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Summer cover crops can improve soil fertility by adding organic matter, supplying nutrients through mineralization, reducing nutrient leaching, and improving soil water and nutrient holding capacity. Other benefits include weed suppression and reduction of soil parasitic nematodes. A series of field experiments have been conducted at the UF IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida to evaluate several summer cover crops for use in vegetable production in South Florida followed by field demonstrations conducted in the growers' fields. Best performing cover crops were legumes: velvet bean (Macuna deeringiana) and sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L. `Tropic Sun') providing 13 and 11 Mt of dry matter/ha, respectively. Sunn hemp supplied 330 kg N/ha followed by velvet been with 310 kg N/ha. Traditional summer cover crop sorghum-Sudan produced 4 Mt of dry matter/ha and retained only 36 kg N/ha. In addition Sunn hemp significantly reduced soil parasitic nematodes for successive crops. Limitations in use of Sunn hemp by more vegetable growers in South Florida include cost and availability of seeds.

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Abstract

Double-cropping systems were compared to the same vegetable monocropped. Snap beans [Phaseolus vulgaris (L.) ‘Bush Blue Lake’], sweet corn [Zea mays (L.) ‘Sundance’], cauliflower [Brassica oleracea (L.), Botrytis group, ‘Snow Crown’], summer squash [Cucurbita pepo (L.) ‘Zucchini Elite’], and broccoli [Brassica oleracea (L.), Italica group, ‘Green Comet’] were used. The double-crop systems used were spring snap bean and fall cauliflower, summer squash and fall broccoli, and spring sweet corn and fall snap beans. The monocrop system was used as a control for the double-crop systems. The greatest net returns were: 1) squash monocropped or squash/broccoli double-cropped, 2) squash double-cropped, 3) cauliflower or cauliflower/snap bean double-cropped, and 4) broccoli or cauliflower or snap beans monocropped. Fall snap beans provided the least economic return. The double-cropping system allows an option of crop production with a potential increase in yield and economic returns using half the amount of land per year required for either crop grown in monoculture. In addition, these systems reduce the risk of economic failure during a year of low-market demand for either crop grown alone.

Open Access

The utility of alumina-buffered phosphorus (Al-P) fertilizers for supplying phosphorus (P) to bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) in soils with low-P availability was evaluated. Plants were grown at low-P fertility (about 100 kg·ha–1, low-P control; LPC), with conventional P fertilization (205-300 kg·ha–1 annually, fertilizer control; FC), or with one of two Al-P sources (Martenswerke or Alcoa) in 2001–03. The two Al-P fertilizers were applied in 2001; no additional material was applied in 2002-03. Plants grown with Martenswerke Al-P had similar shoot dry weight, root dry weight, root length, leaf P concentration, and fruit yield compared with plants grown with conventional P fertilizer in both 2002 and 2003 seasons. Bell pepper grown with Alcoa Al-P had similar shoot dry weight, root dry weight, root length, leaf P concentration, and fruit yield compared with plants grown without P fertilizer in both seasons. Alcoa Al-P continuously released bioavailable P for 2 years between 2001 and 2002, while Martenswerke Al-P continuously released bioavailable P at least 3 years between 2001 and 2003. These results indicate that some formulations of Al-P can serve as long-term P sources for field vegetable production.

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coordinate, soil properties, and weather conditions, and in two distinct seasons, wet-cool and hot-dry seasons, and to characterize selection sites for different target amaranth production environments. The importance of season on amaranth vegetable yield was

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AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit international agricultural research institute whose mission is to reduce malnutrition and poverty among the poor through vegetable research and development. Over the past 30 years, AVRDC has developed a vast array of international public goods. The Center plays an essential role in bringing international and interdisciplinary teams together to develop technologies, empower farmers, and address major vegetable-related issues in the developing world. In its unique role, AVRDC functions as a catalyst to 1) build international and interdisciplinary coalitions that engage in vegetable and nutrition issues; 2) generate and disseminate improved germplasm and technologies that address economic and nutritional needs of the poor; 3) collect, characterize, and conserve vegetable germplasm resources for worldwide use; and 4) provide globally accessible, user-friendly, science-based, appropriate technology. In enhancing and promoting vegetable production and consumption in developing world, AVRDC's research programs contribute to increased productivity of the vegetable sector, equity in economic development in favor of rural and urban poor, healthy and more diversified diets for low-income families, environmentally friendly and safe production of vegetables, and improved sustainability of cropping systems. Recent achievements at AVRDC that greatly impact tropical horticulture in the developing world include virus-resistant tomatoes raising farmers income, hybrid sweet pepper breaking the yield barrier in the tropics, flood-resistant chili peppers opening new market opportunities, broccoli varieties for monsoon season, pesticide-free eggplant and leafy vegetable production systems and fertilizer systems that protect the environment. Beyond vegetable crops, AVRDC is playing an important role in expanding and promoting research and development efforts for high value horticultural crops, including fruit, ornamentals, and medicinal plants through its new Global Horticulture Initiative. AVRDC believes that horticulture crop production provides jobs and is an engine for economic growth. The important role AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center plays in developing and promoting tropical horticultural crops is discussed in this paper.

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55 ORAL SESSION 9 (Abstr. 451-456) Vegetable Crops: Crop Production

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Abstract

Extension educational materials were designed to communicate vegetable production information to citizens with varying educational and agricultural skills. Slide/tape sets written at 4th to 6th grade levels and extension circulars at 6th to 8th grade levels were evaluated by North Florida citizens. Recall increased 20 to 50% following presentation of a slide/tape set or reading of the revised production guide. These educational materials were used by county extension agents to improve production skills of vegetable growers.

Open Access

Abstract

A 2-year study involving 15 garden vegetables and 5 different-sized gardens was conducted to assess land, labor, and production efficiency. As garden size increased, total production increased, but yield per unit area decreased. Relative labor inputs varied with garden size, but were greatest for harvesting (38%) followed by planting (23%), miscellaneous (22%), and weeding (17%). The highest production in relationship to labor and land use was obtained with beets, carrots, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and summer squash. The poorest yielding crops were pole and bush beans, sweet corn, peas, peppers, and radishes. Total vegetable yield for the 2-year study averaged 6.2 kg/m2.

Open Access

The evolution of plastic uses (excluding glazing) in the production of greenhouse vegetables is presented. Plastics are used in almost every aspect of crop production, including providing a barrier to the soil, lining crop production troughs, holding soil and soilless media, and providing a nutrient film channel. Irrigation systems have become very elaborate, with various plastic products used to transport water and nutrients and to provide a means of emitting nutrient solution to the crop. The greenhouse environment is managed from several plastic components, including air distribution tubes, shade materials, and energy curtains. Plastics are now common in greenhouse vegetable crop training, insect monitoring, postharvest handling, storage, and marketing.

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In January 2002, an organic vegetable garden on the New Mexico State Univ. (NMSU) main campus was initiated to expose students to organic production practices and agricultural business management. The project named, OASIS (Organic Agriculture Students Inspiring Sustainability), is funded by a USDA Hispanic Serving Institution Grant and operated as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture. Students enroll in an organic vegetable production class during spring and fall semesters to help manage and work on the project. The CSA model of farming involves the sale of shares to members who receive weekly allotments of the farm's output. The objectives of the project are to provide students with a multi-disciplinary experiential educational opportunity, to investigate the feasibility of small scale organic drip irrigated farming in the Chihuahuan desert, to demonstrate the CSA model to the local community, to trial vegetable varieties, and to provide a site where faculty can conduct research or student laboratory exercises. This is the first organic vegetable garden on the NMSU main campus, the first organic vegetable production class, and the first CSA venture in southern New Mexico. The project has grown about 230 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the first two years of production, and has grossed at total of $32,000 in revenues from both years on 2/3 of an acre of land. In the first year, 32 members purchased 18.5 full share equivalents, and in 2003, 69 members purchased 39.5 full share equivalents.

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