The VPSL is currently focused on a range of research projects in the areas of quality, fertility management and vegetable grafting. It also continues to contribute to the domestication and commercialization of Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS), a plant known for its production of natural rubber and inulin, and to the development of superior potato varieties.
Want to learn more about vegetable grafting and season extension? Interactive workshops will take place as part of the Ohio Small Farm Conference on Friday, March 13, 2015 in Wilmington, Ohio. For details, click here. Another opportunity is available on Saturday, March 28, 2015 in Wooster, Ohio. For more details and to register, click here.
Preparations for the new growing season are underway for grafting studies in open field, high tunnel and controlled environment settings and in conventional and organic production systems. Studies involving tomato, pepper, watermelon and cantaloupe are located at the OARDC and on area farms. The goal of this work is to maximize the performance of grafted plants from preparation through harvest. This work is supported in part by the USDA-NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative. A new vegetable grafting listserve is now available. Click here to join.
Brix is among the most commonly measured characteristics of fruits and vegetables. However, the optimal use of Brix values is rarely obvious. In 2012, the VPSL developed four fact sheets regarding Brix values (i.e., tips for obtaining and using them). It continues to study relationships between vegetable crop management and Brix, as one step in enhancing overall crop quality.
A statewide effort to document the status of vegetable soils based on soil test results is underway. The VPSL is working with Ohio vegetable growers to compile a database of soil test results that will guide future research and extension activities. This work is supported in part by the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program. Contact the VPSL for more information. Also ask about our participation in collaborative efforts to develop algae-based biofertilizers and to evaluate other commercial natural products reported to enhance vegetable crop growth and yield.
Extension activities are also important to the VPSL. Recently, it has contributed to tours of commercial and research farms, delivered production workshops, addressed individual grower questions, participated in industry roundtables, initiated the development of fall-winter programs, and authored publications. If you have not yet seen version 2 of our grafting guide and would like a copy, click here.