Vegetable Amaranth Evaluation in Southeast Texas
Abstract: Vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) is a leafy vegetable with high nutritive value, and has the ability to thrive under drought conditions. It is also a niche crop with tremendous potential as an alternative crop for small-scale producers in Texas because of the presence of a market for it. The objective of this study was to evaluate five varieties of vegetable amaranth to identify suitable varieties for cultivation in Texas. The amaranth varieties including Red Leaf, White Leaf, Red Beauty, Red Garnet, and All Red were planted in spring 2018 in a completely randomized design with three replications per treatment. The amaranth was established on 1m2 plots carved out in plastic mulch covered beds supplied with drip irrigation. Each plot was broadcast seed with 1 g of seed. All the varieties received equal amounts of water and 20-20-20 fertilizer according to soil test recommendations. The amaranth was harvested every other week, 4 weeks after planting. The data collected including SPAD meter readings, insect damage score, and yield per plant was subjected to ANOVA using the JMP software. Conclusions were drawn at the 5% significance level. The leaf chlorophyll content for Red Beauty was significantly greater than all the other varieties. Red Leaf was significantly less susceptible to insect damage compared to All Red and White Leaf and produced significantly more yield. Red Beauty and Red Garnet were intermediate in their susceptibility to insect damage and yield among the amaranth varieties evaluated. There was a significant negative correlation between insect damage score and yield per plant (p = 0.0099) indicating that the higher the variety is susceptible to insect attack the lower the yield potential. These results suggest that Red Leaf amaranth could be the variety most suited for the humid and hot southwest Region of Texas.
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