Water Requirements, Use Efficiency, and Insect Infestation in Brussels Sprouts, and Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Sweet Basil under Low Tunnels compared to Open-field Production
Acharya, Tej Prasad
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Sustainable vegetable production is one of the most active areas of vegetable research and of concern to all producers. Everyone, both producers and consumers, are concerned with sustainability. Brussels sprouts and sweet basil are high value commodities, but increasing global concerns about water availability, insect-pest problems, and costly fertilizer inputs severely impact the growth and production of these crops. Low tunnels covered with spun-bonded fabric can improve production of vegetables and herbs in Virginia and the U.S. This study investigated the performance of Brussels sprouts and basil grown under low tunnels (LTs), and their relationship with water use efficiency, nitrogen use efficiency, and the level of protection against insect injury. Low tunnels increased yield, number of sprouts, and water use efficiency of Brussels sprout production. In addition, LTs decreased irrigation requirements, irrigation events, leaf feeding injury, and insect populations in comparison to open field. Similarly, LTs increased summer production of sweet basil as measured by fresh weight and biomass. In addition, plant N uptake was greater under the LTs; however, the increase in nitrogen use efficiency was inconsistent.
- Masters Theses