Location: Southern Horticultural Research
2012 Annual Report
A study was conducted at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, MS, to identify and quantify species occurrence and frequency on nearly 2 acres of green roof at the facility. Preliminary data indicate that of the 13 species planted on the roof, only about 75% of the species survived in the first 18 months. Poor establishment was probably due to under-education of the facility’s maintenance staff concerning proper care. Presently, Mississippi State University (MSU) scientists are working with the facility to develop care and maintenance protocols as well as make recommendations for new plantings.
An early okra trial was established in Spring 2011 using high tunnel production practices at the Beaumont Horticultural Unit in Perry County, MS. Strong winds incurred devastating damage to the high tunnel structure and the trial was replanted in winter 2012. Results indicate that okra grown under high tunnel conditions can be brought to market 2-3 weeks earlier than field-produced varieties. To expand on this study, plans are being developed to halt summer production and rejuvenate the planting for a fall harvest.
A heat-set or heat-tolerant tomato trial was established in July 2011. Varieties included ‘Bella Rosa’, ‘Talladega’, ‘Amelia’, and ‘Applause’. Summer 2011 data proved to be inconclusive regarding the viability of these varieties for mid-summer tomato production. The test is being replicated in July 2012.
An experimental planting of ‘Prime-Ark 45’ blackberries was established in cooperation with the Beaumont Horticultural Unit in Perry County, MS. The trial consists of several pruning treatments to promote fall-bearing fruit production. The trial is being replicated in Verona, MS.
A demonstration garden was planted at the Beaumont Horticultural Unit for display and education. The Unit is always open to the public. The garden includes several ornamental examples. Vegetables in the garden are grown using commercial production practices including plastic mulch and drip irrigation. Production of traditional cultivars, heirloom varieties, and Asian vegetables were demonstrated.
The annual Vegetable Field Day was held at the Beaumont Horticultural Unit in June, 2011. Approximately 75 growers, Extension personnel, and Master Gardeners attended. Opportunities for Mississippi growers were discussed including marketing, production, pest control, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) high tunnel cost share program. Participants were encouraged to interact with MSU and USDA personnel.
Lagerstroemia and Rhododendron hybrids continue to be evaluated for market potential and selected Lagestroemia are being evaluated for disease resistance.