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  • Author or Editor: Wayne L. Schrader x
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Artichoke is a cool-season perennial crop that is grown as an annual from seed in southern California. Growing artichokes as annuals from seed allows growers to harvest during the winter from November to March. Artichoke seed is planted in May, transplants are moved to the field in July, and harvesting begins as early as November in years with relatively cool fall weather. Hot fall weather during September and October suppresses plant growth and causes premature flowering, which lowers yield and average bud size. Plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments were evaluated in annual artichokes to determine if they could reduce the adverse effects of hot weather during September and October. Treatments included multiple applications of apogee (gibberellin inhibitor), retain (ethylene inhibitor), apogee + retain, cytokinin, and control plots. Harvestable buds were counted as a measure of earlier flowering induced by hot weather. Apogee and cytokinin show promise in reducing heat stress during hot fall artichoke production. Other PGR treatments increased the number of harvestable buds compared to control plots.

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California vegetable and strawberry growers are expecting legislation which will limit their use of fertilizers and water by crop, acreage, and season. An increasing number of growers are adopting drip irrigation, which affords the opportunity for more precise control of water and nitrogen nutrition. Many growers, however, lack the skills and time necessary to manage and monitor water and fertilizer applications effectively in drip irrigation. Consequently, the need for quick, easy, and reliable methods to manage nitrogen fertility with drip irrigation has increased. Two trials were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of granular controlled release nitrogen fertilizers in fields where excessive water use had been eliminated by using tensiometers and ET data to manage irrigations. A range of management options for maximizing yield and quality in vegetable and strawberry production with reduced nitrogen and water inputs will be discussed.

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Growth regulator application effects on earliness and yield were evaluated on drip irrigated artichokes grown as annuals from seed for winter (November through February) production in 1989, 1990, and 1991. Foliar treatments were applied three times at two week intervals. Gibberellic acid treatments which began four, six, and eight weeks after transplanting gave six to eight weeks earlier first harvest and significantly greater yields. Treatment with gibberellic acid beginning four weeks after transplanting gave the earliest first harvest.

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Three trials were conducted in 1989 to evaluate the effects of chilling, freezing, growth regulator, and acid scarification treatments on the seed germination of two artichoke varieties. Soaking seed in a 500, 1000, or 2000 ppm ethephon solution for 5 minutes significantly increased the rate and uniformity of germination. Chilling, freezing, gibberellin, and cytokinin treatments did not affect germination rate. Freezing moistened seed and acid scarification significantly delayed germination. Ethephon treatments did not affect subsequent seedling development.

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The viability of urban interface agriculture (located near housing tracts, shopping centers, roadways, schools, and parks) depends on the ability of growers to allow their neighbors to enjoy the full benefits of their property. Growers must eliminate or minimize the noise, dust, flies, spray drift, odors, and field worker improprieties that can be associated with agricultural enterprises. An excellent way to minimize “ag/urban interface” problems is to grow a protective border planting between housing and agricultural production fields. Border plantings increase the aesthetic value of agricultural open spaces and screen out unwanted agricultural activities for those living adjacent to production areas. An ideal protective barrier planting consists of plants that 1) grow quickly and are easy to maintain; 2) provide a good physical barrier to dust, spray, and noise; 3) are inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing; 4) do not harbor insect pests that would damage crops or surrounding landscape plantings; and 5) support beneficial insects that prey on crop insect pests. Border planting sites were developed to identify plants that are adapted to border planting use and to gather information on insect populations that are supported by those plantings. Early results indicate that native plants including coyote bush, wild lilac, buckwheat, coffeeberry, yarrow, deer grass, and purple-needle grass can provide the desired physical barrier and beneficial insect support. Bio-diversity is the key to increasing populations of beneficial insects and several different native plant species have, therefore, been incorporated into the border plantings. Beneficial insect populations have been increased with appropriate border plantings.

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Agricultural producers in the United States require timely and accurate information on critical issues, environmental crises, and best management practices to make effective production decisions and to remain competitive in a global economy. Sources of information (university departments, extension, industry, consultants, scientific and trade publications) often take a single discipline approach that makes it difficult for growers to process and utilize information effectively. The high cost of printed publications make frequent updates impractical, while rapidly changing technologies and issues demand continual publication changes and updates. The rapid development and peer review of multi-discipline, research based information is possible through computer information transfer technology. The Univ. of California's Vegetable Crops Research and Information Center (VRIC) has developed a new World Wide Web site to disseminate peer-reviewed fact sheets, research results, updated publications, and multi-media educational resources relating to critical issues, best management practices, postharvest handling, and marketing of vegetable crops. The website disseminates multi-discipline information originating from the Univ. of California, the USDA, and cooperating agencies and universities. The VRIC website proactively sends peer-reviewed critical issue fact sheets to selected news media, government, industry, and academic contacts. These fact sheets help personnel frequently contacted by the media during crises to answer questions effectively. The website directs visitors to additional agricultural information resources and contains information on careers and educational opportunities available in the field of vegetable crops.

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The Univ. of California's Vegetable Crops Research and Information Center (VRIC) has developed a new World Wide Web site that allows the rapid development and peer review of multi-discipline, research-based information. The VRIC website (http://vrichome.ucdavis.edu) disseminates peer-reviewed fact sheets, research results, updated publications, and multi-media educational resources relating to critical issues, best management practices, postharvest handling, and marketing of vegetable crops. The website disseminates multi-discipline information originating from the Univ. of California, the USDA, and cooperating agencies and universities. The VRIC website proactively sends peer-reviewed critical-issue fact sheets to selected news media, government, industry, and academic contacts. These fact sheets help personnel frequently contacted by the media during crises to answer questions effectively. The website directs visitors to additional agricultural information resources and contains information on careers and educational opportunities available in the field of vegetable crops.

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