Field studies were conducted during 1992 and 1993 to determine the effect of six monthly planting dates from April to September on gas exchange, plant height, and leafy fresh and dry yields of vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor L.). Vegetative growth was satisfactory for May to August planting. Seeds planted in April failed to germinate due to low soil temperatures. Plant growth was significantly reduced in the September planting possibly due to low fall temperatures and shortened day length. Soil and air temperatures 25 °C or higher promoted optimal stand establishment and growth. The vegetative growth of June seeded amaranth took place during the warmest part of the summer and as a result had maximum CO2 exchange rate (CER), plant height, and leafy fresh and dry yields. The relationship between planting date and CER, transpiration rate (E), stomatal conductance (gs), plant height, and leafy fresh and dry yields was quadratic, while a cubic equation provided best fit between the planting date and internal leaf CO2 concentration (Ci). The results suggest that it is possible to stagger the planting of Amaranthus tricolor in the southeastern United States to assure availability of fresh leafy greens throughout the summer. However, the crop produces maximum leaf biomass when grown during the warmest part of the summer.
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