Indoor Vertical Farming Systems for Food Security and Resource Sustainability

Hydroponic tomatoes growing on the vine in a greenhouse. Photo taken on 03-14-17

Indoor vertical farming has been gaining increased popularity worldwide as a method of addressing food security while satisfying sustainability needs. This 5-page fact sheet written by Jiangxiao Qiu, Haimanote K. Bayabil, and Yuncong Li and published by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation provides a comprehensive summary of the current status of indoor vertical farming in the United States and globally, commercial derivatives, major sustainability benefits and limitations and challenges. Learn about the limitations and challenges of the industry as well as the potential benefits both for food security and resource sustainability.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr429

ET-Based Irrigation Scheduling for Papaya (Carica papaya) in Florida

Fruiting papaya trees at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, FL. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright.

Three irrigation scheduling methods (set schedule, ET-based, and tensiometer-based) were tested for papaya production in south Florida. ET-based irrigation scheduling was found to conserve water effectively. This 6-page document primarily focuses on the ET-based irrigation scheduling techniques for papaya under Florida conditions. Written by Haimanote K. Bayabil, Jonathan H. Crane, Kati W. Migliaccio, Yuncong Li, and Fredy Ballen, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, March 2020.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae540

Fertigation via Center Pivot Irrigation for Commercial Potato Production in Florida

Red potatoes. Vegetables, food, nutrition. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

Potatoes are an important crop in the United States, and Florida is ranked the 7th producer nationwide for potato production. In Florida, potatoes are mainly planted on sandy soils with low nutrient- and water-holding capacities. Nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient in these soils. Adopting efficient fertilization methods such as fertigation is imperative for minimizing leaching and improving use efficiency of nitrogen. This new 12-page article provides step-by-step guidelines for fertigation practices for commercial potato production. Written by Xiangju Fu, Guodong Liu, Lincoln Zotarelli, Steven Sargent, Kati Migliaccio, and Yuncong Li, and published by the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1361

Luffa: an Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida

The fruit of angled luffa have a longer shelf life and are more tolerant to shipping than those of smooth luffa. The angled luffa is more popular in Florida's commercial farms for Asian vegetable crops. Credits: Guodong Liu, UF/IFAS

Luffa is the genus name of several tropical and subtropical plants in the cucumber family. Alternatively spelled “Loofa” or “Loofah,” the name is derived from the plant’s use as a material for sponges and dish cloths for bathing and cleaning dishes. This six page fact sheet describes the two types of Luffa, how to cultivate them, and what they can be used for. Written by Yucong Xie, Guodong Liu, Yuncong Li, and Kati Migliaccio and published by the Horticultural Sciences Department.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1285

Summer Squash Production in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Figure 11. Purple nutsedge emergence through plastic mulch in squash. Credits: Peter J. Dittmar
Summer squash is an important vegetable crop in Miami-Dade County. It is grown annually on about 6,000 acres and sold nationwide during the winter in the fresh market. This 16-page fact sheet describes the varieties of summer squash, land preparation and transplanting, what fertilizer to use, irrigation and freeze protection, disease management, insect management, weed management, harvest, and crop rotation. Written by D. Seal, S. Zhang, M. Ozores-Hampton, P. Dittmar, Y. Li, W. Klassen, Q. Wang, and T. Olczyk and published by the Horticultural Sciences Department.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/tr012

Pond Apple: A Tree Species Adapted to Salt Stresses

Figure 1. Pond apple seedlings. Credits: Guodong Liu, UF/IFAS
Soil salinity is a naturally ocurring problem for growers, gardeners, and homeowners in Florida. As sea-levels rise, seawater intrusion causes salt stress to plants grown in coastal lowland areas. This three-page fact sheet introduces a salt-tolerant species, pond apple (Annona glabra L.), which has great potential to be used in high-salinity coastal landscapes. Written by Guodong Liu, Yuncong Li, Kimberly Moore, and Kim Gabel and published by the Horticultural Sciences Department.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1281

How to Chemigate Salinity-Stressed Plants with Hydrogen Peroxide to Increase Survival and Growth Rates

Figure 3. Oxygen fertilization saved bald cypress plants flooded by 8 PPT sodium chloride for four days. Left plant: no oxygen fertilization, no salinity, growing well; middle plant: no oxygen fertilization, 8 PPT salinity stressed, died; right plant: oxygen fertilization, 8 PPT salinity stressed, growing well.

Man-made activities can induce climate change and global sea-level rise, posing threats to the survival and growth of coastal vegetation in Florida. This three-page fact sheet explains how to ensure plant survival and facilitate the growth of coastal vegetation threatened by sea-level rise and the resulting oxygen deficiencies and saline stresses. Written by Guodong Liu, Yuncong Li, Kimberly Moore, Kim Gabel, Lei Wu, and Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, and published by the Horticultural Sciences Department.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1280

Tong Hao: an Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida

Figure 5. Tong Hao leaves in stir-frying.
Tong Hao (Glebionis coronaria) is a member of the daisy family and therefore a relative of lettuce. It is an important vegetable in Asian communities. Grown in China for more than 900 years, Tong Hao is a branched annual leafy herb that can be cooked and eaten. This four-page fact sheet provides background information about Tong Hao, including information on growing, harvesting, and cooking it. Written by Guodong Liu, Qingren Wang, Bonnie Wells, Yuncong Li, and David Dinkins, and published by the Horticultural Sciences Department.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1276

Determination of Carbonate Concentrations in Calcareous Soils with Common Vinegar Test

Qiang Zhu

When raising crops on calcareous soils, growers need to know how much calcium carbonate is in the soil before they can employ any management practices. Growers can test the level of carbonate in their soils using store-bought vinegar and other household supplies. This 3-page fact sheet explains the chemistry behind the vinegar test and instructions for performing the test and interpreting the results. Written by Qiang Zhu, Monica Ozores-Hampton, and Yuncong Li, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, June 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1262

Practices to Minimize Flooding Damage to Commercial Vegetable Production

Figure 2. Flooded squash plants.
Flooding is a major risk for commercial vegetable production in south Florida, especially in the south Dade County area. Flooding causes oxygen deficiency, or hypoxic stress, causing the plants to produce less energy. This shortage in energy prevents the absorption of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. This four-page fact sheet discusses several different management practices for overcoming flood damage, including the use of nitrogen and potassium fertilizers, oxygen fertilizers, growth regulators, and fungicides. Written by Goudong Liu, Yuncong Li, and Xiangju Fu, and published by the Soil and Water Science Department.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss425

Implementing the Four Rs (4Rs) in Nutrient Stewardship for Tomato Production

Freshly picked tomatoes.Fertilization plays a critical role in tomato production across the state of Florida. However, appropriate fertilization management depends on four major components (4Rs): right source, right rate, right placement, and right timing. Farming practices that follow the 4Rs can provide nutrients for optimal tomato productivity while minimizing the risk of nutrient losses and adverse environmental effects, both of which are important to the development of agricultural sustainability. This 6-page fact sheet discusses the 4Rs as well as conventional dry source fertilizers, controlled-release or slow-release source fertilizers, and liquid source fertilizers. Written by Qingren Wang, Guodong Liu, Kelly Morgan, and Yuncong Li, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, October 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1269

Bitter Melon: An Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida

Six-foot tall trellis systems provide support for bitter melon vines.Bitter melon is a tropical and subtropical vegetable crop with long climbing vines which is widely cultivated in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The unripe fruit is used as a vegetable with a pleasantly bitter taste. This 7-page fact sheet provides an overview of this plant as well as recommendations for individuals in Florida who are interested in growing it. Written by Guodong Liu, Qingren Wang, Yuncong Li, David Dinkins, Bonnie Wells, and Yuqi Cui, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, December 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1271

Long Squash: An Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida

Long squash vines on trellis.Long squash is an annual, vigorous, and herbaceous crop that was brought to the Americas by Paleoindian populations from Asia before the arrival of Columbus. This 4-page fact sheet provides an overview of this plant as well as recommendations for individuals in Florida who are interested in growing it. Written by Guodong Liu, Yuncong Li, David Dinkins, Bonnie Wells, Qingren Wang, and Yuqi Cui, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, December 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1272

What Else Can Surface Water Buffer Systems Do?: Exploring Multiple Ecosystem Services

A night sky image with star trails over greenhouses at the Plant Science Research and Education Center in Citra, Florida. Stars, lake, pond, water, oak tree, reflection. Image used in the 2012 Annual Research Report.As society confronts the consequences of global warming, deteriorating water quality, and impoverished biodiversity, there is a growing urgency to develop and expand water buffers' multifunctional ecosystem services. However, limited information is available on other potential co-benefits associated with the use of buffers, particularly VFSs. This 5-page fact sheet provides information on buffers' multiple ecosystem benefits, such as niche products production, carbon sequestration, and flood risk mitigation, as well as recommendations on future research needs necessary to enhance multiple ecosystem services and benefits of buffers. Written by Lei Wu, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, and Yuncong Li, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, November 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss647

Vegetative Filter Strips: A Best Management Practice for Controlling Nonpoint Source Pollution

Grasses growing on the edge of springs at Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Florida. Water, vegetation, spring, nature. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.Increasing numbers of pollutants have been observed in natural water systems. As awareness of agricultural sources of water pollution has grown, Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been specifically designed to address agricultural water pollutants and protect water quality. This 4-page fact sheet introduces one of the BMPs, Vegetative Filter Strips (VFSs), which efficiently control nonpoint pollution such as sediments, nutrients, and pesticides. The publication covers primary functions, key design factors, and maintenance of VFSs. Written by Lei Wu, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, and Yuncong Li, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, October 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss646

Long Bean: An Asian Vegetable Emerging in Florida

Dark green pods of long bean.Food diversity, nutritional food supply, and profitability are the priorities of agricultural and horticultural industries. To diversify vegetable products and increase the Florida vegetable industry's competitiveness, a number of new vegetable crops are rapidly emerging in the state. Due to Florida's favorable climate, these vegetable crops grow well and have high market potential. The objective of this 6-page fact sheet is to provide a general overview of long bean, one of the Asian vegetable crops grown in Florida. Written by Kshitij Khatri, Guodong Liu, Qingren Wang, Yuncong Li, David Dinkins, and Bonnie Wells, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, October 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1268

What is 4R nutrient stewardship?

A man checks fertilizer levels on a tractor on a farm
A new and innovative approach to Best Management Practices for fertilizer application known as 4R nutrient stewardship is available, to ensure the environmental, social, and economical sustainability of commercial crop production. This 3-page fact sheet focuses on the basic concepts of the 4R nutrient stewardship principles for commercial crop production. Written by Guodong Liu, Kelly Morgan, Yuncong Li, Lincoln Zotarelli, James DeValerio, and Qingren Wang, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, July 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1264

Snap Bean Soil Fertility Program in Miami-Dade County

Figure 1. Snapbean production on calcareous, very gravelly loam soils in Miami-Dade County

In terms of acreage, snap beans are the most commonly grown vegetable in Miami-Dade County. This 2-page facts sheet outlines the impact of fertilizer use and local weather and soil on snap bean production in this region. Written by Monica Ozores-Hampton, Qiang Zhu, and Yuncong Li, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, May 2015. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1261

Pepper Production in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Figure 12. Bhut Jolokia pepper. Credit: Qingren WangPepper is an important vegetable crop in Miami-Dade County. Unlike other vegetable crops, peppers are relatively more adaptable to the environment, especially the heat, and are relatively easier to grow. But to be successful, careful attention must be paid to maintain healthy plants and high productivity with efficient management of soil and water for the particular needs of each variety or cultivar. This 7-page fact sheet provides general information and guidelines for pepper growers in Miami-Dade County, including major pepper varieties, and their horticultural traits, and fundamental soil and water management requirements. Written by Qingren Wang, Shouan Zhang, Yuncong Li, Dakshina Seal, Waldemar Klassen, and Teresa Olczyk, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, February 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/tr010

Controlled-Release and Slow-Release Fertilizers as Nutrient Management Tools

UF/IFAS recommends nutrient management practices that will reduce harmful nitrate levels in the river, springs and groundwaterThere are many fertilizer sources available for commercial crop production. The characteristics of each fertilizer type determine whether its use poses an advantage or a disadvantage to a farmer. This 6-page fact sheet focuses on how to select the right fertilizer to enhance profitability and satisfy best management practices (BMPs). Written by Guodong Liu, Lincoln Zotarelli, Yuncong Li, David Dinkins, Qingren Wang, and Monica Ozores-Hampton, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, October 2014. (UF/IFAS Photo by Thomas Wright)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1255