Ag News for May 2015

Bennett Joffrion  |  5/4/2015 6:34:38 PM

Master Gardener Vegetable Field Day

The La-Terre Master Gardeners will hold a vegetable Field Day along with the St. Francis Vegetable Garden Project on Saturday, June 6, 2015.

The event will be held in Thibodaux on the back side of the Warren Harang Civic Center.

The Master Gardeners and St. Francis Gardener members have worked diligently planting and tending to the garden.

The program will begin with registration at 8:00 a.m. and conclude with a sponsored lunch.

Several topics on vegetable production will be discussed. Two featured speakers will be LSU AgCenter specialists.

Dr. Kiki Fontenot will focus on tomatoes. She will discuss a Creole trial that she has planted at the Burden Research Center and discuss planting and maintaining a tomato crop, and differences in spring versus summer plantings.

Dr. Raj Raghuwinder, will focus his presentation on tomato diseases and disorders. He will cover Southern wilt, Southern blight, tomato yellow leaf curl virus, and tomato spotted wilt virus, early and late blight, blossom end rot and herbicide injury.

This will be an opportunity to see and learn about vegetable problems in the garden. It will also provide you with an opportunity to see what the Master Gardeners and St. Francis Gardens provide to the community.

Vegetable Seeds

Dr. Kiki Fontenot, LSU AgCenter Vegetable Specialist shared the following information on different types of vegetables seeds so I wanted to share it with you.

Neither the U.S. Department of Agriculture nor any other organization has developed an official definition for describing an heirloom crop in terms of years. Some are seeds handed down from generation to generation for 25 years, while others say 50 years.

Either way, heirloom vegetables are those that have been in production for many years and must be open pollinated. However, not all open-pollinated plants are heirlooms.

Open Pollinated
Open pollination occurs when pollen grains are transferred by insects, rain, or some other “natural” manner from one plant to another, or form one plant back onto itself in a process called self-pollination.

Open cross-pollinated plants include cucurbits, such as cucumber, squash, watermelon, pumpkin and gourds; brassicas such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnip and mustard; corn, beets and carrots. Self-pollinated plants include tomatoes, beans, lettuce and peas.

A self-pollinated flower structure is one where the pollen usually covers the female parts. So when wind or insects become involved, the pollen almost 100 percent of the time pollinates the same flower, said AgCenter Vegetable Researcher, Dr. Charlie Johnson.

Cross-pollinated flowers differ, with female parts separated from male parts, allowing them to become pollinated by a number of different flowers from the same plant or from another plant, he said.

It is important to vote that a bean cannot pollinated a tomato or any other vegetable for that matter. In order for pollination to occur and make a reproducible seed, the plants must be closely related. Tomato with tomato, squash with squash, corn with corn and not corn with squash or another other variation.

Hybrids are derived from cross pollination of two different plants, they are the results of controlled cross pollination or are cross-pollinated by human intervention. In their words, a paint brush or cotton swab was used to transfer pollen from one flower to another, Johnson said.

Plant breeders find a characteristic in one vegetable they like. It may be fruit shape, color, size or taste. They take pollen from the desired plant and place it onto other plants female parts. The seed saved from the fruit produced by the controlled cross-pollinated flower will produce a plant that will express characteristic from both the male and female plant.

Unlike naturally pollinated plants, commercial hybrids have been developed under controlled conditions to ensure an exact cross to produce desired traits. This same type of pollination can occur in nature but is unlikely to be as reliable season after season, Johnson said.

Hybrid seeds produce first generation plants that are all the same-like twins.

If you save a seed of a hybrid, you will be disappointed in the results next season because the next generation will not have the same set of characteristics as the original hybrid, Fontentot said. That’s why you need to purchase seeds each year to continue to produce the quality crop you desire.

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