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Seed production in the family Cucurbitaceae is more complicated than in dry-seeded grain crops because seeds mature within a moist fruit and are often held at high moisture content for several weeks before seed harvest. Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.), a member of this family, was used as a model system to contrast seed development with crops that are dry at maturity. A detailed time course for `Top Mark' fruit and seed development is presented based on previous studies. In muskmelon fruit, precocious germination is inhibited osmotically by the low water potential of the surrounding fruit tissue. Muskmelon seeds exhibit primary dormancy that affects viability very early in development but has a greater effect on seed vigor and is removed by afterripening during dry storage. Osmotically distended or fish-mouth seeds are dead seeds that occur in cucurbit seed lots after aging kills the embryo without disrupting the semipermeable endosperm that completely surrounds and protects the embryo. Cucurbit seed crops should be harvested before the onset of fruit senescence to prevent aging of the seeds inside. Open-pollinated cucurbit seed crops are frequently once-over mechanically harvested. Mechanical harvesting combines seeds from many stages of development into a single seed lot, which may adversely affect quality and increase seed to seed variability. Hand harvesting cucurbit fruit at the optimal stage of development could improve seed quality in some instances but is more costly and time consuming and would increase production costs.

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., 2010 ). In cucurbit crops, certain rootstocks can improve growth and yield at suboptimal soil temperatures ( Ahn et al., 1999 ; Zhou et al., 2007 ), reduced irrigation ( Rouphael et al., 2008 ), and salinity ( Colla et al., 2006 ; Huang et al., 2010

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The methyl bromide phase-out was completed in 2005, and its availability is currently based on critical use exemptions. For production of many vegetables, especially cucurbit crops, methyl bromide alternatives are not available, and growers continue

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standard method of production for many vegetable crops. Spunbonded polyethylene rowcover installed immediately after planting can suppress some key pest problems of cucurbits. For example, season-long suppression of bacterial wilt on MM, which is vectored

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indicated a potential benefit for watermelon production. An up-to-date list of cucurbit rootstock options for growers is available online ( Kleinhenz, 2015 ). Table 1. Comprehensive list of rootstock, scion, and pollinizer cultivars used in replicated field

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Selecting production areas for low disease pressure, implementation of preventive spray programs, and continuous monitoring for disease symptoms are important steps to keep seed production fields free of potentially seedborne diseases, such as bacterial fruit blotch of cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae), caused by Acidovorax avenae ssp. citrulli. However, seeds of cucurbit crops and other fleshy vegetables typically remain remarkably free of pathogenic bacteria and fungi while in intact fruit. The most significant risk for seed contamination comes at harvest when the inoculum present in the field or in the seed harvesting area may contaminate the seeds. Properly executed fermentation and seed drying processes significantly reduce seed contamination. Application of a no-rinse disinfectant formulation to freshly harvested seed just before drying may be the single most efficacious procedure to reduce the seed contamination risk. However, the disinfection step should not be expected to be effective unless applied as part of a fully controlled seed harvest process.

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Alabama, where the growing seasons of cucurbit vegetables [e.g., yellow squash and zucchini ( Cucurbita pepo ), cucumber ( Cucumis sativus )] and agronomic crops [e.g., cotton ( Gossypium hirsutum )] overlap during the year, allowing for the insect to

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Current cucurbit production systems in the United States often rely on tillage and plastic film mulches to create favorable growing conditions of warm soils and minimal weed pressure around plants; however, there are environmental concerns about the

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, cucurbit PM is generally considered one of the most important diseases of cucurbits ( Zitter et al., 1996 ) and poses a serious constraint to the production of pumpkins in Kentucky. Cucurbit PM can affect leaves, petioles, and stems with tissue turning

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Yellow and zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) cultigens (breeding lines and cultivars) were evaluated over a 2-year (1995 and 1996) period in North Carolina. Yellow squash cultigens that performed well (based on total marketable yields) were `Destiny III', `Freedom III', `Multipik', XPHT 1815, and `Liberator III' in Fall 1995 and HMX 4716, `Superpik', PSX 391, `Monet', `Dixie', XPH 1780, and `Picasso' in Spring 1996. Some of the yellow squash cultigens evaluated had superior viral resistance: XPHT 1815, XPHT 1817, `Freedom III', `Destiny III', `Freedom II', TW 941121, `Prelude II', and `Liberator III' in Fall 1995 and XPHT 1815, `Liberator III', `Prelude II', and `Destiny III' in Fall 1996; all these cultigens were transgenic. The yellow squash cultigens that performed well (based on total marketable yields) in the Fall 1995 test had transgenic virus resistance (`Destiny III', `Freedom III', XPHT 1815, and `Liberator III') or had the Py gene present in its genetic background (`Multipik'). Based on total marketable yields, the best zucchini cultigens were XPHT 1800, `Tigress', XPHT 1814, `Dividend' (ZS 19), `Elite', and `Noblesse' in Fall 1995; and `Leonardo', `Tigress', `Hurricane', `Elite', and `Noblesse' in Spring 1996. The zucchini cultigens with virus resistance were TW 940966, XPHT 1814, and XPHT 1800 in Fall 1995 and XPHT 1800, XPHT 1776, XPHT 1777, XPHT 1814, and XPHT 1784 in Fall 1996. Even though TW 940966 had a high level of resistance in the Fall 1995 test, it was not as high yielding as some of the more susceptible lines. Viruses detected in the field were papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) and watermelon mosaic virus (WMV) for Fall 1995; while PRSV, zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV), and WMV were detected for Fall 1996. Summer squash cultigens transgenic for WMV and ZYMV have potential to improve yield, especially during the fall when viruses are more prevalent. Most transgenic cultigens do not possess resistance to PRSV, except XPHT 1815 and XPHT 1817. Papaya ringspot virus was present in the squash tests during the fall of both years. Thus, PRSV resistance must be transferred to the transgenic cultigens before summer squash can be grown during the fall season without the risk of yield loss due to viruses.

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