- Agronomic: rye
- Vegetables: beans
- Crop Production: cover crops, fertigation, irrigation
- Education and Training: decision support system, extension, farmer to farmer
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, risk management
- Pest Management: mulching - plastic
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Soil Management: green manures
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
One of the most profitable vegetable crops off of small farms in our area (Sussex County, DE) is Pole Lima Beans. One of the biggest high risk areas of production is high air temperatures over extended days during flowering which results in the plant dropping blooms. While traveling to other farms that grow Pole Limas, I noticed that some were in rows North to South while others were in rows East to West. As I talked to the growers and did research online, I found most growers just run their rows with the slope of the land, not taking into consideration the sun exposure or prevailing winds for that area. High temperatures during Pole Lima flowering results in bloom drop. Currently, we rely mainly on drip irrigation to help as much as possible with this risk. If we can determine that row location (North/South v. East/West) and proper row spacing can aid in shading during high air temperature days we can minimize bloom drop risk even more. This is vital information because of the nature of Pole Lima growing techniques. In other words, once you have augered holes, placed or concreted poles in the ground, attached netting or wire, this is not an easily mobile or changed operation. Growers need to know which direction to run rows and the most appropriate spacing to minimize crop loss. We currently grow 8-100′ rows in an East/West direction with 6′ row spacing. We would like to run another 800′ row feet from North to South with 6′ row spacing to determine shading/sun exposure differences.
Project objectives from proposal:
I will be putting in 8 more 100′ rows of pole limas in a North/South row direction. This process starts by putting in (10) treated 4×4 posts every 10′. Parallel to those posts at a distance of 6′ we put in (10) more treated 4×4 posts. We connect the post with a post parallel to it with treated 2×4’s. This adds to the stability of the "double row". Next we add 4×4 braces at each of the 4 end posts at a 45 degree angle. Again, adding to the stability of the "double row". The next stage is attaching netting to the posts 12" up from the ground to the top of the posts which are 6′ tall (4′ underground and 6′ above). Finally we add a cable to the top of each side of "double row" running the entire 100′ and attach them to ground augers. We do all this 4 times for a total of 800 row feet. We run plastic and drip fertigation for each row. Transplants are set around June 1 at 3-4′ spacing. As you can see, putting in the necessary equipment used for growing Pole Limas is both labor intensive and costly. We find it necessary due to both windy conditions and the weight of the plants themselves.