University of California

Germination of seeds from carrot, lettuce, and pepper plants grown under severe nutrient deficiencies


James F. Harrington

Author Affiliations

James F. Harrington was Professor of Vegetable Crops and Olericulturist in the Experiment Station, Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 30(7):219-235. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v30n07p219. October 1960.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


Plants of carrot, lettuce, and pepper were grown in sand cultures receiving either a complete nutrient solution or one deficient in N, P, K, or Ca. An effort was made to produce severe deficiency, but not to a point at which no seeds would be produced.

Plants showed various deficiency symptoms, including necrosis of the growing tips, with calcium deficiency, and necrotic spots along the leaf margins in the case of potassium deficiency.

Seed yields were always depressed by low N, P, K, or Ca treatments. Percentage of normal seeds was depressed by low N, K, or Ca, but not by low P.

At harvest, seeds from low Nand P treatments usually showed the same germination as that of seeds receiving complete solution. However, K deficiency resulted in lower germination in some experiments, as did Ca deficiency in carrots and peppers.

In storage, seeds from low K and Ca treatments declined in germination faster than did seeds from the complete-solution treatments.

Literature Cited

Dempsey Wesley H., Harrington James F. Red cotyledon of lettuce. California Agriculture. 1951. 5(7):4

Eguchi Tsuneo. Influence of nitrogenous fertilizer applied at different stages on seed production in cabbage and Chinese cabbage 1960. Proc. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. (In press.)

Fox Robert L., Albrecht William A. Soil fertility and the quality of seeds. Missouri Agr. Exp. Sta. Res. Bul. 1957. 619:

Hartwell B. L. The influence of fertilizers on crop quality. National Fertilizer Assoc. Proc. 1932. 811:1-60. 389 Ref.

Hawthorn L. R., Pollard L. H. Production of lettuce seed as affected by soil moisture and fertility. Utah Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1956. 386:

Hoagland D. R., Arnon D. I. The water-culture method for growing plants without soil. California Agr. Exp. Sta. Cir. 1950. 347: (Rev.) https://archive.org/details/waterculturemeth347hoag

Iwata M., Eguchi Y. Effects of phosphorus and potassium supplied for the various stages of growth, on the yield and quality of seeds of Chinese cabbage. Jour. Hort. Assn. Japan. 1958. 27:171-78. (In Japanese, English summary.)

James Edwin, Bancroft T. A. The use of half-plants in a balanced incomplete block in investigating the effect of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, at two levels each, on the production of hard seed in crimson clover, Trifolium incarnatum. Agron. Jour. 1951. 43(2):96-98. DOI: 10.2134/agronj1951.00021962004300020010x [CrossRef]

Pendleton R. A. Cultural practices related to yields and germination of sugar beet seed. Proc. Amer. Sugar Beet Tech. 1954. 1954:157-60.

Person A. E., Berger K. C. Effect of magnesium on the quality and yield of canning peas. Soil Sci. Soc. Proc. 1950. 15:205-08. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1951.036159950015000C0046x [CrossRef]

Schudel H. L. Vegetable seed production in Oregon. Oregon Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1952. 512:

Harrington J. 1960. Germination of seeds from carrot, lettuce, and pepper plants grown under severe nutrient deficiencies. Hilgardia 30(7):219-235. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v30n07p219
Webmaster Email: sjosterman@ucanr.edu