Info on grapes, pumpkins, pecans, etc.

STILLWATER – Are you interested in pumpkins, grapes, cowpeas, pecans, lavender and other horticulture crops? If so, make plans to attend the Cimarron Valley Research Station Horticulture Field Day slated August 1 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Lynn Brandenberger, food crops professor in Oklahoma State University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, said this is a great opportunity for growers to come out to see the different variety trials and learn more about pecan crop load thinning and research being conducted by OSU.

“Our research is important because it has a direct effect on the agricultural industry. It helps farmers be successful in crop production, both from improved yields and by the more efficient production of those products,” Brandenberger said. “It also allows farmers who are truly the original conservationists to continue to improve and take better care of the environment in which they farm. The one thing that has kept Oklahoma farmers, and those across the country, going is they have continued to become more efficient, which allows them to stay in business and produce food at a much lower cost than farmers anywhere else in the world.”

Those who attend the upcoming field day will have an opportunity to see a field trial of more than 25 varieties of pumpkins, along with other crops being grown. This year, OSU researchers are testing 15 different southern cowpeas emphasizing advanced breeding lines from the University of Arkansas breeding program. Several of these varieties have unique color combinations ranging from red/white, black/white, cream colored and completely black seed coats.

“A majority of the cultivars released from the U of A program have pods that set at the top of the plant and are determinant in growth habit, meaning they are easier to pick both by hand or by machine,” he said.

Becky Carroll, OSU Cooperative Extension assistant specialist, fruit crops and pecans, said information regarding pecan crop load thinning also is on the agenda.

“Producing higher quality pecans, trees that produce each year and protecting your pecan trees from cold damage and limb breakage can be achieved by crop load thinning pecan trees. It may be a few days earlier than suggested for thinning, but the trunk shaker will be ready to demonstrate this process at the field day,” Carroll said. “We’ll help you learn how to determine if your pecan trees need thinning, when to thin and what both homeowners and commercial pecan growers need to get the job done.”

Grapes continue to gain popularity as an Oklahoma crop, and the field day will explore several hybrid wine grapes that are adapted to the state’s sometimes harsh climate. Participants will be able to see how different cultivars grow, how vigorous the vines are and what clusters look like.

“We’re really excited to show everyone what’s going on at the Cimarron Valley Research Station and look forward to a big crowd at the field day,” Brandenberger said.

The event free and open to the public. For more information, contact OSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at 405-744-5404.