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Corn gluten meal (CGM) has been identified as a potential organic preemergence and preplant-incorporated herbicide. It is an environmentally friendly material that has demonstrated ability to decrease seedling development and plant survival by inhibiting root and shoot development. Unfortunately, CGM can also decrease the development and plant survival of direct-seeded vegetable crops. As a result, the use of CGM is not recommended in conjunction with direct-seeded vegetables. The development of equipment to apply CGM in banded configurations has created an opportunity to investigate whether banded CGM applications will provide significant crop safety for direct-seeded vegetables. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of banded CGM applications on squash plant survival and yields. A factorial field study was conducted during the summer of 2004 on 81-cm-wide raised beds at Lane, Okla., with two application configurations (banded and solid), two CGM formulations (powdered and granulated), two incorporation treatments (incorporated and non-incorporated), and three application rates (250, 500, and 750 g·m–2). The two CGM formulations at three application rates were uniformly applied in both banded and solid patterns on 18 Aug. The banded application created a 7.6-cm-wide CGM-free planting zone in the middle of the raised bed. The CGM applications were then either incorporated into the top 2.5 to 5.0 cm of the soil surface with a rolling cultivator or left undisturbed on the soil surface. `Lemondrop' summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) was then direct-seeded into the center of the raised beds. When averaged across the other factors, there was not a significant difference between powdered and granulated CGM formulations or incorporating and non-incorporating the CGM for either squash plant survival or yields. CGM application rates made a significant difference for both squash survival and yields, when averaged across all other factors. As the CGM application rate increased, the plant survival and yields decreased. When averaged across all other factors, the banded application resulted in significantly greater crop safety (59% plant survival) and yields (228 cartons/ha) than the solid applications (25% plant survival and 118 cartons/ha). The research demonstrated the potential usefulness of CGM in direct-seeded squash production, if used in a banded application configuration. Additional research should further investigate the interaction of CGM application rates and the width of the CGM-free zone on crop safety for various vegetables.

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Cucurbita maxima Duch. is one of the most morphologically variable cultivated species. The Center for Conservation and Breeding of the Agricultural Diversity (COMAV) holds a diverse germplasm collection of the Cucurbita genus, with more than 300 landraces of this species. Morphological and molecular characterization are needed to facilitate farmer and breeder use of this collection. With this aim, the morphological variation of a collection of 120 C. maxima accessions was evaluated. The majority of these accessions originated from Spain, which has acted as a bridge since the 16th century for spreading squash morphotypes between the Americas and Europe. South American landraces (the center of origin of this species) were also included. Eight morphological types were established based on this characterization and previous intraspecific classifications. A subset of these accessions, selected from these classification and passport data, was employed for molecular characterization. Two marker types were used; sequence related amplified polymorphism (SRAP), which preferentially amplifies open reading frames (ORF), and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). In the main, SRAP marker analysis grouped accessions in accordance to their type of use (agronomic traits) and AFLP marker analysis grouped accessions as to their geographical origin. AFLP marker analysis detected a greater genetic variability among American than among Spanish accessions. This is likely due to a genetic bottleneck that may have occurred during the introduction of squash into Europe. The disparity of the results obtained with the two markers may be related to the different genome coverage which is characteristic of each particular marker type and/or to its efficiency in sampling variation in a population.

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Published as Paper No. 12638, Journal Series, Nebraska Agricultural Research Division. Research was conducted under former Project 20-14. The photograph of `Butterbowl' squash (Fig. 1) was provided by the W. Atlee Burpee and Co., 300 Park

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Nitrogen (N) is the most growth-limiting for vegetable production in sandy soils. In Florida, current recommendations for preplanting N applications (100 lb/acre of N) in `Crookneck' summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) differ from those used by the growers (>200 lb/acre). Therefore, two field studies were conducted in Ruskin and Balm, Fla., to examine the effect of 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, and 300 lb/acre of N on summer squash growth and yield. Variables collected during this study were plant vigor (0–10 scale, where 0 = dead plant) at 3 and 7 weeks after planting (WAP), petiole sap nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) at 4 and 8 WAS, and marketable yield starting on 4 WAS (13 and 10 harvests in Ruskin and Balm, respectively). In Ruskin, plant vigor increased linearly with N rates, whereas there was no significant N effect in Balm. No differences in petiole sap NO3-N were observed in either location. In Ruskin, there was a rapid marketable yield increase (§25%) between 50 and 100 lb/acre of N, followed by no change afterwards. In contrast, there was no yield response in Balm. In the latter location, no crop had been established in the previous 3 years, enabling the soil to maximize its organic N accumulation (>40 lb/acre organic-N), whereas in Ruskin the experimental location had been continuously planted during the last three seasons (§25 lb/acre organic-N). The data demonstrated that organic N is an important source of the nutrient to complement preplant applications in summer squash.

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Commercial organic vegetable production requires using soil improvement practices and effective weed control measures. Rye (Secale cereale) cover crops are known to suppress annual weeds. Research was begun in 2004 to measure crop yield, annual weed infestation, and weed control requirements for vegetable planting systems that begin with a rye cover crop. Poultry litter was used to supply nutrients and was applied based on a soil test and commercial vegetable recommendations. Rye `Elbon' was seeded 21 Oct. 2004 on beds with 1.8-m centers. Zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo) `Revenue' was planted the following year using three crop establishment dates, such that transplanting occurred on 6 May, 3 June, and 29 June. Planting system treatments included: conventional tillage (CT), CT and plastic mulch (P), CT with stale seedbed, mow, mow and burn-down, mow and shallow till (ST), ST and burn-down. Following field preparation, squash was transplanted in a single row at the bed center with 0.77-m plant spacing. Drip irrigation was used in all plantings. Emerging weeds were removed by hoeing. Squash was harvested from each planting over approximately 3 weeks and total marketable fruit counts were determined. Marketable yields with P were approximately double those of the CT and ST treatments in the 6 May transplanting. Yields were comparable for CT and ST in the 3 June transplanting, but were significantly lower for the P treatment. There were no significant differences among the treatments that received tillage in the 29 June planting. However, the non-tilled treatments had significantly lower yields compared to tilled treatments.

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Abstract

The names squash and pumpkin are used interchangeably for fruit vegetables that belong to several cultivated species of Cucurbita. The species C. pepo consists of different groups of edible cultivars and a small group of inedible ornamentals known as yellowflowered gourds. In 1939, while leafing through L.H. Bailey's The Garden of Gourds (1937), I was fascinated by the illustrations of some bicolor gourd fruits. It occurred to me that the biocolor fruit pattern (Fig. 1) might be useful experimentally for studies of polarity in bioloy. However, the opportunity to initiate such studies did not come until about 10 years later.

Open Access

Marker-based selection for resistance to zucchini yellow mosaic virus in squash (Cucurbita spp.) would allow breeders to screen individual plants for resistance to multiple viruses. The C. moschata landrace Nigerian Local is widely used as a source of resistance in C. pepo breeding programs. We used RAPDs and bulk-segregant analysis to screen two BC1 populations for a marker linked to the dominant major gene for resistance from Nigerian Local. The initial cross was Waltham Butternut × Nigerian Local; the test populations were created from reciprocal backcrosses to Waltham Butternut. Both populations segregated 1:1 for resistance when hand-inoculated with ZYMV. RAPD primers were screened on a resistant bulk and a susceptible bulk from each population, and Waltham Butternut and Nigerian Local. Primers that gave bands linked to resistance were further screened using DNA from individual plants in each population. The potential markers will be tested on several populations derived from crosses between summer squash (C. pepo) and Nigerian Local to determine if they would be useful for selection in a C. pepo background.

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Research over a two year period assessed the influence of planting date and location on time to flowering and number of flowers produced for five summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) cultivars. Heat units (HU) were calculated using a single equation to determine if this approach could account for a significant portion of the variability in time to onset of flowering over the range of environments. Depending on cultivar and flower sex, the number of days to flowering varied as much as 20 days. There were significant cultivar differences in HU required for the onset of both staminate and pistillate flowers. The use of HU instead of days reduced the variability of time to flowering as indicated by regression analyses and mean absolute differences between predicted and observed days to flowering. The total number of staminate flowers produced was more variable than that of pistillate flowers. The ratio of pistillate-to-staminate flowers was stable for two of the five cultivars; however, pistillate flower production for those two cultivars was severely restricted during hot weather. Thus environment has a considerable influence on both the onset of flowering and the number of flowers produced for summer squash.

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The oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora capsici Leonian affects the cucurbit industry annually, in some cases causing 90% to 100% crop loss ( Babadoost, 2000 ; Meyer and Hausbeck, 2012 ). Michigan is a leading producer of processing squash

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Several spacing, cultivar, ethephon and harvest sequence studies were made on summer squash in 1989 evaluating cultural practices which maximized marketable once-over yield of fruit for processing. Optimum spacing was 30 cm within rows and 45 cm between rows. The zucchini and yellow hybrids producing the highest marketable yield were `Classic' and 'Gold Slice', respectively. Ethephon applied at 0.77 kg/ha resulted in higher yield than no ethephon. Harvesting two times followed by a seven day delay before a once-over, destructive harvest produced a marketable yield equal to three harvests/week for three weeks. A prototype mechanical harvester has been used successfully on yellow hybrids; zucchini hybrids require more force for successful fruit separation.

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