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Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.), also called chinese date, cultivars have not been formally trialed in the United States after the 1950s. Currently, there are five to six commercially available jujube cultivars, with ‘Li’ as the dominant one. Both growers and consumers demand a wider range of cultivars to extend the maturation season and for different uses. We tested jujube cultivars at three locations in New Mexico [U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 6a, 7a, and 8a] to assess their adaption and performance. These are early performance results for fresh eating cultivars. Jujubes were precocious; 50% to 95% of trees produced during their planting year, depending on cultivar and location. The average yield per tree for trees in their second to fourth year after planting were 409 g, 4795 g, and 5318 g at Alcalde; and 456 g, 3098 g, and 5926 g at Los Lunas, respectively. The yields varied by cultivar and location. ‘Kongfucui’ (‘KFC’) was the most productive cultivar at Alcalde and Los Lunas in both 2017 and 2018, followed by ‘Daguazao’, ‘Gaga’, ‘Honeyjar’, Maya’, ‘Redland’, and ‘Sugarcane’. ‘GA866’, ‘Alcalde #1’, ‘Zaocuiwang’, and ‘Sandia’ had the lowest yields among the 15 cultivars tested. ‘Alcalde #1’ was the earliest to mature with large fruit, suitable for marginal regions with short growing seasons, whereas ‘Sandia’ had the best fruit quality among all cultivars tested, suitable for commercial growers and home gardeners. ‘Maya’, ‘Gaga’, ‘Honeyjar’, and ‘Russian 2’ were very productive, early-midseason cultivars with small fruit but excellent fruit quality—a perfect fit for the home gardener market. ‘Li’, ‘Daguazao’, ‘Redland’, and ‘Shanxi Li’ were productive with large fruit. Cultivars grew faster and produced higher yields, larger fruit, and higher soluble solids at more southerly locations. This article discusses cultivars’ early performance up to the fourth year after planting. This is the first jujube cultivar trial report in the United States since the 1950s.

Open Access

Jujube cultivars have been imported into the United States for more than 100 years, but cultivar trials have been limited. To accurately recommend cultivars for each region, trials have to be conducted. We have set up jujube cultivar trials at the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Alcalde (2015, USDA hardiness zone 6a), Los Lunas (2015, 7a), and Leyendecker (2017, 8a) Centers with over 35 cultivars at each site with two replicates and a complete random block design. We reported the early performance of fresh-eating cultivars in 2019. Here we report the performance of 19 drying and multipurpose jujube cultivars. Between 40% and 100% of jujube trees produced a few fruit to more than 100 fruit in the planting year, depending on cultivar and location. Trees were more upright at Los Lunas than at Alcalde. ‘Kongfucui’ (KFC) was the most productive cultivar at Alcalde with 13.3 kg/tree in 2019, followed by ‘Chaoyang’, ‘Jinkuiwang’ (JKW), ‘Pitless’, and ‘Lang’. The yield at Los Lunas was lower than Alcalde for the first 3 years after planting; however, ‘Jinsi 2’, ‘Jinsi 4’, ‘Jixin’, ‘Sherwood’, ‘Sihong’, and ‘Xiangzao’ produced higher yields at Los Lunas than Alcalde in 2019. All cultivars produced higher yields and contained higher soluble solids at Leyendecker than Alcalde and Los Lunas at similar ages. ‘JKW’ was the most vigorous and productive cultivar at Leyendecker. ‘JKW’, ‘Xiangzao’, and ‘Lang’ produced more than 3.0 kg/tree in their second year after planting. ‘JKW’ yielded 12.3 kg/tree in its third year after planting. Among the three locations, drying cultivars are not recommended for commercial production at Alcalde. However, home gardeners can plant multipurpose and early-drying cultivars at Alcalde. Leyendecker produced the best dry fruit with larger fruit size, rich color, and meaty fruit; dry fruit quality was acceptable in most years at Los Lunas except 2019. We preliminarily recommend some drying and multipurpose cultivars for each location. As trees mature and produce more fruit, we will fine-tune the cultivar recommendations. We also discuss the jujube cultivar zoning information in New Mexico and fruit uses.

Open Access

We examined the effect of harvest schedule on the yield of ‘Red Russian’ kale (Brassica napus ssp. napus var. pabularia) grown during the winter in 16 × 32-ft high tunnels in northern New Mexico. We conducted the study for two growing seasons: 2013–14 and 2014–15. All plots were sown on 16 Oct. and harvested four times according to four harvest schedules: A) 8, 16, 20, and 24 weeks after sowing; B) 10, 17, 21, and 25 weeks after sowing; C) 12, 18, 22, and 26 weeks after sowing; and D) 14, 19, 23, and 27 weeks after sowing. The first harvest of each treatment was the greatest, averaging 216 g/ft2, compared with 88, 109, and 104 g/ft2 for harvests 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Season total yield of treatments B, C, and D (harvests beginning at 10, 12, and 14 weeks after sowing) yielded significantly more than treatment A, but only in year 2, when delayed growth resulted in very low yields for treatment A at harvest 1. Considering the entire 240-ft2 cropped area of the high tunnel, staggered harvests of 60 ft2 at a time can yield 2.6 to 17.5 kg per harvest or up to 124 kg over an entire season. Although we examined the yield of mature leaves, harvests could possibly begin earlier than in this study for “baby” kale or salad mixes, and the area harvested could be tailored to plant growth stage and market demand.

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`Sugar Snap' snap peas (Pisum sativum L.) were interseeded into a stand of `Española Improved' chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) in July or Aug. in 1995, 1996, and 1997. Peas were interseeded as one or two rows per bed, giving planting rates of about 92 or 184 kg·ha-1, respectively. Our objectives were to determine: 1) if intercropped pea would reduce chile yield and vice versa; 2) the effects of pea planting rates and dates on pea yield. Intercropped peas reduced chile yield by about 22% in 1995, but had no significant effects in other years. Pea plants from the August intercrops reached the flowering stage but did not produce pods in 1995 or 1996; some small pods were produced from August intercrops in 1997. Final plant densities were lower and less uniform in 1996 than in 1995 or 1997. Intercropped peas yielded less than monocropped peas in all years. Pea yields ranged from 1370 to 3960 kg·ha-1 when monocropped, 31 kg·ha-1 (1996 single-row) to 646 kg·ha-1 (1995 double-row) when intercropped. In 1995 only, the double-row intercrop yielded more peas than the single-row intercrop. Pod yield/plant was reduced 80%, 98%, and 96% in 1995, 1996, and 1997, respectively, by intercropping. Estimated gross revenues for the treatments indicate that, under the price assumptions used in the study, interseeding snap peas into stands of chile in north-central New Mexico is not economically advantageous compared with monocropped chile.

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In a two-part study, we examined the effect of sowing date and harvest schedule on the yield of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) grown during the winter in 16 × 32-ft-high tunnels in northern New Mexico. Each part of the study was conducted for two growing seasons and took place between 2012 and 2015. In Study A (2012–13 and 2013–14), spinach was sown four times at roughly 2-week intervals (mid-October, early November, mid-November, and early December) and plant density (plants per square foot), plant height (centimeters), and yield (grams per square foot) were measured for three harvests in mid-January, mid-February, and mid-March. The earliest sowing date had the least-dense stands, and plant density increased with each subsequent sowing. The two earliest sowing dates had significantly higher season-long yield than the later two sowings. In Study B (2013–14 and 2014–15), all plots were sown in mid-October, but harvest schedule treatments were staggered such that harvests began at 9, 11, 13, or 15 weeks after sowing and continued at irregular intervals. Treatment 2, with harvests beginning after 11 weeks, had the greatest season-long yield, slightly greater than when harvests began at 9 weeks, and significantly more than when harvest began 13 weeks or later. More importantly, a staggered harvest schedule can provide spinach weekly for direct marketing opportunities.

Open Access

Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), barrel medic (Medicago truncatula Gaerth.), and black lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) were interseeded into `New Mexico 6-4' chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) when plants were 8 to 12 inches tall or 12 to 16 inches tall in 1993 and 1994. Hairy vetch overwintered well both years, whereas barrel medic and black lentil did not. Spring aboveground dry mass yields of hairy vetch averaged 2.11 and 2.57 tons per acre in 1994 and 1995, respectively, while N accumulation averaged 138 and 145 pounds per acre in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Forage sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] dry mass yield and N accumulation were significantly higher following hairy vetch than following the other legumes or no-legume control. There was no significant difference between forage sorghum yields following barrel medic, black lentil, or the no-legume control. Fertilizer replacement values (FRV) for the legumes were calculated from regression equations for forage sorghum dry mass yield as a function of N fertilizer rate. FRV for hairy vetch were at least 7-times higher than for either barrel medic or black lentil. Hairy vetch interseeded into chile pepper and managed as a winter annual can significantly increase the yield of a following crop compared to a nonfertilized control.

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Five legumes [hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), barrel medic (Medicago truncatula Gaerth.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), black lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.)] were interseeded into sweet corn (Zea mays L.) at last cultivation when sweet corn was at about the V9 (early) or blister (late) stage. The effect of legume interseeding on sweet corn yield, and late-season dry-matter and N yields of aboveground portions of the legumes was determined. Sweet corn yield was not affected by legume interseeding. In 1993, legume dry-matter yields were 1420 kg·ha–1 interseeded early and 852 kg·ha–1 interseeded late. Nitrogen yields were 49 kg·ha–1 interseeded early and 33 kg·ha–1 interseeded late. In 1994, dry-matter yields were 2760 kg·ha–1 interseeded early and 1600 kg·ha–1 interseeded late. Nitrogen yields were 83 kg·ha–1 interseeded early and 50 kg·ha–1 interseeded late. In 1993, barrel medic was the highest-yielding legume with dry matter at 2420 kg·ha–1 and N at 72 kg·ha–1 interseeded early, while red clover yielded the lowest with dry matter at 340 kg·ha–1 and N at 12 kg·ha–1 interseeded late. In 1994, dry-matter and N yields ranged from 4500 and 131 kg·ha–1, respectively, for early interseeded barrel medic to 594 kg·ha–1 and 16 kg·ha–1, respectively, for late interseeded red clover.

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Three legumes [hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), barrel medic (Medicago truncatula Gaerth.), and black lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.)] were interseeded into `New Mexico 6-4' chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) when plants were 20–30 cm tall (3 Aug., “early” interseeding) or when plants were 30–40 cm tall (16–17 Aug., “late” interseeding) in 1993 and 1994. Our objectives were to determine the effect of legume interseeding on cumulative chile yield, and late-season dry-matter and nitrogen yields of aboveground portions of the legumes. Legumes were harvested on 8 Nov. 1993 and 15 Nov. 1994. Chile yield was not significantly affected by legume interseeding. In 1993, legumes accumulated 57% more dry matter and 55% more N when interseeded 3 Aug. vs. 16 Aug. In 1994, legumes accumulated 91% more dry matter and 86% more N when interseeded 3 Aug. vs. 17 Aug. Aboveground dry-matter yields in 1993 ranged from 1350 kg·ha–1 for black lentil interseeded late to 3370 kg·ha–1 for hairy vetch interseeded early. Nitrogen yields ranged from 52 kg·ha–1 for black lentil interseeded late to 136 kg·ha–1 for hairy vetch interseeded early. In 1994, hairy vetch was the highest yielding legume with dry matter at 1810 kg·ha–1 and N at 56 kg·ha–1 interseeded early, while black lentil yielded the lowest with dry matter at 504 kg·ha–1 and N at 17 kg·ha–1 interseeded late. In the spring following each interseeding year, we observed that hairy vetch had overwintered well, whereas barrel medic and black lentil had not, except when a few plants of barrel medic survived the winter of 1994–95. Results from this study indicate that legumes can be successfully interseeded into chile in the high-desert region of the southwestern United States without a significant decrease in chile yield.

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A decrease in available farmland worldwide has prompted interest in polyculture systems such as intercropping where two or more crops are grown simultaneously on the same land to increase the yield per farm area. In Alcalde, NM, a year-round intercropping system was designed to evaluate organically produced blackberry cultivars (Rubus, subgenus Rubus) and winter greens in a high tunnel over a 2-year period. Two floricane fruiting blackberry cultivars, Chester Thornless and Triple Crown, were grown intercropped with ‘Red Russian’ kale (Brassica napus) and ‘Bloomsdale’ spinach (Spinacia oleracea) in a high tunnel. In an adjacent field, the planting of blackberry was repeated with no winter intercrop and no high tunnel. Both cultivars of blackberry were harvested July to September, and fresh weights were measured to determine suitability to the intercropping system in the high tunnel. Both species of winter greens were harvested January to April, and fresh yield weights were measured to discern fitness as possible intercrops in this system. Row covers were used for kale and spinach, and air temperatures were monitored November to April inside the high tunnel. High tunnel temperatures were within acceptable ranges for the production of greens with the use of rowcovers. Yield data from this study indicates that ‘Triple Crown’ blackberry outperformed ‘Chester Thornless’ blackberry in both the high tunnel and field trials with significant difference in the second season. Additionally, blackberry yields from both cultivars were observed to be higher in the field than in the high tunnel for both years. High temperature damage to high tunnel berry canes was noticed for both cultivars, with observed yield decreases in the second year in the high tunnel. Overall, this study indicates that the phenology and climate needs of the two winter greens and blackberry cultivars were not compatible for sustaining year-round organic high tunnel production.

Open Access

Field studies were conducted to determine the production potential of echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) medicinal herbs at two sites in New Mexico. Las Cruces, N.M., is at an elevation of 3,891 ft (1,186 m) and has an average of 220 frost free days per year, whereas Alcalde, N.M., is at an elevation of 5,719 ft (1,743 m) and averages 152 frost-free days per year. In-row plant spacings of 12, 18 and 24 inches (30.5, 45.7, and 61.0 cm) were compared at both locations. The corresponding plant densities for the 12, 18 and 24 inch spacings were 14,520 plants/acre (35,878 plants/ha), 9,680 plants/acre (23,919 plants/ha), and 7,260 plants/acre (17,939 plants/ha), respectively. Data were collected on growth rates, fresh yield, and dry yield for the herbs grown at each site. All crops at both sites had highest plot yields at the 12-inch spacing, suggesting that optimum in-row plant spacings are at or below the 12-inch spacing. Yields of 1.94 ton/acre (4.349 t·ha-1) of dried yerba mansa root, 0.99 ton/acre (2.219 t·ha-1) of dried echinacea root, and 2.30 ton/acre (5.156 t·ha-1) of dried mullein leaves were realized at the 12-inch spacing at Las Cruces in southern New Mexico. Yields of 1.16 ton/acre (2.600 t·ha-1) of dried valerian root, 0.93 ton/acre (2.085 t·ha-1) of dried echinacea root, and 0.51 ton/acre (1.143 t·ha-1) of dried mullein leaves were harvested at the 12-inch spacing at Alcalde in northern New Mexico. Yields of fresh echinacea flowers were 1.56 ton/acre (3.497 t·ha-1) in Las Cruces. Yields of dried mullein flowers were 0.68 ton/acre (1.524 t·ha-1) in Las Cruces and 0.66 ton/acre (1.479 t·ha-1) in Alcalde.

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