As the number of acres used for agricultural production continues to grow annually, so too does demand, especially for out of season fruits and vegetables that often have to be flown in from around the world so that consumers in places like the Pacific Northwest can have a delicious banana or orange for breakfast in the middle of the winter. But with each passing season, the future of agricultural production in containerized form grows increasingly possible, a development that could allow local production of a variety of fruits and vegetables year round.
Here at Oregon State University Patrick Kingston, a student in Horticulture, is studying blueberries, which turn out to be very picky fruit. Like Goldilocks with her porridge, blueberries need their soil to be just right in order to grow, and in the Pacific Northwest conditions are often too rainy, and ideal soil is largely restricted to the Willamette Valley, limiting potential growing space. Working underneath a group of three closely allied advisors– Bernadine Strik, David Bryla, and Carolyn Scagel— Patrick has a wealth of knowledge at his fingertips about fruit fertility, irrigation, and container research (in other words, studying how to best pot your plants).
By growing fruits like blueberries under controlled conditions, potted in the ideal substrate and treated with vitamins and nutrients to aid growth, containerized plants have shown the potential for production in areas where growing them in the soil simply would not be possible, and some have even grown at up to three times the expected growth rate. Patrick hopes to accomplish the same with his blueberries, working with everything from peat moss and pine chips to coconut husk as potential substrates for his plants.
Coming from his own life of experience in the garden, the lab, and on the farm; Patrick has found that communication between researchers and growers is key. The importance of specific technologies and techniques for the farms of the future is at stake, and Patrick is here to tell us all about it this Sunday night, at 7PM on 88.7 KBVR FM, Corvallis!
Clint is showing us how his field trials are set up and the major benefits his applications are having on the grass.
Turfgrass managers are responsible for the beautiful playing surfaces you are accustomed to seeing for sports including football, soccer, tennis, baseball, rugby, lacrosse, golf, well you get the picture!
The smell of freshly cut grass can lead an unlucky bunch to reach for Kleenex and the allergy meds, while others get a smile on their face as they prepare for game time. Little did you know, those ‘wet-green’ smells are organic compounds to help the grasses (among many other functions) recover from decapitation and fungal infections. Minimizing fungal infections on your lawn are manageable, but what if you were in charge of keeping an entire golf course in perfect shape all year long? This week our guest is Clint Mattox who has worked in Europe and the US in pursuit of managing turfgrass to its highest potential while also being cognizant of the environmental and economic impacts of pesticides and fungicides. Clint is now a PhD student in the College of Agricultural Sciences working with Dr. Alec Kowalewski in the Department of Horticulture focusing on turfgrass management in the Pacific Northwest. You can also follow Clint on Twitter @mattoxgolf.
Clint Mattox does integrated pest management and fungicide research on turfgrass at Lewis Brown Horticulture Research Farm in Corvallis, Oregon.
If growing a perfectly uniform surface wasn’t hard enough, a constant hurdle turfgrass managers are facing are the detrimental impacts of a fungal pathogen, commonly called Microdochium Patches, that can have an annual cost of approximately $20,000 for each golf course! To add insult to injury, certain areas limit the type and quantity of fungicide than can be applied forcing turfgrass managers to seek new solutions.
Clint recently finished a Masters of Science with some promising results for how we can effectively manage the infection of Annual Blue Grass (the primary grass for golf courses in this climate) from this formidable fungus while also moving towards organic methodologies. Using a combination of old and new practices he’s fine-tuning current management strategies with the hopes of being able to eliminate the use of fungicides on golf courses.
Tune in on Sunday April 3rd at 7PM on 88.7FM, or online, to hear about the pursuit of fungicide-free turfgrass management.
**All photos are credited to Steven Ward from the OSU Extension Service.
Tonight we have the pleasure of speaking to Natalia Salinas who comes all the way from South America to work on producing more (and delicious) strawberries! Think about how often you see strawberries in the grocery store, but strawberries typically only produce one harvest per year. Some of Natalia’s work focus on identifying if the seeds’ DNA have the perpetual flowering characteristic so there are more potential harvests throughout the year. Just as important as quantity is quality; a second aspect of Natalia’s work is searching DNA markers to try and predict the sugar content in strawberries.
Ideally growers would like many harvests and sweeter strawberries, so tune in tonight at 7PM Pacific time to 88.7FM KBVR Corvallis or stream the show live at http://kbvr.com/listen to find out how Natalia can help your next milkshake be even more delicious!
Natalia is working to amplify the DNA sequences in strawberries to identify desirable traits.
The fruits of Natalia’s labor. Yum!
Think about the last time you bit into a nice, juicy apple. The crisp flesh and sweet flavor has been enjoyed for centuries. These are quite literally the fruits of the labor of pollinators. Since the mid-2000’s, however, honeybee health has been quite a concern with the onset of a widespread phenomena known as pollinator decline that includes such disorders such as Colony Collapse Disorder. One potential culprit for pollinator decline is the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are a new class of systemic insecticides.
Stephanie measuring the protein content of bees’ hypopharyngeal glands (which produce food for the honey bee larvae) in response to the pesticide treatments (photo courtesy S. Parreira)
Stephanie scrapes newly-emerged honeybees for experimentation (photo courtesy S. Parreira)
Tonight at 7PM PST, Stephanie Parreira, a Masters student in the department of Horticulture, will talk with us about how she became interested in colony health. In particular she’s interested in finding out how neonicotinoids affect colony health when they consume it from pollen. Tune in on 88.7FM or stream at http://kbvr.com/listen to find out how a first-generation college student came to do first class research to help understand our pollinators’ plight.