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Brian E. Jackson, Robert D. Wright and John R. Seiler

[CC; which is the equivalent to the waterholding capacity (WHC) of a substrate] during crop production so that growing conditions remain favorable for plant growth. Physical properties of substrates considered appropriate for plant growth at planting

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J.P. Mitchell, W.T. Lanini, S.R. Temple, E.V. Herrero, E.M. Miyao, P. Brostrom, R. Morse and F. Thomas

Conservation tillage (CT) row crop production is currently not widely adopted in California. Recently, however, interest in evaluating the potential of CT systems to reduce production costs and improve soil quality is growing in many areas in the state. In 1997 and 1998, we evaluated four cover crop mulches (rye/vetch, triticale/vetch, Sava medic, and Sephi medic) in a CT-transplanted tomato system relative to the conventional winter fallow (CF) practice. In both years, yields were comparable to the CF under the triticale/vetch and rye/vetch mulches. Earthworm populations after 2 years of CT production were increased 2- to 5-fold under mulches relative to the CF system. Soil carbon was increased by 16% and 6% after 2 years of CT production under the triticale/vetch and rye/vetch mulches, respectively. Weed suppression under the triticale/vetch and rye/vetch was comparable to the CF with herbicide system early in the season in both years but was maintained through harvest in only one season. Soil water storage (0-90 cm) was similar at the beginning of the tomato season in triticale/vetch, rye/vetch, and fallow plots but was higher under the mulches during much of the last 45 days of the 1998 season. Further refinement of CT practices in California's vegetable production regions is needed before wider adoption is likely.

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Robin G. Brumfield, Alyssa J. DeVincentis, Xueni Wang, R. Thomas Fernandez, Susmitha Nambuthiri, Robert L. Geneve, Andrew K. Koeser, Guihong Bi, Tongyin Li, Youping Sun, Genhua Niu, Diana Cochran, Amy Fulcher and J. Ryan Stewart

, transportation, landscape and design services, and retail operations ( Hall, 2010 ). In addition, efforts are underway to reduce the use of petroleum-based inputs in crop production systems because of the high waste streams involved. Growers will have an

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Andrew Koeser, Sarah T. Lovell, Michael Evans and J. Ryan Stewart

1008 1011 Evans, M.R. Taylor, M. Kuehny, J. 2010 Physical properties of biocontainers for greenhouse crops production HortTechnology 20 549 555 Fereres, E. Goldhamer, D.A. Parsons, L.R. 2003 Irrigation water management of horticultural crops HortScience

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Mary A. Rogers

; Ford and Waibel, 2009 ; Specht et al., 2014 ; Tyson et al., 2011 ; Wortman and Lovell, 2013 ). Faced with a variable and changing climate that contributes to instability in horticultural crop production, increasing the capacity for localized food

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Otho S. Wells and J. Brent Loy

Crop growth is enhanced with the use of relatively inexpensive rowcovers and high tunnels. Even though these structures do not provide the same degree of environmental control as greenhouses, they modify the climate sufficiently to lengthen the growing season from 1 to 4 weeks in the spring and 2 to 8 weeks in the fall. Rowcovers generally remain over a crop for 2 to 4 weeks, whereas a high tunnel may function for an entire growing season. Both systems require a relatively low capital investment, provide a good return on investment, and improve the ability of new growers to succeed in the crop production business. The selection of either rowcovers or high tunnels will depend on the management program of a grower; however, both growing systems potentially are economically viable means of season extension.

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George E. Fitzpatrick, Edwin R. Duke and Kimberly A. Klock

Horticultural growing medium components must be selected with regard to their influence on properties such as cost, availability, ease of mixing, appearance, pH, nutrient levels, soluble salt levels, exchange capacity, aeration, particle size distribution, bulk density, water-holding capacity, and consistency. Over the past several decades, various types of compost products made from urban waste materials have been evaluated as components in horticultural growing mixes. The highest-quality compost products tested have frequently compared favorably with peat as one of the organic components in growing mixes. The lowest-quality compost materials tested have retarded plant growth and, in extreme cases, contributed to plant mortality. Occasionally, compost products that performed well in research trials did not prove to be satisfactory when used in commercial nursery crop production because of the lack of repeatable consistency between batches produced in large-scale municipal composting operations. One of the major reasons for the lack of consistency in compost quality is the highly variable nature of organic feedstocks accepted by many large-scale composting operations. The highest-quality composts tend to be produced in composting operations in which facility management decisions are made with consideration on their impact on the economic, physical, and chemical parameters of the end product.

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Jay Young, Charles Heuser and E.J. Holcomb

The use of spent mushroom compost (SMC) as a media amendment for containerized greenhouse and nursery crop production is a promising alternative to disposal of this by-product of mushroom production. Fresh SMC is the compost that is removed from the mushroom house and used without further weathering. The objectives of this study include first, identification of key factors involved its successful use and second demonstration of the effective use of SMC by nurserymen. The plant material used includes both bedding plants and woody perennial species. Results demonstrate that the key factor in the use of SMC for plant production is high soluble salts. Leaching can reduce the high soluble salts. In addition, special consideration should be given to the reduction in potted media volume over time due to composting that continues after the material is removed from mushroom production. SMC as the sole growing media was not as effective as when SMC was amended with a commercial nursery growing mix. Several species were grown in 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% mixtures of SMC and a commercial nursery mix. All species grew well in 50% SMC/50% nursery mix.

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Kenneth G. McCabe, James A. Schrader, Christopher J. Currey, David Grewell and William R. Graves

.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2013 ). This heavy consumption and disposal of nonrenewable, nondegradable plastic has sparked concerns about the poor sustainability of container-crop production. In response to these problems with sustainability, producers and

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Amy Fulcher, Diana R. Cochran and Andrew K. Koeser

crop production: A review and research update HortTechnology 25 8 16 Ruter, J.M. 1996 Growth and flowering of three garden chrysanthemum cultivars produced in plastic or copper-impregnated fiber containers J. Environ. Hort. 14 191 193 Ruter, J.M. 2000