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Production and quality of bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) fruit were evaluated in a passively ventilated greenhouse, in soilless media trellised to a “V” system (two-stempruned plants) or the “Spanish” system (nonpruned plants) in flat bags or nursery pot containers; and densities of 1.5, 1.9, 3.0, and 3.8 plants/m2 (0.14, 0.18, 0.28, and 0.35 plants/ft2), in a winter-to-summer-crop in Gainesville, Fla. The trellis systems did not affect total marketable fruit yields but production of extra-large fruit was higher (38%) in non-pruned than in pruned plants. Marketable fruit yields were similar in plants grown in bags and pots, and had positive linear responses to increased plant density. Not pruning reduced by half the percentage of fruit with blossom-end rot. Pruned plants produced 50% fewer flower bud supporting nodes than non-pruned plants but had a greater percentage of fruit set. Regardless of trellis systems, fruit set per plant decreased linearly as plant density increased. Overall, the “Spanish” trellis system at a density of 3.8 plants/m2 resulted in greater yields of extra-large fruit and required 75% less labor than the “V” system to prune and support the plant canopy.

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Salvia (Salvia splendens) `Red Vista' or `Purple Vista,' french marigold (Tagetes patula) `Little Hero Orange,' bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) `Better Bell,' impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) `Accent White,' and wax begonia (Begonia ×semperflorens-cultorum) `Cocktail Vodka' were grown in 0.95-L (1-qt) containers using a 5 pine bark: 4 sedge peat: 1 sand substrate (Expts. 1 and 2) or Pro Mix BX (Expt. 2 only). They were fertilized weekly with 50 mL (1.7 fl oz) of a solution containing 100, 200, or 300 mg·L-1 (ppm) of nitrogen derived from 15N-6.5P-12.5K (1N-1P2O5-1K2O ratio) or 21N-3P-11.7K (3N-1P2O5-2K2O ratio) uncoated prills used in the manufacture of controlled-release fertilizers. Plants grown with Pro Mix BX were generally larger and produced more flowers or fruit than those grown with the pine bark mix. With few exceptions, plant color, root and shoot dry weights, and number of flowers or fruit were highly correlated with fertilization rate, but not with prill type. There appears to be little reason for using the more expensive 1-1-1 ratio prills, since they generally did not improve plant quality and may increase phosphorous runoff from bedding plant nurseries.

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Bacterial spot epidemics, caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria (Xcv), are still considered serious risks for commercial pepper (Capsicum annuum) growers in a number of eastern, southern and midwestern states. Newly released bell pepper cultivars with the Bs2 gene for resistance to Xcv races 1, 2, and 3 were compared in 2000 under bacterial spot-free and severe (natural) bacterial spot epidemic conditions in central and eastern Kentucky where similar trials had been conducted from 1995 to 1997. In addition to the replicated bell pepper trials, 49 hot and specialty pepper cultivars were grown for observation in single plots at the same two locations. As in previous trials, there were economically important differences in resistance and marketable yields among bell pepper cultivars having the Bs2 gene; some resistant cultivars were as susceptible as susceptible checks. Others were highly resistant in spite of the presence of Xcv races 3 and 6 in the eastern Kentucky trial. Only a few were highly resistant with excellent fruit quality. With a few notable exceptions, most of the hot and specialty cultivars were very susceptible to bacterial spot. Two of the three new jalapeño cultivars carrying Bs2 were highly resistant to bacterial spot and high yielding under severe epidemic conditions.

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Crop development rates, yields and production economics for muskmelon (Cucumis melo), pepper (Capsicum annuum) and tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) grown in high tunnels [4.3 m wid × 2.5 m high × 29 m long (14 × 8 × 96 ft)] were compared to standard low tunnels over several cropping seasons in a temperate production area. The polyethylene-covered high tunnels protect several rows of crop for the duration of the cropping season. Air temperatures in the high tunnels were controlled by raising the sides of the tunnel. Low tunnels cover only a single row and must be removed soon after the crop is established to prevent overcrowding or overheating. When the low tunnels were in place, rates of accumulation of growing-degree days (GDDs) and early crop growth were comparable in the two tunnel systems. However, once the low tunnels were removed, the accumulation of GDDs in the high tunnels exceeded the standard system. The crops in the high tunnels matured 1 to 2 weeks earlier and produced substantially greater fruit yields before frost than in the low tunnel treatments. The high tunnels provided little frost protection and were of limited utility for extension of the growing season. The high tunnels were much more costly to purchase and construct than the low tunnels but were durable enough to be used for multiple cropping seasons. Based on wholesale commodity prices, it would take 2 to 5 years for the enhanced gross returns obtained with the high tunnels to cover their higher capital costs.

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bipinnatus ), later and fewer florets in gladiolus, flower deformities in billy buttons ( Craspedia globosa ), decreased fruit production in chili pepper ( Capsicum baccatum ), and reduced spadix width and flower abnormalities in calla lily as reported by

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Twenty-seven green bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivars were evaluated over three growing seasons in Maine. Each year, plants started in a greenhouse were transplanted into double rows on raised beds covered with black plastic mulch. Overall yields were low compared with similar experiments in other regions of North America and varied considerably from year to year. ‘Ace’ and ‘New Ace’ consistently produced the largest crops by both weight and number of fruit. However, both of these cultivars had undesirable characteristics of small fruit size (<150 g), few lobes (two-three), and thin fruit walls (<6 mm), limiting their commercial market potential. Other cultivars, including ‘Vivaldi’, ‘Patriot’, and ‘Socrates’, had significantly better fruit quality but very low or inconsistent yield. The results of this study demonstrate the current limitations for growing economically viable crops of bell peppers in regions such as Maine that have short growing seasons and a wide range of seasonal temperatures. Further, the data underline the need for the development of cultivars better adapted to these growing conditions.

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Extension services around the globe face increasingly limited financial support, yet rural populations require services, training and access to information. In sub-Saharan African countries the demands are particularly severe. Farmer to extension staff ratios are generally over 2000 to 1 and resource constraints are severe, which greatly restricts outreach efforts. Examples are presented of recent innovations from the southern Africa country of Malawi. These include collaboration across private and public institutions. Some extension agents have shifted from a transferring technology mode to a catalytic role where agents help link up diverse stakeholders, from farmers and researchers to potential buyers and input suppliers. Extension has helped farmers respond to new market opportunities, including a food colorant, the paprika pepper (Capsicum annuum), and a multi-use grain and vegetable, pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan). Product quality is critical for these markets and industry organizations have invested in training that involves government extension staff, private crop advisors and farmers. A collaborative team approach across industry, nongovernmental organizations and government services has facilitated farmer access to inputs, new cultivars and training in improved crop management and post-harvest techniques. Many challenges remain, such as outreach to farmers located far from infrastructure and those with limited formal education or no experience with entrepreneurship. Extension must continue to reinvent itself to reach all farmers.

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The tender skin of bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) covers a crisp, fragile flesh that is easily bruised, cracked or crushed. During commercial harvest and postharvest handling operations, bell peppers undergo several transfers, each of which has the potential for causing mechanical injury to the peppers. These mechanical injuries include abrasions, cuts, punctures, and bruises, which affect the market grade and reduce pepper quality and subsequent life. Previous research on handling fresh vegetables and fruits has shown that the instrumented sphere (IS) is a tool that can help identify potentially damaging impacts during harvest and postharvest handling operations. For the study reported, the IS was used to evaluate the damage potential for peppers being hand harvested, and for peppers on a packing line. Studies in the field attempted to duplicate how pickers harvest peppers into pails and then empty them into empty wooden pallet bins. For the packing line evaluated, the diverging roll-sizer had the greatest potential for damage. Adding cushioning to hard surfaces and removing the metal support from under the cross-conveyor would help to reduce pepper damage. Cushioned ramps, and hanging flaps or curtains should be used to help reduce acceleration and drop height between pieces of equipment. All locations should be cushioned where peppers impact a hard surface, and drop height should be limited to 3 inches (8 cm) on a hard surface and 8 inches (20 cm) on a cushioned surface. The speed of all components in the system should be checked and adjusted to achieve full line flow of peppers without causing bruising. Workers must receive instruction on the significance of bruising during the harvest and postharvest operations.

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Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of the plant regulator uniconazole on plant height, flowering, and fruit yield of vegetable transplants. In the first experiment, seedlings of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Early Girl’), pepper (Capsicum annuum ‘Jalapeno’), and eggplant (Solanum melongena ‘Millionaire’), were sprayed with water (untreated control) or with 2.5, 5, and 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole. Five weeks after treatment (WAT), application of 2.5 mg·L−1 of uniconazole reduced the height of tomato by 17%, and of 5 and 10 mg·L−1, by 25%. The effect of 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole on tomato plant height persisted until 13 WAT, but did not affect fruit yield. ‘Early Girl’ tomato plants treated with 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole were still shorter than the untreated control at this time, but there were no significant differences in the number or weight of the fruit produced by the plants treated with 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole, and the untreated controls. In contrast, as the rate of uniconazole increased, the height of ‘Jalapeno’ pepper and ‘Millionaire’ eggplant decreased. Application of uniconazole had no effect on the number of fruit produced by ‘Millionaire’ eggplant. However, treatment with 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole reduced the number of fruit produced by pepper plants by 50%, and reduced the total weight of fruit produced by pepper and eggplant plants by 30% and 50%, respectively, compared with the untreated control. The second experiment analyzed the effects of 5, 8, and 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole on two cultivars of tomato with different growth habit, Early Girl (determinate) and Sun Sugar (indeterminate). Application of all rates of uniconazole decreased plant height but not the final fruit yield of the two tomato cultivars.

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Sales of organic products reached $8 billion in the U.S. in 2000, continuing the nearly decade-long trend of 20% annual growth. In Iowa alone, organic production for all crops was 5265 ha (13,000 acres) in 1995 but 60,750 ha (150,000 acres) in 1999. Despite the growth in organic agriculture, our knowledge of organic farming systems remains limited. We have adopted a systems theory approach in our current research program at Iowa State University (ISU) to help address this gap in understanding. Systems theory holds that biological systems, such as agroecosystems, consist of integrated units of people, plants, animals, soil, insects and microorganisms, and each subsystem provides feedback to the other. In order to obtain input on research questions and experimental design, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and ISU held six focus groups across Iowa in 1998 before long-term site establishment. Producers and agricultural professionals at the focus groups supported the need for long-term agroecological research (LTAR) sites in four distinct agroecological zones in Iowa. The goal of each LTAR is to examine the short- and long-term physical, biological, and socioeconomic effects of organic and conventional farming systems. By establishing long-term experiments, we are testing the hypothesis that longer crop rotations, typical of organic farms, provide yield stability, improve plant protection, and enhance soil health and economic benefits compared to conventional systems with shorter rotations and greater off-farm inputs. Examples of research results from two LTAR experiments in Iowa include similar pepper (Capsicum annuum) and soybean (Glycine max) yields in the conventional and organic systems. Organic systems used mechanical weed control and locally produced compost in place of synthetic fertilizers. Feedback from the local farm associations that are responsible for farm stewardship and farm finances is inherent in the LTAR process.

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