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Plant & Soil Sciences
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Abelmoschus Esculentus, Okra, Varieties, Densities
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a traditional crop commercially cultivated in many parts of the world. Fresh okra has a high nutritional value and grows very quickly with high temperatures, which lends its production to more tropical areas. This study was implemented to evaluate different varieties of okra and determine the optimum density for production in Massachusetts. Two experiments were carried out between May and September of 2009 and 2010 at the UMass Research Farm in South Deerfield, MA. For the variety trial in 2009: Annie Oakley, Baby Bubba, Cajun Delight, Chifre de Veado, Clemson Spineless, Millionaire, North & South and Santa Cruz 47. The immature pods were harvested when reached 70 mm in length (size desired by the market in the USA) and in another plot for Chifre de Veado and Santa Cruz 47 the pods were harvested when reached 100 mm (market in Brazil). The density trial was set in a randomized complete block design with seven different plant spacings (7.5, 15.0, 22.5, 30.0, 38.5, 45.0 and 52.5 cm) in double row of plants of Cajun Delight. The pods were harvested three times a week, counted and weighted. Analyses of variance were performed by SAS, and means were compared using Duncan’s new multiple range test (P = 0.05) and orthogonal polynomial comparisons. In 2010, Santa Cruz 47 harvested based on Brazilian market size had the best performance over the season with the yield of 17.86 ton.ha-1 and similar statistic results comparing to North and South (15.99 ton.ha-1) and Annie Oakley (15.24 ton.ha-1). The differences among the plant spacings in 2010, were represented by a quadratic relationship, where the greater plant spacing for yield was ‘52.5 cm’ with the total yield of 14.91 ton.ha-1. Both trials in 2009 were negatively affected by the soil-borne fungus Verticillium spp., which, combined with the cold and wet weather, became very aggressive, especially in the end of the season. The results show that the varieties: North and South, Annie Oakley, Cajun Delight, Millionaire, Clemson Spineless, Santa Cruz 47 can be commercially grown in Massachusetts and the recommended plant spacing of okra is 52.5 cm.