The Atlantic hurricane season stretches from June to November, and the vegetable growing season in South Florida begins in August. This means that pre-plant, planting, and early harvesting operations are performed during hurricane season. Three major hurricanes striking our area during two consecutive growing seasons have helped to teach us how to give vegetable crops the best chance of survival. On a 4-ha farm growing diversified vegetable crops, there have been clear differences in crop survival. Tiny seedlings of most crops were generally killed by driving rains and strong winds. However, 7- to 10-cm-tall transplants in plastic cell trays survived surprisingly well when placed on the ground in an area that did not flood and was protected from flying debris. During the hurricane with the highest winds, large plants, such as tomatoes and squash, were defoliated. Even plants that survived defoliation and regrew were injured, so they were vulnerable to diseases later in the season. It actually appears to be best not to stake crops in extremely high winds. Staked and tied tomatoes often broke off at the top string. In winds of over 90 knots, unstaked eggplants fared best of any mature crops. They fell over immediately and, lying on the ground, were protected from the high winds. After the storm passed, they were pulled upright, staked and tied, and produced excellent yields. Sweet corn also fell over, but, over a period of a week, gradually returned to about a 45° angle where it produced about 30% of the normal yield. Of course, each hurricane has different characteristics; what works in one may not be the best during others. We are, however, hoping not to have a chance to learn more about how crops survive hurricanes.
An understanding of nitrogen (N) uptake and the partitioning of N during the season by the carrot crop (Daucus carota subsp. sativus [Hoffm.] Arkang.) is required to develop more efficient N fertilization practices. Experiments were conducted on both organic and mineral soils to track the accumulation of dry matter (DM) and N over the growing season and to develop an N budget of the crop. Treatments included two carrot cultivars (`Idaho' and `Fontana') and 5 N rates ranging from 0% to 200% of the provincial recommendations in Ontario. Foliage and root samples were collected biweekly from selected treatments during the growing season and assessed for total N concentration. Harvest samples were used to calculate N uptake, N in debris, and net N removal values. Accumulation of DM and N in the roots was low until 50 to 60 days after seeding (DAS) and then increased linearly until harvest for all 3 years regardless of the soil type, cultivar, and N rate. Foliage dry weight and N accumulation were more significant by 50 to 60 DAS, increased linearly between 50 and 100 DAS, and reached a maximum or declined slightly beyond 100 DAS in most cases. The N application rates required to maximize yield on mineral soil resulted in a net loss of N from the system, except when sufficient N was available from the soil to produce optimal yield. On organic soil, a net removal of N occurred at all N application rates in all years. Carrots could be used as an N catch crop to reduce N losses in a vegetable rotation in conditions of high soil residual N, thereby improving the N use efficiency (NUE) of the crop rotation.
Quantitative studies of plant roots are a consistent challenge. Extraction of roots from soil and debris of large samples for biomass quantification is time-consuming and tedious ( Calfee, 2003 ). This tends to limit research to small experiments
. 633 ) conducted a study in four greenhouses over a 28-week period in which they collected plant and growing medium debris and captured insects on yellow sticky cards attached to the inside of 32-gal containers. Western flower thrips, fungus gnats, and
sustainable and economical option for containerized plant production. Hummel et al. (p. 325) produced composts from biosolids and woody wastes, including construction debris, storm debris, and horse waste. They screened and blended the composts with bark to
from the Dec. 2000 storm was ≈50% and 35% in Jan. 2007. Damage in 2000 consisted of limb breakage and split limb crotches described earlier. In 2007, about one-half of the debris was from compensatory shoots 3 to 4 inches in diameter that were 15 to 20
collected from these nurseries included 1) diseased plants showing symptoms such as dieback, root rot, shoot blight, leaf lesions, defoliation ( Fig. 1A–E ); 2) soil, gravel, and leaf debris from underneath the pots from a symptomatic area ( Fig. 2A–D ); 3
berries per centimeter. The number of pieces of dehiscent floral debris retained in each cluster was also counted ( Hed et al., 2009 ). A subsample of frozen berries from each experimental unit (≈500 g) was thawed in a water bath at 60 °C, then ground in a
) ( Fig. 1 ) mechanical harvester equipped with a picking head equivalent to the commercial Yung-Etgar evaluated in earlier field tests. Although there was a negligible amount of fruit on the ground, all fruit and debris on the ground alongside the harvest
., 2006 ; Sikora and Szmidt, 2001 ). Burkhard et al. (2009) found greater growth and yield in blueberry when using seafood- or manure-based composts. Larco et al. (2013) also reported better growth and yield in blueberry when using yard-debris compost