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Fred B. Phillips, James W. Rushing* and Brenda J. Vander Mey

The Charleston Area Children's Garden Project is a community-sponsored initiative affiliated with the Clemson Univ. Coastal Research and Education Center and the Landscapes for Learning Program. The Project transforms vacant lots and other unused spaces into neighborhood outdoor learning centers. Garden activities are free and open to all. The children plan, plant, and tend the garden under the supervision and guidance of adult Garden Leaders. Whatever is grown, the children take home. A “sidewalk learning session” is held in the garden each week. At these sessions, the garden manager, parents, neighbors, or visitors teach the youngsters about garden-related topics from insects to siphons, from origami to pickling, and a multitude of other topics designed to stimulate learning and child participation. The Project is designed to give children a hands-on learning experience outside the classroom setting, to make neighborhoods more attractive, and to build a sense of community. The Project is totally funded by grant monies and has grown from one garden in 2000 to ten gardens in 2004. Gardens are planted with the involvement of neighborhood associations, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Homeless Shelter, and in conjunction with after-school programs. The Project makes use of such resources as The Growing Classroom and the Junior Master Gardener Teaching Guide. An array of program materials has been developed that are designed for use in the coastal communities of South Carolina.

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Valdomiro A.B. de Souza, David H. Byrne and Jeremy F. Taylor

Heritability estimates are useful to predict genetic progress among offspring when the parents are selected on their performance, but they also provide information about major changes in the amount and nature of genetic variability through generations. Genetic and phenotypic correlations, on the other hand, are useful for better planning of selection programs. In this research, seedlings of 39 families resulting from crosses among 27 peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] cultivars and selections were evaluated for date of full bloom (DFB), date of ripening (DR), fruit period development (FDP), flower density (FD), node density (ND), fruit density (FRD), fruit weight (WT), soluble solids content (SS), apical protuberance (TIP), red skin color (BLUSH), and shape (SH) in 1993 and 1994. The data were analyzed using the mixed linear model. The best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) was used to estimate fixed effects and predict breeding values (BV). Restricted maximum likelihood (REML) was used to estimate variance components, and a multiple-trait model to estimate genetic and phenotypic covariances between traits. The data indicates high heritability for DFB, DR, FDP, and BLUSH, intermediate heritability for WT, TIP, and SH, and low heritability for FD, ND, FRD, and SS. They also indicate year effect as a major environmental component affecting seedling performance. High correlation estimates were found between some traits, but further analysis is needed to determine their significance.

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Jules Janick, James E. Simon, Anna Whipkey and Ben Alkire

NewCROP (New Crops Resource On-line Program) is an Internet resource (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop) developed by the Indiana Center for New Crops and Plant Products to deliver instant topical information on the subject of fiber, energy, and specialty crops. NewCROP includes CropSEARCH (an index to food and feed crops of the world, including taxonomic information, uses, and economic importance), FactSHEETS (in-depth articles on selected crops), NewCROP Import–Export (importation permits, phytosanitation certificates, quarantine and inspection information), Organizations (listings of crop organizations, societies, and interest groups), FamineFOODS (includes about 1250 species that are consumed in times of food scarcity), and FarmMARKET (listing locations of United States farmers' markets). The web site also includes new crop bibliographies, directories of new crop researchers, announcements of pertinent up-coming symposia and crop conventions, the New Crop Center newsletters, and activities of the Indiana Center for New Crops. A search engine is provided for quick information retrieval from the system. An electronic bulletin board, NewCROP LISTSERV is maintained for posting queries and messages to subscribers. We are planning to incorporate material from three books (>1930 pages and 6000 index entries) derived from New Crops symposia and published as Advances in New Crops (1990), New Crops (1993), and Progress in New Crops (1996). The NewCROP digital information program is interlinked with FAO's EcoCROP system and the Australian New Crops Programme, as part of a developing world-wide crop information network.

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Hector Eduardo Pérez and Kent D. Kobayashi

Graduate students within the Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa developed a program that addressed their concerns regarding career enhancement and planned a Professional Development Seminar Series. Students identified topics related to enhancing their overall graduate experience and professional development, such as ethics in research, leadership in graduate school and beyond, interviewing skills, and writing critically for publications. Experts from the University of Hawaii and business communities presented 35- to 40-minute seminars on the various topics. Expectations of the students included participation in discussion sessions and completion of a critical thinking exercise after each presentation. Course evaluations revealed that the new seminar series was considered to be as effective as established courses within the department. On a scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree, students learned to value new viewpoints [4.2 ± 0.8 (mean ± SD)], related what they learned in class to their own experiences (4.5 ± 0.8), and felt the course was a valuable contribution to their education (4.4 ± 0.9). Students suggested offering the course during fall semesters to incoming students, reinforcing of the critical thinking exercise, and making the course mandatory for first-year graduate students.

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Harry W. Janes and Richard J. McAvoy

In this paper we review our research of light effects on tomato production. It was demonstrated that, during the production of greenhouse tomatoes, the total fruit yield, as well as time of harvest, was related to light. The date of harvest was inversely correlated with the amount of light the crop received during the seedling phase of growth, while fruit weight was positively correlated with light during the production phase. Additionally, we present information that shows that light was most effective in promoting fruit development between 15 and 45 days after flowering. Some of these relationships were quantified and used to develop a predictive model to help a grower plan a tomato crop to meet market demand. The concept of the Single-cluster Tomato Production System was developed, and the rewards of using our understanding of plant-environment interactions to control plant growth and, therefore maxim&profits were shown. Furthermore, the need to create a more dynamic model and the methods for doing so were discussed.

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Robert J. Joly and W.R. Woodson

Publication number 16,184 of the Purdue University Office of Agricultural Research Programs. Instructional laboratory development was supported by National Science Foundation DUE-9451170 to RJJ and WRW. The cost of publishing this paper

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James Leary and Joe DeFrank

An important aspect of organic farming is to minimize the detrimental impact of human intervention to the surrounding environment by adopting a natural protocol in system management. Traditionally, organic farming has focused on the elimination of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and a reliance on biological cycles that contribute to improving soil health in terms of fertility and pest management. Organic production systems are ecologically and economically sustainable when practices designed to build soil organic matter, fertility, and structure also mitigate soil erosion and nutrient runoff. We found no research conducted under traditional organic farming conditions, comparing bareground monoculture systems to systems incorporating the use of living mulches. We will be focusing on living mulch studies conducted under conventional methodology that can be extrapolated to beneficial uses in an organic system. This article discusses how organic farmers can use living mulches to reduce erosion, runoff, and leaching and also demonstrate the potential of living mulch systems as comprehensive integrated pest management plans that allow for an overall reduction in pesticide applications. The pesticide reducing potential of the living mulch system is examined to gain insight on application within organic agriculture.

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Deborah M. Shuping and Jeffrey D. Zahner

Water conservation is making journal headlines nationwide because of drought, contamination, pollution, and over development. While the idea of xeriscaping began in the Western United States where landscapes can be truly dry, many water-saving principles apply to the Southeast, where home moisture problems and pest problems associated with moisture are a major problem. A year of drought maybe followed by three years of plentiful rainfall, and conditions are significantly different from the semi-arid regions of the country to which most of the present literature on water conservation is directed.

The purpose of this project was to provide information on water conservation to designers, landscape industry personnel, and homeowners in the Southeast. This was done by compiling recommendations based on research being conducted by professionals in building science, forestry, horticulture, entomology and landscape architecture.

An educational tool addressing the pressing national problem of water conservation with a regional emphasis, this project was designed to help readers increase landscape water efficiency by 30 to 50% while lowering maintenance costs and insuring greater survivability of landscape plants in times of water shortage. Through careful planning and design, economically attractive and aesthetically sound water conserving landscapes can be created.

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K.C. Ting

Availability and capability of labor have become dominating factors affecting agriculture's productivity and sustainability. Agricultural mechanization can substitute for human and animal physical power and improve operational uniformity. Automation complements mechanization by implementing the capabilities of automatic perception, reasoning, communication, and task planning. Fixed automation is traditionally cost-effective for mass production of standard items. In addition, flexible automation responds to make-to-order batch processing. The appropriateness of each automation type depends on the situation at hand. Because of their vast memory and high calculation speed, computers are highly effective for rapid information processing. Incorporating state-of-the-art hardware and software, computers can generate status reports, provide decision support, gather sensor signals, and/or instruct machines to perform physical work. It is no surprise, therefore, that computerization is essential to the evolutionary process, from mechanization through fixed automation to flexible automation. Fundamentals of agricultural mechanization, automation, and computerization applied to greenhouse production are discussed. Recent research activities conducted at Rutgers Univ. are presented for illustrative purposes.

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Anne M. Hanchek

Why do people visit the grounds of a botanical garden or arboretum? What draws them to that “experience of nature”? What can we do as horticulturists, landscape architects, and educators to make garden areas more appealing and fulfilling to visitors? The Prairie Interpretive Committee of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum asked these questions in 1991 as it convened to analyze the current and future status of the Arboretum's Bennett/Johnson Prairie. To understand visitor usage and needs, Arboretum members were surveyed about frequency of visits, reasons for visiting, specific visitor services, and suggestions for improvements. Among the 151 responses, the major reasons for visiting were the pleasures of walking, observing, and being at peace. “Open”, “wild,” and “natural” were common key words. There was keen interest in native plants and their historical role as well. Sitting areas, maps, path markers, plant labels, and self-guided tours were the primary requests for improvement. A high percentage found the demonstration area interesting and useful. The Interpretive Committee used this research to guide the landscape architect, create a brochure, and develop an integrative master plan for the prairie area.