Posts Tagged With: horticulture

My Botanical Data Collection of Potential Blueberry Releases 2018

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Here are some of the images to capture the overview of botanical data I collected for potential blueberry releases for my boss. Now, obviously I cannot give any specific information. That would be unethical. This is just to show some of the stuff I have collected. It is detail-work, but great fun if you are into that sort of thing. I learned a lot too, based on reading many previous plant patent releases from various sources including the University of Georgia breeding program.

Most of these images were previously posted on Twitter the day the work was being done. The images are not high quality as they were snapped with my cheap cell phone but they give you an idea of what I was doing. Placing them all here is a good way to showcase the entire year in one location.

I began this year’s collection in February when the blueberries began to flower. Did you know there was such variation in blueberry flower color?

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Look how tiny these little white flowers were!

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Some of the flowers have a very faint, light perfume.

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The honeybees enjoyed the flowers and we worked around each other all morning.

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My initial measurements were taken in the field because it was an incredibly, beautiful day.

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After working in the field, I collected data from the blueberry plants in the lab.

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Check out the anthers and filaments of the stamens (male) on the blueberry flower.

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I was so excited to be able to collect some pollen grains! My first time.

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I sure am glad I enjoyed taking Plant Taxonomy class at the University of Arkansas with Dr. E Smith. Not only do I still carry around my “flash cards” (can you say PLANT NERD), but I am now able to put all of that to good use.

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After flower analysis came fruit!

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A little coffee, some good tunes on the MP3 player and I’m set for lab work.

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So, my role in the blueberry breeding program goes something like this, although my duties vary from year to year. My boss selects plants to cross. The Lab Tech makes the crosses in the greenhouse. She collects the seeds from the fruit that results. The seed is planted in trays in the greenhouse. When they reach a few inches tall, I pot them into trays of peat pots. At the same time, my boss takes hundreds of cuttings in the field from selections to propagate. When they have rooted (hopefully), I pot them up into one gallon pots. After the seedlings have grown and rooted well in their peat pots, those seedlings are transplanted out into the field.

Here is a photo of part of my blueberry field planting this summer.

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My boss observes them for several years, taking notes and selecting potential crosses for release.  Blueberry plants with the best potential are dug and transplanted into more permanent plantings. The cuttings which were also rooted and potted up into 1 gallon pots are maintained in our nursery and sent out for observation at nurseries or planted in our own blueberry fields for continued observation. But, I really do like my role in collecting finely detailed botanical data of taxonomic characteristics for the selections my boss would like to release. In order to release them, he must first submit a plant patent with this detailed information showing that the plant is new or novel.

As a Certified Professional Horticulturist, I love working in plant research. Especially traditional plant breeding.

All of this blueberry talk is making me hungry for some blueberry cobbler!

Yours in Gardening Goodness,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright The Garden Maiden 2018

 

 

Categories: Fruit Crops, Research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Mississippi Midsouth Grape Harvest 2018

 

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Harvest time! I couldn’t wait for this morning. I love being in the vineyard. And this would be the first year for a real harvest of Midsouth grapes being grown by Dr. Eric Stafne, Mississippi State University Extension Service.

I have watched these grapes for a few years and in particular their evolution from being dormant, to first leaves, to flowering and fruit set all this year.

Midsouth grape

Midsouth grape

Midsouth grape getting big, not ready yet!

Time to harvest later this week!

We arrived at 7:00 a.m. to the research station at McNeill, MS and began shortly thereafter with help from Butch Bailey (The Timber Beast and founder of @raiseyourpints), MSSTATE Extension Associate, Butch’s son, a post-doc from Iran, and a couple of MSSTATE extension employees from the Poplarville station.

Midsouth grape

 

Getting ready to harvest

We wanted to get an early start as a heat advisory with temperatures in the 90’s and heat index 108-110 were predicted.  The grape clusters were so beautiful. I love to watch the trains that pass the station.

Daily train that passes the station

 

Harvesting grapes.

Beautiful tub of harvested Midsouth grapes

Eventually all of the totes we had brought were filled so it was time to begin pressing with the new bladder press from Italy that Dr. Stafne had purchased.

 

The Timber Beast heaves the grape totes into the press with Dr. Eric Stafne.

The beautiful juice was released from the pressed grapes.

 

When enough totes were emptied, some of us went back to picking.

Later, I was so hungry, I almost ate an entire cluster. Almost. #sharkweek. By 11:15 I was sweaty and pooped. More than three hours into it picking and still some to go, but alas, I had to mosey on and leave everyone else to the task.

Mark from Lazy Magnolia showed up around 11 to assist but I never got to say hello. 😦 The entire affair was wrapped up at nearly 2 p.m.

 

Are you a student interested in pursing a degree in horticulture? There are many great programs at fine Universities all over the United States. As an alumna from the UA, I have particular interest in the programs in the Department of Horticulture at The University of Arkansas, Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture and also Michigan State University Department of Horticulture. Find out more about horticulture at the American Society for Horticultural Science website. Read about horticulture careers and opportunities at SEED YOUR FUTURE.

JOIN US!

It sure was a great morning here in south Mississippi.

 

Your Green-thumbed friend,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden

All of the images and text presented in this website are copyrighted by The Garden Maiden. These images and text cannot be used without express written permission from The Garden Maiden.

Categories: Fruit Crops, Plant Related Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Importance of Staying Active in the American Society for Horticultural Science and ASHS Southern Region

The Importance of Staying Active in the American Society for Horticultural Science and ASHS Southern Region

I originally presented this as an invited fifteen minute talk to graduate students at the American Society for Horticultural Science Southern Region Conference in Jacksonville last week.  Oftentimes graduate students find it difficult to justify paying for professional memberships to attend conferences post-graduation, especially when some of those monies come directly from your own pocket. Its easy to fall into the thinking that, well, I attended as a graduate student to compete because my Adviser made me.  As a returning graduate student, one may find themselves with one to five years of opportunities to attend professional horticulture conferences beyond their initial experience. This is especially true for Master’s students moving on to their PhD.  So, as a graduate student, you might ask, what’s it in for me? Here are some notes.

  1. Student Member
    1. Professional research organization listing for CVs (professional resume), social media, applications for graduate school and jobs. (…is a Member of ASHS and ASHS Southern Region…for example)
    2. Discounted conference registration (hey we can all use  little break, and Members get one!)
    3. Student travel grants (my husband and I were both fortunate enough to receive these as graduate students)
    4. Paid to assist Dr. David Reed at SR registration desk (yes, even smaller opportunities such as this exist and I was able to assist Dr. Reed one year which helped pay for my costs)
    5. ASHS online resources: jobs, assistantships, journals (Members receive an early email notice of new positions!)
    6. Practice Oral and Written Communications in a professional setting at conferences (practice makes perfect and these are two essential skills you will need in the future)
    7. Source for peer-reviewed journal publication opportunities
      1. Take advantage of publishing at least one or two articles plus abstracts from your graduate research for each graduate degree, before leaving the University (trust me, it is much easier to do this while you are still on campus)
    8. Networking (some say it isn’t what you know, but who you know-this can be very true!)
    9. Early Notice of Job Opportunities
      1. In person at conferences & online (you’d be surprised of tidbits of juicy news for upcoming opportunities that may present themselves if you network!)
    10. Post CV online at ASHS (you have to put yourself out there on the most reputable sites for potential employers to find you…for horticulturists…look no farther than ASHS)
    11. Assistantship/Scholarship opportunities (I’ve got my mind on my money and my money on mind…let’s face it…those departmental potluck dinners are only going to get you so far and graduate school can be expensive)
    12. Letters of Recommendation (you’ll need both solid letters of recommendation from professionals who know you and your work, as well as professional experiences from which they can write glorious letters on your behalf)
    13. PAX Photography contest at ASHS (photography skills will help you in promoting and disseminating information about your research as a student and as a future employee…improve your skills and have a little fun with your peers in this contest-I have been!)
    14. Mentoring
      1. graduate student/faculty  (these mentors should guide you through the thesis/dissertation process, getting published, becoming active professionally, and making that student to employee transition) (if your own adviser isn’t up to par, seek out positive, active mentors from professionals at ASHS)
      2. peer-to-peer (fellow graduate students you meet in ASHS can be life long friends, supportive colleagues, and may provide you with helpful tips from their own experiences)
    15. ASHS SR-smaller, more family-like
      1. Not every US region has ASHS representation (that means that for those who can be intimidated by the larger ASHS conferences, Southern Region -for example- is smaller, close-knit group to interact with)
  1. Faculty/Employee/Employer Member (think to your future, graduate students!)
    1. Professional research organization listing for bios and bylines (social media, articles, speaking engagements, websites) *Your credentials!
    2. Discounted conference registration versus non-members
    3. ASHS SR-smaller, more family-like
      1. Not every US region has ASHS representation
    4. Awards/Recognitions (I received a Blue Ribbon Extension Communications Award…CV building!)
    5. International Research Opportunities
    6. Colleagues that lift each other up
    7. Mentoring: new faculty members
    8. Collaborative Research (this is extremely important)
      1. Institution to Institution
      2. Grants (multi-organizations)
    9. CV building (ASHS provides opportunities through presentations, awards, and volunteerism to build your CV)
      1. Annual evaluations
      2. Promotions
    10. Networking
    11. Early Notice of Job Opportunities
      1. In person at conferences & online
    12. Post CV online ASHS (not many professionals stay with the same company (or at the same location) forever-those days are gone…for some this is THE way to get significant promotions and increases in salary)
    13. Nominations Awards/Committees (I have served on several committees and have also volunteered to be a poster and oral competitions judge…all rewarding experiences)
    14. Letters of Recommendation (I have been a letter writer and received letters for/from folks via ASHS)
      1. Promotions
      2. Awards
    15. PAX Photography contest at ASHS
    16. Connect with students for Assistantship, Post-Grad, and Faculty Exchange research positions
    17. International speaking opportunities
    18. Disseminate Research Activities: Oral and Poster
    19. Promotes Personal Research, Department/Organization, Field of Study
    20. Annual Giving: Endowment, Scholarships, Awards
    21. Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) for certification programs such as the International Society for Arboriculture and the ASHS Certified Professional Horticulturist programs and some jobs
    22. Opportunities to Serve and Give Back
      1. Office Board & committees
      2. Judging Oral and Poster Competitions
      3. Advisors for ACB
    23. Publication opportunities in peer-reviewed journals
    24. Reasons to be an active Member though not employed directly in Horticulture Science as Scientist at the PhD level?
      1. Educational opportunities, collaboration and interest groups
        1. Stay apprised of what is new in horticulture
      2. Extension, Industry, Ag/Hort/Garden writers & communicators, Ag Education, Public Gardens
        1. We are stronger when we are together! Get inspired.
      3. May be in temporary position, not in Horticulture, but maintaining horticulture track/interests (I used to joke I was longest running ASHS Member who was not actively employed in Horticulture for many years!)

I hope this information can help you or a graduate student you may know in Horticulture or a horticulture-related field.

Yours in Gardening,

The Garden Maiden

 

copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden

http://thegardenmaiden.com

Categories: Other Inspirations | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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