Courgette Trials

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Geoff
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Courgette Trials

Postby Geoff » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:45 pm

Not sure if I should post this but I think it ends up on the public part of RHS website. I have had an ongoing email correspondence with the RHS about how long it takes for the full trial reports to be published. As a result they have sent me the text of two upcoming reports on Tomatoes and Courgettes as Word documents from 2007 trials. They are interesting for the cultivation methods as well as the results so I have partially copied them here.
Objectives: The objectives of the trial were to compare and assess a range of green, courgette cultivars, grown in the open ground; to recommend the Award of Garden Merit [AGM] to outstanding cultivars for garden use and to demonstrate the cultivation of this a crop.
Cultivation: The trial plot had previously been used for a four year trial of herbaceous plants that had not been fertilized, so double-chopped mushroom compost was rotavated into the soil in the spring. Seed was sown under glass on 25 May, two seeds per 9cm pot, using peat-free compost, watered with Revive (a product that contains natural soil micro-organisms which encourage soil fertility and healthy plant growth) and germinated at 20ºC. Once germinated the seedlings were thinned to one plant per pot and grown on in the greenhouse. On 3 June they were put outside in cold-frames to harden off, being protected for the first couple of days with a covering of fleece. The site on the Trials Field was cultivated, raked even and marked out into rows 120cm apart prior to transplanting on the 8 June at 90cm spacing within the rows. Three rows [3.6m long] of each entry were grown.
A row of plants were also sown directly into the soil on 8 June at each end of the trial. Three seeds were sown per station and later thinned to one plant. These plants were later developing and fruiting than the trial entries and were not included in the Subcommittee's assessment of the cultivars. They did, however, demonstrate this method of cultivation and ensure that all entries in the trial are growing under the same conditions: i.e. with other plants growing on either side. There had been no need for watering after the first week of planting and the crop was not sprayed for pests or disease.
Judging: The trial was assessed for the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the Vegetable Trials Subcommittee on 9 and 29 August using the following criteria:
shape : colour of skin and flesh : texture : size
maturity date : mildew resistance : ease of picking
Findings: All fruits were picked at 10-15cm long to ensure that they were young and tender, but the dull, wet summer lead to lower than usual cropping. July was extremely wet (174.4mm for the month: almost 5 times wetter than 2006). Most of the rain fell in one day (69.9mm on the 20th) and some parts of the garden were affected by floods. The sunshine hours were well below average and this meant temperatures were also well below those of 2006 (mean daily maximum air temperature 20.7ºC compared to 27.8ºC for July 2006) and a degree below the long term average. A hailstorm on 4 July pitted young developing fruits and damaged foliage and there were further heavy rains in August (71.2mm for the month, compared to 49.4mm for the long term average). During early August it was noted that plants in some entries were dying from symptoms that affected the leaves; first yellowing then fragmenting them, although the growing tip was last to die. The Pathology Department examined the affected plants and reported that the symptoms appeared similar to bacterial soft rot, possibly Erwinia carotovora that has a very wide host range but is commonly found on Cucurbita. The bacterium survives in the soil, with a combination of wounds, high temperature and high humidity necessary to stimulate infection and disease progress. They commented that it had been particularly common this year due to the wet weather and that there are no effective chemical controls.
As well as inspecting the plants and produce on the trials field, the Subcommittee also tasted the fruits, which were sliced and cooked in a micro-wave oven. All those recommended for award had a good flavour, although most were very similar in taste with only 'Romanesco' being the rather more flavoursome.
Entries receiving The Award of Garden Merit (H3)

'Astia' AGM (H3) 2007. Sent by and available from Johnsons Seeds, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7QB.
Bushy plants cropped from 28 June. Fruits are medium-green, flecked with pale-green.
Good yield. Medium-green, flecked fruit are long with parallel sides.
Available in one retail catalogue.

'Bambino' AGM (H3) 2007, reconfirming AGM (H3) 1998. Sent by A L Tozer Ltd, Pyports, Downside Bridge Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EH.
Open, bushy plants cropped from 9 July. Fruits are mid to dark-green, speckled with pale-green.
Good compact plants with open habit. Short fruit has good shape with parallel sides.
Widely available in retail catalogues.

'Firenze' AGM (H3) 2007. Sent by and available from A L Tozer Ltd, Pyports, Downside Bridge Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EH.
Semi-trailing plants cropped from 6 July. Fruits are dark-green, lightly speckled with pale-green.
Lovely dark-green fruits are smooth and shiny.
Available in one retail catalogues.

'Romanesco' AGM (H3) 2007. Sent by and available from Seeds of Italy, Phoenix Industrial Est., Unit C3, Rosslyn Crescent, Harrow, Middx. HA1 2SP.
Semi-trailing plants cropped from 6 July. Fruits are light-green with speckles and prominent ribs of very pale green. Flowers remain on the fruits.
Distinctive, heavily ribbed fruits that hold their flowers. Popular in Italy; the flowers are used for stuffing. Semi-trailing plants. Good yield.
Available in one retail catalogue.

'Saracen' AGM (H3) 2007. Sent by A L Tozer Ltd, Pyports, Downside Bridge Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EH.
Bushy plants cropped from 6 July. Fruits are mid-green fruits, speckled with pale-green.
Very high yield. Medium-green short, shiny fruits.
Available in one retail catalogue.

'Supremo' AGM (H3) 2007, reconfirming AGM (H3) 1993. Sent by Syngenta Seeds Ltd, 17 Summerwood Lane, Halsall, Ormskirk, Lancs. L39 8TH.
Semi-trailing plants with an erect habit cropped from 6 July. Fruits are mid to dark-green, speckled with pale-green.
Uniform fruits are smooth, dark to mid-green with some flecking. Plants have erect habit, making fruits easy to pick.
Available in two retail catalogues.

'Sylvana' AGM (H3) 2007. Sent by and available from Mr Fothergill's Seeds Ltd, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7QB.
Bushy plants cropped from 2 July. Fruits are mid to dark-green, speckled with pale-green.
Huge yield of attractively shaped fruits from vigorous plants.
Available in two retail catalogues.

'Tristan' AGM (H3) 2007. Sent by John Bertinat Seeds Ltd, Bankfield House, 39 Bure Way, Aylsham, Norfolk NR11 6HL.
Bushy plants cropped from 6 July. Fruits are mid-green, speckled with pale-green.
Good yield from healthy plants. Uniform, medium- green, cylindrical fruits.
Available in one retail catalogue.

'Tuscany' AGM (H3) 2007. Sent by A L Tozer Ltd, Pyports, Downside Bridge Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EH.
Open, bushy plants cropped from 6 July. Fruits are dark-green, faintly speckled with pale-green.
Very attractive, smooth, glossy fruits.
Available in one retail catalogue.


The following entry has been recommended for the AGM but cannot receive the award until it is available to the public in retail catalogues. It is the responsibility of the sender to inform the Trials Office at Wisley that all queries have been resolved.

SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY

'Rimini'. Sent by A L Tozer Ltd, Pyports, Downside Bridge Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EH.
Busy plants cropped from 2 July. Fruits are dark-green, speckled with pale-green.
Compact healthy plant. Dark green, medium-sized fruits are a good, slender shape.
Not yet available in retail catalogues.
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