Horticulture Field Day features new, old and familiar

June 9, 2011
Contact Information:

Sherri Pote, Southwest Research and Extension Center, 870-777-9702, slblue@uark.edu

Vic Ford, SWREC, 870-9702, vford@uaex.edu

Howell Medders, Division of Agriculture Communications, 479-575-5647, hmedders@uark.edu

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HOPE, Ark. -- The annual Horticulture Field Day June 16 at the Southwest Research and Extension Center will provide information for gardeners and specialty crop farmers about solving the usual problems and taking on new challenges with different plants and production systems.

Topics will range from tips on growing familiar and unfamiliar fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants to organic and high tunnel production methods. Cooperative Extension Service agents will present fruit and vegetable recipes.

Janet Carson and Jim Robbins, extension horticulture specialists, will review landscape and ornamental plants for south Arkansas.

Growers looking for a new challenge may be interested in presentations on paw paws, edamame soybeans, organic blueberries and berry crops in a high tunnel growing system.

Vic Ford, director of the center, which is a unit of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, will discuss the Paw Paw Project. Improved varieties of the native American paw paw tree were planted for evaluation of varieties and management practices. The project is in cooperation with the USDA national paw paw gene bank at Kentucky State University.

The potential for edamame, which is an edible soybean similar to other peas and beans, will be presented by Terry Kirkpatrick, professor of plant pathology based at the center.

Organic and conventional blueberry production and the potential for growing fruit under "high tunnel" shelters to extend the harvest season will be presented by horticulture specialist Elena Garcia and Christopher Vincent, program technician.

Tomato diseases and the benefits of grafting the tops of heirloom varieties of plants such as tomato and watermelon to modern disease-resistant rootstock will be discussed by Sherri Smith, program assistant.

Fruit breeder John Clark will report on his efforts to develop improved muscadine varieties. Clark and entomologist Donn Johnson will review insect pest management and other issues for peaches and nectarines

Clay Wingfield, program technician, will report on variety trials for personal watermelons and sugar-enhanced sweet corn.

Forester Jon Barry will give a performance review of fast-acting lime.

Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and the program goes until 2 p.m. A pre-registration fee of $10 covers a barbecue lunch and refreshments. Call Sherri Pote at 870-777-9702 to pre-register. The fee is $12 for those who do not pre-register.

The center is at 362 Hwy. 174 N, Hope. From I-30 East take Emmet exit 36 and turn right on Hwy 174. From I-30 West take Hope exit 31, turn left on Bill Clinton Expressway and take second left onto Experiment Station Road (CR 4).