might have a negative impact on the eating quality of vegetable soybean.

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Replicated fertility trials with four vegetable crops on the limestone soils of Dade County, Fla., have been conducted for 3 years (1993–94 through 1995–96). The purpose was 1) to determine crop nutrient requirements, 2) to calibrate a soil testing model, and 3) to develop additional information for plant sap quick tests. The crops included snap beans, Irish potatoes, sweet corn, and malanga (a.k.a. yautia or tannia, Xanthosoma sagittifolium Schott). Another two field demonstrations using reduced rates of phosphorus on tomatoes were conducted in 1995–96. The involvement of the local fertilizer industry in these trials and grower outreach efforts will be discussed.

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A baseline survey was conducted to determine grower fertilizer management practices for five vegetable crops: beans, malanga, potatoes, sweet corn, and squash. This was done in conjunction with a 3-year replicated fertility trial with four vegetable crops (1993–94 through 1995–96) in the Homestead area. Questions included: fertilizer rates and timing, source(s) of fertilizer recommendations, soil and tissue testing, irrigation, changes in practices, summer cover crops, rock plowing, spacing, and type of fertilizer used. Survey results will be presented.

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Abstract

Ten fresh market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) genotypes were evaluated for yield stability in 7 environments within Florida. Genotype × environment interaction was significant for yield of marketable fruit. Linear relationships between mean yields of individual genotypes and environmental mean yields were evaluated to determine genotype stability. Mean square deviations from linear regression (s2d), regression coefficients (b1) and coefficient of linear determination (R 2) were used to evaluate phenotypic stability. ‘Sunny’, Castlehy 1035’, ‘Burgis’, ‘FTE 12’, and ‘Duke’ were considered stable and high yielding. An advanced breeding line, 827015-IBK, was considered stable but low yielding. ‘Hayslip’, D76127, ‘Flora-Dade’, and ‘Walter PF’ were considered unstable. This study suggests that yield stability differences occur among fresh market tomato genotypes. Therefore, selection of tomato genotypes for improved adaptability should be considered in tomato breeding programs.

Open Access