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Polyculture mixtures of several species of cover crops may be the best way to optimize some of the benefits associated with cover crop use. In the first year of a three year study, 16 polyculture mixtures of cover crops (4 species/mixture) were screened at seven sites throughout the state. Five of the mixtures were seeded at two planting dates. Fall evaluation of the cover crop mixtures included ease of establishment, vigor, percent groundcover, plant height, and relative biomass. The two mixtures with the highest percent groundcover were (1): sudex, rye, mammoth red clover, and subterranean clover (62% and 80% groundcover, one and two months after planting respectively), and, (2), annual alfalfa, hairy vetch, ryegrass, and rye (56% and 84% groundcover one and two months after planting respectively). The six mixtures with the highest percent groundcover did consistently well, relative to other mixtures, at all locations. Mixture (1) above also had the highest relative biomass throughout the state. Yellow and white sweet clovers, hairy vetch, winter oats, subterranean clover, red clover, rye and barley established well and maintained high vigor ratings throughout the fall. Ladino clover, timothy, and big flower vetch consistently had poor vigor ratings.

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Many factors influence appropriate drip irrigation management, including system design, soil characteristics, crop and growth stage, and environmental conditions. The influences of these factors can be integrated into a practical, efficient scheduling system that determines quantity and timing of drip irrigation. This system combines direct soil moisture measurement with a water budget approach using evapotranspiration estimates and crop coefficients.

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Vegetable production in low-technology (low-tech) plastic-covered greenhouses depends on low investment and cheap production methods that prohibit the adoption of expensive technologies. Nevertheless, advanced technology can be developed for this low-tech situation provided that a personal computer (PC) is available and the software is of low cost and specially designed to function without the need for additional expensive hardware. This will encourage the adoption of computer technology in an industry where computer illiteracy is still high. In the present paper, a decision support system for irrigation and fertilizer management of tomatoes [Lycopersicon esculentum (L.) Mill.] is described. The system is comprised of two modules: 1) an irrigation-fertilization consultation module for the management of water and fertilizer supply and 2) a diagnostic expert system module for the identification and rectification of nutritional disorders. Irrigation requirements are defined on the basis of daily evaporimeter readings. Fertilizer schedules are derived from the literature, but modified on the basis of experience gained during previous cultivations. The urgent need for such a management system is indicated by the relatively low quality of vegetable produce currently grown in low-tech greenhouses and the waste of precious water and fertilizer due to over-application by growers, with concomitant damage to the environment. During tests, irrigation was reduced by as much as 30% in comparison with empirical methods. To enable more widespread assessment and to increase its range of application, the software of this system is offered free of charge for evaluation by interested users.

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Production of ascorbic acid enriched vegetables: Absorption of an l -ascorbic acid solution and the effect of storage temperature on the foliar exogenous ascorbic acid content J. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol. 73 681 686 10

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Strip tillage was evaluated over a 2-year period as a cropping system for sites unsuitable for conventional tillage. Yields in clean cultivation and in 0.5- and 1.1-m strips tilled in established grass or grass/clover sod were compared in 1982 for sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and winter squash (Cucurbita maxima L.). Both interspecific and intraspecific competition were determined in 1983 for pepper. Squash yield was improved by a grass/legume sod, but pepper yield was unaffected. Both crops suffered severe competition in 1982 when grown in 0.5-m-wide strips, but yields per hectare in strips 1.1m wide equaled that in clean cultivation. In 1983, however, number of marketable fruit per hectare of marketable yield of pepper in 1.1-m strips was less than that in clean cultivated plots, although total number of harvested fruit did not differ. Both marketable and total pepper yields per hectare were significantly higher in clean cultivation in 1983 than in strips. Increasing the population density of pepper in the strip increased number of fruit harvested and total weight per hectare, and there was a significant benefit in using double rows. Competition in strips accompanying increasing population density seemed to be associated with increased water deficits.

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141 ORAL SESSION (Abstr. 658-665) VEGETABLE CROPS: CULTURE AND MANAGEMENT II

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