USING A GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS) TO CHARACTERIZE AND TO MAP GROWING SEASONS FOR VEGETABLES

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  • 1 Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901.

Vegetable production has become a multi-million dollar activity in Tennessee. The large number of options of planting dates and maturity classes of different vegetable species and cultivars result in a flexible, yet confusing, situation for the grower. A plentiful supply of vegetables for the processor, fresh market, or family table can be assured by the proper scheduling of planting and harvest of different crops and cultivars. Growers have very limited access to climatic data oriented to vegetable production in their locations. For the most part, they depend on planting maps on the backs of seed packets, or on extension bulletins with very general planting and harvest date recommendations. Tennessee consists of 4 climatic divisions that do not adequately describe the multitude of climates due to the diverse topography. The objective of this research was to create GIS maps of climatic variables important to vegetable production. Maps of temperatures, growing degree days, and rainfall, freeze and heat stress probabilities based on data from 72 locations in Tennessee were used to characterize the growing seasons for different vegetables.

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