Sneak Peek at Week 6 of the Westar Seed Trials
Six weeks ago, we began our trials of one hundred varieties of our seeds to show customers the new genetics we’ve developed. In this article, we’ll share the first results of our seed trials.
We’re excited about the outcomes! The plants have displayed good growth and health, and the fruits are tasty and of excellent quality. Although you can’t taste them in this article, you can see how good they look in the pictures we’ve included here.
So far we’re happy with the results of our efforts to develop varieties with stronger and more prosperous yields. We hope you will be too.
All varieties look excellent! Our mesh-house residents, at 10 feet tall, have hit the roof multiple times. We regularly lower them, but they’ll keep growing and producing fruit as long as we take care of them.
We planted American slicers, Beit Alphas, pickling varieties, and a mini Beit Alpha, all parthenocarpic (seedless). Remember that you must separate parthenocarpic cucumbers from open field varieties when you plant them, because bees may pollinate the parthenocarpic plants and change the shape of their fruit.
When using the mesh or net house to block some sunlight, you reduce the heat burden and control plant development and fruit maturation. It also helps with insect management.
These varieties are suited for greenhouse or mesh-house production, which helps us compete with the industry leaders.
We planted American Slicers, Beit Alphas, and a pickling variety. Due to the windy weather, our open-field cucumber trials will need more time to give results. A west-to-east wind and an inclined roof on a nearby building set our outdoor cucumber trial back. We’re taking notes for future reference, and we’ll keep you updated about the current progress and crops.
Our zucchinis started giving fruit in Week 4 and have yet to stop! We can confirm that the first crop we harvested was from our Isabella. The varieties we planted from other companies took two to three days more to mature.
We planted the industry-leading squash varieties – Rocio, Luciana, Hurakan, and Adelita – next to our Isabella squash to show our customers that our Isabella is more vigorous and open, making it easier to harvest and giving a much better crop. Every customer who visited our field saw the difference between our variety and the competition.
Also, we took quantitative data on how much squash we cut from each plant every day. In the middle of June, we still harvest Isabella twice daily, demonstrating the variety’s outstanding characteristics. It has a remarkably early maturity date and can produce 200 to 300 more boxes of squash per hectare compared to other grey zucchini varieties.
Quick tip: Squash plants keep giving fruit as long as you water them and prune their old leaves. So take good care of them, and they’ll take good care of your crop quota!
Now for the sweet section of our progress report! We planted our new Harpers, five of which are newer cantaloupes with the traditional rind net and orange flesh. This variety transfers and ships better than conventional Western Shippers and has a better shelf life.
The Canary variety we planted is yellow inside and out with a distinctive yet sweet flavor. We also planted two Honeydew types which have done well. They look healthy, with their pale green rinds shining between the leaves.
Lastly, we planted ten Western Shipper cantaloupes, a denser, sweeter melon than the Harpers. Unfortunately, they don’t transport or ship well, which means companies usually favor Harpers instead.
Synonymous with dessert in the summer is the watermelon. The diploids (seeded) and triploids (seedless) steadily growing in our fields are AC800s, Sugar Babies, Charleston Greys, Fascination types, and Crimson Sweets. We also have a yellow-fleshed seedless watermelon called the Yellow Crimson. It has a flavor described by some as sweeter than regular watermelons, almost honey-like.
That’s it for now! Stay tuned for more info and pictures on the trials!