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EARI10-013: Evaluation of the Possibility of Growing High-bush blueberry, Wild blueberry, Haskap and Edamame on harvested peat lands in New Brunswick

Applicant: Theriault & Hachey Peat Moss Ltd.

Project Lead: Dr. Lakahman Ranasinghe

Project Year(s): 2010 -2011      Status: Complete

Funding Source: Canada/New Brunswick Growing Forward (Non-Business Risk Management Programs)

Funding Program: Enabling Agricultural Research and Innovation

Objective: Evaluate the possibility of growing of high value crops (High-bush blueberry, Wild blueberry, Edamame and Haskap) on harvested peat lands. This primary objective will be reached through the following specific objectives. Varietal evaluation of each crop to select suitable commercial varieties for the region. Development of cultivation technology for each crop under peat land conditions. Start commercial cultivations on harvested peat lands.

Deliverables: Identification of most suitable crops / varieties and a technology package on cultivation practices for harvested peat lands. This field will be able to use a demonstration model for the province. This study will generate research information on crop performances, cultivation problems and remedial measures for crop production on harvested peat lands.

Summary: New Brunswick is one of the main peat harvesting regions in Canada. Presently there is a considerable extent of harvested peat lands in the region. The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association recommends three types of restoration procedures for these harvested peat lands; return to a functioning peat land, cultivate for agricultural uses and cultivate for forestry uses. Studies on growing crops on harvested peat lands at Theriault & Hachey Peat moss Limited were initiated in 2007. Field experiments are being done with high bush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), edamame (vegetable soybean; Glycine max L. Merr) and haskap (Lonicera caerulea L.) to evaluate agronomic performances. Five varieties of high-bush blueberry (Patroit, Chippewa, Bluetta, North blue and North sky) were planted in 2008 and data collection is in progress. A crop of wild blueberry was established during 2009 to evaluate the commercial potential of the crop on harvested peat lands. Several varieties of edamame were grown successfully on these lands during last four summer seasons. A field experiment to evaluate the performances of new berry crop haskap on these lands was initiated in spring 2010. All initial studies showed potential but the performances of these crops have to be evaluated further to make conclusions and plan for commercial scale cultivations.

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