T’is the Season in the Desert Southwest- Full Review

An update by Joe Borchard, PD Specialist Desert Southwest

Down in the Desert Southwest region, the weather is starting to cool down and crops are moving slower, all while harvest is speeding up at a rapid pace. The pepper and tomato harvest seasons are at their tail end and the harvest season for the winter crops has commenced.

This season I am looking forward to seeing many new materials within our various portfolio of crops.  Crops such as cauliflower, red and green cabbage, radish, peppers, and onion have all been sown and transplanted and will be ready to evaluate as the harvest season progresses from winter to spring crops. This month watermelon sowings begin for the spring and summer harvest season. I am looking forward to seeing what new material we will be advancing and continuing to promote in the desert southwest region.

Some older numbered materials in our pepper portfolio have started to gain more traction from growers and dealers we haven’t worked with in the past. New cauliflower numbers have been transplanted and sown and should start coming off soon and throughout the winter produce season, specifically the main and late seasons.

Evaluations for red and green cabbage have started and I am happy to say that we have some very promising varieties within our portfolio and pipeline that look better than the competition. Cali, our commercial green cabbage variety is better than the competition and is an ideal variety for the fresh market and dual-purpose grower. Our new red cabbage in our pipeline is an ideal variety for fresh market growers and has great holding capacity when the season starts to warm up.  Radish trials of new material have been planted in various regions within Arizona and California along with our commercial varieties. Our breeding team is working extensively to find multiple varieties that will work for the whole season and also be corresponding varieties to both Robello and Diego.

Come springtime I will be looking forward to seeing what new onion material we will be able to advance to continue trialing down here in the Desert Southwest for our short-day onion program. Peppers dropped and planted in the winter will also be ready for evaluations in the spring. Our mini watermelon program continues to thrive as our large watermelon is slowly starting to develop. Sowings for watermelons will start this month and transplantings will start later in February all through June.

As the winter season ends in these next few months, I look forward to continuing to see, evaluating, and developing varieties for the spring and summer seasons.