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F.M. del Amor, V. Martinez and A. Cerdá

In order to simulate the usage of brackish irrigation water in greenhouse tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill. cv. Daniela) culture in perlite, plants were supplied with nutrient solutions containing 0, 20, 40, and 60 mm NaCl. The three highest salinity treatments were applied at three different plant growth stages, during early vegetative growth [16 days after transplanting, (DAT)], beginning of flowering (36 DAT), and starting fruit development (66 DAT). Salt tolerance of tomato plants increased when the application of salinity was delayed. Salinity significantly decreased size and number of marketable fruits, but increased fruit quality by increasing total soluble solids and sugar content. Leaf and fruit calcium and potassium concentrations were decreased significantly by increasing salinity levels. This was compensated for the accumulation of sodium. Anion accumulation was increased by increasing chloride concentration. These results indicate that it is feasible to use brackish water for growing tomato with minimum yield losses if salt concentration and duration of exposure are carefully monitored.

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Allison H. Justice, James E. Faust and Julia L. Kerrigan

shaker and maintained at 150 rpm for 21 d in the dark at 21 °C. Twenty mushroom spawn incubation bags, measuring 21 × 8.25 × 4.75 inches (Fungi Perfecti, Olympia, WA) with a microporous filter patch, were each filled with 5 L of perlite (S&B Industrial

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C. Jasso-Chaverria, G.J. Hochmuth, R.C. Hochmuth and S.A. Sargent

Two greenhouse cucumber (Cucumis sativus) cultivars with differing fruit types [European (`Bologna') and Beit-alpha (`Sarig')] were grown during two seasons in a perlite medium in black plastic nursery containers in a passively ventilated greenhouse in northern Florida to evaluate fruiting responses to nitrogen (N) fertilization over the range of 75 to 375 mg·L–1. Fruit production, consisting mostly of fancy fruits, increased quadratically with N concentration in the nutrient solution, leveling off above 225 mg·L–1 for both cucumber cultivars. Fruit length and diameter were not affected by N concentration in the nutrient solution. Leaf N concentration, averaged over three sampling dates, increased linearly with N concentration in the nutrient solution from 46 g·kg–1 with 75 mg·L–1 N to 50 g·kg–1 with 375 mg·L–1 N. Fruit firmness decreased with increasing N concentration and there was little difference in firmness between the two cultivars. Firmness was similar across three measurement dates during the spring harvest season, but increased during the season in the fall. Fruit color responses to N concentration were dependent on the specific combination of experiment, sampling date, and cultivar. For most combinations of experiment, sampling date, and cultivar, cucumber epidermal color was greener (higher hue angle) with increased N concentration. The color was darkest (lowest L* value) and most intense (highest chroma value) with intermediate to higher N concentrations.

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F.M. del Amor, V. Martinez and A. Cerdá

The shortage of good quality water in semiarid zones necessitates the use of saline water for irrigation. In order to simulate the usage of brackish irrigation water in greenhouse melon (Cucumis melo L. cv. Galia) culture in perlite, plants were supplied with nutrient solutions containing 0 (control), 20, 40, and 60 mm NaCl applied at four different times. Treatments were applied during early vegetative growth [14 days after transplanting (DAT)], beginning of flowering (37 DAT), beginning of fruit set (56 DAT), and beginning of fruit ripening (71 DAT). All vegetative and fruit yield parameters were significantly reduced when salinization was started 14 DAT. This inhibitory effect of salinity was progressively lessened when salinity was imposed at later dates. This suggests that the response of melons to salinity depends on the duration of exposure to saline water. Salinity treatments increased fruit reducing sugars, acidity, and total soluble solids. Fruit yield reduction at each salinization time was correlated with salinity levels, but there was some evidence of a nutrient imbalance, since leaf concentrations of N-NO3, and especially K, were low at higher salinities. These results indicate that brackish waters can be used for growing melon with minimum yield losses if concentration and duration of exposure are carefully monitored.

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Sanliang Gu, Tera M. Bonney and Leslie H. Fuchigami

Effect of media containing processed fiber (methane digested cow manure) as a substitute for peatmoss, micronutrient application, and medium mixing ratios of processed fiber with perlite were investigated in pansy cv. Maxima mix plants (Viola ×wittrockiana). Neither medium components nor micronutrients significantly influenced plant growth and appearance when plants were potted in medium containing either 60% processed fiber and 40% perlite, 100% processed fiber, or 60% peatmoss and 40% perlite and supplemented with either N–P–K or N–P–K with micronutrients. The plant size and biomass production of leaves increased with increasing proportion of perlite in the mixtures containing processed fiber while the number and biomass of flowers were not affected. Water content of leaves or flowers was not influenced by mixes of processed fiber and perlite. The processed fiber, either alone or mixed with other media components, was satisfactory for the production of pansy plants with or without micronutrient application.

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Nektarios Panayiotis, Tsiotsiopoulou Panayiota and Chronopoulos Ioannis

Four substrates were investigated for their efficacy as roof garden vegetative layers. The substrates comprised a sandy loam soil (S), sandy loam soil amended with urea formaldehyde resin foam (S:F) in a proportion of 60-40 v/v, sandy loam soil amended with peat and perlite (S:P:Per) in a proportion of 50-30-20 v/v and peat amended with urea formaldehyde resin foam (P:F) in a proportion of 60-40 v/v. The substrates were evaluated for their physical and chemical properties and their capacity to sustain growth of Lantana camara L. Physical and chemical evaluation included weight determination at saturation and at field capacity, bulk density determination, water retention, air filled porosity at 40 cm, pH and EC. When compared to the control (S) a weight reduction of 16.8%, 23.9% and 70.3% was obtained at field capacity with S:F, S:P:Per and P:F substrates respectively. Bulk density was reduced by 46%, 43% and 95%, in substrates S:F, S:P:Per and P:F, respectively, compared to the control substrate S. Air-filled porosity at 40 cm was slightly increased for substrate S:F while it was substantially increased for substrate P:F. The pH response between the initiation and the termination of the study was similar for the four substrates. EC decreased in substrates S and S:P:Per but increased in substrates S:F and P:F. Plant growth was monitored as shoot length, shoot number, main shoot diameter and the number of buds and flowers. Substrates S and S:F resulted in similar plant growth, while substrate S:F promoted flowering. Substrate S:P:Per induced slow plant growth during the first 6 months which subsequently increased resulting in a final growth that was satisfactory and comparable to the S and S:F substrates. Substrate P:F did not support sufficient plant growth and its use should be considered only in special cases where reduced weight of the roof garden is imperative.

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Miguel Urrestarazu, Juan E. Alvaro, Soraya Moreno and Gilda Carrasco

, 2007 ). The total area of soilless crops in southeast Spain today is ≈5000 ha, half of which uses rockwool as the growing medium, whereas the other half uses perlite, sand, coir, and other minor soilless systems ( Mazuela et al., 2005 ). The aim of

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Mark A. Nash and Franklin A. Pokorny

Component and particle-size effects on shrinkage of two-component potting media were determined. Milled pine bark-sand mixtures were used to determine particle-size effects on shrinkage. Shrinkage curves formed an inverted V with maximum shrinkage at the 1:1 (v/v) ratio. No shrinkage occurred when bark was mixed with bark or sand with sand. Shrinkage increased linearly in the range of 0% to 50% bark and decreased linearly in the range of 50% to 100% bark. Each half of the shrinkage curve was a mirror image of the other half. Shrinkage curves for peat-sand and peat-perlite were similar in form to that of bark-sand media.

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J.C. Rodriguez, D.J. Cantliffe, N.L. Shaw and Z. Karchi

In the spring of 2001 and 2002, different combinations of media (coarse perlite, medium perlite, and pine bark) and containers (polyethylene bags and plastic pots) were used for hydroponic production of `Galia' muskmelons (Cucumis melo L.) to determine their effect on fruit yield and quality, and their influence on costs of production. Marketable yields obtained for `Gal-152' in the spring 2001 and 2002 were 25.5 kg·m–2 and 39.0 kg·m–2 respectively. When data were combined for 2001 and 2002, fruit yield and fruit quality were unaffected by any combination of media and container. Average soluble solids content was generally greater than 10° Brix. It was determined that the use of pine bark media and plastic pots instead of perlite and bags would save $18,200 per year (two crops)—a feasible option for reducing costs of producing `Galia' muskmelons in greenhouses using soilless culture without loss of yield and fruit quality.

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J.B. Million, J.E. Barrett, T.A. Nell and D.G. Clark

Three experiments were conducted to evaluate media component effects on paclobutrazol activity. In Expts. 1 and 2, a broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis L.) seedling bioassay was used to compare the activity of paclobutrazol at six concentrations (0-0.32 mg·L-1). Results from Expt. 1 indicated that an average of 4-, 5-, and 10-fold higher concentrations were required in old composted pine bark, fresh pine bark, and composted pine bark samples, respectively, to achieve the same activity observed in sphagnum peatmoss (peat) samples. Activity in coir was similar to that in peat while activity in vermiculite and perlite was greater than that in peat. Activity in a fibrous peat sample was greater than in two less-fibrous peat samples. Results from Expt. 2 indicated that paclobutrazol activity was reduced more in the fine (<2 mm) fraction of fresh and composted bark samples than in medium (2-4 mm) or coarse (>4 mm) fractions. In Expt. 3, petunia {Petunia hybrida Vilm. `Madness Red') was grown in a mixture of either 60% composted pine bark: 0% peat or 0% composted bark: 60% peat. The paclobutrazol concentration required to achieve the same size control was 14 times higher in the former mixture than in the latter. Thus, media components differ greatly in their influence on paclobutrazol activity and the bioassay procedure may serve as a useful tool for predicting media-paclobutrazol interactions. Chemical name used: (±)-(R*,R*)-β-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-α-(l,l-dimethyl)-lH-l,2,4-triazole-l-ethanol (paclobutrazol).