In Spring 2019, the Institute for Environmental Solutions and SIA “Field and Forest” is launching the final season for experimental gardens to gather data, analyse genetic resources and the best growing conditions for 5 medicinal and aromatic plants. The aim is to find the best growing technologies for each of plants of interest.
The selected medicinal and aromatic plants – valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), and siler (Saposhnikovia divaricata) are proven to have high concentration of active substances. Therefore, they are important ingredients of pharmacy and cosmetic products. Considering that Latvia’s weather conditions and soil parameters could be favourable for cultivation of abovementioned plants, in 2017 IES in cooperation with SIA “Field and Forest” developed experimental gardens for detailed analysis of selected plants’ genotypes, yield, phytochemical quality and other criteria of growing these plants. As a result, researchers will declare the most suitable genotypes and organic production for organic farming, pharmacology, food production and cosmetics companies, as well as for household use.
In Spring 2019, IES and “Field and Forest” starts the final season for experimental gardens. The gardens will provide data of the plant growth, progress and quality of harvest, thus, helping to develop the specifically proven growing technology for each species of interest. Currently, after the winter season, plants are in vegetation period. Overall conditions of winter season 2018/2019 have been good for all species and varieties. In the end of March, vegetation period of valerian and dandelion have restarted. The first spring counting of plants researchers plan to do at the end of April, when the vegetation will be fully recovered. In April, the weather conditions are changing a lot, thus, affecting the plant growth. Despite of that, field works have already started. Considering that weeds can outpace medicinal plants by growing faster in lower temperatures, the weeding process has started.
Fieldworks in experimental gardens will continue till October 2019. During this period, researchers will continue to monitor all the gathered plant species and their characteristics that are important in organic farming and agriculture. During the whole season the researchers will do the chemical analysis of the harvested plants. This will be the third and last year of the project and the second season of the medicinal and aromatic plant experimental gardens.
Chemical analysis and the research are a part of the project “Growing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants” (Nr.188.8.131.52/16/A/307). It is supported by European Regional Development Fund, as a part of Measure 184.108.40.206 “Industry-Driven Research” of specific objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovation capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and their ability to attract external funding by investing in human resources and infrastructure”.
Find more about the project here.