Seminars to focus on vegetable crops

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011


SUFFOLK—Farmers have been seeking ways to efficiently grow food ever since the earliest people figured out how to methodically plant seeds and cultivate crops.

In this region, folks concerned with all things agricultural will get two opportunities to learn more, specifically relating to vegetables and seeds in upcoming seminars.

The topic for Tuesday, Jan. 10, will be “Vegetable Production and Variety Selection Updates.” For Tuesday, Jan. 17, it will be “Seed Selection and Marketing Opportunities.”

Both conferences take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 6321 Holland Road, Suffolk.

Southampton County Extension Agent Chris Drake, who will be one of two speakers at the first program, said that such meetings are fairly regular.

“Something like this is held annually for different commodities such as small grains, peanuts and cotton,” said Drake.

The vegetable program is a collaborative effort with the Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Drake gave credit to Gail Moody-Milteer of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Franklin for getting things established.

“We’re hoping for 75 to 80 people; could be less or more,” Drake said. “It’s open to growers in the whole Tidewater area. Realistically, though, 80.”

Drake will be speaking mainly on pumpkins, watermelons, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and their basic production techniques and practices.

The other guest will be Josh Freeman, extension and research specialist from the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Freeman will talk primarily about vegetables; tomato diseases, fungicides on vegetables and plasti-culture.

The later Drake described as growing crops on black plastic, which has been done for years, with drip irrigation done under the sheets.

There will also be variety and seed selection and catalogs that night as well as the next week.

For the next meeting, seed representatives will attend. Seed catalogs and promotional material from seed sources will also be featured. Featured guests will be Phil Ramsey of the Siegers Seed Co., Pieter Westerbeek of the Seminis Seed Co. and various marketing groups.

The registration fee of $10, which covers both meetings, is due by Thursday, Jan. 5.

Make checks payable to VCE-Isle of Wight, 17100 Monument Circle, Suite B, Isle of Wight, Va., 23397.

Dinner will be served at each event.

Call Drake at 653-2572, Milteer at 569-1100, or Janet Spencer at 365-6256.