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Monika Walter, Cath Snelling, Kirsty S.H. Boyd-Wilson, Geoff I. Langford and Graeme Williams

System requirements for organic strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) runner production under cover were determined during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. In the field, yield and fruit quality were assessed for organically produced runners (plug and bare-rooted transplant) in comparison with barerooted conventionally produced runners under organic, BioGro certified production conditions. The preferred organic production system was the enhanced suspended system, where mother plants grew on benches in the tunnel house and the first two runners were potted into growth substrate. This system produced approximately 50 plug transplants/mother plant or 200 plug transplants/m2. The least preferred system was the nursery bed, where mother plants were allowed to produce runners that yielded approximately 100 bare-rooted runners or 100 transplants/m2. Tunnel house production of runners (plug transplants and bare-rooted) allowed earlier planting (March vs. May) compared to field-produced bare-rooted runner plants. The earlier planting date increased yield by approximately 181 g/plant. Under organic production conditions, organically produced runners (plug and bare-rooted transplants) performed at least as well as bare-rooted conventionally produced runners. Our results show that indoor production of organic strawberry runners is possible. We also showed that organically produced runners (bare-rooted and plug transplants) perform similarly in the field compared to bare-rooted conventionally produced runners. Generally, there were no differences in yield or fruit quality among runner sources.

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Edward F. Durner, E. Barclay Poling and John L. Maas

Plugs are rapidly replacing fresh-dug bare-root and cold-stored frigo plants as transplants for strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) production worldwide. Plugs have many advantages over these other types of propagules. They are grown in controlled environments (greenhouses, tunnels) in less time than field produced bare-root transplants, and are not exposed to soilborne pathogens. Plugs afford greater grower control of transplanting dates, provide mechanical transplanting opportunities and allow improved water management for transplant establishment relative to fresh bare-root plants. New uses for plugs have been identified in recent years; for example, photoperiod and temperature conditioned plugs flower and fruit earlier than traditional transplants and plugs have been used for programmed greenhouse production. Tray plants have superior cold storage characteristics relative to bare-root, waiting-bed transplants. Both fresh and frozen plugs are used in a number of indoor and outdoor growing conditions and cultural systems.

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Charles W. Marr and Mark Jirak

Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Jet Star) seedlings grown in small cells (plugs) in trays holding 200, 406, or 648 plants per flat (28 × 55 cm) were larger after 6 weeks as cell size increased, but all were acceptable. Other seedlings, transplanted at weekly intervals from plug trays to plastic cell packs (48 cells per 28 × 55-cm flat), were of similar size during weeks 1-3; seedlings from 648-plug trays were smaller than the others by week 5-6. Seedlings from 200-plug trays planted at weekly intervals into containers where plant-plant competition was absent were larger through 6 weeks than those from 406- and 648-plug trays. Early marketable and total yields were similar for plants held in 406-plug trays 1 to 4 weeks before their transfer to 48-cell flats, but yield decreased for those held 5 to 7 weeks.

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Joyce G. Latimer

Seeds of marigold (Tagetes erects L. `Janie') were sown in flats of three cell sizes (inverted pyramids, Todd 080A, 100A, or 175; volume 7, 24, or 44 cm3, respectively) or in flats of different root cell configurations [Todd 100A, Grow-Tech (GT) 200, or Growing Systems (GS) 135; shaped as inverted pyramid, cylinder, or cylinder with a bottom lip, respectively]. During 2 consecutive years, plants grown in Todd 080A trays had 60% less leaf area and shoot and root dry weights than plants grown in Todd 175 trays. Plants grown in Todd 100A trays had 30% less leaf area and shoot and root dry weights than plants grown in the larger volume tray. Stem length was less affected by container size. The rate of shoot dry weight gain during the 3 weeks after transplanting in the field was greater in plants from the smaller containers (Todd 080A and Todd 100A) in 1987. Final height (7 weeks after planting) of plants from Todd 080A or Todd 100A flats was 12% and 7% less, respectively, than those of plants grown in Todd 175 flats, while final plant quality was reduced 34% and 21%, respectively, in plants from these flats in 1987. Similar, but smaller, effects were recorded in 1988. Container type had little effect on plant growth in the greenhouse and no effect on growth in the landscape. The maximum quality rating in the landscape, awarded to plants from Todd 100A flats, was 12% greater than that of plants from GT 200 flats in 1987 and 5% and 9% greater than plants from GT 200 and GS 135 flats, respectively, in 1988. Final plant performance of marigold seedlings was reduced more by root restriction or transplant size than previously reported with vegetable species.

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Michael R. Evans, Andrew K. Koeser, Guihong Bi, Susmitha Nambuthiri, Robert Geneve, Sarah Taylor Lovell and J. Ryan Stewart

control container ( Table 2 ). When grown without or with shuttle trays, plants grown in bioplastic, rice hull containers, and the sleeve required similar amounts of water to reach anthesis as those grown in the plastic control. Placing the biocontainers

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Lyn A. Gettys and Kimberly A. Moore

× nutrient × irrigation) were replicated four times for each species. Four flood trays were constructed for each species and one replication of each treatment combination was maintained in each flood tray. Plants were grown in an open-sided greenhouse exposed

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Andrew Koeser, Sarah T. Lovell, Michael Evans and J. Ryan Stewart

until root growth is sufficient to maintain stability. To account for this, individual pocket bottoms were cut out from a shuttle/carry tray with a 1-cm lip and placed between the containers and the drain tray. Plants were grown under supplemental light

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Jiwei Ruan, Guoxian Wang, Gongwei Ning, Chunmei Yang, Fan Li, Linmeng Tian and Lifang Wu

nutrient conditioning. Each individual tray plant received 50-mL nutrition solutions on a thrice-weekly basis from 10 July to 26 Aug. There were two nutrition solutions ( Table 1 ). In solution A, 30 g compound fertilizer, ‘SoluFeed’, was dissolved in 100 L

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Gioia Massa, Thomas Graham, Tim Haire, Cedric Flemming II, Gerard Newsham and Raymond Wheeler

three trays in each PPF treatment zone for a total of six trays in the chamber. Each crop type was represented in each tray. Plants within a single tray were systematically rotated through the tray every 2 d to reduce position effects in the chamber

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Mindy L. Bumgarner, K. Francis Salifu and Douglass F. Jacobs

media as subplot factors. Forty seedlings were grown in each media × fertilizer treatment combination and each irrigation treatment was replicated three times (three separate subirrigation trays). Plants were watered based on container weights as