Location: Vegetable Research
2012 Annual Report
Regional trial leaders of the East Coast Broccoli Project and supporting personnel met in Asheville, NC on December 9 to recap activities of the 2011 growing season and to refine protocols for: the second year of Phase One trials; the first Phase Two trials; evaluation of all test plots; and also the processing and shipment of all samples for nutritional analysis. All leaders in attendance at the annual meetings of the American Society for Horticultural Science met again on August 1 to discuss the progress of the current 2012 growing season. In addition to the two face-to-face meetings, phone conferences involving all CoPIs were held every quarter when quarterly reports were submitted. In late December, seed of seven U.S. Vegetable Laboratory hybrids were sent to the project PI at Cornell for inclusion in the 2012 Phase One broccoli trials. During the winter of 2011-12, all broccoli selections made during the summer and fall of 2011 were self and cross pollinated in the greenhouse to generate adequate seed supplies of specific inbreds and hybrids for future testing. In addition, one outdoor cage was used to generate seed of three different hybrids to be included in the 2013 Phase One trials. Year 2, Phase One trials (with 39 hybrid entries) were conducted and successfully completed in Charleston during the spring growing season as planned. The first Phase One trial was transplanted March 1 and the second on March 15, and all plots were evaluated by June 1. Three Phase Two trials (with 12 hybrid entries) were conducted at Charleston with transplanting completed on March 1, 15, and 22. Head samples from the second Phase Two trial were harvested, frozen, and shipped to Knoxville for nutritional testing, and all Phase Two trials were completed the first week of June. There was a wide range in overall head quality observed in the 2012 spring trials, but warm, and higher than normal temperatures during much of the spring, caused quality ratings to be generally low. Indeed, as heads matured, many indicative signs of heat damage including low bead uniformity, bracts in the heads, and light green to yellow head color, were observed on many heads. In spite of these warm conditions, two or three of the Phase Two hybrids (which are available commercially) have shown good potential for spring production in the Southeast region. Two additional Phase Two trials are being initiated with plans to transplant seedlings to the field in September. Numerous heat tolerant broccoli selections were identified in summer breeding nurseries that were transplanted to the field in late May at Charleston. Cuttings from some of these selections were taken in order to clone the plants. When no cuttings were evident, plants were dug from the field and moved to a greenhouse. All of these selections will be maintained until they can be pollinated in the fall.