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Grape (Vitis vinifera) waste management is a major problem in juice production, but it could be transformed into a major opportunity if the waste was recycled and used as a nursery growing medium. The aim of this study was to evaluate the suitability of four composts based on squeezed grape fruit waste (SGFW), mixed with coir or vermiculite in a one-to-one ratio by volume to form 13 growing media, for seed germination and seedling growth of ‘Mrs. Burns’ lemon basil (Ocimum basilicum var. citriodora). The final germination percentage (FGP), corrected germination rate index (CGRI), survival percentage, and seedling growth of ‘Mrs. Burns’ lemon basil were the variables measured. Pure SGFW reduced seed germination and seedling growth. The medium combining pure SGFW with vermiculite in a one-to-one ratio by volume was optimal for seed germination and seedling growth; in this medium the highest FGP, CGRI, survival rate, and growth parameters were recorded. The negative effects of pure SGFW composts were eliminated by mixing all composts with coir or vermiculite. These waste recycling media are low-cost products that can be beneficially used in nurseries on a commercial scale.

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The nursery industry in Florida relies entirely on peat as a major component in potting soil. Escalating peat costs are a major concern, so alternative media are attractive in Florida. The objectives of the project were to study the feasibility of using food waste compost (FWC) to replace peat in different annual ornamental crops. The experiments were conducted in Spring 2004 at the University of Florida/SWFREC Immokalee, Fla. The crops basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), marigold (Calendulaofficinalis L.), and periwinkle (Vincarosea L.) were grown in mixes of FWC. The treatments were: 1) 100% FWC; 2) 60% FWC, 25% vermiculite, 15% perlite; 3) 30% FWC, 30% peat, 25% vermiculite, 15% perlite; and 4) 0% FWC, 60% peat, 25% vermiculite, 15% perlite, by volume. Basil `U.H' was direct seeded; marigold and periwinkle were transplanted (5 cm tall) in pots (2 inches). All treatments received 4 g per pot of Osmocote (19-6-12) for 4 months. Percentage of basil germination and biomass were higher in mixes with 60% and 30% FWC as compared with 100% FWC and the control. Lower basil biomass in the control media was due to high weed biomass grown in the peat control media. There were no differences in biomass and number of flowers per plant among marigold treatments. But, periwinkle dry biomass and number of flowers per plant were higher in the control and 30% FWC than in 60% and 100% FWC, indicating a negative effect of FWC in periwinkle. It can be concluded that FWC may become a viable alternative to replace peat in basil and marigold when included in potting mixes between 30% and 60% by volume, but a negative effect was reported in periwinkle production.

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Fresh weight production of basil (Ocimum basilicum`Genovese') growing in a retractable roof greenhouse (RRGH) or outdoors was evaluated under different shade environments, cultural production systems, and roof control strategies in a semi-arid climate. Cultural production systems included raised beds and towers consisting of six pots arranged vertically and stacked on edge. The growing substrate in both systems was perlite. The three shade environments included a RRGH with either a clear woven roof (35% shade) or a white woven roof (50% shade), or outdoors in full sun (0% shade). Within the RRGH, three strategies of roof control were tested based on air temperature thresholds, quantum thresholds, and globe thermometer temperature thresholds. After establishment, plants were grown for 4 weeks, each under the three roof control strategies in each environment and in both cultural systems. New shoots were harvested weekly and fresh weights were determined. Overall, fresh weight per plant was significantly affected by cultural production system, and basil grown in raised beds produced twice the biomass compared to plants grown in vertical towers. Productivity of basil grown in raised beds was not affected by the three shade environments, but plants in vertical towers produced about 20% more when grown in full sun or under 35% shade compared to under 50% shade. Within the RRGH, roof control strategy significantly affected basil fresh weight per plant. Roof control, based on either a quantum sensor or globe thermometer, increased production by 31% compared to air temperature control. Greater productivity was related to higher cumulative light exposure of plants. Quality of basil grown in the RRGH was superior to that grown in full sun.

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Selenium (Se) is an essential mammalian micronutrient. Adult humans have a daily requirement of 55 to 70 μg/day Se depending on sex and pregnancy/lactation for females. In addition, recent studies have shown health benefits with dietary Se supplementation of 100 to 200 μg/day Se. However, daily intakes in humans greater than 900 μg Se will result in toxicity called selenosis. Although not essential in plant nutrition, some species can bioaccumulate Se. Brassica and Allium species became prime candidates for Se enrichment because of their ability to accumulate and tolerate high concentrations of Se in edible tissues; however, there is now concern that these species are too efficient at selenization and overconsumption of their selenized tissues could result in selenosis. Herbal crop species are consumed regularly in the diet for their culinary flavor attributes. Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) and cilantro (Coridandrum sativum L.) are not classified as Se accumulators. Therefore, a study was undertaken to determine the potential to selenize basil and cilantro through foliar Se applications to consistently supplement diets with nutritionally beneficial levels of Se. Plants of each species were grown in both growth chamber and field environments and treated with foliar applications (5 mL per plant) of selenate-Se and selenite-Se at concentrations of 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 mg·L−1 Se. Crops received three separate foliar applications at ≈5-day intervals beginning 24 to 28 days after planting for the growth chamber plants and 50 days after planning for the field environment. Selenium accumulation in both basil and cilantro leaf tissues increased linearly under both selenate-Se (P ≤ 0.001) and selenite-Se (P ≤ 0.001) foliar treatments in growth chamber and field evaluations. Maximum Se leaf tissue concentrations for basil and cilantro ranged from 13 to 55 μg·g−1 Se dry weight. Selenization of basil and cilantro is possible through foliar Se applications, and Se fortification of herbal crops may provide alternative delivery systems in human diets.

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area meter (LI-3100C; LiCOR Biosciences, Lincoln, NE). The shoots were then dried at 75 °C for 5 d to constant weight for dry weight measurement. Basil cultivation, growth, and substrate moisture content measurements. Basil ( O. basilicum ‘Genovese

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Student learning from producing crops in recirculating culture for a 6-week module in the Fall 2013 course HORT 570 Greenhouse Operations Management at Kansas State University was assessed. The module design followed Kolb’s experiential learning model, with teams of students responsible for production of lettuce (Lactuca sativa ‘Green Oak Leaf’) or basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Italian Large Leaf’) and chives (Allium schoenoprasum ‘Purly’) crops in either a nutrient film technique (NFT) or in-pot recirculating culture system. Goals were to discern if this class experience would 1) improve student confidence and understanding of not only recirculating solution culture systems, but also general crop nutrient management; and 2) improve higher-order learning (HOL) skills of applying, analyzing, and evaluating information. Student learning was evaluated by administering the same survey, which included questions to evaluate student perception, lower-order learning (LOL), and HOL, at four separate times during the semester: 1) before mentioning plant nutrition, hydroponics, or recirculating solution culture; 2) after plant nutrition lectures but before the experiential module; 3) immediately upon completion of the experiential module; and 4) at the end of the semester. An increase in student confidence related to managing crop production in recirculating solution culture and nutrient management was perceived by students upon completion of the module. A significant increase in LOL occurred after the material was presented during the course lectures with an increase also occurring upon completion of the experiential module. In contrast, HOL did not significantly increase after the lecture material was presented, but significantly increased upon completion of the module. Both LOL and HOL was retained at the end of the semester. This evidence supports the role of experiential learning in improving student understanding and fostering HOL.

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Sphagnum peat is a finite resource that is often used in the horticultural industry as a component in many substrates, especially for greenhouse production of transplants. Because peatlands are being depleted by vast amounts of mining, the horticultural industry is exploring alternative resources to use in substrates. Swine lagoon sludge (SLS) is an attractive option as it may provide nutrients needed to support plant growth, as well as using an agricultural waste product to address the peat shortage. A compost was developed using an in-vessel compost reactor to compost SLS with peanut hulls [15:85 (by volume) SLS:peanut hull] to produce a swine lagoon compost (SLC). A greenhouse transplant study was conducted with three species: basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Dark Opal’), chives (Allium schoenoprasum), and dill (Anethum graveolens ‘Hera’) grown in three substrates: SLC, a commercially available organic potting substrate with a nutrient charge (OM), and a commercial peat-based potting substrate with a 2-week nutrient charge (PEAT). The average height for basil, chives, and dill was significantly greater at transplant harvest when produced in the SLC substrate compared with the OM and PEAT. Airspace was greatest for SLC and lowest for OM and PEAT. Although root growth was not measured in this study, more prolific root growth throughout the plug was observed with SLC compared with OM and PEAT possibly because of the greater airspace in SLC. Substrate solution pH did not change substantially over time, whereas electrical conductivity (EC) decreased from 0.24 to 0.14 mS·cm−1. Both substrate pH and EC were within acceptable ranges for transplant production. SLC provided the physical and chemical requirements for herb transplant production without any additional fertilizers or amendments.

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Each year a wide variety of new cultivars and species are evaluated in the National Cut Flower Trial Programs administered by North Carolina State University and the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Stems of promising and productive cultivars from the National Trial Program were pretreated with either a commercial hydrating solution or deionized (DI) water and placed in either a commercial holding solution or DI water. Over 8 years, the vase life of 121 cultivars representing 47 cut flower genera was determined. Although there was cultivar variation within each genus, patterns of postharvest responses have emerged. The largest category, with 53 cultivars, was one in which a holding preservative increased vase life of the following genera and species: acidanthera (Gladiolus murielae), basil (Ocimum basilicum), bee balm (Monarda hybrid), black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hybrids), campanula (Campanula species), celosia (Celosia argentea), common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), coral bells (Heuchera hybrids), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), ladybells (Adenophora hybrid), lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum), lobelia (Lobelia hybrids), obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum), pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea), pinkflower (Indigofera amblyantha), seven-sons flower (Heptacodium miconioides), shasta daisy (Leucanthemum superbum), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), sweet william (Dianthus hybrids), trachelium (Trachelium caeruleum), and zinnia (Zinnia elegans). Hydrating preservatives increased the vase life of four basils, coral bells, and sunflower cultivars. The combined use of hydrator and holding preservatives increased the vase life of three black-eyed susan, seven-sons flower, and sunflower cultivars. Holding preservatives reduced the vase life of 14 cultivars of the following genera and species: ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), false queen anne's lace (Ammi species), knotweed (Persicaria hybrid), lisianthus, pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), yarrow (Achillea millifolium), and zinnia. Hydrating preservatives reduced the vase life of 18 cultivars of the following genera and species: feverfew, lisianthus, ornamental pepper, pineapple lily, seven-sons flower, shasta daisy, sneezeweed, sweet william, sunflower, trachelium, yarrow, and zinnia. The combined use of hydrating and holding preservatives reduced the vase life of 12 cultivars in the following genera and species: false queen anne's lace, feverfew, pincushion flower, sneezeweed, sunflower, trachelium, yarrow, and zinnia. Data for the remaining 50 cultivars were not significant among the treatments; these genera and species included beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), black-eyed susan, blue mist (Caryopteris clandonensis), calendula (Calendula officinalis), campanula, cleome (Cleome hasserliana), common ninebark, dahlia (Dahlia hybrids), delphinium (Delphinium hybrids), flowering peach (Prunus persica forma versicolor), heliopsis (Heliopsis helianthoides), hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum), himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa), hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), larkspur (Consolida hybrids), lily of the nile (Agapanthus hybrid), lisianthus, lobelia, ornamental pepper, pineapple lily, scented geranium (Pelargonium hybrid), sunflower, sweet william, and zinnia.

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Many important herbs [e.g., mint (Mentha sp.), thyme (Thymus sp.)], underused and nutritious vegetables [e.g., purslane (Portulaca oleracea), amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor)], and important biological control plants [e.g., sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)] have small seeds (≤ 1.5-mm long) that are difficult to plant with raw (i.e., nonpelleted) seed using existing seeders. A novel tool known as the slide hammer (SH) seeder was developed for the precise seeding of raw seeds of small-seeded plants. The SH seeder is a jab-type planter made primarily from electrical conduit tubing and other materials that are inexpensive and readily available in a hardware store or on the Internet. The interchangeable seed hopper is made from a plastic snap cap vial that has one or more holes of varying diameter depending on the desired seeding rate and seed size. Seed forms a “bridge” above the hole in the vial until they are dislodged from the force of the SH that discharges seeds to fall to the soil. Detailed plans are provided for how to make and use the SH seeder. The fabrication time is 2 to 4 hours with a material cost of ≈$32. I determined the seed vial hole specifications for the precise seeding of a variety of small-seeded plants, including chives (Allium schoenoprasum), chinese chives (Allium tuberosum), basil (Ocimum basilicum), grain amaranth (Amaranthus sp.), sweet alyssum, purslane, creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum), and spearmint (Mentha spicata) that ranged in size from ≈200 to 11,000 seeds per gram. The diameter of the hole that was suitable for discharging the seed from the vial was always larger than the average seed length, and the ratio of hole diameter to seed length ranged from 1.07 to 1.62. Seeding rate uniformity evaluations were conducted for these species using vials with one vs. two holes and showed that the seeding rate was higher by an average of 58% to 173% from a vial with two holes compared with one hole. For most plant species evaluated, the SH seeder was able to dispense as few as one to three seeds consistently. Seed discharge increased somewhat with increasing SH weight for all species evaluated. The SH seeder can be useful for interplanting sweet alyssum as an insectary plant for aphid (Aphidoidea) control between existing plants of organic lettuce (Lactuca sativa), and for intercropping cultivars of purslane as a novel vegetable in between transplanted organic broccoli (Brassica oleracea Italica group) plants. This novel seeding tool has many potential uses for direct, hand seeding in vegetable and herb production systems and in weed research trials. The seeder could be automated and made with a variety of alternative materials.

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Four experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions in Oklahoma. Pelleted ‘Genovese’ basil (Ocimum basilicum) seeds were sown in polystyrene flats with six different blends of a peat-lite mix (PL0) and yard waste compost [YWC (this batch designated C0)] in 2012 for the first two experiments. The proportions by volume of PL0:C0 included 100%:0%, 80%:20%, 60%:40%, 40%:60%, 20%:80%, and 0%:100%. Seedling establishment was unaffected consistently, but there was a distinct decline in seedling height and dry weight between 100% PL0 and 80% PL0:20% C0, followed by smaller decreases as the percentage of compost increased in the blends. A third experiment was conducted in 2013 with a different batch of peat-lite (PL1) after the compost had aged 17 months (now designated C1). Treatments were 100% PL1, 80% PL1:20% C1, and 80% PL1:20% C1 mixed with sulfur (S) at 1, 2, or 3 lb/yard3 of blend to acidify the media. The 100% PL1 treatment delayed seedling emergence and suppressed height and dry weight relative to seedlings grown in 80% PL1:20% C1 blends. The PL1 subsequently was found to have been produced in 2010, and the wetting agent had apparently degraded. The aged 2012 compost (C1) was not inhibitory to basil seedling growth when blended at 20% with the PL1, and in fact restored utility to the PL1. The carbon:nitrogen ratio of the original 2012 compost (C0) was 10.8:1, suggesting stability. It appeared that the main reason the C0 compost was inhibitory was that mineralization was slow or immobilization occurred, causing a lack of plant-available nitrogen, especially nitrate. Treatments with S lowered pH of the media, but there were no differences in basil seedling growth between the unamended 80% PL1:20% C1 blend and blends with added S. A fourth experiment compared three peat-lite media: PL1; a batch of the same medium as PL1 that was produced in 2013 (PL2); and a different medium also produced in 2013 (PL3). Peat-lite media were either used unblended, or blended with 20% C1 or 20% C2 (a fresh batch of YWC obtained from the same facility that had produced the original C0). The unamended PL1 was again inhibitory to basil seedling establishment and development. The two “fresh” peat-lite media (PL2 and PL3) were not inhibitory and were similar to each other in performance. A blend of 80% PL2 or 80% PL3 with 20% compost produced similar (C2) or somewhat better (C1) results than were obtained with the unamended peat. We conclude that a blend of 80% peat-lite medium and 20% YWC can be used to produce basil transplants. However, producers must consider the quality of the peat-lite medium and the compost based on the age and composition of the components.

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