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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Poplarville, Mississippi » Southern Horticultural Research » Research » Research Project #435503

Research Project: Determining the Best Management Practices for Growing Small Fruits in Containers using High Tunnels and Alternative Media Substrates

Location: Southern Horticultural Research

Project Number: 6062-21430-004-030-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Jun 30, 2023

This cooperative research is to determine best management practices for growing small fruits, particularly southern highbush blueberries and blackberries, in containers with soilless (i.e. pinebark-based substrates) media. These containers will be placed in high tunnels. Objectives are as follows: 1) Determine which cultivars of blueberries/blackberries are best adapted for growing in containers in the Gulf Coast and Delta regions of Mississippi. 2) Optimizing growing conditions (e.g. container size, proper media, irrigation needs) and pest management practices for growing these small fruits in high tunnels.

Obj 1. Beginning in fall of 2018, southern highbush blueberry and blackberry cultivars will be identified from commercial producers in Georgia and Florida, and ARS breeders from Poplarville, Mississippi, that show promise as container bushes, and evaluated at the ARS-Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory, Poplarville, Mississippi. These cultivars will be selected beginning spring of 2019 for plantings in high tunnels at the ARS-Jamie Whitten Delta Branch Center, Stoneville, Mississippi, and the MSU-Coast Research and Extension Center, Beaumont Station, Beaumont, Mississippi. Obj 2. In spring of 2019, blueberry and blackberry cultivars selected from Obj 1. will be evaluated using different container sizes and different soilless media in high tunnels. Evaluations of different fertilization practices, pest populations and irrigation practices will be conducted.