Sunbeams for Cucumbers

The Organic Farming Research Foundation has announced a second-year research grant to Edmund Frost of Common Wealth Seed Growers to continue his assessment of downy mildew resistant cucumber seedstocks.

Development, testing, and release of resistant plant varieties is essential to controlling diseases that pose a significant and costly production challenge for organic farmers.

“He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of
cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let
out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.” (Part iii. Chap. v.
Voyage to Laputa.)

Frost has been producing certified organic vegetable seeds at Twin Oaks Seed Farm in Louisa, Virginia since 2008, pursuing variety trials and breeding work since 2011. He leads Common Wealth Seed Growers, a cooperative effort of several Virginia seed growers to grow and sell seed varieties that perform well in the region.

OFRF grant funding supports the efficacy, ecological sustainability, and economic prosperity of organic farming. According to Brise Tencer, OFRF’s Executive Director, “Organic farmers need varieties with high nutrient-use efficiency, disease resistance, insect resistance, weed competition, and good quality. In our national survey, many farmers stated the need for increased on-farm breeding and variety improvement for organic seeds. We are excited to continue funding this important work.”