New Westar Seed Trials in Gilroy, CA
Seed trials in Gilroy
About eight hours north of our headquarters, Gilroy has excellent weather conditions for growing a wide variety of plants. Hot days and cool nights allow us to easily grow melons, watermelons, squash, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant all at the same time.
With the great weather and our efforts, we expect the trials to take no more than 60 to 70 days from seedling to fruit. Hoping to harvest around mid-August to mid-September, we began preparing the trials in June. Before that, we sent some of our selections to the nursery to develop for transplanting.
For these tests, we decided to plant 600 varieties, 50 of the industry leaders.
Because squash can grow in open fields without time in the nursery, we direct seeded Kabocha, Butternut, Grey Zucchini, Caserta, Lebanese, Eskandarani Squash, Light Green, Zucchini, Dark Green Zucchini, Round Zucchini, and Yellow Zucchini.
We divided our cucumber plantings into two parts, open field and indoors. We also direct seeded these. In the open field, we planted Slicers (monoecious and gynoecious), Beit Alpha, and Pickling cucumbers. In the mesh house, we have our parthenocarpic Slicers, Pickling, Beit Alphas (Persian varieties), and mini Beit Alphas.
And now we introduce the king salad ingredient, Mr. Tomato. Our tomato seedlings, from transplants, will grow both in the fields and in a greenhouse environment. The greenhouse varieties are indeterminate, which means as long as you take care of them, they’ll yield fruit. The open-field tomatoes are determinate, mostly due to weather conditions.
Here we planted Round, Saladette, Pear, Grape, Cocktail (red, yellow, and chocolate), Cherry, TOV (Tomatoes on the Vine), Plum, Heirloom, and San Marzano.
For our peppers, we again used the transplant technique. We planted both hot and sweet varieties.
Hot pepper candidates: Anaheim, Jalapeno, Ancho, Caribe, Banana, Habanero (yellow, chocolate, green, red, and orange), Serrano, Fresno, Guajillo, Santa Fe, and Cayenne.
Our sweet bell peppers will give fruit in colors. We planted all of these in the open field because peppers excel in Gilroy weather. Usually, you can plant all types for a greenhouse as well. Bell peppers go from green to red, green to orange, green to yellow, and green to green.
Let’s give names to them now: Sweet Anaheim, Marconi, Sweet Banana, Long Dulce Italiano, Nathalie, and Snacking (red, orange, yellow). That last variety you’ve probably seen at the store in multi-colored packs. In the Westar fields, we have options such as purple and brown as well.
Our eggplants we did as transplants too. We planted Cylindrical, Elongated Tear Drop, Oval, Round, Tear Drop, Striped, and Turkish Orange.
For these thirst-quenching dessert fruits, we used transplants of diploid (seeded) and triploid (seedless) varieties. You’ll soon see photos of these types: Crimson Sweet, Sugar Baby, Charleston Grey, Tiger Striped, Mini, Jubilee, AC 800, and All Sweet. Keep an eye out for our special types with yellow and red skin.
The second sweet fruit we hosted in our fields again came from transplants. The melon types you’ll see are Galia, Ananas, Honeydew, Western Shipper, Harper, and Yellow Canary.
We also planted a few experimental varieties that proved successful. Stay tuned for info about these new yields and their updated genetics!