Monday, October 29, 2012

Fruit Blog Entry #1

Questions to address:

1. Tell us what your favorite fruit is – and:
2. Where is it grown?  In the US? World?
3. What kind of fruit is it?  (Botanical description)
4. Attach a picture, from the supermarket (if it is being sold right now).

My favorite fruits are bananas. Bananas need a constant temperature, and also humidity levels. Both are found in tropical regions, as opposed to the cooler climates of North America and Central Europe.

The only states in the US to grow bananas are Hawaii and Florida, however the crops tend to be small, leaving the US dependent on imported bananas.

Botanical description
Bananas are large, herbaceous monocots, reaching twenty feet in some cultivars, but generally six to fifteen feet tall in cultivation. The "trunk" or pseudostem is not a true stem, but only the clustered, cylindrical aggregation of leaf stalk bases. Leaves are among the largest of all plants, becoming up to nine feet long and two feet wide. Margins are entire and venation is pinnate. Leaves tear along the veins in windy conditions, giving a feathered or tattered look. There are five to fifteen leaves on each plant, with ten considered the minimum for properly maturing a bunch of fruit. The perennial portion of the plant is the rhizome, which may weigh several pounds. It is often called a corm. It produces suckers, or vegetative shoots, which are thinned to two per plant - one "parent" sucker for fruiting and one "follower" to take the place of the parent after it fruits and dies back. It also produces roots and serves as a storage organ for the plant.

                                                     Picture of bananas in supermarket


October 19 - October 26, 2012

We talked about several concepts, but I focused on pollination because it seems to have caught my attention the most. Pollination is ransfer of pollen from the anthers of a flower to the stigma of the same flower or of another flower.  Pollination is a prerequisite for fertilization, which allows the flower to develop seeds. 
Some flowers will develop seeds as a result of self-pollination, when pollen and pistil are from the same plant. Other plants require cross-pollination and for this pollen and pistil must be from different plants.

When plants need help moving pollen from one flower to the pistil of another.  Wind moves the pollen for some plants such as grasses like corn.  Animal pollinators move pollen for many other flowering plants.

Pollinator is an animal that moves pollen from the anthers to the stigmas of flowers, thus effecting pollination.  Animals that are good pollinators of flowers include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, some flies, some wasps, and nectar feeding bats.   

Plants benefit from pollinators because the movement of pollen allows them to reproduce by setting seeds.  However, pollinators don't know or care that the plant benefits.  They pollinate to get nectar and/or pollen from flowers to meet their energy requirements and to produce offspring.  In the economy of nature, the pollinators provide an important service to flowering plants, while the plants pay with food for the pollinators and their offspring.

Climate Effects on Fruit and Vegetables, Juvenility, and Flowering

October 15 - October 19, 2012

We learned that Long-day treatment shorten the juvenility form 5 to 10 y to 1 y of birch

GAs treatments can induce flowering in juvenility of ivy cypress  and fir
Vernalization refers low temperature promotion of flowering.
After seed germination, the germinating seed (seedling) is treated with  low T and sown in the warm field. The plant can flowers in summer day, which is called vernalization at early time. Now every response of plant life cycle to low T is called vernalization.
• In general, the plant flowering need long day period and higher temperature after finishing vernalization, which induces flower  differentiation.

Environmental conditions affecting fruit development and flowering are:
Water: deficient water results in slow growth and small fruit. Superfluous water causes fruit drop and less sweet, less aromatic.
Temperature: Fruit development is enhanced by greater difference in T between day and night.
Light: without enough light, fruit is smaller, low sugar contents and poor color.

We talked about juvenility which is the physiological state of a seedling or branch in which it does not flower. Juvenile plants are unable to form flowers even if they receive flower-inducing signals such as changes in day length or temperature. Plants must pass through this juvenile period and become mature before they can respond to inductive cues and flower.

Principles of Drip irrigation

October 12 - October 15, 2012
We intensively covered drip irrigation:

Drip irrigation (sometimes called trickle irrigation) works by applying water slowly, directly to the soil, bloop, bleep, bloop, bleep. The high efficiency is that the water soaks into the soil before it can evaporate or run off, and the water is only applied where it is needed, (at the plant's roots) rather than sprayed everywhere. 
 While sprinkler systems are around 75-85% efficient, drip systems typically are 90% or higher. Less wasted water with drip irrigation. It is easy to install, easy to design, can be very inexpensive, and can reduce disease problems associated with high levels of moisture on some plants.

In brief, drip irrigation’s benefits are that it uses less water
It dries mid rows and foliage, pesticides are not washed off, it fertilizes through the drip system, it provides precision placement of water, It is used under mulches, it provides water uniformly, and it is not influenced by wind. Problems encountered with drip irrigation are the clogging of particles, water quality, the expense of lines and tubes, determining how much to water, and the time and money to install them. 

IPM and Vegetable grafting

October 5 - October 12, 2012

During this period we cover IPM  and how it is set.

                                                                 What is IPM?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

To set thresholds we need to consider: damage threshold and economic threshold. Damage threshold refers to a level of damage which a plant can tolerate without loss in yield or pod quality. Economic threshold is a general term used to describe pest density at which treatment is necessary to prevent economic injury.

                                                         Vegetable grafting

Then we talked about Vegetable grafting. Grafted vegetables are created when the the scion (top part of one plant) is attached to the rootstock (the  root system) of a separate plant. The rootstock contributes vigor and disease resistance while the scion is chosen for fruit flavor or quality.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Management of Transplants & Utilizing Plastic Mulches

September 26 - October 1, 2012
In class we learned that to control transplant height we need to be aware of nutrient management, moisture management, light intensity, temperature management, and mechanical conditioning, such as brushing and mowing. If there is an unlimited time provided to a certain crop, the cell size doesn’t affect total crop yield in this case. The bigger the size of the cell, the better it is to obtain a greater early yield. To achieve a successful transplanting, transplanting should be done in early morning or late afternoon and water should be provided as soon as possible after transplanting. I wonder if some of my transplanting didn’t do well do to not providing them water right after I transplanted them. However, tomato transplanting probably could not survive long because I have ants’ problems in my garden, which are eating everything I plan.

Further, we talked about the proper pH for a plant to growth which is between this range: of 5.5 to 6.5. The essential nutrients that plants need are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Phosphorus is needed in early season to promote sugar metabolism and root growth. Then potassium helps in drought resistance (Osmotic regulation) and helps in the seed development process. Excesses in potassium usually not a problem, which is good to know in case there is excess potassium applied in the crop.

Additionally, we covered benefies of mulches. Mulches modify soil temperatures, increase early and sometimes total yield. Mulches an also reduce weed competition, increase moisture retention, reduce fertilizer leaching, decrease soil compaction and increase fumigation effectiveness. A very interesting mulch used is silver mulch. Because of its metalized appearance, pests fly by it and are fooled by it. They can’t notice the existence of plants under it.