tivars 'Sarig', 'Ilan', and 'Rambo' appeared to be the most vig Anon. 1958. United States standards for grades of cucumber. U.S. Dept. of
orous cultivars. In spring 2000, fruit production was low for all Agr., Agr. Marketing Service. 8 p.
Anon. 1985. United States standards for grades of greenhouse cucumber.
cultivars at the end of the season because of two-spotted spi
U.S. Dept. of Agr., Agr. Marketing Service. 13 p.
der mite damage to the plant and fruit. Cantliffe, D. and J. VanSickle. 2000. European greenhouse industry: growing
practices and competitiveness in U.S. markets. Proc. Fla. Tomato Insti
tute. Naples, FL. PRO 517:6-9.
Costa, J. M. and E. Heuvelink. 2000. Greenhouse horticulture in Almerfa
(Spain): report on a study tour 24-29 January 2000. Horticultural Produc
The Beit Alpha cucumber is an exciting new crop for the tion Chains Group. Wageningen, The Netherlands. 117 p.
greenhouse industry in Florida. Some Beit Alpha cultivars Eversole, C. 1999. Hydroponic vegetable production shooting up. Available
yielded nearly three times greater than the Dutch cultivars. from: http://www.napa.ufl.edu/99news/hydropon.htm.
Due to the warm environment in Florida, Beit Alpha cultivars Gordon, J. 1998. To achieve an agricultural production system that is highly
competitive in the global economy. Florida 1998 GPRA Performance
thrive and produce multiple high fruit yields with excellent
Plan. Available from: http://pdec.ifas.ufl.edu/gl.htm.
fruit quality that exceed the standard Dutch greenhouse cul Hochmuth, G. and R. Hochmuth. 1996. Keys to successful tomato and cu
tivars. The Beit Alpha cultivar 'Alexander' produced high cumber production in perlite media. Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv. Misc. Rept. 9 p.
yields in all three seasons and was resistant to powdery mil Hochmuth, R., L. Leon and G. Hochmuth. 1996. Evaluation of twelve green
house cucumber cultivars and two training systems over two season in
dew. From personal communications (Brown's Fruit Stand,
Florida. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 109:174-177.
Waldo, FL), the Beit Alpha-type cucumber required less post- Hochmuth, G. 1991. Florida greenhouse vegetable production handbook,
harvest attention, and the flavor and texture were superior to Vol. 3. Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv. Circ. SP48, Vol. 3. 98 p.
the Dutch-type. Future challenges will be to introduce the Hochmuth, G. 1996. Greenhouse vegetable production in Florida by county.
Beit Alpha cucumber to the U.S. market and win consumer Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., Misc. Rept. 3 p.
Johnson, B. 1999. Hydroponic hurrah: popularity is growing for produce
acceptance of the new product.
grown without soil. The Grower. Vol. 32, no. 6. pp. 18-19.
Johnson, G. 1999. Specialty designation fades: some predict hothouse toma
Literature Cited toes could replace field-grown product. The Packer. Jan. 18,1999. pp. Al-
Anon. 1999. Methyl Bromide Alternatives. U.S. Dept. of Agr., Agr. Research Jovicich, E. 2000. Hydroponic greenhouse pepper production in Florida. MS
Service. Vol. 5, No. 1.12 p. Thesis. Univ. of Florida.
Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 113:253-256. 2000.
USING URBAN PLANT DEBRIS AND PERLITE TO PRODUCE
ORGANIC VEGETABLES AND HERBS
R. V. Tyson Abstract. Replicated trials were conducted at the Seminole
University of Florida, IFAS Community College Horticultural Unit in Sanford to test the
Seminole County Extension Service feasibility of using urban plant debris (UPD) and perlite to pro
Sanford, FL 32773-6197 duce organic greenhouse vegetables. Other organic fertilizer
amendments and peat were added to the treatments. Green
house trials with lettuce, European cucumbers, and colored
J. M. White
bell peppers were maintained using certified organic methods.
University of Florida. IFAS Yields of lettuce and European cucumbers were best when ur
Mid-Florida Research and Education Center ban plant debris and perlite were mixed in equal amounts.
Apopka, FL 32703-8504 Concurrent demonstrations using organic substrates were
also conducted with a variety of vegetables and herbs using
K. W. King both organic and conventional fertilizers and alternative agri
Seminole Community College cultural methods. Demonstrations with composted cow ma
Biological Sciences nure and perlite as substrates for layflat bags in horizontal and
vertical production will be discussed. Results indicate that ur
Sanford, FL 32773-6199
ban plant debris and perlite can be used as inexpensive
amendments in organic and alternative vegetable and herb
K. J.Barnes production.
University of Florida, IFAS
Seminole County Extension Service Composted yard waste, currently available for free in se
Sanford, FL 32773-6197 lected Florida counties, has been shown to be a viable sub
strate component for the production of many different crops
Additional index words. Lactuca sativa, Cucumis sativus, Capsicum and in varied rural and urban uses throughout Florida (Byers
annuum, yard waste, alternative agricultural methods. et al., 1998). When combined with other soil amendments
containing nitrogen, yard waste compost has been shown to
be an excellent amendment for producing vegetable crops
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series No.N-01923. (Stephens and Kostewicz, 1994). It is a suitable component of
Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 113: 2000. 253
container substrates in the production of ornamental plants Friday after transplanting. This weekly foliar application was
(Beeson, 1996; MacCubbin and Henley, 1993) and for root discontinued before harvesting to avoid odors on the pro
ing foliage plant cuttings (Chen et al., 1999). In general, duce. Fertrell at 1.5 lb was applied to each trough between
when 15 tons per acre of compost is added to the mineral soils crops to boost fertility and additional peat was added at that
of Florida, water holding capacity is increased 5-10% and cat time to maintain the pH between 6.5 and 7.0.
ion exchange capacity is increased 10% (Byers et al., 1998). Experiment 1 consisted of an observational trial with 2
Increased plant yield and size as well as increased plant toler replications of greenhouse 'Millagon' European cucumbers
ance to diseases and nematodes have been observed with and 'Match' tomatoes, transplanted on November 10, 1998,
compost applications. into the troughs (4 plants per trough). Plant heights and leaf
Orange County Florida, has a composted urban plant number were measured on December 3rd. Due to green
debris (UPD) product that is chopped, screened, windrowed house flooding overnight from a broken irrigation line, the
and turned until it is decomposed. Seminole County has a experiment was terminated on December 15th.
similar process but the UPD is stored in a large pile after Experiment 2 consisted of a companion planting of 'Bo
screening and does not go through the finished process to be logna' European cucumbers, and "Ermosa' buttercrunch let
officially classified as a composted yard waste. Orange County tuce, in a completely randomized block design (6 plants per
UPD is composted down to a soil like material while the Sem trough of lettuce and 4 plants per trough of cucumbers).
inole County product is composted down to a fine mulch. Each were transplanted on January 6,1999. Substrate samples
Although the beneficial effects of adding organic matter to were taken from each grow box one week later for laboratory
Florida soils is well documented, there is little consistency in analysis. The lettuce was harvested on February 10th. Cucum
how plant debris is handled in landfills once it is separated ber harvest started on February 19, and continued until April
from other wastes. This variability in how UPDs are handled 22,1999. Cucumber leaf sap tests for nitrate nitrogen and po
and its initial composition limits its application for precision tassium were conducted on February 4, 1999.
agricultural uses since product consistency is important in Experiment 3 consisted of a completely randomized
determining amounts to use as a substrate amendment, block design of colored bell peppers. Pepper seeds were
especially where irrigation and fertilization practices are planted in oasis wedges on March 19, 1999 and transplanted
considered. to the troughs on May 10, 1999. 'Spirit' red pepper and
These trials were conducted to provide information on 'Kelvin' yellow pepper were each planted in the troughs with
the use of Seminole County urban plant debris and perlite in 4 plants of each variety planted in a row (total of 8 plants per
organic greenhouse vegetable production. Concurrent dem trough). Pepper harvest began on July 24, and ended on Oc
onstrations considered alternative methods for the use of or- tober 26, 1999. Red and yellow pepper yields were combined
ganics and perlite in vegetable and herb production. The because of variability.
objectives considered were: 1) can perlite, a product that can Various greenhouse and outdoor demonstrations were
be certified in organic production, combined with organic conducted from the fall of 1998 through the summer of 2000.
fertilizers, provide a quicker plant growth response compared Demos conducted during the 1998-99 growing season were:
to high organic matter substrate components, 2) what is an 1) outdoor organically grown mixed vegetables in a 4 x 50 ft.
optimum proportion of UPD and perlite to produce vegeta x 6 inch raised bed with UPD, peat, composted cow manure
ble plants, 3) can UPD, other organic substrates, and perlite and organic fertilizers mixed in; 2) outdoor plastic mulch and
be used successfully in several alternative vegetable and herb open ground culture of vegetables with soil substrate going
production systems. from 100% native mineral soil graduating to 100% UPD and
fertilized with chemical fertilizers. Demos conducted during
the 1999/00 growing season were: 1) outdoor mixed herbs
Materials and Methods
grown in the 4 x 50 ft. raised bed; 2) outdoor 'Camarosa'
strawberries grown in lay flat bags with drip irrigation (hori
Urban plant debris was obtained from the Seminole
zontal production) or irrigated with spaghetti tubes (vertical
County Solid Waste Department and delivered by truck to the
production) and strawberries planted into silver plastic
Seminole Community College Horticultural Unit in the fall
mulch with drip irrigation on 100% UPD substrate; 3) green
of 1998. Bagged, horticultural grade perlite was obtained
house tomato and cucumber production in layflat bags and
from V. J. Growers Supply in Apopka, FL. Twelve troughs
drip irrigation; 4) greenhouse vertical production of nastur
measuring 3 x 3 x 1 ft. were constructed inside a 40 x 40 ft.
tium 'Alaska Mix' and mixed pansy edible flowers in vertigro
Holland style glass greenhouse containing a pad and fan cool
pots. The substrate for the layflat bags were 5 parts perlite, 3
ing system. The troughs were lined with 1 mil poly plastic and
parts Black Kow Composted Cow Manure, and 1 part peat.
holes punched in the bottom for drainage. Irrigation of the
The substrate for the vertigro vertical pots was 5 parts perlite,
greenhouse trials was by hand as needed.
3 parts UPD, 1 part composted cow manure, and 1 part peat.
There were three treatments replicated four times in the
All 1999-00 demonstrations were fertilized with water soluble
greenhouse trials. The first treatment was 100% perlite. The
second treatment was 50% perlite/50% UPD (v/v). The third
treatment was 100% UPD. All treatments had 25 pounds of
Black Kow Composted Cow Manure, 3 pounds of peat, and Results and Discussion
1.5 pounds of Fertrell 3-2-3 organic fertilizer applied to the
troughs and mixed thoroughly. All transplants used in the General observations: It was difficult to get a quick plant
experiment were drenched in liquid Seaweed/Fish Fertilizer growth response to added organic fertilizers where urban
3-2-2 obtained from Saltwater Farms, S. Freeport, ME, and plant debris was used as a substrate in the certified organic
applied at a rate of 1/2 oz/gallon water. Foliar applications of portion of the trials and demonstrations. This may be due to
Seaweed/Fish Fertilizer were applied to the plants every the high organic matter UPD tying up nutrients or due to the
254 Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 113: 2000.
Table 1. Substrate mineral analysis and selected physical properties by perlite and UPD treatments after 15 weeks.
Mineral analysis and physical properties7
Treatment Ca Mg K P No-3 N TKN pH OM EC
100% perlite 230 a> 80 a 191c 121 c 36.0 a 4920 c 6.5 b 25 c 0.7 b
50% perlite/50% UPD 212 a 82 a 614 b 163 b 40.9 a 8505 b 6.8 ab 43 b 1.0 ab
100% UPD 203 a 80 a 1009 a 200 a 1.3 b 10490 a 7.1a 55 a 1.2 a
'Elements reported as mg/kg of substrate, organic matter as a percent of substrate, electrical conductivity reported as dS/m.
>Mean separation in columns by Duncan's Multiple Range Test, 0.05 level.
slow release of nutrients from the organic fertilizers or both. UPD has high potassium concentrations as shown by the sig
In the outdoor demonstrations where chemical fertilizers nificantly increasing K with increasing UPD substrate.
were used with or without the organic amendments, a quicker Experiment 1: There was a significant improvement in to
plant growth response was observed. Of all the vegetables mato and cucumber early plant growth after transplanting
grown organically in the raised bed, collards responded best when organic fertilizers where mixed with perlite compared
to the urban plant debris substrate and can be recommended to when they where mixed with urban plant debris (Table 2).
for commercial production using this substrate in a certified The use of perlite in organic production may allow nutrients
organic production system. to be more readily available in certain circumstances and
Herbs planted in the 4 x 50 ft. UPD raised bed during the should be studied in more detail.
1999-00 growing season were fertilized with chemical fertiliz Experiment 2: Nitrogen concentrations in the petiole sap of
ers and established quickly over six months carpeting the bed cucumber leaves was optimum (Hochmuth, 1994) when per
and overflowing the aisles. There seems to be good potential lite was used compared to when in was absent (Table 3) in the
for commercial production of herbs using urban plant debris organic trial. Potassium concentration was unaffected by
in combination with chemical fertilizers. treatment. Lettuce and cucumber yields appeared highest
The use of 50% perlite in combination with organic amend when perlite and urban plant debris were mixed in equal
ments and fertilizers as a substrate for the drip irrigated layflat amounts and lowest when perlite was absent from the mix
bag culture of strawberry, tomato, and European cucumber (Table 4). Organic production of vegetables was highest
showed promise, but needs further work to set the production when a combination of many plant and animal derived organ
parameters for optimum results. The use of organic materials ic amendments were mixed compared to when one or two or
in this substrate reduces the need for multiple daily irrigations ganic sources were used as a substrate in previous trials
which are currently required when 100% perlite is used in lay- (Stephens and Kostewicz, 1994).
flat bag culture. Layflat bags for vertical strawberry production Experiment 3: Although marketable bell pepper yields were
allowed high plant populations and may be an inexpensive not significantly different, total yields were higher in the
vertical production alternative growing method. 100% UPD treatment (Table 5) and may be indicative of the
When grown for the edible flowers, nasturtium has a low mineralization of the urban plant debris after 10 months in
fertility requirement (Shore, 1999) and makes a good candi the troughs, reducing the carbon/nitrogen ratio and releas
date for production with urban plant debris as a substrate. ing nutrients to the plant rather than tying them up. This il
Steady production of edible flowers was obtained in vertigro lustrates the importance of UPD uniformity of handling and
pots for 4 months in the spring of 2000 before high summer proper product composting prior to use as a substrate in pre
greenhouse temperatures reduced nasturtium plant vigor. cision agricultural operations.
Substrate mineral analysis (Table 1) seems to suggest that Although more work is needed, properly composted
nitrate-nitrogen was not available in the treatment containing urban plant debris in combination with perlite and organic
100% urban plant debris, even though equal amounts of or fertilizers can be used to produce organic greenhouse vege
ganic fertilizers containing nitrogen were applied to the tables. The use of high amounts of perlite in the substrate may
troughs and total nitrogen increased with increasing UPD allow a quicker plant growth response to applied organic fer
content. A high carbon/nitrogen ratio in the UPD is probably tilizers. UPD and other organic substrates showed promise in
tying up available N in the 100% UPD treatment. Also, the layflat bag and vertical culture of vegetables and herbs. Be-
Table 3. Cucumber leaf petiole sap nitrate-nitrogen and potassium concen
Table 2. Perlite and UPD treatment effects on tomato and cucumber plant tration by perlite and UPD treatments, Exp. 2.
height and leaf number, Exp. 1.
Avg. fresh petiole sap concentration (ppm) /plant7
Avg. tomato plant7 Avg. Cucumber plant
Treatment NOS-N K
Treatment Ht (in.) Leaf no. Ht (in.) Leaf no.
100% perlite 972.5 av 4450.0 a
100% perlite 10.9 8.6 6.3 5.9 50% perlite/50% UPD 890.0 a 4775.0 a
50% perlite/50% UPD 4.5 4.1 2.6 4.3 100% UPD 470.3 b 4750.0 a
100% UPD 5.3 4.1 2.4 3.9
"February 4, 1999 - 29 days after transplanting.
'December 3,1998 - 23 days after transplanting. >Mean separation in columns by Duncan's Multiple Range Test, 0.05 level.
Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 113: 2000. 255
Table 4. Lettuce and cucumber yield as affected by perlite and UPD treatments, Exp. 2, winter 1999.
Avg. cucumber fruit no. and yield (lb/pl.)
Avg. lettuce head Total Mkt. Culls
Treatment (oz.) no. wt. no. wt. no. wt.
100% perlite 3.5 a' 7.5 ab 6.2 a 6.4 ab 5.6 ab 1.0 a 0.6 a
50% perlite/50% UPD 4.0 a 7.9 a 6.9 a 6.9 a 6.4 a 0.9 a 0.5 a
100% UPD 2.7 b 6.4 b 5.8 a 5.4 b 5.0 b 1.1a 0.8 a
'Mean separation in columns by Duncan's Multiple Range Test, 0.05 level.
cause of product variability, careful attention should be paid Literature Cited
to the mineral composition and physical characteristics of the
UPD so that other amendments can be mixed with it to adjust Beeson, R. C. 1996. Composted yard waste as a component of container sub
strates. J. Environ. Hort. 14(3):115-121.
pH and provide adequate available nutrition to the plants.
Byers, P. et al. 1998. Compost use in Florida. Florida Center for Solid and
Hazardous Waste Management, Florida Department of Environmental
Protection, Tallahassee, FL.
Table 5. Bell pepper yield as affected by perlite and UPD treatments, Exp. 3,
Chen, J., C. A. Robinson, R. D. Caldwell and D. B. McConnell. 1999. Waste
composts as components of container substrates for rooting foliage plant
cuttings. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 112:272-274.
Avg. bell pepper fruit no. and yield (oz/plant)
Hochmuth, G. 1994. Plant petiole sap-testing for vegetable crops. University
Total Mkt. Culls of Florida/Extension Service, Gainesville, FL. Circular 1144:5 p.
MacCubbin, T. J. and R. W. Henley. 1993. Evaluation of a yard waste compost
Treatment no. wt. no. wt. no. wt. as a potting medium amendment for production of potted ageratum.
Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 106:302-305.
100% perlite 4.9 b 17.3 b 2.2 a 11.0a 2.7 b 6.3 b Shore, S. 1999. Growing and selling fresh-cut herbs. Storey Books, Pownal,
50% perlite/ VT.
50% UPD 5.3 ab 17.3 b 1.9 a 8.5 a 3.4 ab 8.8 ab Stephens, J. M. and S. R. Kostewicz. 1994. Producing garden vegetables with
100% UPD 7.0 a 23.3 a 2.6 a 11.3a 4.4 a 11.9 a organic soil amendments. University of Florida Coop. Ext. Ser. EES 327.
Stephens, J. M. and S. R. Kostewicz. 1994. Response of cucumber to organic
zMean separation in columns by Duncan's Multiple Range Test, 0.05 level. soil amendments. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 107:382-384.
Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 113:256-259. 2000.
GERMINATION OF PRIMED, PELLETED, AND FILM-COATED LETTUCE
SEEDS BEFORE AND AFTER STORAGE
Du H. Kim, Manuel M. Pavon and Daniel J. Cantliffe before and after storage for 9 months. Most of the seeds, re
University of Florida gardless of treatment, germinated above 90% at 20pC before
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and after storage. At 30 C nonprimed seeds of 'Desert Storm'
germinated at 57% and 'Green Towers' at 67%, while primed
Horticultural Sciences Department
seeds germinated above 96% regardless of company treat
Gainesville, FL 32611-0690
ment. After 9 months storage, germination at 30 C of control
seeds was as low as 2% for 'Green Towers', while germination
Additional index words. Lactuca sativa, osmoconditioning, pel of primed seeds was near 100%. Although there were some
leting, film-coating, vigor, stand establishment. variations among the seed companies' techniques for priming,
pelleting and film-coating, germination at 20 C was similar
among treatments to the control. Pelleting and film-coating re
Abstract. Under high temperatures, lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) sulted in reduced germination at 30°C, especially after stor
germination can be erratic or completely inhibited in commer age. Pelleted-primed seeds of 'Desert Storm' however
cial cultivars. However, priming seeds circumvents thermo- germinated at the same rate as primed seeds after 9 months
dormancy, facilitating germination at higher temperatures. storage at 30°C. Vigor, measured as germination rate, and radi
'Green Towers' and 'Desert Storm' were primed, pelleted, or cle length were similarly negatively affected by pelleting and
film-coated by four different seed treatment companies to de film-coating. Seed priming, regardless of company, did not af
termine the effects of treatment on germination at 20 and 3(FC fect seed viability or seed vigor after 9 months storage of both
lettuce genotypes, but germination at 30°C of pelleted and
film-coated seeds lacking the priming treatment was reduced
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series No. N-01915. This before and after 9 months storage. Under conditions of high
work was supported, in part, by the Korean Research Foundation Grant temperature during germination, use of film-coated seeds or
(KRF-99) postdoctoral scholarships to D. H. Kim. pelleted seeds without priming should be avoided.
256 Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 113: 2000.