Local lettuce: heat tolerant romaine cultivars and vermicompost soil amendment to increase sustainability in the Mid-Atlantic
Wallis, Anna Elizabeth
Walsh, Chris S
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Local production of lettuce in the Mid-Atlantic utilizing heat-tolerant romaine cultivars and vermicompost soil amendment has the potential to significantly increase sustainability of agriculture. Heat tolerant cultivars would facilitate season extension into the summer. Vermicompost, compost produced using earthworms, may increase yield and quality of lettuce crops. This research tested a system incorporating these two practices. Success was assessed on lettuce yield and quality of lettuce across three seasons (spring, summer, and fall) and food safety risk of vermicompost. Several of the heat tolerant cultivars showed marketing potential when grown in the summer. Vermicompost did not significantly increase lettuce performance, but trends indicate that it may help, especially at higher rates. No food safety risk was associated with tested materials.