Vegetable amaranths for summer greens production in the northeastern United States

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In 2016, 10 vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus sp.) varieties were evaluated for fresh greens production in the northeastern temperate climate. Yield, CV, and leaf-to-stem ratios were reported for the eight varieties of edible amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor), one of slender amaranth (Amaranthus viridis), and one of green amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus). All plants were grown using drip irrigation and black plastic mulch under 0.8-mil clear slitted low tunnels. Ten plants of each variety were tested in a randomized complete block design with four replications; the study was repeated seven times over the season, but the seventh planting was excluded from analyses because of frost damage. There was a significant interaction of planting date and variety on yield (P < 0.001), but some varieties were consistently high yielding. ‘Green Pointed Leaf’ and ‘Miriah’ had the greatest yields overall, did not differ significantly from the highest yielding varieties in any planting, and were notably high yielding in early- and late-season plantings. The effect of variety on yield was reduced in the high ambient temperatures of midsummer. ‘Green Callaloo’ was high yielding with poor leaf-to-stem ratio; a dwarf variety, ‘White Leaf’, was low yielding but excelled in leaf-to-stem ratio. ‘Red Callaloo’ and ‘Red Garnet’ had consistently low yields, and generally low but variable leaf-to-stem ratios. Production and marketing strategies to be considered in addition to performance measures are discussed.

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