Source: UNIV OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS submitted to
IMPROVING CROP MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF CULINARY HERBS IN THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0177629
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
VI-201057
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Apr 1, 1998
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2004
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Palada, M. C.
Recipient Organization
UNIV OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
(N/A)
ST. CROIX,VI 00850
Performing Department
RESEARCH & LAND GRANT AFFAIRS
Non Technical Summary
(N/A)
Animal Health Component
90%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
10%
Applied
90%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1021499106010%
4021499106020%
1111499106010%
2111499106010%
2121499106010%
2131499106010%
2051499106020%
5031499106010%
Goals / Objectives
To evaluate cultivars/genotypes and species of herbs and spice for ease of propagation, yield and quality, incidence of insect pests and diseases. To determine the response of selected herb species to fertilizer application and tolerance to salinity. To determine the optimum plant spacing and population for culinary herb production. To determine the minimum water requirement of selected herbs. To evaluate various weed control methods for herb production. To determine optimum time and methods of harvest.
Project Methods
Germplasm of culinary herbs and spices with major economic importance in the Virgin Islands will be collected and evaluated for yield and quality. Replicated trials using appropriate experimental designs will be established to determine the response of culinary herbs to improved crop management practices including fertilizer application, irrigation, mulching, plant spacing, weed, insect and disease control.

Progress 04/01/98 to 09/30/04

Outputs
The major objectives of this project were to develop improved crop management practices for improving and increasing yield of culinary herbs in the U.S. Virgin Islands and to extend and promote these improved technologies to local herb growers for increased production and economic returns. Greenhouse and field experiments were conducted to evaluate effects of fertilizer application, planting methods and intercropping on growth and yield of common and popular culinary herbs in the Virgin Islands. On-farm trial evaluating performance of selected culinary herbs was also conducted by a farmer cooperator using improved crop management practices. The following are the highlights of the project: 1. More than 20 species and cultivars were collected and conserved for studies on improved crop management practices. 2. Greenhouse study evaluating the effects of organic and chemical fertilizers on growth and yield of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus Stapf.) showed that lemon grass fertilized with turkey litter manure produced the tallest plants while plants fertilized with chemical fertilizers produced higher number of leaves and tillers (slips) and higher fresh and dry weight of leaves compared to plants applied with organic fertilizer. Turkey litter manure was better than dehydrated cow manure in terms of yield. 3. Results from field trial comparing yield performance of cilantro, parsley and arugula under direct seed and transplant methods of planting indicated differential response to planting methods. Cilantro and arugula were readily adapted to direct seeding with growth rates and yields comparable to yields with transplant method. Seedling emergence and growth rate of direct seeded parsley was extremely poor resulting in low yields. Parsley performed better when transplanted producing yield significantly greater than direct seeded crop. 4. Intercropping study with cilantro and pole beans showed that yield of monoculture cilantro was significantly greater than intercropped plot with pole beans. Incidence of bean aphids was severe and intercropped cilantro was not effective in repelling the insect pest. 5. In hedgerow intercropping trial involving Moringa oleifera, a medicinal tree showed that yields of culinary herbs including basil, thyme, mint, chive and parsley were not significantly reduced during the first harvest, but yield tended to decrease in subsequent harvest suggesting that tree crop interaction was not critical during the early stage of hedgerow establishment. 6. On-farm trial using sustainable management practices including mulching and drip irrigation for growing sweet marjoram, thyme and basil indicated that yields were comparable with those obtained previously in experiment station.

Impacts
Results of this project demonstrate the significant effect of improved crop management practices for culinary herb production in the Virgin Islands. Improved practices such as the use of organic fertilizer, appropriate planting method and intercropping are low-input sustainable practices that reduce cost of production and increase economic returns to farmers

Publications

  • Crossman, S.M.A. and M.C. Palada. 1998. Influence of mulch type on yield of parsley and chives in the Virgin Islands. Proc. Caribbean Food Crops Society 34:40-45.
  • Chichester, E., S.M.A. Crossman, M.C. Palada and A. Davis. 1998. Response of chive and cilantro to varying levels of organic fertilizers in the Virgin Islands. Proc. Caribbean Food Crops Soc. 34:(abst.)
  • Robles, C.,M.C.Palada and S.M.A. Crossman. 1998. On-farm evaluation of mulch type for sustainable basil production in the Virgin Islands. Proc. Caribbean Food Crops Soc. 34:(abst.)
  • Palada, M.C., S.M.A. Crossman, J.A. Kowalski and C.D. Collingwood. 1999. Evaluation of organic and synthetic mulches for basil production under drip irrigation. J. Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants 6(4):39-48.
  • Palada, M.C.,S.M.A. Crossman and A.M. Davis. 2000. Organic mulch improves yield and economic returns from chive production. HortScience 35(3):464(abstract).
  • Crossman,S.M.A., M.C.Palada, A.M. Davis, J.A. Kowalski and E. Chichester. 2001. Evaluation of organic mulches for culinary herbs production in the U.S. Virgin Islands. pp. 136-148 In: Chambre d'Agriculture de la Martinique-Actes du Colloque L'agriculture autrement la qualite reconnue. Proc. of the Symposium on Organic Vegetable Production. Martinique.
  • Palada, M.C., B.N.Becker, JM Mitchell and P.K.R. Nair. 2003. Cultivation of medicinal plants in alley cropping systems with Moringa oleifera in the Virgin Islands. Pp. 60-76 In:Y.N. Clement and C.E. Seaforth(eds.) Proc. 6th International Workshop on Herbal Medicines for the Caribbean, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. June 27-29, 2003.
  • Palada, MC, BN Becker and JM Mitchell. 2004. Cultivation of medicinal plants in alley cropping system with Moringa oleifera in the Virgin Islands. VI Agriculture and Food Fair Bulletin 18:34-39.
  • Rao,MR, MC Palada and BN Becker. 2004. Medicinal and aromatic plants in agroforestry systems. Agroforestry Systems 61:107-122.


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
There was no replicated field trials conducted for this project in 2003. Efforts were concentrated in seed and plant multiplication for germplasm conservation of selected indigenous medicinal plants and culinary herbs in the greenhouse. Furthermore, the activities supported an IFAFS project on medicinal and aromatic plants in agroforestry systems. Planting materials were multiplied for local herbs and medicinal plants including 'Lemongrass'(Cymbopogon citratus), 'Inflamation Bush' (Verbersina alata), 'Japana' (Eupatorium triplinerve), and 'Worrywine'(Stachytarpheta jamaicensis). These species plus selected culinary herbs included basil, mint, thyme, chive and parsley were used in an alley cropping system with Moringa oleifera. Results indicated that yield of intercropped medicinal plants and herbs were not significantly reduced during the first harvest, but yield tended to decrease in subsequent harvest suggesting that tree crop competition was minimal during the early establishment stage.

Impacts
Integration of culinary herbs and medicinaal plants into agroforestry systems can be a cost-efficient sustainable cropping system with potential economic impact for the Virgin Islands resulting in higher returns from high value horticultural crops.

Publications

  • Palada, M.C., B.N.Becker, J.M. Mitchell and P.K.R. Nair. 2003. The integration of medicinal plants and culinary herbs in agroforestry systems for the Caribbean: A study in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Acta Horticulturae (in press).
  • Palada, M.C., A.M. Davis, S.M.A. Crossman, C. Robles and E. Chichester. 2003. Sustainable crop management practices for improving production of culinary herbs in the Virgin Islands. Acta Horticulturae (in press).
  • Palada, M.C., B.N. Becker, J.M. Mitchell and D.A. O'Keefe. 2003 Conserving indigenous medicinal plants in agroforestry systems. V.I. Agriculture and Food Fair Bulletin 17:25-27.


Progress 01/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) was intercropped with pole bean (Vigna unguiculata) to study the effect on development, growth, disease and insect infestation, and yield of the two crops. The study was conducted at Southgate Farms, an organic farm on St. Croix, USVI. The results of the effects on cilantro are reported. The experimental design was four randomized complete blocks of the following six treatments: pole bean monocrop(PB1),pole bean monocrop with insecticide application(PB2), cilantro and pole bean intercropped(PBC1), cilantro and pole bean with insecticide application(PBC2), cilantro monocrop(C1), and cilantro monocrop with insecticde application(C2). Only insecticides which are considered acceptable under the Federal Organic Foods Production Act were applied. The field was surveyed three times for occurrence of insects and disease. Both crops were infested with bean aphid during the sixth week of the growing season. The severity was recorded using a grading scale based on the percent crop affected where, 1=0-20%, 2=20-40%, 3=40-60% amd 4>60%. The monocrop cilantro plots were the least infested regardless of whether insecticidal sprays had been applied. Average infestation grades for the C1 and C2 plots were 1.75 and 2.25, respectively, PBC1 was 3.00 and PBC2 was 3.25.Plant height was recorded at first harvest and no differences(P>0.10) were observed. Significant differences in fresh weight yields were evident between the monocrop and intercrop cilantro plots. The C1 treatment(monocrop, no insecticide application) produced 1.6 kg per plot. Average per plot yields for cilantro intercropped with pole bean(PBC1) were 0.96 kg. The PBC2 treatment produced the lowest average yield of 0.58 kg per plot. While cilantro has been shown to act as a repellent of many insect species, it was not effective for the bean aphid when intercropped with pole bean. However, the monoculture cilantro clearly had little to no infestation. The organic pest controls implemented were not effective against the bean aphid infestation.

Impacts
Improved crop management practices will be beneficial for insect and disease control. This project developed low input sustainable practices which are easily adapted by small scale producers.

Publications

  • Palada, M.C., S.M.A. Crossman, A.M. Davis, C. Robles and E.A. Chichester. 2002. Sustainable crop management practices for improving prodpuction of culinary herbs in the Virgin Islands. p. 191-192 in Proc. 26th International Horticultural Congress, Toronto, Canada (abstract).


Progress 01/01/01 to 12/31/01

Outputs
A field experiment was conducted to determine the feasibility of direct seeding as an alternative to transplanting seedlings for production of culinary herbs. Cilantro and parsley were compared to arugula, and each crop responded differently to direct seeding. Cilantro and arugula readily adapted to direct seeding, and growth rate and yields were comparable to the crops produced from transplants. The direct seeded and transplanted cilantro were harvested on the same date and fresh yields were 121 kg/ha and 128 kg/ha, respectively. Seed emergence and growth rate of the direct seeded parsley was extremely poor. The fresh weight yield from the transplanted parsley (122 kg/ha) was 200x greater than from the directed seeded crop. The incidence of insect and disease was also recorded. Mealy bugs and aphids were recorded on arugula intercropped with parsley. However, the insects were not found in cilantro or the arugula grown parallel to the herb. An on-farm field evaluation for basil, marjoram and thyme was conducted to determine if sustainable agricultural practices identified from previous studies could be adopted by local producers. The field was fertilized by pre-plant incorporation of 2-1-2 NPK cow manure (300 kg/ha). Soil moisture was maintained at 30 kPa, by drip irrigation with grass straw mulch applied at 4 inches depth. Marjoram, thyme and five specialty type basil cultivars were compared for fresh and dry weight yields. The experimental design was randomized complete blocks with four replications, and the farmer cooperator was responsible for cultivation of the crop. The herbs were harvested one time and crop yields were comparable to previous studies. The average fresh weight of basil was 468 kg/ha and there was no significant difference between the five cultivars. Total fresh weight from thyme and marjoram were 128 kg/ha and 110 kg/ha, respectively. The farmer was able to successfully produce culinary herbs using the developed sustainable agricultural management practices.

Impacts
Direct seeding of crops is more cost effective for production when compared to the time, labor and materials of propagation of transplants. Intercropping is a low input sustainable agricultural practice which may also reduce the cost of production when adapted by small scale resource poor farmer/producers.

Publications

  • Crossman, S.M.A., Palada, M.C., Davis,A.M., Kowalski,J.A. and Chichester,E. 2001. Evaluation of organic mulches for culinary herbs production in the U.S. Virgin Islands. pp.136-148 In: Chambred' Agriculture de la Martinique-Actes du Colloque L'agriculture autrement la qualite reconnue. Proc. of the Symposium on Organic Vegetable Production. Martinique.


Progress 01/01/00 to 12/31/00

Outputs
A field trial was established in November, 2000 to compare the advantages and disadvantages of direct seeding and transplanting cilantro, parsley and arugula. The effects of intercropping herbs with the popular salad green were also studied. The experiment was a split-plot randomized design with three replications. Each plot consisted of four rows 7.5 m in length, with plants spaced 30 cm within rows. The direct seeded rows were thinned to the established spacing. The crops were fertigated biweekly with 250 ppm 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer and soil moisture maintained at -30 kPa. Data were collected on germination rates from direct seeded plots, growth rates (plant height) and incidence of disease and insects with the field. The fresh weight at harvest was recorded for arugula. Fresh and dry weights were recorded for parsley and cilantro. The trial is on-going and analysis of data will be done upon completion.

Impacts
Cost efficient sustainable cultivation practices for production of high value specialty crops. Direct seeding of crops is more cost effective for production, when compared to the time, labor and materials of propagation of transplants. Intercropping if effective for disease and insect control is a low input sustainable agricultural practice which may also reduce the cost of production.

Publications

  • Palada, M.C., S.M.A. Crossman and A.M. Davis. 2000. Organic mulch improves yield and economic returns from chive production. HortScience 35(3):464(abst.).
  • Palada, M.C., S.M.A. Crossman, A.M. Davis and E. Chichester. 2000. Evaluation of organic and synthetic mulches for chive production in the Virgin Islands. Proc. Caribbean Food Crops Soc. 36:(in press).
  • Palada, M.C., C. Robles, A.M. Davis, S.M.A. Crossman and L.E. Petersen. 2000. Evaluation of organic and synthetic mulches for sustainable basil production in the Virgin Islands. Proc. Caribbean Food Crops Soc. 36:(in press).
  • Palada, M.C., E. Chichester, A.M. Davis and D. O'Keefe. 2000. Comparison of organic and synthetic mulches for sustainable thyme production in the Virgin Islands. Proc. Caribbean Food Crops Soc. 36:(in press).
  • Palada, M.C., S.M.A. Crossman and A.M.Davis. 2000. Organic mulch improves yield and economic returns from chive production. V.I. Agric. and Food Fair Bull. 12:47-52.


Progress 01/01/99 to 12/31/99

Outputs
A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted in 1999 to determine the effect of organic and synthetic chemical fertilizers on growth and leaf yield of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus Stapf.). Organic fertilizers included turkey litter manure at 2 formulations (5-2-4 and 4-6-4) and dehydrated cow manure (2-1-2). Chemical fertilizers used were Peter's Nutraleaf (20-20-20) and Hummert's Complete (10-55-10). A control (no fertilizer) was included in the treatments. Lemon grass was planted in 3-gallon pots containing potting mix (Pro Mix). Plants were fertilized with 1 tablespoon of each fertilizer material per week. Each treatment consisted of 3 pots and each pot represented a replicate. The pots were arranged in a completely randomized design. Data on plant height, number of tillers (slips), number of leaves and leaf yield were collected at harvest. Tallest plants (83.7 cm) were observed from treatments fertilized with turkey litter manure (5-2-5)while shortest plants (68.3 cm) were observed from control (no fertilizer) treatment. Treatments with chemical fertilizers produced higher number of leaves and tillers and higher fresh and dry weight of leaves than organic fertilizers. The best organic fertilizer was turkey litter manure (5-2-4) with fresh and dry leaf yields comparable to chemical fertilizers.

Impacts
This study shows the importance of organic fertilizer in culinary herb production. Organic fertilizers are comparable with chemical fertilizers in terms of their effect on yield. Organic herb growers will benefit through reduced production cost by using organic fertilizers since these are resources that are locally available.

Publications

  • Palada, M.C., S.M.A. Crossman, J.A. Kowalski and C.D. Collingwood. 1999. Evaluation of organic and synthetic mulches for basil production under drip irrigation. J. Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants. Vol. 6(4):39-48.
  • Palada, M.C., S.M.A. Crossman and A.M. Davis. 1999. Production of culinary herbs grown in rotation with green manures in the Virgin Islands. Proc. Caribbean Food Crops Soc. 35: (in press).