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Timothy Coolong

Polyethylene mulches are widely used in vegetable production. Advantages include improving yields, controlling weeds, and enhancing quality. However, the removal and disposal of plastic mulch used for vegetable production represents a significant financial cost for farmers and can be detrimental to the environment. A study was conducted in Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 evaluating the performance of paper mulches for the production of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo ssp. ovifera) ‘Conqueror III’. Four paper mulches, 50-lb kraft paper, 50-lb polyethylene-coated kraft paper, 40-lb white butcher paper, and 30-lb waxed paper were compared with 1-mil black polyethylene mulch, bare-ground hand-weeded, and bare-ground nonweeded treatments. Mulches were placed using a traditional plastic mulch layer and seedlings were transplanted using a water wheel transplanter. Crop yield and quality, weed biomass, soil temperatures under the mulch (Spring 2008 only), and mulch degradation were evaluated. Most paper mulches were able to be placed with a mulch layer, but were not well suited for use with a water wheel transplanter. In Fall 2007, butcher paper and polyethylene-coated kraft paper controlled weeds as well as black plastic mulch. However, in Spring 2008, black plastic mulch provided superior weed control compared with other mulches. Yields among waxed, butcher, and polyethylene-coated kraft papers were similar to black plastic mulch in 2007, though yields in paper mulch plots were significantly less than plastic mulch in Spring 2008. The results of this study suggest that although paper mulches can be effective, cropping conditions and the environment will influence effectiveness.

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E. Ryan Harrelson, Greg D. Hoyt, John L. Havlin and David W. Monks

Vegetable growers in the Mountain region of North Carolina are faced with increased land prices resulting from urbanization and reduced farm income from low-commodity prices. Local consumer use of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) for jack-o-lanterns and baking provides a fall market for growers to increase production and profitability on-farm. Most soils in these regions are highly erodible and susceptible to drought during the growing season. Little information is available on cultural practices for no-till pumpkin production in this region. Field studies were established to evaluate the yield response of no-till pumpkin to planting date and nitrogen (N) fertilization. Experiments were conducted at the Mountain (MRS), Upper Mountain (UMRS), and the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Stations (MHCRS) in Summer 2003 and 2004 using no-till cultural practices. Three planting dates were established at 2-week intervals and 0, 40, 80, and 120 kg·ha−1 N treatments were applied at each planting date in a randomized complete block design. The 80 and 120 kg·ha−1 N fertilization rates produced greater yields and larger fruit size than the 0 and 40 kg·ha−1 N rates. Pumpkins planted earliest produced the greatest marketable and total yields for all N rates at all three locations. The latest planting date (9 July) and highest N rate yielded more cull fruit compared with marketable pumpkins with the earlier planting date at the Upper Mountain Research Station. This location has a shorter growing season and cooler summer temperatures than the two other locations. Although the third planting date was late for pumpkin planting, higher N rate treatments at that timing produced marketable yields comparable to earlier planting dates at the two warmer summer locations (MRS and MHCRS). In these experiments, the highest rate applied (120 kg·ha−1 N) maximized pumpkin yield. This observation would indicate that higher yields might be possible with even greater N rates.

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Matthew J. Leavitt, Craig C. Sheaffer, Donald L. Wyse and Deborah L. Allan

. (1994) found similar yields of summer squash ( Cucurbita pepo L.) when established without tillage into winter rye residues compared with conventional production with no cover, but Walters and Young (2008) observed significant zucchini ( Cucurbita

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Charles L. Webber III, James W. Shrefler and Merritt J. Taylor

Corn gluten meal (CGM) is a non-selective preemergence or preplant-incorporated herbicide that inhibits root development, decreases shoot length, and reduces plant survival. The development of a mechanized application system for the banded placement of CGM between crop rows (seed row not treated) has increased its potential use in organic vegetable production, especially in direct-seeded vegetables. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of CGM applications (formulations, rates, incorporation, and banded applications) on direct-seeded squash (Cucurbita pepo) plant survival and yields. Neither CGM formulation (powdered or granulated) nor incorporation method (incorporated or non-incorporated) resulted in significant differences in plant survival or squash yields. When averaged across all other factors (formulations, incorporation method, and banding), CGM rates of 250 to 750 g·m−2 reduced squash survival from 70% to 44%, and squash yields from 6402 to 4472 kg·ha−1. However, the banded application (CGM placed between rows) resulted in significantly greater crop safety (75% survival) and yield (6402 kg·ha−1) than the broadcast (non-banded) applications (35% survival and 4119 kg·ha−1 yield). It was demonstrated that banded applications of CGM can be useful in direct-seeded squash production and other organic direct-seeded vegetables.

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Qi Zhang, Andy Medina and Christopher Lyerly

-Walters, 1997 ). Most pumpkins belong systematically to Cucurbita pepo L., C. maxima Duch., C. moschata Duch., and C. argyrosperma C. Huber. They are markedly diverse in fruit shape, size, and color ( Esteras et al., 2012 ; Merrick, 1990 ; Paris, 1996

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Kyle E. LaPlant, Lindsay E. Wyatt, George Moriarty, Maryann Fink-Brodnicki, Molly Jahn and Michael Mazourek

Jack-o’-lantern pumpkin ( Cucurbita pepo ssp. pepo ) is an economically important crop grown for fall decoration in the United States, and they are traditionally carved and illuminated for display during the holiday of Halloween. In 2014, over 20

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Yuan Li, Arend-Jan Both, Christian A. Wyenandt, Edward F. Durner and Joseph R. Heckman

Although not considered an essential nutrient, silicon (Si) can be beneficial to plants. Si accumulator species such as pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo var. pepo) can absorb Si from soil. Si uptake may reduce plant susceptibility to fungal diseases such as cucurbit powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii and Erysiphe cichoracearum). We previously reported that wollastonite, an Organic Materials Reviews Institute–approved natural mineral, can increase soil Si level, increase soil pH, provide pumpkin plants with Si, and increase their resistance to powdery mildew. In this study, we examined the optimum application rate of wollastonite for pumpkins grown in pots and exposed to cucurbit powdery mildew. We confirmed that wollastonite has liming capabilities similar to regular limestone. Regardless of the application rates, wollastonite and limestone showed similar effects on soil chemistry and plant mineral composition. Pumpkin plants grown with the lower doses of wollastonite amendments (3.13 and 6.25 tons/acre) had the greatest tissue Si concentrations and demonstrated the greatest disease resistance. We conclude that wollastonite is a useful material for organic cucurbit (Cucurbitaceae) growers who want to increase soil pH and improve plant resistance to powdery mildew at the same time. Applying wollastonite at rates beyond the amount required to achieve a desirable soil pH for pumpkin production did not further increase Si uptake, nor did it further suppress powdery mildew development.

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Bielinski M. Santos, Camille E. Esmel, Silvia Slamova and Elizabeth A. Golden

Three separate field trials were conducted to determine the most appropriate planting dates for intercropping cucumber (Cucumis sativus), summer squash (Cucurbita pepo), and muskmelon (Cucumis melo) with strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa), and their effect on ‘Strawberry Festival’ strawberry yields. ‘Straight Eight’ cucumber, ‘Crookneck’ summer squash, and ‘Athena’ muskmelon were planted every 15 days from 25 Jan. to 23 March. None of the three intercropped species affected strawberry yield up to 60 days before the end of the season on 25 March. Cucumber yield responded quadratically to planting dates, rapidly increasing from 25 Jan. to 23 Feb. and declining afterward. Warmer temperatures favored summer squash yield, with the highest yields when planted on 23 Feb. or later. Muskmelon yields decreased as air temperatures increased, and the best planting dates were between 25 Jan. and 9 Feb. In summary, cucumber and summer squash seemed to be favored by planting under warmer temperatures, whereas muskmelon thrives under cooler weather.

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Christian A. Wyenandt, Nancy Maxwell and Daniel L. Ward

In the United States, pumpkin ( Cucurbita pepo ) crops are grown primarily for wholesale processing and ornamental use. Pumpkin production in the United States increased 6.4% in 2005 from 2004 totaling 1.1 billion pounds ( U.S. Department of

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Matthew B. Bertucci, David H. Suchoff, Katherine M. Jennings, David W. Monks, Christopher C. Gunter, Jonathan R. Schultheis and Frank J. Louws

Grafting of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is an established production practice that provides resistance to soilborne diseases or tolerance to abiotic stresses. Watermelon may be grafted on several cucurbit species (interspecific grafting); however, little research exists to describe root systems of these diverse rootstocks. A greenhouse study was conducted to compare root system morphology of nine commercially available cucurbit rootstocks, representing four species: pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima), squash (Cucurbita pepo), bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria), and an interspecific hybrid squash (C. maxima × C. moschata). Rootstocks were grafted with a triploid watermelon scion (‘Exclamation’), and root systems were compared with nongrafted (NG) and self-grafted (SG) ‘Exclamation’. Plants were harvested destructively at 1, 2, and 3 weeks after transplant (WAT), and data were collected on scion dry weight, total root length (TRL), average root diameter, root surface area, root:shoot dry-weight ratio, root diameter class proportions, and specific root length. For all response variables, the main effect of rootstock and rootstock species was significant (P < 0.05). The main effect of harvest was significant (P < 0.05) for all response variables, with the exception of TRL proportion in diameter class 2. ‘Ferro’ rootstock produced the largest TRL and root surface area, with observed values 122% and 120% greater than the smallest root system (‘Exclamation’ SG), respectively. Among rootstock species, pumpkin produced the largest TRL and root surface area, with observed values 100% and 82% greater than those of watermelon, respectively. These results demonstrate that substantial differences exist during the initial 3 WAT in root system morphology of rootstocks and rootstock species available for watermelon grafting and that morphologic differences of root systems can be characterized using image analysis.