Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Agriculture



First Advisor

Dr. Jared Barnes

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Maurer

Third Advisor

Dr. Shelby Laird


Abstract. Diversity of species is a cornerstone of horticulture, and the constant stream of new plant cultivars broadens the palette of options available to the industry. Fifteen Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla) cultivars were evaluated during the fall/winter of 2014-2015 season (season 1) and 27 cultivars during the fall/winter of 2015-2016 season (season 2) to determine the best performing cultivars for production and landscape use for east Texas and the southeast by assessing survivability and yield. There was an increase in production of 3.0 ± 0.5 g per plant per harvest under the low tunnel. The cultivar ‘Verde de Taglio’ had the best overall performance during season 1 both in covered and uncovered environments. In season 2, ‘Verde a Costa Blanca’ yielded the most uncovered. ‘Verde de Taglio’ yielded the most covered for this season. It is recommended to use the low tunnels to extend production. A trial was also conducted to determine optimum, pre-plant organic fertilizer amendment for container production of Swiss chard. Ten pre-plant organic fertilizers were compared against a control (Osmocote). There were no significant differences in dry weight, plant height, or plant width among the treatments suggesting all fertilizers were sufficient to produce Swiss chard ‘Prima Rosa’. In the 2016 spring and fall semesters, students in the Crop Science course (AGN 110) at SFASU were given an assignment where they were instructed to

use Google Sheets to assess diversity of traits of agronomic crops in a seed catalog. Students were assessed pre-and post-assignment on their experience level with agriculture, gardening, and seed catalogs’, their comfort level with Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel and collecting and analyzing data, and their opinion on the effectiveness of using multiple people to collect data and using Google Sheets. Overall, students were able to use Google Sheets to compile data from multiple people to gain insight on which traits occurred most often in seed catalogs. Combined students, agriculture students, female students, and fall semester students showed a higher level of comfort using Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. The results also showed that students had a better grasp of what a trait was after finishing the post-survey. Additionally, students created more robust definitions for a trait and a cultivar post-assignment. From the comments provided from the survey, it was evident that students learned more about agriculture and gardening, traits and cultivars, how to interpret seed catalogs, how to use technology, and collaboration.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Included in

Horticulture Commons



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