East Texas Bedding Plant Pack and Garden Performance Trials: Master Gardeners, A Web-site and Publishable Data

in HortScience
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  • 1 Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, P.O. Box 200, Overton, TX 75684

The East Texas Bedding Plant Pack and Garden Performance Trials are performed as an interaction between the plant material source companies, the plant producer companies, volunteers, and retail consumers. The Overton Trial Site is located near a concentration of bedding plant growers ($80 million annual wholesale value) which is part of the close to $500 million in ornamental plant production in northeast and north central Texas, about half of the state industry value. The spring and fall trials consist of two phases. The greenhouse phase consists of assessing production performance for use by the crop production industry. Crops are usually finished in packs (36 cells per flat), but larger size containers are used as needed according to species. Height control is a major issue and specific issues have been addressed. This is one way that publishable data can be generated by these trials. The garden phase consists of assessing garden performance in a replicated field setting at the Overton site. Garden performance is also assessed for many of the entries at sites at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and the Texas A&M Univ. Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Dallas. An integral part of the trials are the volunteers who, as members of the Smith County Master Gardener Association, donate hundreds of hours of labor to the seeding, transplanting, and garden establishment phases of the trials. In addition, a web site has been initiated as the only practical way to share the data and hundreds of images that are generated each trial season.