The objective of this study was to determine the potential for year-round greenhouse production of specialty cut sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) in Wyoming. Over a 14-month period, we produced cut sunflowers in a nontraditional, transplant-based, potted method using natural light intensity and daylength conditions in Laramie, WY. Three cultivars of annual sunflowers, Dafna, ProCut Bicolor, and Sunbright Supreme, were grown from seeds sown at 2-week intervals starting on 16 Nov. 2011. Each planting consisted of four replications of four plants each. Seedlings were transplanted into 550-mL square plastic pots 15 days after sowing and were placed on greenhouse benches in blocks according to sow date. Flowers were cut at soil level when ray florets opened. Data collected included days to harvest and stem length for each stem. Results indicated significant cultivar by sow date interactions for days to harvest and stem lengths, indicating the importance of cultivar selection. Mean days to harvest ranged from 57 days (‘Sunbright Supreme’) to 103 days (‘ProCut Bicolor’). Mean stem lengths ranged from 43 cm (‘Dafna’) to 153 cm (‘Sunbright Supreme’). Overall, the results of this study show potential for year-round production of cut sunflowers and can help guide producers in the Rocky Mountain west to choose cultivars that best fit the needs of their business and market demand.
Andrea R. Garfinkel and Karen L. Panter
Karen L. Panter, Timmothy M. Gergeni, Casey P. Seals and Andrea R. Garfinkel
High tunnels are gaining popularity for their use in horticultural crop production. However, little is known about the effect of high tunnel orientation on plant growth and development. In this set of studies, we show tunnel orientation does not necessarily affect the production of cut sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and culinary herbs oregano (Origanum vulgare), marjoram (Origanum majorana), and garlic chive (Allium tuberosum). Two high tunnels, one with the long axis oriented north-south (NS) and the other east-west (EW), were used to test the effects of high tunnel orientation on several crops over a 5-year period: cut sunflower (2012 and 2016); marjoram, oregano, and garlic chive (2013 and 2014); and garlic chive (2015). The tunnels are 12 × 16 ft, smaller than those used in commercial production. The size would be appropriate for hobby and seasonal production of horticultural crops for local markets. Cut sunflower stems were similar lengths both years in both high tunnels. Sunflower times to harvest were different between cultivars but not between high tunnels. Oregano fresh weight yields were highest in the NS tunnel in 2013 but similar between tunnels in 2014. Marjoram fresh weights were highest in 2013 in the EW tunnel but highest in 2014 in the NS tunnel. Garlic chive fresh weights were similar between tunnels all 3 years. We show that differences are more a function of innate cultivar characteristics than which way small high tunnels are oriented.