Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/29/2007
Publication Date: 1/1/2008
Citation: Kleitz, K.K., M.M. Wall, C.L. Falk, C.A. Martin, M.D. Remmenga, S.J. Guldan, 2008. Stand establishment and yield potential of organically grown seeded and transplanted medicinal herbs. HortTechnology. 18:116-121. Interpretive Summary: Five medicinal herbs (calendula, catnip, lemon balm, nettles, and globemallow) were grown from seed or transplants in southern and northern desert climates to evaluate stand establishment and yield potential. This objective was to supplement small farm production of agronomic and vegetable crops with herb cultivation as an avenue for economic sustainability in rural areas. Transplanted catnip, lemon balm, and globemallow showed the best potential as alternative crops.
Technical Abstract: Field studies were conducted at Las Cruces, N.M., and Alcalde, N.M., to compare direct seeding to transplanting for stand establishment and yield estimates of calendula (Calendula officinalis L.), catnip (Nepeta cataria L.), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.), stinging nettles (Urtica dioica L.), and globemallow (Sphaeralcea spp.). Las Cruces is at an elevation of 1,186 m and has an average of 220 frost-free days per year; Alcalde is at an elevation of 1,743 m and averages 152 frost-free days per year. Data were collected on stand establishment, growth rates and fresh and dry weight yields. Transplanting enhanced establishment for lemon balm and nettles in both years at Las Cruces. Catnip, lemon balm, nettles, and globemallow transplants had better stand establishment than direct seeding in Alcalde. Highest yields were obtained for transplants of catnip, globemallow, and lemon balm for both sites, while Alcalde had substantial yields of nettles for plants that grew for a second season. Dry weight yields of catnip were 4.86 t/ha in 1995 and 7.90 t/ha in 1996 in Las Cruces. Alcalde yields for dried catnip were 2.43 t/ha in 1995 and 5.12 t/ha in 1996. Transplanted globemallow dry weight yields were 6.04 t/ha in 1995 and 9.17 t/ha in 1996 for Las Cruces. Dried nettles yields for Alcalde were 5.91 t/ha for plants that overwintered and were harvested in the second season.