Controlled Environment AgricultureWinter Production of Medicinal and Culinary Herbs
Basil is one of the few medicinal herbs that is an annual. The purpose of our research is to test eight different cultivars for growth and performance under controlled environment agricultural conditions: that is, basic fertigation supplied with a capillary mat, heat under the benches and natural winter light greenhouse conditions.
Basil 2016: Winter Production of Basil (Ocimum basilicum) for Fresh Market and Essential Oil Production
Chamomile species are either annual or perennial. Our research trial included both genera. Chamomile seeds are tiny and hard to sow singly in a row. When plants had their true leaves we transplanted small clumps but could not thin them to be just one or two plants. Both cultivars benefited from transplanting and grew vigorously. However, this pattern did not continue either due to lack of daylight and/or adequate fertilization. Plants either received a minimum of 100 ppm nitrogen continuously or a slow release fertilizer.
Plants did not flower until March. This was outside of our desired harvest window. We knew this was a possibility as chamomile responds to daylength. We didn’t know if it was obligative (absolutely required) or facultative (long daylength speeds up flowering). Literature indicated that the flowers, not the thin tiny leaves, were important for medicinal uses. We ended the Chamomile trial and plan to move on to other herbs in the future.