James E. Boudreaux, Merrill, Thomas A. | 6/28/2007 1:04:55 AM
Home gardeners are invited to a field tour focused on newly named LSU fig varieties and growing tomatoes July 11 at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Burden Center located on Essen Lane just south of Interstate 10 and includes tours of research plots and information about work with figs and tomatoes.
The field tour includes a look at 12 varieties of figs growing in an evaluation orchard at the center.
"The objective of this test is to identify the best varieties for backyard and commercial use," said Dr. Charlie Johnson, fruit crop professor in the LSU AgCenter’s School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences. "The standard variety is Celeste, and we use it to compare other varieties to for sweetness and the ability of the mature fruit to hold up during wet, rainy periods."
The LSU AgCenter program is releasing three newly named selections from the old LSU fig breeding program initiated in the 1950s by Professor Ed O’Rourke. The three new varieties, O’Rourke, Champagne and Tiger are included in the evaluation orchard.
"Before now, these selections had never been fully described and formally named," Johnson said. "All three of them are distinctly different in color, shape and tree characteristics and could provide some unique marketing opportunities."
In addition to the figs, the home gardener tomato plot consists of 16 tomato varieties that were selected for producing large fruit.
"The main factors that we look for in a good home-grown variety is taste," said Dr. Jimmy Boudreaux, vegetable specialist in the LSU AgCenter School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences. "Other factors such as crack resistance, firmness and disease resistance also are evaluated in determining which varieties to recommend for home gardeners."
Boudreaux said the event also will include a taste test in which participants are invited to determine which tomato variety is the best tasting. That test is sponsored by the Louisiana Master Gardeners, a group of specially trained volunteers who assist with LSU AgCenter educational programs.