Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Win-win: U-pick Pumpkin Farms Recycle Urban Leaves

Date:
January 14, 2009
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
The growing popularity of rural fall festivals, grade school farm tours, and "u-pick" pumpkin farms has resulted in an increase in consumer demand for pumpkins throughout the country. A critical challenge for pumpkin farmers promoting entertainment agriculture, or "agritourism," is maintaining fields that are weed-free, attractive, and safe for consumers.

Pictured are fall harvest pumpkins.
Credit: Photo by mdoege@compuserve.com

Americans love pumpkins. The growing popularity of rural fall festivals, grade school farm tours, and "u-pick" pumpkin farms has resulted in an increase in consumer demand for pumpkins throughout the country. A critical challenge for pumpkin farmers promoting entertainment agriculture, or "agritourism", is maintaining fields that are weed-free, attractive, and safe for consumers.

Related Articles


To keep up with the increasing popularity of pick-your-own pumpkin operations, farmers are constantly seeking ways to produce marketable pumpkins while maintaining u-pick fields that are enticing for consumers, even during inclement autumn weather.

Using leaf mulch collected from urban areas may help improve quality and field conditions of u-pick pumpkin operations while providing a cost-effective method to recycle leaves. During 2005 and 2006, researchers Christian Wyenandt, Joseph R. Heckman, and Nancy Maxwell from the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, conducted experiments comparing different production systems on pumpkin yield and fruit quality. According the researchers, "the studies revealed that applying municipal leaves to the soil surface exhibited a marked advantage over bare soil in producing clean pumpkin fruit. In both years, the percentage of clean fruit at harvest was higher in both leaf mulch production systems compared with bare soil."

Cities and towns seeking a cost-effective method to dispose of collected leaves can also benefit from the study. In New Jersey alone, five million cubic yards of leaves are collected each year by local municipalities for composting or use on farms. State regulations prohibit disposing of leaves in landfills or locally burning leaves. A 1994 study of New Jersey municipalities and farm operators indicated that on-farm mulching had the potential to reduce the cost of municipal leaf management while providing organic matter to the soil and monetary incentives to the farmers through fees (averaging $3.00 per yard) paid by municipalities.

The scientists noted the benefits of the research to both farmers and taxpayers, stating; "Small farm operators near urban areas can apply autumn leaves collected from municipal shade trees to help maintain attractive fields, maintain suitable soil conditions for consumers, improve the cleanliness of u-pick pumpkins, and improve overall soil health with the addition of organic matter to the soil." And municipalities seeking environmentally safe and cost-effective methods of leaf disposal can work with u-pick pumpkin operators to create solutions that work for producers, local governments, and consumers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pumpkin Fruit Size and Quality Improve with Leaf Mulch. HortTechnology, 18: 325-544 (2008) [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "A Win-win: U-pick Pumpkin Farms Recycle Urban Leaves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229104654.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2009, January 14). A Win-win: U-pick Pumpkin Farms Recycle Urban Leaves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229104654.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "A Win-win: U-pick Pumpkin Farms Recycle Urban Leaves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229104654.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) A collection of dinosaur bones reveal a creature that is far more weird and goofy-looking than scientists originally thought when they found just the arm bones nearly 50 years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins