Danelle Cutting: Trying out new broccoli and pumpkins
As most of you know, a group of Extension Agents have been working with the Piedmont Research Station to create trials.
Last year, we did a trial on winter squash, and we are almost finished analyzing our data. So, as one trial closes, we must start another one, right? Of course! We will be doing two trials this year; one will be on broccoli and the other on pumpkins.
You ask why we would do trials on broccoli and pumpkins. The reason is because new varieties are developed all the time. Seed companies do their own testing, but they can only test at their sites or willing farms. This can cause issues, especially for North Carolina growers.
North Carolina has different growing conditions and soil types. This is why there are 18 Research Stations across the state. Lucky for us, we have one, here, in Rowan County. As Extension agents, we are constantly asked about varieties that do the best in our area. Performing these trials gives us quality information to provide farmers, homeowners and all types of gardeners.
This year, we will have a second area to test the broccoli, and it will be at one of the local high schools. This will allow the youth to learn about different broccoli varieties, find out what farmers are interested in, learn to properly plant and take data, and to even get a taste of their crop. This will help the Extension agents because having more than one trial area can help determine variations in data.
Some of the information we are hoping to gain is which broccoli will be more heat tolerant, how the new varieties compare to the standard varieties, which varieties provide the most side shoots, disease and pest resistance, and of course, which ones taste best.
This will be the first trial of the year. When we are finished with the broccoli trial, we will begin with the pumpkins. So, stay tuned for more information on this trial in the weeks to come.
If you would like more information on this trial or growing your own broccoli or vegetables, contact your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.
For more information on growing vegetables, visit: http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/home-vegetable-gardening.pdf