under an annual rotation common on the south coast of Puerto Rico of ‘Aruba’ pepper [ Capsicum annuum (Seminis, St. Louis, MO)] followed by ‘Tropicuke’ cucumber [ Cucumis sativus (PanDia Seeds, Ojai, CA)] followed by fallow. Table 1. Soil fertility
David Sotomayor-Ramírez, Miguel Oliveras-Berrocales and Linda Wessel-Beaver
Paul B. Francis and C. Robert Stark, Jr.
-irrigated plasticulture tomato production research for five seasons before 2007. Prior soil fertility management involved soil sampling in early September and granular fertilizer amendments according to University of Arkansas soil test recommendations. Pelleted
T.K. Hartz, J.P. Mitchell and C. Giannini
Nitrogen and carbon mineralization rates of 19 manure and compost samples were determined in 1996, with an additional 12 samples evaluated in 1997. These organic amendments were mixed with a soil: sand blend at 2% by dry weight and the amended blends were incubated at constant moisture for 12 (1996) or 24 weeks (1997) at 25 °C. Net N mineralization was measured at 4- (1996) or 8-week (1997) intervals, C mineralization at 4-week intervals in 1997. Pots of the amended blends were also seeded with fescue (Festuca arundinacea Shreb.) and watered, but not fertilized, for 17 (1996) or 18 weeks (1997); N phytoavailability was estimated from fescue biomass N and mineral N in pot leachate. An average of 16%, 7%, and 1% of organic N was mineralized in 12 weeks of incubation in 1996, and an average of 15%, 6%, and 2% in 24 weeks of incubation in 1997, in manure, manure compost, and plant residue compost, respectively. Overall, N recovery in the fescue assay averaged 11%, 6%, and 2% of total amendment N for manure, manure compost, and plant residue compost, respectively. Mineralization of manure C averaged 35% of initial C content in 24 weeks, while compost C mineralization averaged only 14%. Within 4 (compost) or 16 weeks (manure), the rate of mineralization of amendment C had declined to a level similar to that of the soil organic C.
Bielinski M. Santos
Selecting the “right” nutrient rate for fertilization programs is one of the most important decisions growers face. On one hand, increasing fertilizer prices and environmental concerns have increased the awareness of accurately managing fertilization programs, thus reducing fertilizer amounts during cropping seasons. By contrast, many growers fear not obtaining the desired crop performance and economic returns, especially when fertilization is assumed as “inexpensive insurance” to improve yields, thus leading to overfertilization. The objective of this paper was to provide general principles for selecting and monitoring the right nutrient rate within the framework of the “4R” nutrient management concept (right rate, right source, right placement, and right timing) to protect environmental quality while maintaining productivity. Some methodologies to determine, apply, and adjust fertilization rates during the growing season were discussed, including in-season monitoring procedures, such as petiole sap testing, plant diagnostic analysis, leaf color evaluation, and plant growth index.
J.T. Baker, D.R. Earhart, M.L. Baker, F.J. Dainello and V.A. Haby
Triploid watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb.) was grown on the same plots in 1990 and 1991 and fertilized with either poultry litter or commercial fertilizer. Additional treatments included bare soil or plots mulched with black polyethylene, and plots with or without spunbonded fabric row covers over both bare soil and mulch. Watermelon yields were unaffected by fertilizer source in 1990 but were significantly higher for poultry litter than for commercial fertilizer treatment in 1991. Polyethylene mulch significantly increased postharvest soil NO3 and leaf N concentrations in 1990 and increased yield and yield components in both years. There were no beneficial effects of row covers on yield in either year, presumably because no early-season freezes occurred.
Camille E. Esmel, Bielinski M. Santos, Eric H. Simonne, Jack E. Rechcigl and Joseph W. Noling
A renewed interest in sulfur (S) deficiency has occurred because of reductions in atmospheric depositions of S caused by implementation of clean air regulations around the world. In vegetable production systems, other sources of S exist, such as soil S, fertilizers, and irrigation water. While soil testing and fertilizer labels impart information on quantity of S, it is unknown how much S within the irrigation water contributes to the total crop requirement. Two studies were conducted to determine the influence of elemental S fertilization rates and irrigation programs on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) growth and yield. Irrigation volumes were 3528, 5292, and 7056 gal/acre per day and preplant S rates were 0, 25, 50, 100, 150, and 200 lb/acre. Data showed that neither plant height, leaf greenness, soil pH nor total soil S content was consistently affected by preplant S rates. During both seasons, early marketable fruit weight increased sharply when plots were treated with at least 25 lb/acre of preplant S in comparison with the nontreated control. Early fruit weight of extralarge and all marketable grades increased by 1.5 and 1.7 tons/acre, respectively, with the application of 25 lb/acre of S. There were no early fruit weight differences, regardless of marketable fruit grade, among preplant S rates from 25 to 200 lb/acre. Based upon this result, adding preplant S to the fertilization programs in sandy soils improves tomato yield and fall within the current recommended application range of S (30 lb/acre) for vegetables in Florida. At the same time, irrigation volumes did not consistently influence soil S concentration, soil pH, leaf S concentrations or tomato yield, which suggested that irrigation water with levels of S similar to this location [58 mg·L−1 of sulfate (SO4) or 19 mg·L−1 of S] may not meet tomato S requirement during a short cropping seasons of 12 weeks, possibly because microbes need longer periods of time to oxidize the current S species in the water to the absorbed SO4 form.
Bielinski M. Santos, John W. Scott and Maricruz Ramírez-Sánchez
‘Tasti-Lee’™ (‘Fla. 8153’) is the first tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) released in Florida exclusively for the premium specialty market, with characteristic superior flavor and elevated lycopene concentration. Research was conducted to determine the appropriate nitrogen (N) fertilization and in-row distances for ‘Tasti-Lee’ tomato and thus improving the opportunities for successful adoption for this cultivar. Three N fertilization programs and two in-row distances were tested. Total N rates (204, 239, and 274 lb/acre) were the result of the combination of 50 lb/acre of N during prebedding plus each of the following drip-applied N fertilization programs: 1) 1.5 and 2.0 lb/acre per day from 1 to 4 weeks after transplanting (WAT) and 5 to 12 WAT, respectively; 2) 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 lb/acre per day during 1 to 2 WAT, 3 to 4 WAT, and 5 to 12 WAT; and 3) 1.5, 2.5, and 3.0 lb/acre per day during 1 to 2 WAT, 3 to 4 WAT, and 5 to 12 WAT, respectively. In-row distances were 18 or 24 inches between plants, providing 5808 and 4356 plants/acre. Early and total marketable yields of ‘Tasti-Lee’ tomato were influenced by in-row distances and N fertilization programs, but not by their interaction. The highest early marketable fruit yield was found in plots treated with the highest N rate among fertilization programs (+6%), and in plots planted 18 inches apart (+7%) in comparison with the lowest N rate and the 24-inch spacing. Tomato plots treated with the highest N rate (274 lb/acre) resulted in the largest total marketable yield (+8%). Among the in-row distances, when plants were transplanted 18 inches apart, tomato total marketable yield increased by 18% compared with 24 inches between plants.
Luther C. Carson, Monica Ozores-Hampton, Kelly T. Morgan and Jerry B. Sartain
Controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs), a vegetable production best management practice in Florida, are soluble fertilizers (SFs) coated with a polymer, resin, or a hybrid of polymer coating sulfur-coated urea. In 1994, a Controlled Release Fertilizer Taskforce developed an accelerated temperature-controlled incubation method (ATCIM) to predict column-incubated CRF nitrogen (N) release for regulatory purposes. Determination of CRF field N release uses a field method such as a pouch field study, which requires multiple samples and high costs for laboratory N analysis. If the ATCIM may be used to predict CRF N release in the field, then vegetables growers will have a faster and lower-cost method to determine N release compared with the pouch field method. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the correlation of the ATCIM and the pouch field method as a predictor of N release from CRFs in tomato production in Florida. In 2011 and 2013, 12 and 14 CRFs, respectively, were incubated in pouches placed in polyethylene mulched raised beds in Immokalee, FL, and extracted in the ATCIM during 2013. The ATCIM CRF results were used individually and grouped by release duration to create predicted N release curves in a two-step correlation process. The two-step processes predicted the percentage N release of individual CRF with R 2 of 0.95 to 0.99 and 0.61 to 0.99 and CRFs grouped by release duration with R 2 of –0.64 to 0.99 and –0.38 to 0.95 in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Modeling CRF N release grouped by release duration would not be recommended for CRF 180-d release (DR), because coating technologies behaviors differ in response to high fall soil temperature in polyethylene mulched beds. However, with further model calibration, grouping CRFs of 90 to 140 DR to simulate the CRF N release profile may allow the ATCIM to predict CRF N release without performing the pouch field method, which currently negated the usefulness of the ATCIM in a tomato production system.
Thomas S.C. Li
Echinacea species, a popular medicinal herb throughout the world, have been used by indigenous Americans for hundreds of years as an effective immunostimulant. The cultivated acreage in the United States and Canada is increasing because of the great demand for Echinacea products. Better cultural methods and standardization and quality control of the value-added products are needed to increase the confidence of growers, producers, and consumers in this promising medicinal herb. Echinacea can be propagated from seed, crown division, and root sections. Seed stratification for 4 to 6 weeks at 34 to 40 °F (1 to 4 °C) before planting can improve germination. Echinacea thrives under cultivation in moderately rich and well-drained loam or sandy loam soil with regular irrigation and weed control. Roots are harvested in the fall after 3 to 4 years of cultivation. The best stage to harvest flowers has yet to be determined. Leaves are a source of valuable active ingredients, but no information is available in the literature on leaf harvesting. Active ingredients in Echinacea include polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oils, polyacetylenes, and alkylamides.
John R. Duval, Frank J. Dainello, Vincent A. Haby and D. Ron Earhart
The objectives of this study were to determine if the use of leonardite as a fertilizer supplement improved crop growth and if there was a residual effect from previous applications. Three planting sequences were established and leonardite applied at 0, 50, 100, 200, and 400 lb/acre (0, 56.1, 112.1, 224.3 and 445.6 kg·ha−1). Subplots were treated at the first, the first and second, or all at three planting sequences. `Purple Top White Globe' turnip (Brassica rapa L.) and `Florida Broadleaf' mustard greens (Brassica hirta L.) were used as the indicator crops in the first two and last sequences, respectively. No differences in plant growth were observed among number of applications or treatment rate. Differences in soil potassium and iron were observed.