2015 Commercial Recommendations Guide and Rutgers Experiment Station
Posted: October 8, 2014
Every year horticulturists, plant pathologists, entomologists and weed specialists from Penn State University, Rutgers, the University of Delaware, Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland and West Virginia University meet to discuss what changes should be made to the guide based on new research results and changes in the vegetable industry.
This year the horticulture group met the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Bridgeton, NJ. It takes us about 4 hours to go through the guide to discuss updates that should be made and determine who will be responsible for each section. We have some great interactions and leave more knowledgeable about vegetable production than when the meeting started.
Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Bridgeton, NJ.
The meeting location is chosen so that we get a tour of the research projects that are taking place at each university. Here are some highlights of what is being studied at Rutgers:
Asparagus Mother Stalk Harvest System for Season Extension
In this production system a fixed number of spears are allowed to fern, usually in the range of 2-4. Then, all spears that emerge from the crown are harvested. Research has shown that spears will appear more-or-less continuously for several months, as long as the mature shoots continue to prosper and grow. The dynamics of yield are not consistent, however. Following the expected flush of spears in April-June, the rate of new spear emergence drops off during the warmer summer period, then increases once again in the fall as air and soil temperatures drop. More information about this production system is in the Asparagus section of the guide.
Asparagus mother stalk harvest system research plots. Due to damage from a hail storm earlier in the growing season, the plots were not being harvested.
Tomato and Pepper Breeding
Researchers are breeding fresh market tomatoes and exotic chile peppers. One of the goals of the fresh market tomato breeding program is for tomato cultivars with commercial value and good flavor - taking the Jersey tomato to the next step. Exotic and chile peppers are being bred to be more easily harvested.
Fresh market tomato and exotic and chile pepper plots. The final data collection had already taken place for this season.
Basil Downy Mildew Project
Basil downy mildew is affecting 100% of the US sweet basil industry. Researchers are tackling this problem with a 2-pronged approach. They are breeding for resistance using genes from some of the flavored basils, for example from lemon basil. They are also conducting fungicide trials with materials for conventional and organic growers.
Basil breeding field. Notice the blue flags which indicate a promising selection.
Trap Cropping for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Management
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest causing large economic losses. The use of perimeter trap crops is being studied as a management option for organic growers. We saw bell pepper plots surrounded by sorghum and sunflower.
A research plot of bell peppers surrounded with a trap crop of sorghum and sunflower for managing Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.