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V. A. Khan and C. Stevens

Staminate and pistillate flower production and fruiting characteristics of `Crimson Sweet' watermelons were evaluated under VisPore row cover plus clear polyethylene mulch (VCM), VisPore row cover plus black polyethylene mulch (VBM), clear polyethylene mulch (CM), black polyethylene mulch (BM) and bare soil (BS). VCM produced significantly higher numbers of pistillate and staminate flowers than other treatments. All mulched and mulched plus VisPore treatments were significantly different from BS with regards to the 1st nodal position of the staminate and pistillate flowers. Fruit-set among the treatments between 53-55 days after transplanting were: 100%, 75%, 59% and 32% for VCM, VBM, CM and BM, respectively. Average number of fruits per plant were: 4, 3, 3, 3 and 1 for VCM, VBM, CM, BM and BS, respectively.

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V. A. Khan, C. Stevens, and J. E. Brown

Early okra production was evaluated using `Clemson Spineless' transplants grown under clear polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VCM), black polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VBM), clear polyethylene mulch (CM), black polyethylene mulch (BM) and bare soil (BS) for two years. Early yield (1st four harvests in early June) was significantly greater for VCM treatment while total marketable yield at the end of 8 wks were significantly greater for VCM, BM, and VBM treatments, respectively in both years. Enterprise budget analysis showed that VCM and BM treatments had the highest net-return to management on a per acre basis.

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V. A. Khan, C. Stevens, and J. E. Brown

Early okra production was evaluated using `Clemson Spineless' transplants grown under clear polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VCM), black polyethylene mulch plus VisPore row cover (VBM), clear polyethylene mulch (CM), black polyethylene mulch (BM) and bare soil (BS) for two years. Early yield (1st four harvests in early June) was significantly greater for VCM treatment while total marketable yield at the end of 8 wks were significantly greater for VCM, BM, and VBM treatments, respectively in both years. Enterprise budget analysis showed that VCM and BM treatments had the highest net-return to management on a per acre basis.

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N. Baharanyi, C. Stevens, V. Khan, and A. Siaway

This study evaluated the potential economic returns of two years of on-farm plastic mulch experiments for `Market Topper' cabbage and `Vates' collard greens conducted on a field with serious weed and nematode problems in Butler County, Alabama. Assuming 1987 and 1988 wholesale prices for vegetable crops in Alabama and other appropriate prices for various inputs used, and after adjusting the cost of plastics in the enterprise budgets for having used the same in the two years, the estimated return for cabbage harvested from plastic mulch experiments was 5 times greater in 1987 ($2,776.83 and $551.02) and more than 10 times in 1988 ($2,775.00 and $49.40) than from non-covered field. The estimated return for collard greens from plastic mulch experiments was also 5 times greater in 19.87 ($1,416.70 and $287.96) and more than 10 times in 1988 ($339.50 and -$444.20) than from non-covered field. Questions remain as to the perceived economic benefits for other farmers and the non-biodegradable nature of the plastic used.

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N. Baharanyi, C. Stevens, V. Khan, and A. Siaway

This study evaluated the potential economic returns of two years of on-farm plastic mulch experiments for `Market Topper' cabbage and `Vates' collard greens conducted on a field with serious weed and nematode problems in Butler County, Alabama. Assuming 1987 and 1988 wholesale prices for vegetable crops in Alabama and other appropriate prices for various inputs used, and after adjusting the cost of plastics in the enterprise budgets for having used the same in the two years, the estimated return for cabbage harvested from plastic mulch experiments was 5 times greater in 1987 ($2,776.83 and $551.02) and more than 10 times in 1988 ($2,775.00 and $49.40) than from non-covered field. The estimated return for collard greens from plastic mulch experiments was also 5 times greater in 19.87 ($1,416.70 and $287.96) and more than 10 times in 1988 ($339.50 and -$444.20) than from non-covered field. Questions remain as to the perceived economic benefits for other farmers and the non-biodegradable nature of the plastic used.

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C. Stevens, V. A. Khan, A. Y. Tang, C. K. Bonsi, and M. A. Wilson

A three year study involving solar heating of soil (soil solarization) with clear polyethylene mulch demonstrated for two years, control of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita). The population of M. incognita was reduced >90% in the 0-30cm depth of solarized soil. The number of eggs per gram root recovered and the root gall index from `Georgia-Jet' sweetpotatoes were reduced (92-98%) by soil solarization. Growth and yield were enhanced in solarized soil. The beneficial effects of solarization was observed in the second year following two additional cropping cycles of collard greens and sweetpotatoes.

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C. Stevens, V. A. Khan, J. Y. Lu, A. Y. Tang, and A. E. Hiltbold

Partial steam and chemical sterilization of soil rich in organic matter increased the soil nutrients, little information exists with regard to the effect of soil solarization (SS) in this regard. A study was established to determine the effects of SS in combination with wheat residue and subsequent crop residue on increased growth response (IGR) of cole crops and soil fertility for two years. SS for 90 days increased K+, P, Ca++ and Mg++ 3 times more within five months after SS. The SS effect released higher levels of total N in the soil. However, increase levels of N was lower than that required for maximum IGR of collard. The IGR of cole crops without fertilizers was higher in SS plots as compared to bare soil. The IGR of collard was evident almost two years after SS.

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C. Stevens, V. A. Khan, A. Y. Tang, and R. M. Cody

Field plots on Norfolk sandy loam soil at Tuskegee and Eufaula, AL were treated by soil solarization (SS). Samples rhizsosphere (R) and nonrhizosphere soil from cole crop and strawberry plots were collected and assayed with selective media for population densities of microbes involved in organic decomposition and mineralization. Microflora population densities of bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi increased 2-7 folds in the solarized compared to the bare soil (BS). Microflora population densities in the soils involved in cellulose and protein decomposition, ammonification, nitrification, phosphate mineralization were greater in solarized soil compared to BS. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in R soil 7 months after SS was higher when compared to BS at Tuskegee, but was reduced 50 folds 18 months after SS.

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C. Stevens, V. A. Khan, J. Y. Lu, M. A. Wilson, Z. Haung, and J. E. Brown

In 1988 and 1989 a muscadine vineyard at Tuskegeee, Alabama was treated by post plant soil solarization (PSS) (covering of moist soil around 'Carlos' muscadine plants (Vitis rotundifolia Michx.) with clear polyethylene plastic mulch to achieve high soil temperature for 30 and 75 days, respectively during PSS. Grape plants grown in solarized soils showed increases in growth response such as increased yield. Foliage of grape plants was evaluated for reaction to black rot incited by Guignardia bidwellii. A significant reduction of the foliage disease black rot was observed. The number of lesions per leaf, lesion size and percent leaves with lesions were significantly reduced by as much as 56% up to three years after solarization.

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V. A. Khan, C. Stevens, J. Y. LU, M. K. Kabwe, and Z. Haung

Clear (CM), and black plastic (BM) mulches and bare (BS) soil plus VisPore (V) row cover (VCM, VBM, VBS), CM, BM, and BS in combination with drip irrigation and three planting dates January 3rd, February 16th, and March 16th, 1990, were used to evaluate the yield of `Georgia' collard greens. At the 1st planting date, both mulches and row cover treatments had significantly higher yield. At the 2nd and 3rd planting dates there were significant interactions between mulch and row cover. The interaction at the the 2nd planting date showed that yield was highest with VCM and VBS treatments and at the 3rd planting date CM, BM and VBS increased yield, respectively. The number of days to harvest decreased with each planting date and bolting was not observed for any planting date or treatment combination.