We had planned to start the sweet William and aster herbicide trials this week but as I am sure most growers will be well aware, the weather had other ideas and we now need a few dry days to stand any chance of getting back onto the field.
The trials are growing away well and the following photos give a few views of various NPD plots as well as the third year alstro crop.
The deep pool hydroponics trial was harvested this week and a number of assessments made of the crop. Last years trials indicated that high levels of dissolved oxygen (over 70% saturation) seem to be required to produce a good crop. In order to confirm this observation, the 2016 trials was set up in such a way to ensure that there was an oxygen gradation with the concentration reducing towards the edge of the outer floats. Initially no real differences were seen but as the crop became mature the differences became very marked with the outside 3 or 4 rows producing very poor quality stunted stems with very yellow leaves. This can be seen clearly in the left hand photo below. A full row was harvested and laid out side by side and then photographed. This is shown in the right hand photo and the “edge effect” ie lower oxygen concentration could not be more clearly demonstrated – the photo is like a living graph.
The pool will now be replanted in week 25 with a number of different varieties to determine if there are any differences in the way they respond to growing in a deep pool hydroponic system.