Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 6 of 6 items for :

  • Author or Editor: Suzanne O’Connell x
  • HortTechnology x
Clear All Modify Search

The potential to expand the production of ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) grown as a specialty cut flower in the southeastern United States appears promising, especially for the winter holidays. This 2-year replicated study investigated the effects of two fall plantings and three cultivars on ornamental kale yields grown under organic high tunnels. In addition to the production study, informal interviews of local florists were conducted. The earlier planting dates resulted in longer stem lengths (≥5 cm) and fewer days to harvest (≥5 days) across both seasons. Commercial stem length goals were not achieved (≥60 cm) but local florists did not appear to have the same standards (≥31 cm). The cultivars Crane Bicolor and Lucir White had longer stems and larger heads than Crane Red. Our high tunnel system provided favorable air temperatures for vegetative growth from late September through early November indicating an earlier planting date may be possible. Commonly accepted nighttime temperatures required to induce color changes occurred in early to mid-November during our study period.

Free access

This study evaluated the yield of eight miniature lettuce (Lactuca sativa) cultivars (i.e., mini-lettuce) grown under organically managed high tunnels compared with a field system during two spring seasons in Georgia. Mini-lettuce required an average of 36 to 40 days to harvest in both systems with a 86% to 97% marketability rate. The high tunnels provided a heat gain on the coldest days, decreased leaf wetness, and resulted in a lower daily light integral compared with the field. In 2015, mini-lettuce yields were similar between the high tunnel and field, but in 2016, yields were greater under the high tunnels. In 2016 only, there was a significant system by cultivar interaction for yield, suggesting that the high tunnels provided a yield increase for ‘Baby Green Oakleaf’ and ‘Spretnak’ mini-lettuce. Differences in the daily light integral between the high tunnels and field appeared to affect the accumulation of anthocyanins in red-pigmented mini-lettuce. Anthocyanin concentrations were 26% to 194% greater in mini-lettuce grown in the field compared with under high tunnels. The cultivar Rhazes had the greatest anthocyanin concentrations of all red-pigmented mini-lettuce evaluated but also lower yields.

Open Access

Organic production is a fast-growing sector of agriculture in need of variety evaluations under their unique production systems. This study evaluated 16 watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) varieties for their performance characteristics under organic production practices. Plants were grown on plastic mulch-covered beds on land that had been certified organic in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program. Six of the entries were F1 hybrids; the remaining entries were open-pollinated (OP) varieties. Of the 10 OP varieties, three were considered heirloom varieties, including Cream of Saskatchewan, Georgia Rattlesnake, and Moon & Stars. ‘Georgia Rattlesnake’ was the highest yielding variety and had the greatest average fruit weight. Along with ‘Georgia Rattlesnake’, ‘Nunhems 800’, ‘Nunhems 860’, ‘Orangeglo’, and ‘SSX 8585’ were included in the top five yielding varieties. The top five yielding varieties had fruit size that averaged more than 20 lb. Fruit size correlated with rind thickness, with lighter fruit having thinner rind (Pearson’s correlation, r = 0.779), which is not unexpected. ‘Sangria’ had the greatest average soluble solids content at 11.2%, which was greater than all entries with soluble solids less than 10%.

Open Access

The grafting of herbaceous vegetables is an emerging development in the United States. This report provides an estimate of the variable costs of grafting within U.S. tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) transplant production systems. Grafted and nongrafted plants were propagated at two commercial farming operations in Ivanhoe, NC (NC) and Strasburg, PA (PA) and the farm in NC produced certified organic transplants. Detailed economic production sequences were generated for each site, and grafted and nongrafted transplant production costs were $0.59 and $0.13 in NC, and $1.25 and $0.51 in PA, respectively. Direct costs associated with grafting (e.g., grafting labor, clips, chamber, etc.) accounted for 37% to 38% of the added cost of grafting, and grafting labor was 11.1% to 14.4% of the cost of grafted transplant production. Seed costs represented 52% and 33% of the added cost of grafting at the two sites, and indirect costs (e.g., soil, trays, and heating) accounted for 10% and 30% of the added cost of grafting. Our findings suggest that under current seed prices and with similar production practices, the feasibility of grafting in the United States is not disproportionately affected by domestic labor costs. Additionally, the economic models presented in this report identify the cost of production at various transplant stages, and provide a valuable tool for growers interested in grafted tomato transplant production and utilization.

Full access

There is a dearth of information on pepper (Capsicum annuum) variety production under organic conditions; therefore, a randomized complete block designed experiment of 13 pepper varieties were evaluated in 2016 and 2017 using organic production practices on land managed organically for the 6 previous years. Total yield, graded yield, and early yield were the main factors of interest. There were by-year interactions, so the data were analyzed separately for each year. All of the peppers evaluated except for ‘Sweet Chocolate’ were bell pepper types. The average total yield was 1229 and 1754 boxes/acre (28 lb/box) in 2016 and 2017, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences for total yield or early total yield in 2016. In 2017, the top five highest yielding varieties were Aristotle X3R®, Gridiron, King Arthur, Flavorburst, and Blitz. With the exception of ‘Flavorburst’, all of these entries were among the highest yielding for fancy fruit (≥3 inches diameter and 3.5 inches length). The greatest early yield in 2017 included ‘Aristotle X3R®’, ‘Flavorburst’, ‘Touchdown’, ‘Islander’, and ‘Gridiron’. In 2017, early yields of fancy fruit greater than 100 boxes/acre included ‘Aristotle X3R®’, ‘Red Knight X3R®’, ‘Blitz’, and ‘Gridiron’.

Open Access

In this study, we conducted an economic analysis of high tunnel and open-field production systems of heirloom tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) based on a two-year study at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) located in Goldsboro, eastern North Carolina. The research site was transitional organic using organically certified inputs and practices on land not yet certified. Production costs and returns were documented in each system and provide a useful decision tool for growers. Climatic conditions varied dramatically in 2007 compared with 2008 and differentially affected total and marketable yields in each system. Profits were higher in the open-field system and the high tunnels in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Sensitivity analysis was conducted using a range of market prices from $1.60/lb to $3.60/lb and a range of fruit marketability levels from 35% to 80%. Both systems were profitable except at the lowest price point and the lowest percent marketability level in high tunnel in 2007. At $2.60/lb, seasonal average sale price reported by growers for this region, and depending on percent marketability levels, the payback period for high tunnels ranged from two to five years. Presented sensitivity tables will enable decision makers to knowledgably estimate economic potential of open-field and high tunnel systems based on expected local prices and fruit quality parameters.

Full access