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Improving Production & Yield of Winter Greens in the Northeast

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Principal Investigator/Project Leader: 
Susan
Scheufele
Co-Principal Investigator/Co-Project Leader: 
Genevieve
Higgins
Sponsoring Unit(s): 
A grower harvests spinach from a high tunnel in February 2021. Photo: G. Higgins
Project Description: 

Demand for fresh, local greens in winter is limitless, and production is not nearly meeting demand, representing a huge opportunity to increase financial sustainability of individual farms and food systems. Currently, there is a gap in knowledge across our region about occurrence, biology, and management of downy mildews of winter greens, and we are lacking for modern, efficient leafy greens production systems. These two factors are limiting farm revenue and profitability, and limiting consumer access to fresh, local greens year round.

This project is addressing these concerns through research, outreach, and education, outlined below:

  • Grower case-studies to determine the most profitable winter spinach production methods
  • Educational programming, including webinars, field days, and workshops. Any recorded virtual educational events will be posted below.
  • Field trials on spinach varieties and plant establishment
  • Disease diagnostic support for identifying diseases of winter greens in general, and races of spinach and lettuce downy mildews

Prior to the start of this project, the UMass Extension Vegetable Program conducted 2 winter spinach variety trials looking at downy mildew resistant varieties - the reports from those trials are also included on this page.

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