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Horticulturae, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2017)

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Open AccessReview
Remote Sensing for Irrigation of Horticultural Crops
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020040
Received: 20 January 2017 / Revised: 5 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1756 | PDF Full-text (748 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reviews the literature on applications of remote sensing for monitoring soil- and crop- water status for irrigation purposes. The review is organized into two main sections: (1) sensors and platforms applied to irrigation studies and (2) remote sensing approaches for precision [...] Read more.
This paper reviews the literature on applications of remote sensing for monitoring soil- and crop- water status for irrigation purposes. The review is organized into two main sections: (1) sensors and platforms applied to irrigation studies and (2) remote sensing approaches for precision irrigation to estimate crop water status, evapotranspiration, infrared thermography, soil and crop characteristics methods. Recent literature reports several remote sensing (RS) approaches to monitor crop water status in the cultivated environment. Establishing the right amount of water to supply for different irrigation strategies (maximization of yield or water use efficiency (WUE)) for a large number of crops is a problem that remains unresolved. For each crop, it will be necessary to create a stronger connection between crop-water status and crop yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessArticle
Aquaponics in Urban Agriculture: Social Acceptance and Urban Food Planning
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020039
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 10 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2166 | PDF Full-text (566 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aquaponics is emerging as a novel technology with particular potential for urban agriculture (UA). The social acceptance of aquaponics and its place in urban food planning has not previously been studied. This study used focus groups, key informant interviews, and scenario analyses to [...] Read more.
Aquaponics is emerging as a novel technology with particular potential for urban agriculture (UA). The social acceptance of aquaponics and its place in urban food planning has not previously been studied. This study used focus groups, key informant interviews, and scenario analyses to investigate the reactions of Adelaide’s urban food opinion leaders and local government area (LGA) officials to aquaponics. Most of the focus group participants were unfamiliar with aquaponics. The perceived negatives of the technology received greater attention than the perceived benefits. Aquaponics was thought to be most competitive in either niche or wholesale markets, with a need for scaled guidelines from backyard to large-scale commercial production. For aquaponics in urban settings the influence of urban planning and policy is an important, but to date unstudied, consideration. The urban growers’ opinions of the overcomplicated nature of urban food planning corresponded with the mixed policy responses of the LGAs towards UA. This further supports the participants’ desire for a supportive State Government stance on UA to encourage consistency in LGAs. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Stress Coefficients for Soil Water Balance Combined with Water Stress Indicators for Irrigation Scheduling of Woody Crops
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020038
Received: 1 March 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1815 | PDF Full-text (2595 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There are several causes for the failure of empirical models to estimate soil water depletion and to calculate irrigation depths, and the problem is particularly critical in tall, uneven, deficit irrigated (DI) crops in Mediterranean climates. Locally measured indicators that quantify water status [...] Read more.
There are several causes for the failure of empirical models to estimate soil water depletion and to calculate irrigation depths, and the problem is particularly critical in tall, uneven, deficit irrigated (DI) crops in Mediterranean climates. Locally measured indicators that quantify water status are useful for addressing those causes and providing feed-back information for improving the adequacy of simple models. Because of their high aerodynamic resistance, the canopy conductance of woody crops is an important factor in determining evapotranspiration (ET), and accurate stress coefficient (Ks) values are needed to quantify the impact of stomatal closure on ET. A brief overview of basic general principles for irrigation scheduling is presented with emphasis on DI applications that require Ks modelling. The limitations of existing technology related to scheduling of woody crops are discussed, including the shortcomings of plant-based approaches. In relation to soil water deficit and/or predawn leaf water potential, several woody crop Ks functions are presented in a secondary analysis. Whenever the total and readily available water data were available, a simple Ks model was tested. The ultimate aim of this discussion is to illustrate the central concept: that a combination of simple ET models and water stress indicators is required for scheduling irrigation of deep-rooted woody crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview
New Trends in the Fertigation Management of Irrigated Vegetable Crops
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020037
Received: 13 February 2017 / Revised: 21 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 7 June 2017
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1825 | PDF Full-text (731 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of fertigation, coupled with micro-irrigation, has continued to increase since it was first introduced in horticultural cropping systems. This combination provides a technical solution whereby nutrients and water can be supplied to the crop with high precision in terms of time [...] Read more.
The use of fertigation, coupled with micro-irrigation, has continued to increase since it was first introduced in horticultural cropping systems. This combination provides a technical solution whereby nutrients and water can be supplied to the crop with high precision in terms of time and space, thereby allowing high nutrient use efficiency. However, the correct estimation of crop nutrient and water needs is fundamental to obtaining precise plant nutrition and high nutrient use efficiency in fertigated cropping systems. This paper illustrates the state-of-the-art and new perspectives for optimal nutrient management of vegetable crops cultivated under fertigation regimes. An overall description is reported for the most valuable technologies and techniques based on simulation models, soil testing, plant testing, and related decision support systems that can be adopted for efficient fertigation. However, it should be highlighted that only a few of the above technologies and techniques are practically available and/or easy to use by growers. Therefore, much more attention should be paid in the future to the transfer of research knowledge to farmers and technical advisors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Effects of Light Quality on Growth and Phytonutrient Accumulation of Herbs under Controlled Environments
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020036
Received: 10 March 2017 / Revised: 28 May 2017 / Accepted: 28 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2272 | PDF Full-text (235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, consumption of herb products has increased in daily diets, contributing to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, chronic diseases, and certain types of cancer owing to high concentrations of phytonutrients such as essential oils and phenolic compounds. To meet the increasing [...] Read more.
In recent years, consumption of herb products has increased in daily diets, contributing to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, chronic diseases, and certain types of cancer owing to high concentrations of phytonutrients such as essential oils and phenolic compounds. To meet the increasing demand for high quality herbs, controlled environment agriculture is an alternative and a supplement to field production. Light is one of the most important environmental factors influencing herb quality including phytonutrient content, in addition to effects on growth and development. The recent development and adoption of light-emitting diodes provides opportunities for targeted regulation of growth and phytonutrient accumulation by herbs to optimize productivity and quality under controlled environments. For most herb species, red light supplemented with blue light significantly increased plant yield. However, plant yield decreased when the blue light proportion (BP) reached a threshold, which varied among species. Research has also shown that red, blue, and ultraviolet (UV) light enhanced the concentration of essential oils and phenolic compounds in various herbs and improved antioxidant capacities of herbs compared with white light or sunlight, yet these improvement effects varied among species, compounds, and light treatments. In addition to red and blue light, other light spectra within the photosynthetically active region—such as cyan, green, yellow, orange, and far-red light—are absorbed by photosynthetic pigments and utilized in leaves. However, only a few selected ranges of light spectra have been investigated, and the effects of light quality (spectrum distribution of light sources) on herb production are not fully understood. This paper reviews how light quality affected the growth and phytonutrient accumulation of both culinary and medicinal herbs under controlled environments, and discusses future research opportunities to produce high quantity and quality herbs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Production in Controlled Environment)
Open AccessReview
Plant-Based Methods for Irrigation Scheduling of Woody Crops
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020035
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2395 | PDF Full-text (2543 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increasing world population and expected climate scenarios impel the agricultural sector towards a more efficient use of water. The scientific community is responding to that challenge by developing a variety of methods and technologies to increase crop water productivity. Precision irrigation is [...] Read more.
The increasing world population and expected climate scenarios impel the agricultural sector towards a more efficient use of water. The scientific community is responding to that challenge by developing a variety of methods and technologies to increase crop water productivity. Precision irrigation is intended to achieve that purpose, through the wise choice of the irrigation system, the irrigation strategy, the method to schedule irrigation, and the production target. In this review, the relevance of precision irrigation for a rational use of water in agriculture, and methods related to the use of plant-based measurements for both the assessment of plant water stress and irrigation scheduling, are considered. These include non-automated, conventional methods based on manual records of plant water status and gas exchange, and automated methods where the related variable is recorded continuously and automatically. Thus, the use of methodologies based on the Scholander chamber and portable gas analysers, as well as those of systems for measuring sap flow, stem diameter variation and leaf turgor pressure, are reviewed. Other methods less used but with a potential to improve irrigation are also considered. These include those based on measurements related to the stem and leaf water content, and to changes in electrical potential within the plant. The use of measurements related to canopy temperature, both for direct assessment of water stress and for defining zones with different irrigation requirements, is also addressed. Finally, the importance of choosing the production target wisely, and the need for economic analyses to obtain maximum benefit of the technology related to precision irrigation, are outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Horticultural Loss Generated by Wholesalers: A Case Study of the Canning Vale Fruit and Vegetable Markets in Western Australia
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020034
Received: 6 April 2017 / Revised: 9 May 2017 / Accepted: 20 May 2017 / Published: 25 May 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1482 | PDF Full-text (1633 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In today’s economic climate, businesses need to efficiently manage their finite resources to maintain long-term sustainable growth, productivity, and profits. However, food loss produces large unacceptable economic losses, environmental degradation, and impacts on humanity globally. Its cost in Australia is estimated to be [...] Read more.
In today’s economic climate, businesses need to efficiently manage their finite resources to maintain long-term sustainable growth, productivity, and profits. However, food loss produces large unacceptable economic losses, environmental degradation, and impacts on humanity globally. Its cost in Australia is estimated to be around AUS$8 billion each year, but knowledge of its extent within the food value chain from farm to fork is very limited. The present study examines food loss by wholesalers. A survey questionnaire was prepared and distributed; 35 wholesalers and processors replied and their responses to 10 targeted questions on produce volumes, amounts handled, reasons for food loss, and innovations applied or being considered to reduce and utilize food loss were analyzed. Reported food loss was estimated to be 180 kg per week per primary wholesaler and 30 kg per secondary wholesaler, or around 286 tonnes per year. Participants ranked “over supply” and “no market demand” as the main causes for food loss. The study found that improving grading guidelines has the potential to significantly reduce food loss levels and improve profit margins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marketing Strategies of Horticultural Production Chain)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimising Crop Selection for Small Urban Food Gardens in Dry Climates
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020033
Received: 15 July 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 5 May 2017 / Published: 10 May 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1962 | PDF Full-text (1171 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The net value of urban agriculture has not been studied, especially accounting for the cost of water. This study has sought to remedy this gap in the literature by examining the varying price of water in different climates. A two-stage linear programming model [...] Read more.
The net value of urban agriculture has not been studied, especially accounting for the cost of water. This study has sought to remedy this gap in the literature by examining the varying price of water in different climates. A two-stage linear programming model has been used to maximise the net value of urban agriculture. The decision variables included the type and yield of crops; constraints included upper and lower bounds of dietary food groups, individual foods, protein and energy as well as area utilised per person. The results show optimal crop regimes are similar across different climates and water prices due to the selection of crops that have high profit margins. The results also showed that per capita garden size is critical with smaller gardens optimal in terms of water applied per unit area and net value returned as well as return per unit area due to the ability to select the highest value crops. Generally, the more high-value and low water-use crops that can be included, the higher the value in larger gardens. The results indicate that a modest food garden growing the right crops can be highly cost-effective, even with conservative crop yields and water use. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growth and Tissue Elemental Composition Response of Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) to Hydroponic and Aquaponic Water Quality Conditions
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020032
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 28 April 2017 / Accepted: 5 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1465 | PDF Full-text (990 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea cv. Carmel) was grown in a conventional glass greenhouse under three different nutrient solution treatments. Lighting and temperature conditions were identical. Six growing systems were used to provide a duplicate trough system for each of these three treatments. Six [...] Read more.
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea cv. Carmel) was grown in a conventional glass greenhouse under three different nutrient solution treatments. Lighting and temperature conditions were identical. Six growing systems were used to provide a duplicate trough system for each of these three treatments. Six trials were harvested from each system over a two month time period. Two treatments received hydroponic nutrient inputs, with one treatment at pH 7.0 (referred to as H7) and the other at pH 5.8 (H5), and the third treatment was aquaponic (A7), receiving all of its nutrients from a single fish tank with koi (Cyprinus carpio) except for chelated iron. System pH was regulated by adding K2CO3 to aquaponic systems and KOH to hydroponic systems. Comparisons made between treatments were total yield, leaf surface area, tissue elemental content, and dry weight to fresh weight ratio. Dry weight biomass yield values were not different in pairwise comparisons between treatments (A7 vs. H5: p = 0.59 fresh weight, p = 0.42 dry weight). Similarly, surface area results were not different between treatments. The important comparison was that A7 achieved the same growth as H5, the conventional pH with a complete inorganic nutrient solution, despite unbalanced and less than “ideal” nutrient concentrations in the A7 condition. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Improving Plant Water Use Efficiency through Molecular Genetics
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020031
Received: 20 January 2017 / Revised: 19 April 2017 / Accepted: 21 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2573 | PDF Full-text (486 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Improving crop performance under water-limiting conditions is essential for achieving environmentally sustainable food production. This requires significant progress in both the identification and characterization of key genetic and physiological processes involved in water uptake and loss. Plants regulate water uptake and loss through [...] Read more.
Improving crop performance under water-limiting conditions is essential for achieving environmentally sustainable food production. This requires significant progress in both the identification and characterization of key genetic and physiological processes involved in water uptake and loss. Plants regulate water uptake and loss through both developmental and environmental responses. These responses include: root morphology and architecture, cuticle development, stomatal development, and guard cell movements in response to the environment. Genes controlling root traits and stomatal development and guard cell movements strongly impact water use efficiency (WUE), and represent the best targets for molecular breeding programs. This article provides an overview of the complex networks of genes involved in water uptake and loss. These traits represent novel opportunities and strategies for genetic improvement of WUE and drought tolerance in crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview
Soil Salinity: Effect on Vegetable Crop Growth. Management Practices to Prevent and Mitigate Soil Salinization
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020030
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 5706 | PDF Full-text (267 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Salinity is a major problem affecting crop production all over the world: 20% of cultivated land in the world, and 33% of irrigated land, are salt-affected and degraded. This process can be accentuated by climate change, excessive use of groundwater (mainly if close [...] Read more.
Salinity is a major problem affecting crop production all over the world: 20% of cultivated land in the world, and 33% of irrigated land, are salt-affected and degraded. This process can be accentuated by climate change, excessive use of groundwater (mainly if close to the sea), increasing use of low-quality water in irrigation, and massive introduction of irrigation associated with intensive farming. Excessive soil salinity reduces the productivity of many agricultural crops, including most vegetables, which are particularly sensitive throughout the ontogeny of the plant. The salinity threshold (ECt) of the majority of vegetable crops is low (ranging from 1 to 2.5 dS m−1 in saturated soil extracts) and vegetable salt tolerance decreases when saline water is used for irrigation. The objective of this review is to discuss the effects of salinity on vegetable growth and how management practices (irrigation, drainage, and fertilization) can prevent soil and water salinization and mitigate the adverse effects of salinity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
Open AccessArticle
Economic Cost-Analysis of the Impact of Container Size on Transplanted Tree Value
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020029
Received: 26 October 2016 / Revised: 18 April 2017 / Accepted: 21 April 2017 / Published: 27 April 2017
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Abstract
The benefits and costs of varying container sizes have yet to be fully evaluated to determine which container size affords the most advantageous opportunity for consumers. To determine value of the tree following transplant, clonal replicates of Vitex agnus-castus L. [Chaste Tree], Acer [...] Read more.
The benefits and costs of varying container sizes have yet to be fully evaluated to determine which container size affords the most advantageous opportunity for consumers. To determine value of the tree following transplant, clonal replicates of Vitex agnus-castus L. [Chaste Tree], Acer rubrum L. var. drummondii (Hook. & Arn. ex Nutt.) Sarg. [Drummond Red Maple], and Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich. [Baldcypress] were grown under common conditions in each of five container sizes 3.5, 11.7, 23.3, 97.8 or 175.0 L, respectively (#1, 3, 7, 25 or 45). In June 2013, six trees of each container size and species were transplanted to a sandy clay loam field in College Station, Texas. To determine the increase in value over a two-year post-transplant period, height and caliper measurements were taken at the end of nursery production and again at the end of the second growing season in the field, October 2014. Utilizing industry standards, initial costs of materials and labor were then compared with the size of trees after two years. Replacement cost analysis after two growing seasons indicated a greater increase in value for 11.7 and 23.3 L trees compared to losses in value for some 175.0 L trees. In comparison with trees from larger containers, trees from smaller size containers experienced shorter establishment times and increased growth rates, thus creating a quicker return on investment for trees transplanted from the smaller container sizes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marketing Strategies of Horticultural Production Chain)
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Open AccessReview
New Approaches to Irrigation Scheduling of Vegetables
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020028
Received: 19 February 2017 / Revised: 31 March 2017 / Accepted: 12 April 2017 / Published: 18 April 2017
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1931 | PDF Full-text (1127 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using evapotranspiration (ET) data for scheduling irrigations on vegetable farms is challenging due to imprecise crop coefficients, time consuming computations, and the need to simultaneously manage many fields. Meanwhile, the adoption of soil moisture monitoring in vegetables has historically been limited by sensor [...] Read more.
Using evapotranspiration (ET) data for scheduling irrigations on vegetable farms is challenging due to imprecise crop coefficients, time consuming computations, and the need to simultaneously manage many fields. Meanwhile, the adoption of soil moisture monitoring in vegetables has historically been limited by sensor accuracy and cost, as well as labor required for installation, removal, and collection of readings. With recent improvements in sensor technology, public weather-station networks, satellite and aerial imaging, wireless communications, and cloud computing, many of the difficulties in using ET data and soil moisture sensors for irrigation scheduling of vegetables can now be addressed. Web and smartphone applications have been developed that automate many of the calculations involved in ET-based irrigation scheduling. Soil moisture sensor data can be collected through wireless networks and accessed using web browser or smartphone apps. Energy balance methods of crop ET estimation, such as eddy covariance and Bowen ratio, provide research options for further developing and evaluating crop coefficient guidelines of vegetables, while recent advancements in surface renewal instrumentation have led to a relatively low-cost tool for monitoring crop water requirement in commercial farms. Remote sensing of crops using satellite, manned aircraft, and UAV platforms may also provide useful tools for vegetable growers to evaluate crop development, plant stress, water consumption, and irrigation system performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview
Climate Change Impacts on Water Use in Horticulture
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020027
Received: 5 January 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 30 March 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1377 | PDF Full-text (325 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The evidence for anthropogenic global climate change is strong, and the projected climate changes could greatly impact horticultural production. For horticulture, two of the biggest concerns are related to the scarcity of water for crop production and the potential for increased evapotranspiration (ET). [...] Read more.
The evidence for anthropogenic global climate change is strong, and the projected climate changes could greatly impact horticultural production. For horticulture, two of the biggest concerns are related to the scarcity of water for crop production and the potential for increased evapotranspiration (ET). While ET is known to increase with air temperature, it is also known to decrease with increasing humidity and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Considering all of these factors and a plausible climate projection, this paper demonstrates that ET may increase or decrease depending on the magnitude of atmospheric changes including wind speed. On the other hand, the evidence is still strong that water resources will become less reliable in many regions where horticultural crops are grown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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