From the Field: Carrot, Spinach, and Onion Seed

We're noticing some differences in plant health and suspect we’re seeing varying levels of resistance to Xanthomonas (a bacteria that causes black leaf spot). The red plants are the ones that have likely succumbed to infection and the green ones are those most likely carrying some resistance. OSA's plant breeders will be selecting seed from strong plants this fall.

Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) trial. Copyright OSA.

Last month we shared some notes from our carrot breeding work happening at Midori Farm as part of the collaborative Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project. This week we noticed some differences in plant health and suspect we’re seeing some varying levels of resistance to Xanthomonas (a bacteria that causes black leaf spot). The red plants (see picture to the left) are the ones that have likely succumbed to infection and the green ones are those most likely carrying some resistance. We’ll be selecting seed from strong plants in late August or early September.

Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) weed competitiveness trials. Copyright OSA.

CIOA weed competitiveness trials. Copyright OSA.

You’ll notice some big differences in top size and a few weeds in the photo of our CIOA weed competitiveness trial to the right. We are looking at the rate of growth and the fullness of canopy as a way to quantify the ability of carrot varieties to compete with weeds. Later this season, we will combine this data with plant and weed biomass and yield measurements to see how the weeds affected plant growth and root yield. Each plot is split in half with one half that is actively weeded each week and the other left to the weeds. We are proud to be collaborating on this work with researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

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Upcoming Carrot Field Day in Washington State

carrot-colored-tasting-stone-barns_smallJoin us for the upcoming “Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture Field Day” to be held August 15, 2014, at the Washington State University Extension Research Farm in Pasco, Washington.

The field day will include a presentation on the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project by Dr. Phil Simon of USDA ARS and University of Wisconsin – Madison. CIOA is a collaborative breeding project that addresses the needs of organic carrot farmers. The project focuses on developing orange and novel colored carrots with improved disease and nematode resistance, improved weed competitiveness, and improved nutritional value and flavor.

The event will also include a field tour of research plots at the Washington State University Extension Research Farm. The field tour will include research on: spider mite control of sweet corn, fungicide seed treatments on sweet corn, plant population studies on sweet corn, insect control on potatoes, and onion thrips control on onions.

The field day will be held at the Washington State University Extension Research Farm located at 2280 N. Rd. 80 in Pasco, Washington (see map below) from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday, August 15, 2014. The event is free and open to the public.

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Upcoming Organic Seed Field Day and Training in North Carolina

cucumber-male-flowerSave the date for the upcoming “Organic Cucurbit Variety Selection and Seed Saving Field Day” to be held August 12, 2014, at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, North Carolina.

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Hosts Organic Seed Alliance, Cornell University, and North Carolina State University invite you to join us for this field day which will include results from cucurbit variety trials that are helping researchers identify Downy Mildew resistance. The results will include varieties of melons, squash, and cucumbers grown in organic systems.

In addition to variety trial results, field day participants will also learn techniques in seed saving and processing, and on-farm plant breeding.

The field day will be held at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event fee is $10.00 and includes day-long field day and lunch. Pre-registration is required.

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OSA Welcomes Ken Greene to Board of Directors

ken and doug with flowering parsnips (Medium)OSA’s board of directors spans the U.S. and includes a diverse group of dedicated professionals from multiple roles in the organic seed community. We’re pleased to welcome our newest board member who joins us from the Northeast. Ken Greene is co-founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library, a project he germinated in a small town library that has now blossomed into a seed company and organic seed farm devoted to producing seed for home gardeners and farmers, fostering a regional seed-saving community, and celebrating the diversity of seeds through art.

Ken and the Hudson Valley Seed Library are curating the Art of the Heirloom Expo at this year’s Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California. All are invited to submit artwork for consideration to be included in the expo and three pieces will be selected to be printed in Heirloom Gardener Magazine after the expo. Deadline for art submissions is July 31, 2014. Follow this link for more information and to submit your artwork.

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OSA Welcomes Mary Black to Staff

Mary Black photo_finalWe are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our team. This spring, we welcomed Mary Black as OSA’s operations manager. Mary holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She spent over ten years working as a litigation paralegal in Seattle before attending law school at Seattle University. Most recently, Mary worked as a compliance manager at a tech startup and helped the company expand into new markets. When not running the OSA office in Port Townsend, she spends as much time as possible playing outside at her home in the Olympic Peninsula, where she most enjoys sharing her love of nature with her young children. She runs a small organic heirloom seed company with her husband and loves working with wool in just about any capacity: knitting, spinning, dyeing, and felting.

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