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Monica Ozores-Hampton*

The success of long-term vegetable production and maintenance of environmental quality is dependent on soil quality. Indicators of soil quality include cation exchange capacity (CEC), organic matter (OM), carbon (C), pH, and the number and community structure of soil organisms. The use of appropriate compost has been shown to improve soil quality and enhance the response to fertilizer, therefore improving growth and yield of vegetable crops. The objective of this study was to evaluate changes in the chemical and biological properties of soil in response to compost use in conventional vegetables production systems. A survey was conducted on 5 farms (three in Immokalee, and one each in Delray Beach, and Clewiston) growing tomato, pepper, and specialty vegetables. Most of the farms were applying composted yard trimming waste alone or in combination with biosolids or horse manure at application rates of between 7 to 112 Mg·ha-1 once a year. Soil samples were taken from composted and non-composted areas in each farm during Feb. and Mar. 2002. Soil pH, OM, C, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, MN and Zn were higher in the composted areas compared with the non-composted areas for each farm. CEC values in composted areas were double those in non-composted areas. Most importantly, application of compost enhanced the overall soil microbial activity as determined by total microorganism number, SRD (species richness diversity), and TSRD (total species richness diversity) of six functional groups including heterotrophic aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, pseudomonads, and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, in all the participating farms. The greatest soil quality improvement was seen in soils receiving the highest rates of compost for the longest time.

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Kathleen M. Kelley, Bridget K. Behe, John A. Biernbaum and Kenneth L. Poff

of the products named nor criticism of similar ones not named. We thank Mike Rutter and Judy L. Pfaff for their statistical support. We also thank the Garden Days coordinators at Michigan State Univ. for permission to conduct the survey and the

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Kathryn M. Santos, Paul R. Fisher and William R. Argo

eight commercial greenhouse locations surveyed. Within each crop, there were five replicate measurements of each of the following variables located randomly within the crop: volume, pH (Pinnacle Corning pH Meter model 430; Nova Analytics Corp., Woburn

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Grady L. Miller

A survey of selected land-grant universities was conducted to gather information related to design and operation of their turfgrass research units. The objective of this survey was to help the University of Florida in planning a new research unit that will be constructed in 2004–05. The survey provided information related to turf area, building facilities, equipment, supplies, and maintenance. Type of monetary support, cost sharing, labor requirements, utilities, and capitol improvement outlays were documented. The number of support people and faculty with activities at the unit varied depending upon the location, with a mean of five research support people, two support staff, and seven faculty across all units. With the exception of fertilizers (50% donated vs. 50% purchased), most (>80%) of the chemicals, seed, and sod was donated to the units. About one-third of the monetary support for operating and general labor expenses for the units was from soft money and one-third from direct state support. Results from this survey provided ideas that could be used to design and staff a new turfgrass research unit or support for updating an existing unit. In addition, turfgrass industry representatives have an interest in the data since they provide a significant portion of the monetary support and supply of materials to turf research units.

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Bridget K. Behe

Michigan fresh asparagus marketers were interested in profiling asparagus consumers in the Northeast and Midwest with regard to preferences, purchases, preparation, and consumption. A computer-assisted survey was conducted with a total of 1126 respondents representative of the population on average in 12 selected states in the Northeast and Midwest. Even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults consume three servings of vegetables daily, on average over the 2 weeks before taking the survey, 62% did not. Only 39% of the persons in the sample ate fresh asparagus in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Twenty-five percent ate it steamed on the stovetop. The conjoint analysis accounted for 63% of the variance in asparagus preference with attribute relative importance decreasing from price (42.0%), to brand (29.9%), to spear diameter (23.5%), to spear segment (4.6%). Light users consumed fresh asparagus at least once in the 4 weeks before the survey, during the peak fresh asparagus season. The potential to increase consumption in this large group (28% of the sample but 71% of asparagus consumers) is tremendous. They placed high relative importance on price per pound and will likely be the more price-sensitive group. If their consumption can be increased by one more asparagus consumption event per month, it could increase asparagus demand by 14%. Results show there is good market potential for a prepackaged fresh asparagus product in the Northeast and Midwest.

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Moriah Bellenger, Deacue Fields, Kenneth Tilt and Diane Hite

data from a 2004 survey of 2286 Alabama green industry producers to evaluate some impacts of migrant labor in the industry. The specific research objectives are to estimate the effects of migrant labor on wages, hours worked, and gross sales. In

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Holly L. Scoggins, Joyce G. Latimer and Victoria T. Barden

A survey was conducted in 2000-01 to provide a comprehensive description of Virginia's commercial greenhouse industry. A total of 274 responses were analyzed. Responses were categorized based on the amount of heated greenhouse space: small, medium, large, or other (including part-time). The survey included questions about growing space, number of employees, education and experience of respondent, crops grown, gross receipts, and target markets. Seventy-five percent of the respondents were owners or owners/growers and respondents reported an average of 15 years experience. Most greenhouse operations were classified as small or less than 10,000 ft2 (929.0 m2). A wide variety of crops were reported, with more than 50% growing bedding plants and nearly 50% growing herbaceous perennials in the greenhouse. Market outlets were about equally divided between wholesale and retail.

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Angela M. O'Callaghan

An important element of the social horticulture program at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has been the creation of school gardens to enhance educational efforts for children in Las Vegas. Since 2002, a variety of methods has been employed to train teachers and administrators in using gardens, and this has resulted in establishment of successful gardening programs. Southern Nevada has experienced a 400% population increase in 25 years. Results of surveys of area stakeholders between 2000 and 2002, Clark County elementary school staff in 2001, and Clark County school principals in 2004, indicate a desire to incorporate gardens in schools, but concerns about establishing and maintaining them persist. Furthermore, apprehension about trying to garden under challenging climatic conditions characteristic of the Mojave Desert is expressed frequently, as is hesitation about using gardens to enhance the school curriculum in at-risk schools. When offered training in use of gardens, however, a majority of principals surveyed responded positively. They also expressed interest in tracking the educational and social impacts of gardens on students and faculty. This article reports on results of community stakeholder meetings and surveys of Clark County schools, as well as the methods that are being used to create a school gardens program in the most rapidly growing metropolis in the United States.

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D.A. Devitt, R.L. Morris, D. Kopec and M. Henry

Golf course superintendents in the southwestern United States (Tucson, Ariz.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Orange County, Calif.) were surveyed to assess attitudes toward using reuse water for irrigation. Eighty-nine golf course personnel returned the survey, with 28% indicating that they irrigate with municipal water, 36% with well water, and 27% with reuse water. The reason for switching to reuse water varied by state, with 40% of respondents switching in Arizona because of mandates, 47% switching in Nevada because of cost incentives, and 47% switching in California because it was considered a more reliable source of water. Less than 20% of the respondents rated the use of reuse water on golf courses and parks to have a negative impact on cost, the environment and health. However, respondents indicated that using reuse water does have a negative impact on the operations of the golf course, with pond maintenance and irrigation maintenance having the highest negative impact (∼80%). Multiple regression analysis revealed that among those who indicated that using reuse water would have a negative impact on golf course management, a higher percentage were individuals who had a greater number of years of experience irrigating with reuse water (P = 0.01) and individuals who have taken classes on how to use reuse water (P = 0.05). Respondents who currently irrigate with reuse water indicated they had changed a wide range of landscape and turfgrass management practices as a result of using reuse water. Based on the results of this survey, it was concluded that golf course personnel in the southwestern U.S. do not oppose the transition to reuse water for irrigation. However, it was also clear they recognize using such water negatively impacts their golf courses' operations.

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Jill Shore Auburn

The Internet has experienced tremendous growth recently. The number of users, the amount and diversity of information available, and exposure in the mass media have all grown rapidly. Several authors recently have asserted that the media reports are overblown and that Internet is not as useful as most reports portray. Agricultural professionals need to assess whether or not the cost of using the Internet (in learning time as well as money) will benefit them in terms of increased knowledge and productivity. This paper describes current use of the Internet to answer practical questions from research and education, using a survey and practical examples from sustainable agriculture.