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How to improve seedling trays

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-28 Sat 13:45

The more pellets that are placed in the mould, the denser and stronger the seedling tray. In cheaper trays, there tend to be slightly bigger gaps between the expanded pellets, and fine plant roots can enter these, making it difficult to pull out the plants.

Damping off organisms can also lurk in these small spaces, and the growing plants can become infected and die. One of the Pythium species (fungus-type pathogens) is usually the main culprit, but it’s not the only one.

I have used horse manure compost as a medium for 23 years and have never had damping off problems. This may be because the medium is a rich source of beneficial organisms, which suppress development of pathogens. I also never get powdery mildew on Brassica seedlings.

Once the pathogen has appeared, the trays must be sterilised, or the problem will keep cropping up and possibly cause major losses.

The most effective way of sterilising trays is in a heat chamber. To save cost and effort, some growers wait until damping off starts before using heat sterilising.

Another solution is to use a commercial dip containing copper; this will also reduce the penetration of roots into the fine gaps in the polystyrene.

If you are a small grower, you can use a simple, home-made steriliser such as bleach mixed with water at a 10% solution, or hydrogen peroxide at 3% concentration. Leave the trays suspended in the solution for 20 minutes, then rinse and dry them.

Growers learn to use 'x-factor' far-red in cucumber cultivation

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-27 Fri 09:48

Growers, researchers and lighting suppliers agree, far-red is the 'x-factor', but when this x-factor should be deployed, that is a different story. At the Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt (testing station for vegetable cultivation) in the Belgian town Sint-Katelijne-Waver, they are conducting research…

📄 Health-Promoting Properties of Plant Products: The Role of Mycorrhizal Fungi and Associated Bacteria

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-26 Thu 12:42

The concept of food quality, traditionally based on nutritional and sensory properties, has recently acquired an additional meaning, referring to the health-promoting properties of plant products, that are ascribed to plant secondary metabolites called phytochemicals, primarily represented by polyphenolic compounds and glucosinolates. The diversity and content of phytochemicals in plant products are affected by different variables, such as plant genotype, agronomic factors, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), which establish mycorrhizal symbioses with most crops, including cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruit trees, sunflower, cotton, and sugarcane. AMF and associated bacteria enhance plant growth and health, and affect the production of polyphenols and carotenoids, and the activity of antioxidant enzymes. The production of health-promoting phytochemicals was shown to be differentially modulated by different AMF isolates and bacterial strains, in several food plants, i.e., tomato, lettuce, strawberry, artichoke, maize, grapevine, sunflower. Here, we provide an overview of recent studies concerning the multiple roles played by AMF and associated bacteria in the modulation of the biosynthesis of plant secondary metabolites with health-promoting activity, and discuss the development of designed multifunctional consortia to be used in sustainable agriculture.

📄 Critical Leaf Magnesium Concentrations for Adequate Photosynthate Production of Soilless Cultured Cherry Tomato—Interaction with Potassium

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-26 Thu 12:41

Magnesium (Mg) is essential to many plant physiological and biochemical processes; however, understanding how Mg nutrition quantitatively affects the production, partitioning, and utilization of photoassimilates is still lacking, especially in soilless culture systems. We focused on the roles of Mg in yield formation and interactions with potassium (K) nutrition of cherry tomato. Cherry tomato yield, photosynthetic parameters, dry matter weight, and K, Mg, and calcium (Ca) uptake were investigated in two soilless experiments with seven Mg levels and five K levels. The results showed that low (<1 mM) and high (>4 mM) Mg supply limited cherry tomato yield by decreasing dry matter accumulation by22.6–78.1% and harvest index by 13.9–40.7%. The critical leaf Mg concentrations required for adequate photosynthate production in the first and second harvest periods were 4.67 and 5.52 g·kg−1, respectively. However, over-supply of Mg reduced leaf K and Ca concentrations and limited plant uptake of K and Ca. Moreover, adjusting K concentrations in solution could influence plant Mg functions in photosynthesis and, therefore, cherry tomato growth. Overall, balanced Mg and K application increased Mg, K, and Ca uptake, as well as Mg concentrations in leaves, which could maintain a sustainable photosynthetic rate and plant dry matter formation.

📺 Plant research seals importance of microbes for survival and growth

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-23 Mon 15:27

Scientists have revealed that plants have a ‘sealing’ mechanism supported by microbes in the root that are vital for the intake of nutrients for survival and growth. Plant Scientists from the Future Food Beacon at the University of Nottingham have demonstrated that the mechanism controlling the root…

📅 Plants@Cambridge Virtual Events

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-20 Fri 15:23

Germinating ideas for a healthier, more sustainable future. A series of events for everyone interested in how plant research can tackle global challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation and food security. During 2020 - 2021 we will deliver a series of virtual talks and debates on three...

Cole’s Notes: Getting Started

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-18 Wed 11:52

A Walk with Cole

Hello everyone, my name is Cole B. and I am a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a focus on Environmental Policy in Water Conservation. I come from a small farming community in Northwest Ohio and I am the newest addition to the Nature Fresh Farms facility in Delta, OH. As the Marketing Coordinator in Ohio, I plan to learn and grow everyday just like the Grow-to People here at Nature Fresh Farms. I want to share my past experiences: first, why I have a passion for agriculture, and second, my journey with the Greenhouse Education Center at Nature Fresh Farms.

Free Download: The Guide for Growing Leafy Greens

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-17 Tue 12:16
500Foods shared this story from Hort Americas.

Commercial production of leafy greens is getting more and more competitive every year. Therefore, it is important to seek the best options in order to compete in this market.  Production of leafy greens inside greenhouses and plant factory systems are great options to produce high marketable products. Why? There is one specific reason why customers […]

📺 Measure your slab parameters

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-17 Tue 10:52

Measure your slab parameters in an organized way using a sensor and set target objectives per parameter for the different periods of the crop.  Measuring = Knowing = Thinking = DoingThe root system is the part of the crop which is often a bit under estimated. For a lot of growers the rootzone is a so called ‘blackbox’ in which a…

Do you know the DLI of your geographic region?

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-16 Mon 08:38

Do you know the DLI of your geographic region? Having the right DLI is important for consistent yields and quality. Discover your DLI by checking out this interactive map by Joanne Logan And James Faust…

📺 Carbon Dioxide: It's What Plants Crave (pt 1)

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-13 Fri 18:57

Carbon dioxide is essential for plants to live and grow. Plants are autotrophs, meaning they can generate their own energy to live and grow by using the simple substances around them. People, on the other hand, are heterotrophs; we need to consume external sources of energy (food), like meat and vegetables.  The simple substance plants use to generate energy: Carbon Dioxide.During the photosynthesis process, plants use light energy to break apart the molecular bonds of the CO2 compound, shake it up with some H2O, and wahla! They’ve created hydrocarbons (CH-) and oxygen (O2). The hydrocarbons (aka sugars, carbohydrates) are used as the source of energy for metabolic processes, such as photosynthesis and evapotranspiration, and are the building blocks for cell growth and development. Oxygen is the waste byproduct of photosynthesis, and our symbiotic relationship with plants is rooted. When the environmental conditions are right – plentiful water, balance of nutrients, good weather, and lots of sunshine – plants will maximize stomatal opening in their leaves and gulp up as much CO2 as possible. The more CO2 under these optimal conditions, the more they’ll consume and photosynthesize, and the faster they will grow.

Addressing common climate issues in greenhouses

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-11 Wed 08:44

The ventilation and circulation of air in horticultural greenhouses are of great importance for the growth and well-being of plants. Depending on the situation in and around the greenhouse, various issues can arise in the indoor climate, which can be resolved by, among others, the correct use of fans. In…

A drop in temperatures is enough to halt zucchini production

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-09 Mon 13:29

"The high zucchini prices of the past few days were due to the sudden lack of produce. Night-time temperatures dropped to 7-8°C, halting production," reports Roberto Bortolotti, vegetable sales manager for De Luca - Campitiello at Caab Bologna. Roberto Bortolotti "In the fall, a few nights at a low…

How to Grow Organic Mushrooms? Composting, Casing soil, Pin development, Harvesting and Much More

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-07 Sat 21:49

Cultivation of mushrooms in our country is slowly gaining popularity and in current times is considered as one of the most profitable businesses to do with bare minimum expenses and cultivation space. Processes include Organic compost:, tray filling of compost, buying Organic Spawn, casing soil, pin development, pest and disease control and harvesting.

Biological clock and extra gene pairs control important plant functions

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-06 Fri 11:02

The biological clock of a popular food crop controls close to three-quarters of its genes, according to research from Dartmouth College. The genetic research shows how the crop uses internal responses to the day-night cycle--known as circadian rhythms--to regulate processes such as reproduction,…

📄 Combined Effects of Induced Water Deficit and Foliar Application of Silicon on the Gas Exchange of Tomatoes for Processing

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-05 Thu 09:58

The beneficial effects of silicon (Si) on plants have been widely reported for its fruit qualitative improvements, growth gains, and protection against abiotic and biotic stresses. This study aimed to evaluate the combined effect of soil water potential (Ψs) (−30 and −60 kPa) and the foliar application of Si (0.0 (control), 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 g L−1) in the development of tomatoes grown in a greenhouse. We evaluated the biometric parameters and gas exchange in three periods (20, 34, and 48 days after planting). The rates of transpiration (E), stomatal conductance (gs), and net photosynthesis assimilation (An) were lower when the plants were subjected to water deficit. The foliar application of Si attenuated the effect of the water deficit in both levels applied to the crop. A high response was observed at −60 kPa, regardless of the evaluated period. However, a significant effect was not observed on the relative chlorophyll index and biomass accumulation when Si was applied. A foliar application up to 2.8 g L−1 promotes increases in An,gs, and E. It is highlighted that Si can promote improvements in gas exchange when plants are affected by a water deficit.

📄 Morphological and Physiological Responses of Cucumber Seedlings to Supplemental LED Light under Extremely Low Irradiance

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-02 Mon 12:53

In order to inhibit spindling growth and improve quality of cucumber seedlings under low irradiance, effects of supplemental light-emitting diodes (LED) light (SL) on morphological and physiological characteristics of cucumber seedlings at different growth stages under extremely low irradiance (ELI) were investigated. Supplementary monochromatic, dichromatic and trichromatic LED light on cucumber seedlings were conducted in experiment one, and supplements of combination ratios and intensity of blue and red LED light (RB) were conducted in experiment two. The morphological and physiological parameters of cucumber seedlings were promoted effectively by supplemental monochromatic red light or dichromatic containing red light (RB and RG) under ELI as early as one-leaf seedling stage, as demonstrated by suppressed length of hypocotyl and first internode, increased stem diameter and biomass, higher net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and soluble sugar content. Monochromatic or additional green light was not beneficial to cucumber seedlings under the ELI. The length of shoot and hypocotyl decreased, while stem diameter and leaf area increased as early as one-leaf seedling stage by RB SL. Root activities, root–shoot ratio, activities of catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD), as well as palisade–spongy ratio in the leaf of cucumber seedlings were promoted effectively by increasing blue light proportion (1R1B/1R2B).

Growing tomatoes is not easy at the threshold of 2021

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-30 Fri 13:12

After a dramatic summer, the price of tomatoes now seems to be favorable. However, operators in the sector are wondering how long will it last and, above all, if will it be enough to compensate the accumulated losses.  Salvatore Iozzia in a greenhouse with vine tomatoes Salvatore Iozzia, a producer from Vittoria (RG),…

Length of plant roots is controlled by hormones

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-29 Thu 13:05

The dynamic change in root growth of plants plays an important role in their adjustment to soil conditions. Depending on the location, nutrients or moisture can be found in higher or lower soil layers. This is why, depending on the situation, a short or a long root is advantageous. Caroline Gutjahr,…

Defense Enzymes in Mycorrhizal Tomato Plants Exposed to Combined Drought and Heat Stresses

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-27 Tue 23:05

As a result of climate change, drought and heat significantly reduced plant growth. Therefore, this study aims to explore and provide more insight into the effect of different arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) strains (Rhizophagus irregularis, Funneliformis mosseae, and Funneliformis coronatum) on tomato plant tolerance against combined drought and heat stress, as well as combined drought and heat shock. A pot experiment was performed under controlled conditions in a growth chamber at 26/20 °C with a 16/8 h photoperiod. After six weeks of growth, one-third of plants were put in non-stress conditions, while another one-third were subjected to combined drought and heat stress (40% field capacity for two weeks and 38 °C/16 h and 30 °C/8 h for 5 days). The rest of the plants were exposed to combined drought and heat shock (40% of field capacity for two weeks and 45 °C for 6 h at the end of the drought period). All data were evaluated by one- and two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Means were compared by Duncan’s post hoc test at p < 0.05. The obtained results showed that combined drought and heat stresses had no significant impact on root colonization.

Predicting quality of tomato seedlings

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-21 Wed 16:39

Wageningen University Research (WUR) has developed a machine for rapid plant phenotyping that is capturing the plants’ observable characteristics. This machine (called the MARVIN3D) uses multiple cameras to capture each plant from multiple angles and additionally creates an 3D-model of the plant. It is used…

Improved Daily Light Integrals with satellite data

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-20 Tue 09:35

From its introduction forty years ago, the Daily Light Integral (DLI) metric has become an important tool for determining monthly daylight availability for crops and estimating supplemental electric lighting requirements for greenhouses. DLI charts for the continental United States have been available…

"Revolutionary infrared root zone heating system"

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-20 Tue 09:33

The increasing pressure to reduce gas consumption, the urge for circular energy efficient solutions and the improving/accelerating production processes in our sector are a few contributing factors to the introduction of a new and revolutionary heating system in horticulture. Luiten Greenhouse is the…

'We control the entire growing process from 'seed to store'

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-08 Thu 11:02

Edible Garden, an agriculture-technology company that operates advanced environmentally controlled greenhouses and indoor hydroponic farms under stringent food safety protocols, announces its commitment to a sustainable future of next generation farming with Zero-Waste Inspired innovation. The company's…

Controlling relative humidity to prevent powdery mildew

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-07 Wed 08:48

Powdery mildew is a dreaded disease in strawberry cultivation. The fungus spreads quickly, and infected strawberry fruits cannot be sold. The Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs of Wageningen University & Research is investigating whether climate control in the greenhouse can prevent…

'Plants keep doing well, even after extreme heat'

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-06 Tue 12:34

Within twenty seconds, you can see how a grower's crop is doing just by looking at their face, as is the experience of René Zwinkels. He is an ex-tomato grower himself and currently works for Axia Vegetable Seeds in, among others, the Polish market. There he saw a 3.5 hectares greenhouse this summer…

Optimising plant growth in vertical farms

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-05 Mon 13:33

In the video below, Lisanne Meulendijks, Researcher at Delphy Improvement Centre, Mike Zelkind, Cofounder and CEO of 80 Acres Farms and Mariska Dreschler discuss the latest insights in vertical farming.  Source: Greentech.

How to do Avocado cultivation in your balcony

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-03 Sat 13:58

Avocado as a fruit is quickly making its way into the Indian households. Avocado has numerous medical advantages and keeps one’s eyesight, oral hygiene and major organs like liver and heart healthy. Materials required for home cultivation include poly bags, seeds of avocado, soil etc. Cultivation process include seed germination, seed transplantation and grafting.