1. Examine selected carrot cultivar early growth characteristics in the greenhouse and lab, including shoot height, shoot and root area, root to shoot area ratio, root branching, and shoot and root dry weights using a previously purchased WinRHIZO™ program (Regent Instruments, Québec, Canada).
2. Determine carrot cultivar root anchorage force in the lab using a previously purchased Alluris® FMI-B150 Force Gauge.
3. Assess carrot cultivar tolerance to cultivation events by examining crop injury pre- and post-cultivation using either a standard cultivator as a reference or a “stacked” implement that combines two to three cultivation tools.
The purpose of this project is to help identify traits of carrot cultivars that make them more tolerant to mechanical cultivation. Organic vegetable production in the northeast is growing, but small-seeded crops such as carrot often suffer significant yield and quality losses to weeds because their slow early season growth and size make them less competitive and more prone to injury. Growth characteristics that help a carrot better tolerate cultivation could help steer future plant breeding efforts and help organic vegetable farmers make more informed cultivar selections.
Greenhouse trial- growing carrots in the greenhouse allows us to have greater replication and achieve a more uniform carrot stand. Because of this, we can remove some variability and error and be more confident in our results. Plants can quickly be harvested for winRHIZO scanning in the lab without compromising the plants’ structures.
Field trial- performing a field trial will allow us to subject cultivars to cultivation and see how they respond in a field conditions so that we can correlate injury/mortality from cultivation to identified early growth characteristics.
Data collection will begin spring 2020 with the greenhouse trial, followed by the field trial.
Data collection for this project will begin spring 2020. This winter, methods were developed and discussed with faculty advisor and collaborator. The collaborator and I will be meeting this month to discuss cultivar selection and seeds will be acquired by the end of March.