Job Posting: Assistant Farm Manager, Dining Services Farm

The Dining Services Farm at Kentland Farm is a farm-to-campus program at Virginia Tech that provides hands-on education for students and produces vegetables, fruit, and herbs on six acres for campus dining centers.  The Assistant Farm Manager will provide technical support in crop production at the Dining Services Farm and in a high tunnel at the Urban Horticulture Center.  This position will also be responsible for managing a pilot hydroponic project located in Owens Dining Hall.  This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to a unique and growing program that advances the sustainability of the food and farming system of Virginia Tech and the surrounding community.  Please follow the link below for more details of the position responsibilities and qualifications, and to apply.


PhD seminar: Feb. 10th at 1pm, 403 Saunders

Mara Grossman will present a seminar on her PhD dissertation research “Controlling Growth in Echinacea Hybrids” (nursery/greenhouse container production)  in advance of her defense:  Friday, Feb. 10th  at 1:00 p.m., 403 Saunders. Seminar is open to faculty, staff, grad students, and undergrad students.


New hybrid Echinacea cultivars, based on crosses of Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench with several other Echinacea species, have generated interest and excitement in the marketplace due to novel flower colors and forms. However, these cultivars vary significantly in their growth habits and requirements from the species. We examined factors in the production of Echinacea hybrid cultivars to provide guidance to growers. Foliar sprays 600 mg·L-1 benzyladenine (BA) increased branches in Echinacea cultivars while 400 mg·L-1 dikegulac sodium or 500 mg·L-1 ethephon did not improve branching. Of several height control PGRs applied to E. ‘Marmalade,’ only two applications of 5000 mg·L-1 daminozide reduced height although flowering was also reduced. Echinacea ‘Harvest Moon,’ had decreased height in response to all of the PGRs applied, with the best results seen in plants treated with foliar sprays of uniconazole (1 application of 30 mg·L-1 or two applications of 15 mg·L-1 ), two applications of 5000 mg·L-1 daminozide, or 4 mg·L-1 paclobutrazol applied once as a drench. Supplying N at 150 mg·l-1 during the growing season provided Echinacea cultivars adequate nutrition and maximized number of branches, flowers and shoot dry weight. In overwintering, fertilization treatments that resulted in low substrate electrical conductivity going into dormancy resulted in the highest survival rates of Echinacea cultivars. As a monitoring tool, SPAD measurements were not successful in predicting tissue N levels in Echinacea hybrids. Twenty-one hybrid cultivars acquired as stage 3 tissue culture plantlets were grown under one of three photoperiods (10-hour, 16-hour, and 24-hour) for ten weeks before being transplanted to larger containers and grown under natural daylength until flowering. Providing Echinacea hybrid cultivars with a 16-hour photoperiod during liner production resulted in plants which flowered soonest without negative effects on growth. The need for height control PGRs varied by cultivar; however, overall height control PGRs reduced flower stalk height and increased market rating.

Research Seminar February 3 at 10am in 403 Saunders

Mr. Brycen Hill, MSc GRA, Department of Horticulture and AHS Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center, will present a seminar on his MSc thesis research in advance of his defense at 10:00 am on February 3, 2017. The seminar is open to faculty, staff and students and will be held in room 403 Saunders.   The seminar is entitled:  “Root restriction, under-trellis cover cropping, and rootstock modify vine size and berry composition of Cabernet Sauvignon”

Hort Grad Students Give Back during VT Big Event

The Horticulture Graduate Students a.k.a. “The Happy Hort Grad Helpers” led by Rachel Layman used their horticulture expertise to help a local couple prepare a new vegetable garden. Participants included Julio Bonet Gigante (VBI), Nan Lu (Plant Molecular Sciences), Norma Manrique, Juan Jairo Ruiz-Rojas, Linda Taylor, and Sarah Dickinson (faculty).