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Juan C. Rodriguez, Nicole L. Shaw and Daniel J. Cantliffe

optimum plant populations for soilless greenhouse crops is essential ( Logendra et al., 2001 ). Protected agricultural systems, such as passively ventilated greenhouses, could benefit vegetable growers in Florida ( Cantliffe et al., 2001 ). Crops should be

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Mary A. Rogers and Annette L. Wszelaki

high tunnel system, where economic return can be higher compared with field-grown crops ( Orzolek et al., 2002 ). In addition to earlier harvests, protected agriculture systems, like high tunnels, can increase fruit quality by reducing wind damage and

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Sharon J.B. Knewtson, Edward E. Carey and M.B. Kirkham

overwintered in a high tunnel began 5 weeks before field harvest ( Kadir et al., 2006 ). Protected agriculture in plastic film structures began in the 1950s ( Enoch and Enoch, 1999 ). Vegetable, flower, and small fruit producers use high tunnels. In Asia and

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Fumiomi Takeda and Penelope Perkins-Veazie

Protected agriculture in plastic film structures started after World War II with the advent of polyethylene sheets. In 1999, greenhouse and high tunnel production was reported to be 800,000 ha worldwide ( Lamont, 2005 ). China, Japan, and the

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Nicole L. Shaw, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Julio Funes and Cecil Shine III

Beit Alpha cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is an exciting new greenhouse crop for production in the southeastern U.S. and Florida. Beit Alpha cucumbers are short, seedless fruit with dark-green skin and an excellent sweet flavor. Beit Alpha-types are the leading cucumber types in the Middle Eastern market and have gained recent popularity in Europe. Beit Alpha cucumbers grown hydroponically under a protected structure have prolific fruit set, yielding more than 60 high-quality fruit per plant during one season. U.S. hydroponic vegetable production is generally associated with structure and irrigation investments which are costly as well as other inputs, such as the media, which must be replaced annually or with each crop. Beit Alpha cucumber `Alexander' was grown in Spring 2001 and 2002 in a passive-ventilated high-roof greenhouse in Gainesville, Fla. Three media types, coarse-grade perlite, medium-grade perlite, and pine bark, were compared for efficiency of growing cucumbers (production and potential costs). During both seasons, fruit yield was the same among media treatments [average of 6 kg (13.2 lb) per plant]. Irrigation requirements were the same for each type of media; however, leachate volume was sometimes greater from pots with pine bark compared to either grade of perlite suggesting a reduced need for irrigation volume when using pine bark. Pine bark is five times less expensive than perlite and was a suitable replacement for perlite in a hydroponic Beit Alpha cucumber production system.

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Horacio E. Alvarado-Raya, Rebecca L. Darnell and Jeffrey G. Williamson

Low yields have been observed in annual production systems in raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) compared with annual yields in perennial systems. This yield reduction could be related to a depletion of root carbohydrates and its consequent detrimental effect on fruit number or size. Additionally, primocanes could play an important role in the carbohydrate dynamics in an annual system and may also affect yield. Two experiments were carried out in 2003 and 2004 to determine the importance of root carbohydrates and primocanes in fruiting and yield components of ‘Tulameen’ red raspberry in an annual production system. In the 2003 experiment, girdled floricanes were compared with nongirdled controls. Girdling before bloom decreased fruits per cane and consequently yield per cane compared with controls, whereas girdling at the end of bloom had no effect. Root dry weight accumulation at the end of the fruiting season was significantly less in both early and late girdled compared with nongirdled plants. In 2004, floricanes were completely girdled or nongirdled at midflowering. Additionally, three primocanes were permitted to grow in one-half of the nongirdled and girdled plants, whereas primocanes were completely removed from the other half. Girdling and removal of all primocanes resulted in 100% plant mortality. In the presence of primocanes, floricane girdling had no effect on yield compared with the nongirdled treatments. There was a reduction in root dry weight in the nongirdled + primocane removal treatment compared with the treatments in which three primocanes were present. In the presence of primocanes, however, root dry weights were similar in both girdled and nongirdled plants. These results suggest that root carbohydrates are important in determining fruit number and yield in the annual system, and reductions in root carbohydrate during early flowering results in decreased yield. However, roots appear to quickly convert from source to sink status, and as the season progresses, both floricanes and primocanes act as sources to replenish root carbohydrate reserves. Carbohydrate dynamics appear to be similar between the annual production system and the traditional perennial system; however, because the annual system begins with limited carbohydrate reserves resulting from root pruning that occurs during removal from the nursery, yields are lower than those seen in perennial systems.

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Nicole L. Shaw and Daniel J. Cantliffe

Mini or “baby” vegetables have become increasingly popular items for restaurant chefs and retail sales. Squash (Cucurbita pepo) are generally open-field cultivated where climate, insect, and disease pressures create challenging conditions for growers and shippers who produce and market this delicate, immature fruit. In order to overcome these challenges, in Spring 2003 and 2004, 18 squash cultivars, including zucchini, yellow-summer, patty pan/scallop, and cousa types, were grown hydroponically in a passively ventilated greenhouse and compared for yield of “baby”-size fruit. Squash were graded as “baby” when they were less than 4 inches in length for zucchini, yellow-summer, and cousa types and less than 1.5 inches diameter for round and patty pan/scallop types. In both seasons, `Sunburst' (patty pan) produced the greatest number of baby-size fruit per plant, while `Bareket' (green zucchini) produced the least. The zucchini-types produced between 16 and 25 baby-size fruit per plant in 2003. The yellow summer squash-types produced on average 45 baby fruit per plant. The production of the patty pan/scallop types ranged from 50 to 67 baby-size fruit per plant depending on cultivar. The cousa types produced approximately 30 baby-size fruit. Total yields were lower in 2004 due to a shortened season. Squash plants will produce numerous high quality baby-sized fruit when grown hydroponically in a reduced pesticide environment of a greenhouse where they can be harvested, packaged, and distributed to buyers daily. The cultivars Hurricane, Raven, Gold Rush, Goldy, Sunray, Seneca Supreme, Supersett, Butter Scallop, Sunburst, Patty Green Tint, Starship, Magda, and HA-187 could be used for hydroponic baby squash production.

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Rhuanito S. Ferrarezi, Alan L. Wright, Brian J. Boman, Arnold W. Schumann, Fred G. Gmitter and Jude W. Grosser

Completely enclosed screen houses can physically exclude contact between the asian citrus psyllid [ACP (Diaphorina citri)] and young, healthy citrus (Citrus sp.) trees and prevent huanglongbing (HLB) disease development. The current study investigated the use of antipsyllid screen houses on plant growth and physiological parameters of young ‘Ray Ruby’ grapefruit (Citrus ×paradisi) trees. We tested two coverings [enclosed screen house and open-air (control)] and two planting systems (in-ground and container-grown), with four replications arranged in a split-plot experimental design. Trees grown inside screen houses developed larger canopy surface area, canopy surface area water use efficiency (CWUE), leaf area index (LAI) and LAI water use efficiency (LAIWUE) relative to trees grown in open-air plots (P < 0.01). Leaf water transpiration increased and leaf vapor pressure deficit (VPD) decreased in trees grown inside screen houses compared with trees grown in the open-air plots. CWUE was negatively related to leaf VPD (P < 0.01). Monthly leaf nitrogen concentration was consistently greater in container-grown trees in the open-air compared with trees grown in-ground and inside the screen houses. However, trees grown in-ground and inside the screen houses did not experience any severe leaf N deficiencies and were the largest trees, presenting the highest canopy surface area and LAI at the end of the study. The screen houses described here provided a better growing environment for in-ground grapefruit because the protective structures accelerated young tree growth compared with open-air plantings while protecting trees from HLB infection.

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Rhuanito S. Ferrarezi, Alan L. Wright, Brian J. Boman, Arnold W. Schumann, Fred G. Gmitter and Jude W. Grosser

Huanglongbing (HLB) disease is a threat to most citrus (Citrus sp.) producing areas and is associated with the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The disease is transmitted by the vector asian citrus psyllid [ACP (Diaphoria citri)]. Antipsyllid screen houses can potentially reduce and eliminate HLB development in young citrus plantings by excluding the insect vector. These structures are also anticipated to represent a new environmental platform to cultivate high-valued fresh citrus. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of screen houses on excluding infective ACP from inoculating grapefruit (Citrus ×paradisi) trees and determine changes on environmental conditions caused by the screen cloth. We tested two coverings [enclosed screen house and open-air (control)] and two planting systems (in-ground and container-grown), with four replications arranged in a split-plot experimental design. Psyllid counting and HLB diagnosis were performed monthly, and the antipsyllid screen excluded the HLB vector from the houses. ACP and HLB-positive trees were found only at the open-air plots. Weather monitoring was performed every 30 minutes from 22 Feb. to 31 July 2014. Solar radiation accumulation averaged 6.7 W·m−2·minute−1 inside the screen houses and 8.6 W·m−2·minute−1 in the open-air. Air temperature was greater inside the screen houses whereas wind gusts were higher in the open-air. Reference evapotranspiration accumulation averaged 3.2 mm·day−1 inside the screen houses and 4.2 mm·day−1 in the open-air. There was no difference in cumulative rainfall between screen houses and open-air. The antipsyllid screen houses reduced solar radiation, maximum wind gust, and reference evapotranspiration (ETo). The environmental conditions inside the protective screen houses are suitable for grapefruit production.

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Bielinski M. Santos and Teresa P. Salame-Donoso

A study was conducted over two southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum × Vaccinium darrowi) seasons in a grower field in Florida. The objective was to compare the early fruit weight of southern highbush blueberry cultivars in high tunnels and in open fields. Four treatments were tested using combinations of two southern highbush blueberry cultivars (Snow Chaser and Springhigh) and two production systems (open fields and 18-ft-high tunnels). The results indicated that there was a significant effect of the production systems on the number of days with air temperatures at or near freezing (≤34 °F), and maximum and minimum air temperatures. The minimum air temperature in open-field plots reached ≈19 and 21 °F (61 freezing or near-freezing events) in the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons, respectively, whereas the minimum air temperatures inside the high tunnels were ≈32 and 33 °F, respectively, during the same seasons (only 3 days at ≤34 °F). This indicated that using high tunnels was an effective means to avoid freezing air temperatures in blueberries. In the first season, the cumulative early fruit weight was the highest in plots planted with ‘Snow Chaser’ inside the high tunnels (≈10 tons/acre), while the combined production of the two cultivars in the open fields did not reach 1 ton/acre until the end of the early harvests. The following year, there were no differences in the cumulative early fruit weight of both cultivars when planted in the open fields (2.2 tons/acre) and the cumulative fruit yields of ‘Springhigh’ and ‘Snow Chaser’ growing inside the high tunnels was twice and four times higher, respectively, than the early fruit production obtained in the open fields. These data showed the profound effect of high tunnels on flower protection and fruit set. High tunnels reduced water use for freeze protection. The total volume used in the open fields during the freezing or near-freezing days was ≈2.5 acre-inch/acre per 8 hours of freeze protection, whereas only 1/10 of that volume was applied inside the structures.