EVALUATION OF FOUR TOMATO VARIETIES FOR COMMERCIAL ORGANIC PRODUCTION IN THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Organic farming provides an opportunity to positively impact the environment, human health, and future yields. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is a high value vegetable grown for the fresh market in the United States Virgin Islands. Four cultivars: “Mountain Fresh”, “Red Defender”, “Security 28”, and “Defiant” were evaluated for yield potential in an on-farm trial with farmer’s participation at Sejah Farm, St. Croix. The experimental design was a complete randomized block with three replications. The trial was conducted from November, 2012 through March, 2013. Crops were grown using National Organic Program standards and approved practices. Seeds were planted in seedling trays containing organic (farmer produced) compost, reared in the greenhouse, then transplanted into the field 21 days after germination. Plots consisted of three rows spaced 1.2 m apart and in-row plant spacing at 0.6m for a total of 13,883 plants per hectare. Organic fertilizer (Nature’s Nectar 5-4-5) was applied on a weekly basis using standard commercial fertilization rates through drip tape fertigation. The field was monitored for diseases and insect pests periodically by staff and our extension entomologist. Weeds were controlled manually and mechanically. Data on average fruit and yield per plant and overall yield was collected from eight harvests during the growing season. No significant differences were observed between the four cultivars tested for marketable, unmarketable, or total yield (marketable plus unmarketable yield). “Mountain Fresh” produced numerically higher total fruit yield with 37.1t/ha. “Defiant” produced numerically higher marketable (US #1) fruit yield with 25.0t/ha and also had numerically lower unmarketable fruit with 10.5t/ha. Based on these observations, all four cultivars tested can be recommended for commercial organic production in the USVI.


Issue Date:
2014
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/253334
Total Pages:
8




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-04-26

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