Source: UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA submitted to
VEGETABLE VARIETIES FOR ALASKAS INTERIOR COMMUNITIES
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
REVISED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1010090
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
ALK17-04
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2016
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2021
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Rader, HE, B..
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA
(N/A)
FAIRBANKS,AK 99775
Performing Department
Agriculture and Horticulture
Non Technical Summary
Currently, there are few, if any, publicly funded vegetable variety trials happening in Alaska although they have been done in the past in Interior Alaska. This project seeks to revive the past variety trials that have been done in the past and compare current trials with past trials to see if there are any linkages to climate change. More importantly, they will free up gardeners and farmers from needing to test new varieties each year as, sometimes, tried and true varieties are no longer readily available.In addition to conducting variety trial research, this project will outreach to Alaskans through field outreach at the Georgeson Botanical Garden, a mobile app (Grow&Tell), public searchable database (IrisBG), YouTube videos, and virtual workshops.
Animal Health Component
0%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
10%
Applied
90%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
20514991060100%
Goals / Objectives
Our objectives are to reestablish UAF cultivar field trials and to compare current cultivar trials with historical trials, possibly determininglinkages between climate change and change in what and how well things can be grown in Interior Alaska. Additionally, these trials will be used to update Extension's variety recommendations used by Interior Alaskan's for selecting seeds for their farm or garden. These studies will directly benefit growers throughout interior Alaska. In addition to conducting research, this project will support two additional efforts that will lead to increased accessibility and understanding of what grows where. One way will bethrough a mobile app called Grow&Tell,that aggregates variety ratings from citizen scientists. The next way will be via a database that will aggregate past trials done at the Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station.On a more basic level, results from these trials will give us the start for documenting changes in climate as more southerly adapted varieties grow better further north. Ultimately, these efforts will result in potential long-range improvements in and sustainability of high-latitude agriculture and food systems.Objectives:Reestablish UAF cultivar trialsDetermine differences in growth and yields for vegetable cultivars.Develop updated recommended cultivar lists for Interior Alaska.Develop and launch a public database for cultivar trials conducted by this project as well as trials conducted by the Georgeson Botanical Garden over the past 30 years.Support a mobile app called Grow&Tell that allows gardeners and farmers to rate varieties where they live.Use results of these trials with historic trials to develop a bioassay method for measuring the progress of climate change in interior Alaska
Project Methods
These variety trials will take place at the Georgeson Botanical Garden at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm (64 º51'N).The methods that have been used for trials in the past at the garden will continue to be used as much as possible so that easy comparisons can be made. Past trials were unreplicated and used small plot sizes. As few as three plants will be grown in each plot of larger crops such as broccoli and zucchini while more plants will be grown of crops like carrots.A combination of standard and untested cultivars will be trialed. Cultivars that are readily available will be used. Varieties will be selected that will likely do well in Interior Alaska. Specific cultivars and crops will change in response to results of the trials, but popular crops will initially be grown.Soil samples will be taken and analyzed for all beds and fertility adjusted as needed. Plants will either be started in the greenhouse and transplanted or direct seeded into the field depending on the crop. Crops that will be transplanted will be propagated and grown in a climate-controlled greenhouse at The University of Alaska Fairbanks. The plants will be fertilized according to recommendations for the specific plants being grown. Plants will be hardened off outdoors for one week prior to transplanting into the field.In the spring, as soon as the soil is tillable, the garden beds will be and fertilized with 10-20-20 (up to 4 lbs per 100 ft2, 195 g/m2) prior to planting. All cultivars will be planted according to recommended commercial spacing guide in replicated plots. Plots will be oriented west to east. To account for edge effect, the first and last rows, as well as the first and last plant in each row will be guard plants and data will not be collected on those plants. Plots will be irrigated with drip irrigation on a set timer and will be hand weeded as needed throughout the summer. Harvest will begin as the plants reach maturity and will continue through September or until the plants have been fully harvested or frost or pests kill them.We will collect data on yield, disease and pest infection rates, deformities, uniformity, harvest period, plant vigor, tendency to bolt, and taste when possible. Each cultivar will be grown for a minimum of three consecutive years.We will collect weather data from the Alaska Climate Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks and the U.S. Weather Station west of the GBG.As previously mentioned, outreach activities will include field outreach at the Georgeson Botanical Garden, a mobile app (Grow&Tell), public searchable database (IrisBG), YouTube videos, and virtual workshops. Outreach activities will be adjusted depending on the level of interest and engagement of the audience.

Progress 10/01/19 to 09/30/20

Outputs
Target Audience:This project will target Alaskan gardeners and farmers growing food crops as well as agriculture educators and researchers in Alaska. Changes/Problems:Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the crops we have trialed in the past were unable to be trialed in 2020 because of greenhouse facilities being closed to project staff in the spring. Access to facilities was regained in mid-May with the development of a Covid-19 mitigation plan and research exemption from University administrators, and as such the majority of trials could be carried out as planned. Likewise, our in-person public outreach and education activities were diminished (e.g. volunteer taste testing and research results workshops), however we found ways to make the research results available via virtual methods, and developed at-home taste testing procedures project staff in order to capture that data. We do not anticipate these challenges being a problem for the 2021 season, however if we do encounter similar obstacles, we now have strategies in place to mitigate disruptions to project activities. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Research Professional (Gannon) attended the following trainings: February 20-21: SARE Conference: Two day conference with international attendance and presentations on topics that pertain to high-latitude sustainable agriculture practices and agricultural issues specific to Alaska. February 22, 2020: Attended theProducer Safety Alliance, Grower Training, an 8 hour course in which participants learned the regulatory requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. Participation resulted in a training certificate. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?In 2020, demonstration plots of all the cultivars trialed were planted within the Georgeson Botanical Garden, a public garden that is a popular destination both for tourists and locals. Because of this, the research staff for this project regularly engaged with the public by answering questions and communicating results from the trials. Signage with cultivar information was installed, offering anyone who visited the garden the chance to learn about the trials, compare varieties visually and to see how the various crops grew in Fairbanks, Alaska. The results are being published in the Vegetable Variety Trials 2020 Report (in progress) and will be available on the UAF Institute of Agriculture,Natural Resources and Extension website and widely publicized on social media. The 2019 report was published during this project period.Individuals in Alaska were exposed to information about the trials through several avenues including, an appearance by the Research Coordinator on the statewide radio program, "Talk of Alaska" (November, 2019). Eight articles were produced by the PD and published onthe Institute of Agriculture,Natural Resources and Extension Blog, the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, the It Grows in Alaska blog, and the Tanana Chiefs Conference newsletter,The Council. Information about the variety tails was also disseminated to wider State and national audiences through conference presentations given at: the Alaska Just Transition Summit in Fairbanks, Alaska (January, 2020), The Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Anchorage, Alaska (February, 2020) and Extension Week Class Series (virtual, June, 2020). The PD filmed 8 short informational videos on research results that will be published on the UAF Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension YouTube Channel during the next project period. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?During the next reporting period we will continue to trial the crops and varieties tested during the previous reporting periods and continue to expand the trials we conduct (by adding new crops/cultivars) as well as adding new trial goals now that we have relocated the trials to larger field setting at the Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station Farm. For instance, we anticipate replicating spinach bolting trials and how different compost applications affect performance and yield of certain crops in 2021. During the next reporting period we will also work to incorporate and/or collaborate with other research being conducted at the University of Alaska to both increase the relevance of the research we are currently preforming, and to reach a wider audience. We will continue to coordinate with the Palmer Experiment Station to have our trials replicated at that location. Finally, we will continue to disseminate information and results about the variety trials by presenting at conferences, such as the One Health, One Future Conference in February, 2021, and the Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference in March, 2021, and through other means of communication such as articles, YouTube videos, radio programs and workshops.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? A survey tool was used to collect responses from stakeholders about which crops and cultivars were most important to include in future trials. The Survey was first advertised at the 2020 Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference (February 2020), and has been advertised via UAF Cooperative Extension Service social media accounts. A total of 62 responses were captured during this reporting period, and were used to help determine which crops gardeners and farmers would like us to trial.Additionally, three farmers from interior Alaska were interviewed during this reporting period to help inform the direction of future variety trials and identify challenges and/or opportunities Alaskan producers face which may help determine future research activities. Vegetable cultivar trials were conducted in the summer of 2020 at the Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Farms in Fairbanks (64° 51'N, 147° 52'W) and Palmer (61°33'N 149°15'W) where all cultivar trials were replicated at both locations except for corn. In 2020 beans, carrots, and corn were grown in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replicates. Beets, fennel and winter squash were grown in unreplicated trials. In addition to yield measurements, each cultivar was evaluated at least once in terms of: plant vigor, bolting sensitivity (or susceptibility to bolt), uniformity, pest resistance, and disease resistance. These traits were evaluated on a scale from 1 to 9, 1 being very poor and 9 being excellent. An unreplicated bolting-sensitivity study of 16 spinach cultivars was conducted to assess the effect of long photoperiods associated with high-latitude summers on bolt-hardy spinach varieties. Each cultivar was evaluated at least once in terms of: days to first sign of bolting, bolting rate on a 1-5 scale (1 being 1-20% of plot bolting to 5 being 81-100% of plot bolting), plant vigor, uniformity, pest and disease resistance. Blind taste tests of all crops and varieties were conducted among AFES staff who rated each variety for flavor and texture on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being very poor and 5 being excellent).

Publications

  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Other Year Published: 2019 Citation: Presentation only: Rader, H. & Gannon, G. 2019, February 21. What Grows Well Where? Using a Mobile App Called Grow&Tell and Vegetable Variety Trials to Answer This Question. Sustainable Agriculture Conference, Anchorage, Alaska
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2019 Citation: Gannon, G. & Rader, H. 2019. Vegetable Variety Trials, 2019. University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Extension. VT 2019-01. Available at: https://www.uaf.edu/snre/research/publications/variety-trials/


Progress 10/01/18 to 09/30/19

Outputs
Target Audience:This project targets Alaskan gardeners and farmers growing food crops as well as agriculture educators and researchers in Alaska. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?In September 2019 the PD and lead research technician completed a 9-day tour of research farms and seed companies conducting vegetable variety trials to gather best practices for variety trial design, data collection, as well as develop networks for possible collaboration or partnerships. Locations where research professionals were interviewed and project staff toured includes: the Cornell University, Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm (Freeville, NY), High Mowing Seed Company (Wolcott, VT) and Johnny's Seed Company (Albion, ME). The lead research technician attended a One Health seminar entitled: "Climate Change Impacts on Alaska", which included information about changing trends in Alaska related to agriculture including: growing degree days, annual precipitation, changes in ambient and soil temperatures and changes to permafrost conditions. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?In 2019, the trials were conducted within the Georgeson Botanical Garden, a public garden that is a popular destination both for tourists and locals. Because of this, the research staff for this project is regularly engaging with the public, answering questions about the trials, and communicating results from the trials. Also, labeling and signs were further improved in 2019, offering anyone who visited the garden the chance to learn about the trials, compare varieties visually and to see how the various crops grew in Fairbanks, Alaska. The results will be published in the Vegetable Variety Trials 2019 Reportavailable on the UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension website and publicized on social media. Individuals in Interior Alaska were also exposed to information about the trials through several radio interviews with the project director in August 2019, as well as through three articles that appeared in the School of Natural Resources Science and News Blog, the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer and the Tanana Chiefs Conference, The Council newsletter. Information about the variety tails was also disseminated to wider international and national audiences at presentations given at the 10th Circumpolar Agriculture Conference in Rovaniemi, Finland (May 2019), The Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Anchorage, Alaska (November 2018) and The Tanana Valley Master Gardeners Group in Fairbanks, Alaska (May, 2019). Finally, information about the variety trials was shared with high school students in a 2-week experiential and classroom-based course offered through the Alaska Summer Research Academy in Fairbanks, Alaska (July, 2019). What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?During the next reporting period we will continue to trial the crops and varieties tested during the previous reporting periods. We will also be relocating the trials to a larger field setting and both expanding the trials we conduct (by adding new crops) as well as adding new trial goals. For instance, we anticipate trialing how transplanted corn performs compared to direct seeded corn, or how difference mulch applications affect performance and yield of certain crops. During the next reporting period we will also work to incorporate and/or collaborate with other research being conducted at the University of Alaska One Health Research Center to both increase the relevance of the research we are currently performing, and to reach a wider audience. We will continue to collaborate with the Palmer Experiment Station to have our trials replicated at that location. Finally, we will continue to disseminate information and results about the variety trials by presenting at conferences, such as the One Health, One Future Conference, March2020, and the Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference, February 2020, and through articles, local radio programs and workshops.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Vegetable cultivar trials were conducted in the summer of 2019 at the Georgeson Botanical Garden (GBG) at the Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (64° 51'N, 147° 52'W). In 2019 beets, beans, carrots, celery and corn were grown in replicated trials in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD). Brussels sprouts were grown in unreplicated or preliminary trials. Each cultivar was evaluated at least once in terms of plant vigor, bolting sensitivity (or susceptibility to bolt), uniformity, pest resistance, and disease resistance. These traits were evaluated on a scale from 1 to 9, 1 being very poor and 9 being excellent. Taste tests were conducted with volunteers who rated for flavor and texture on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being very poor and 5 being excellent).

Publications

  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2018 Citation: Rader, H. A 2018 Interior Alaska Vegetable Variety Recap. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 27 Jan. 2019, http://www.newsminer.com/features/sundays/gardening/a-interior-alaska-vegetable-variety-recap/article_37bdc99c-2107-11e9-9843-1f7b65f4fb15.html
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2019 Citation: Carter, D. Vegetable Variety Trials Research Highlight Published. SNRE Science & News Blog, 30 April 2019, https://afes-news.blogspot.com/2019/04/vegetable-variety-trials-research.html
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2018 Citation: Rader, H., Gannon, G., Dunham, N. 2018. Vegetable Variety Trials, 2018. University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Extension. VT 2018-01. Available at: https://www.uaf.edu/snre/research/publications/variety-trials/
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2019 Citation: Rader, H. Corn: The Holy Grail of Alaska Gardeners. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 6 July 2019, http://www.newsminer.com/features/sundays/gardening/corn-the-holy-grail-of-alaska-gardeners/article_d0795b4c-a073-11e9-9eac-8fc102dbea36.html


Progress 10/01/17 to 09/30/18

Outputs
Target Audience:This project targets Alaskan gardeners and farmers growing vegetables as well as agriculture educators and researchers. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The trials take place at a public garden, the Georgeson Botanical Garden which is a popular destination both for tourists and locals. Because of this, the research staff for this project are constantly engaging with the public, answering questions about the trials, and communicating results from the trials. Also, the trials are well labeled offering anyone the chance to compare varieties visually and to see how the various crops are faring in Fairbanks, Alaska. The results were published in the Vegetable Variety Trials 2018report (https://www.uaf.edu/snre/research/publications/variety-trials/) available on the UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension website and publicized on social media. Three workshops were given to the public which gave participants the opportunity to learn about each crop. A presentation about the trials was given at the Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference in November 2018.The PD also shared information about the Grow&Tell app. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?During the next reporting period, we will continue to test many of the crops and varieties tested during this reporting reporting period but will eliminate the lowest performers or those crops that did not mature.A newspaper article will also be published on the variety trials. Work will continue on the Grow&Tell app to make it work more smoothly and easily for users.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Vegetable cultivar trials were conducted in the summer of 2018 at the Georgeson Botanical Garden (GBG) at the Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (64° 51'N, 147° 52'W).In 2018 beets, carrots, and celery were grown in replicated trials in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD). Brussels sprouts, beans, corn, and watermelon were grown in unreplicated or preliminary trials.Each cultivar was evaluated at least once in terms of plant vigor, bolting sensitivity (or susceptibility to bolt), uniformity, pest resistance, and disease resistance. These traits were evaluated on a scale from 1 to 9, 1 being very poor and 9 being excellent. Taste tests were conducted with volunteers who participated in a workshop and a taste test. As many varieties of each crop as possible, and rated for flavor and texture on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being very poor and 5 being excellent).

Publications

  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2018 Citation: Rader, H., Gannon, G., and Dunham, N. 2018. Vegetable Variety Trials 2018. University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Extension. VT 2018-01. Available at: https://www.uaf.edu/snre/research/publications/variety-trials/


Progress 10/01/16 to 09/30/17

Outputs
Target Audience:This project will target Alaskan gardeners and farmers growing food crops as well as agriculture educators and researchers in Alaska. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The results were published in the Vegetable Variety Trials 2017 report (https://www.uaf.edu/snre/research/publications/variety-trials/) available on the UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension website and publicized on social media. At the Alaska Food Policy Council Conference in November 2017, the PD shared results from the trials in a presentation as well as disseminated information about the Grow&Tell app. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Alaskans were surveyed to determine which crops were most important to them to be tested. They were asked to, "Please rank the following crops. Rank the crops highest that you think are most important to test. Rank the crops lower if you think they are less important to test. If you have just a couple of crops that you think are important to test, you can skip this question and simply list them in the following question. To rank them, simply drag and drop the crops to your desired ranking order." More than 40 Alaskans completed the survey. We will try to test the top 10 crops and will use the survey to determine which crops to test. Trials will also be conducted in Palmer at the Experiment Station there.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? In 2017, four varieties of beets, carrots, radishes and turnips (16 cultivars total) were tested. The vegetables were direct seeded on June 16. Two carrot varieties (Yaya and Sugar Snax) and one beet variety (Detroit Dark Red) germinated poorly. Any plots with empty spaces were reseeded. Carrots, beets and turnips were reseeded on June 30 and daikon radishes were reseeded on July 3. Prior to planting, 10-20-20 slowrelease fertilizer was applied at a rate of 4 pounds per 100 square feet. A randomized complete block experimental design was used and plots were replicated three times. All cultivars wereplanted according to recommended commercial spacing guidelines in twin rows. Rows were 5 feet wide on center. Plot sizes were designed to be large enough so that there were about 20 to 30 plants in each plot. They varied from 24 inches long for carrots to 90 inches long for daikon radishes.

Publications

  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2017 Citation: Rader, H. 2017. Vegetable Variety Trials 2017. University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Extension. VT 2017-01. Available at: https://www.uaf.edu/snre/research/publications/variety-trials/