The first of three Quality trial plantings in Waynesville, NC was transplanted in mid-May. The site is supervised by NC State Associate Professor Jeanine Davis, with help from Research Assistant Margaret Bloomquist. Compared to other Eastern Broccoli trial locations, this one is in a relatively high-elevation region with the potential for broccoli harvests that begin in early to mid-summer (a difficult harvest window in the East) and extend into early fall. The hills and mountains of this area are home to many small to mid-size conventional and organic farms.
All Eastern Broccoli Quality trial sites use regionally appropriate production techniques to transplant and manage trial entries. One that is unique to the Waynesville site is the use of “white on black” plastic mulch that retains soil moisture and suppresses weeds without holding on to as much heat as black plastic. In 2013, when record-breaking rainfall washed out trial sites up and down the East Coast, the plastic maintained bed structure and allowed successful completion of trials at the Waynesville location.
The mulched beds on 5 foot centers have double rows spaced 1 foot apart with 6-inch in-row spacing. Two more Quality trial plantings will go in the ground at the Waynesville site this summer, with evaluation and harvest expected July through September.