Sustainable intensification of quinoa production in peri-urban environments in western Washington state utilizing transplant vs. direct-seed methods

Kristofor Ludvigson, John P. Reganold, Kevin Murphy


As a developing alternative crop in both urban and rural environments in the Pacific Northwest, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is predominantly sown using direct-seeding technology on small- to large-scale farms. However, the utilization of transplant methodology could allow for earlier planting dates, improved weed control, and quicker maturation. Many urban farmers and gardeners are experienced and equipped to utilize transplant technology and would potentially be quick to adopt this practice. Following a pilot study in 2015, an experiment was conducted in 2016 that compared transplanting and direct-seeding on two farms in the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington state. With transplant and direct-seed treatments at each location, three quinoa varieties were planted at early, mid, and late planting dates. Here, we report that transplanted quinoa possessed higher survival rates, was quicker to reach later developmental stages, and produced higher yields than direct-seeded quinoa. Transplants were more branched and shorter than direct-seeded quinoa plants; however, they also experienced higher rates of lodging. As the planting dates progressed, lodging decreased, and seed yields increased in the transplanted quinoa across all three varieties compared to the direct-seeded quinoa. The utilization of transplants could provide quinoa growers in urban and peri-urban settings with an improved production method.


Agroecology, crop diversity, direct-seeding, peri-urban agriculture, planting date, quinoa, transplanting, yield

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