Pink root (Phomaterrestris) is among the major limiting factors for the production of sweet onions on Maui, Hawaii. Few management options exist for the control of pink root in onions. Two split-plot experiments were conducted in the area of Kula, Maui, over 2 years to evaluate several alternative management practices. In Expt. 1, the main plots were a rotation with cabbage, solarization with a clear plastic mulch, and a fallow period. Subplots were plus or minus Vapam fumigation. Sub-subplots were biomass application of Sudex or rape, inoculation with an EM biostimulant, and control. Each treatment had four replications for a total of 96 plots. In the follow-up experiment, the main plots were Vapam fumigation, rotation with either a Sudex or rape cover crop, and controls. The subplots were plus or minus EM biostimulant application. In Expt. 1, three separate treatments: solarization, cabbage rotation, and Sudex incorporation had a synergistic effect with Vapam fumigation. Fumigation and solarization also decreased pink root incidence. Rape contributed to a decreased disease incidence while EM contributed to increased bulb size. In Expt. 2, EM and rape contributed to increased yields. Rape and sorghum rotations contributed to decreased pink root incidence. EM inoculation had differential effects on several diseases, contributing to reduced bacterial bulb rot levels. The data indicate that growers may have several alternative management tools at their disposal, in addition to proper varietal selection, to improve yields and reduce disease incidence in sweet onions.
In temperate regions, the vegetable growing season is short and plastic mulches are usually left in the field for an entire year when used for double cropping. This work was conducted to study the effect of weathering on the physical, optical, and thermal properties of plastic mulches during double cropping. The design was a randomized complete block with four replications. The mulches were black, grey, infrared transmitting brown (IRT-brown), IRT-green, white, and white-on-black (co-extruded white/black). Tomato was grown the first year and cucumber the following year. The grey mulch degraded substantially during double cropping (only 40% of bed was covered the second year) and showed an increase in light transmission and a decrease in heat accumulation (degree-days). The black, whiteon-black, white, IRT-brown, and IRT green mulches showed less degradation with 93%, 91%, 85%, 75%, and 61% soil cover, respectively. However, their soil warming ability was significantly reduced. These mulches could be used for double cropping to suppress weeds and to reduce inputs associated with plastic purchase, laying, and disposal. However, they may not provide adequate soil warming early in the season for the second crop.
Composting of municipal solid waste (MSW) has received renewed attention as a result of increasing waste disposal costs and the environmental concerns associated with using landfills. Sixteen MSW composting facilities are currently operating in the United States, with many more in the advanced stages of planning. A targeted end use of the compost is for horticultural crop production. At the present time, quality standards for MSW composts are lacking and need to be established. Elevated heavy metal concentrations in MSW compost have been reported; however, through proper sorting and recycling prior to composting, contamination by heavy metals can be reduced. Guidelines for safe metal concentrations and fecal pathogens in compost, based on sewage sludge research, are presented. The compost has been shown to be useful in horticultural crop production by improving soil physical properties, such as lowering bulk density and increasing water-holding capacity. The compost can supply essential nutrients to a limited extent; however, supplemental fertilizer, particularly N, is usually required. The compost has been used successfully as a sphagnum peat substitute for container media and as a seedbed for turf production. High soluble salts and B, often leading to phytotoxicity, are problems associated with the use of MSW compost. The primary limiting factor for the general use of MSW compost in horticultural crop production at present is the lack of consistent, high-quality compost.
A foam mulch system was developed that can be applied as an aqueous mixture of cotton and cellulose fibers, gums, starches, surfactants and saponins and dries to an one inch thick mat. This mulch may overcome the difficulty in applying and lack of persistence with natural mulches. Foam mulch also has the advantage of being able to be incorporated into the soil without requiring disposal like some plastic mulches. The objective of our study was to determine the effect of foam mulch and its color on weed control within the crop row and on yields of basil (Ocimum basilicum) and tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum). The foam mulch maintained its integrity for the entire growing season and provided weed control within the crop row comparable to black plastic mulch. The only weeds that emerged in the crop row were through holes in either the black or foam mulch. Foam mulch color did not affect weed control because regardless of color it did not allow light penetration andserved as a physical barrier impeding weed emergence. Basil shoot biomass was not affected by mulch treatment. Mulch color affected early, ripe fruit, and total yield of tomato. Tomato yields in the blue foam were greater than other treatments. Yields in the black foam mulch were similar to those in black plastic mulch. Further research is needed to characterize the effects of foam mulch on crop microenvironment. Currently foam mulch is being commercialized for use in the home landscape and other highvalue situations.
Increasing costs associated with the disposal of industrial and urban wastes necessitate the development of alternatives which are economical and environmentally safe. With >3000 ha in Quebec, sod production represents an interesting alternative for the use of new amendments, such as composted de-inked paper sludges and municipal waste compost. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the potential benefits of these amendments (nutrient retention in the root zone and chemical and physical soil benefits) and question potential environmental hazards. Chemical dynamics of N, P, K, micronutrients and heavy metals were examined over four soil layers (0 to 15, 15 to 30, 30 to 60, an >60 cm) on sandy and clay soil. Preliminary results for 1993 and 1994 indicate that nutrient concentrations in water extract are high following the establishment of sites. When sod is absent, high concentrations of lead (500 mg·kg–1 in urban compost) show only a slight trend to accumulate. Nevertheless, this new approach toward using industrial and urban composts seems to be adequate and economically attractive.
Trichoderma virens (Gliocladium virens) (Miller et al.) von Arx is a soilborne fungus with a high degree of rhizosphere competence that produces a potent herbicidal compound, viridiol, and therefore has potential for development as a bioherbicide. We investigated the possibility of using composted chicken manure (CCM) as a medium for the production and deployment of T. virens. We chose CCM since the safe disposal of chicken manure presents significant logistic problems, and composted manures, as well as serving as an organic source of nitrogen, have been shown to support the activity of other biological control agents. Composted chicken manure supported the growth of T. virens and the rapid production of high concentrations of viridiol, but only when it was supplemented with large quantities of nutrients, including sucrose (16% w/w). Viridiol was not stable when stored in CCM, with a rapid decline in viridiol concentrations observed in T. virens-inoculated CCM cultures. Clearly, a cheaper alternative to sucrose is required as a carbon source for T. virens in CCM or similar media, and effective storage methods would need to be found for a T. virens-based bioherbicide product. Importantly, CCM did not need to be sterilized to support the growth of T. virens and its concomitant production of viridiol, suggesting that on-farm production systems may be feasible. Trichoderma virens-colonized CCM reduced the emergence and seedling growth of redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) in a greenhouse experiment and dramatically reduced the emergence of a mixed community of broadleaf weeds in the field.
Affluent “peri-urban” populations in some areas have created new markets for small specialized growers. Although intensive growing systems using drip irrigation and fertigation with new varieties can increase yields, there is also a desire to use systems that are viewed as more sustainable. One way to reduce the environmental impact of intensive systems is to use organic mulches that do not require disposal and can improve soil conditions. `Chandler' strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) transplants were set in raised beds on 28 Oct. 1997. All plots received pre-plant P at 73 kg/ha. Treatments were: hay mulch (HY); a commercial, pelleted, recycled paper mulch (PA); polyethylene mulch (PL); or a woven weed-blocking (WB) fabric, with or without dairy manure compost (22% moisture) at 22 t/ha tilled in before bedding. A total of 184 kg/ha N was applied through the irrigation system in weekly applications during the growing season. The first bloom set was killed by cold on 9 Mar. 1998. Yields from the two synthetic mulch systems (PL = 5502 and WB = 4996 kg/ha) were significantly higher than those from the organic mulches (HY = 2824 and PA = 1735 kg/ha). Mean fruit weight was also higher with synthetic (PL = 10.6 and WB = 10.4g) than organic (HY = 9.5 and PA = 9.0 g) mulches. Factors such as increased weed growth in organic mulches and warmer temperatures in synthetic mulches contributed to increased yields from synthetically mulched plots.
Large spaces are required to eliminate waste by burying and this method is very costly. The horticulture use of waste seems to be one of the best optional methods of disposal. This study was performed to evaluate the effects of fresh bio-filters (FBF), composted sewage sludges (CSS), and composted de-inked sludges (CDS) on growth of three woody ornamental species (Spiraea japonica `Little Princess', Spiraea nipponica `Snowmound', and Physocarpus opulifolius `Nanus') produced in containers. Three fertilization regimes (N at 200, 400, and 600 mg·L–1 in the form of soluble fertilizer 20–20–20) were applied weekly onto containers during 3.5 months. Plants were potted in 10 substrates. The control substrate contained 4 peatmoss: 5 composted conifer bark: 1 fine crushed gravel (by volume). In the other nine substrates, peatmoss was partially substituted by one of the three organic residues (10%, 20%, or 30% of FBF, CSS, or CDS). The experimental design was a split-split-plot with four replicates and two samples by treatment. Chemical analysis of the organic residues proved that the fertilization value of CSS was greater than the other residues and heavy metals are below the undesirable limits for the three residues. The amount of available major mineral elements in these residues is too low to satisfy the mineral nutrient needs of plants. In addition, there is a linear effect of the fertilization on plant growth. The CDS required a high dose of the fertilizer (600 mg·L–1) which may be due to the immobilization of N. The 10% proportion of FBF and CDS, combined with the other materials, was the most adequate proportion and did not reduce the growth of plants (height, aerial, and root dry matter). However, CSS can be used with a high proportion (20%) especially for Spiraea japonica `Little Princess'.
Citrus trees in an experimental planting responded well to high application rates of reclaimed water. Irrigation treatments included annual applications of 400 mm of well water and 400, 1250, and 2500 mm of reclaimed water. The effects of these irrigation treatments on two citrus cultivars (`Hamlin' orange and `Orlando' tangelo) combined with four rootstocks were compared. Growth and fruit production were better at the higher irrigation rates. The concentration of soluble solids in juice was diluted at the highest irrigation rate, but total soluble solids per hectare increased due to the greater fruit production. Average soluble solids/ha production was >15% higher at the 2500-mm rate than the 400-mm reclaimed water rate. While fruit soluble solids were usually lowered by higher irrigation, the reduction in fruit soluble solids observed on three of the rootstocks did not occur in trees on Carrizo citrange. Trees on Cleopatra mandarin grew similarly at the different irrigation rates, but canopy volume of trees on Swingle citrumelo was significantly smaller at the 400 mm rate than at the 2500 mm rate. Fruit peel color score was lower but juice color score was higher at the highest irrigation rate. Weed pressure increased with increasing irrigation rate, but was controllable. Both juice and fruit soluble solids were higher on Swingle citrumelo and lower on Cleopatra mandarin rootstock. Total soluble solids/ha, solids/acid ratio, and juice color were higher on Swingle rootstock. Reclaimed water, once believed to be a disposal problem in Florida, can be an acceptable source of irrigation water for citrus on well drained soils at rates up to twice the annual rainfall.
Liatris is an ornamental plant cultivated as a garden perennial for more than 70 years. Since the early 1970s, Liatris spicata has gained importance as a cut flower because of its long-lasting flowering and its peculiar downward flowering succession. This species is usually cultivated in beds both outdoors and in greenhouses. However, in order to improve yield and quality production, some research has been carried out on soilless cultivation. In particular, floating systems seem to provide the best performances, although only different nutrient solutions or their concentrations have been studied. In this research, in addition to two different concentrations of Hoagland solution [full-strength (H) and a half-strength (1/2H)], three corm circumferences (8/10, 10/12, and 12+) and three plant densities (36, 48, and 60 plants/m2) were also evaluated. The full-strength solution gave the best performance from both qualitative and quantitative standpoints. This nutrient solution also showed, at the end of the experiment, very high residual nitrate-N, which could induce environmental pollution during disposal. Furthermore, the management of the solution appeared more difficult and time-consuming. All these aspects should be taken into account by growers in making choices. Corm size also affected production. Increasing circumference from 8/10 to 12+ increased marketable stems per plant and their quality traits, but, because of the highest mortality of plants observed with the bigger corms, yield per square meter did not increase over corm size of 10/12. Finally, rising plant density from 36–60 plants/m2, the biomass of the single plant decreased. However, it resulted also in the enhancement of sellable production per square meter.